Monday, December 8, 2008

Finally Europe!

So I'm finally updating our blog... I think I've been putting it off for so long because it's seemed just a little daunting. I didn't know how to write about my experience in Europe without it being way too long to keep anyone's attention. So, I finally decided to just sit down and do it. I think the best way to do it though is to just put the best pictures on here with captions that can be read if you have the time, or if you don't, just enjoy the pretty pictures. Let me just start out by saying that it was one of the best experiences ever, though. The only bad thing, of course, was not having TJ there to share it with me. My biggest wish now is to go back some day with him! Anyway, here it is!!

So this is the place where I spent probably half of my time in Europe. We initially flew into Rome but then rode on this wonderful bus between each amazing place we visited. At first, it was a little uncomfortable, but we all figured out how to fall asleep after not to long. Our bus driver, Pader, tried his best to be entertaining, but we usually tuned him out. It gave us all some great bonding time though!!

So this was the AMAZING view from the top of
St. Peter's Basilica inside the Vatican in Rome. The vatican, and especially St. Peter's was one of my favorite places on the trip. It was beautiful and had so much history! This view is a pretty famous on of the Colonnade which was designed by Bernini. I had to work hard for this view, though! I think is was around 600 stairs to the top... I'm glad I was still breathing when I got there!

This is a picture of the inside of St. Peter's. I know you probably can't tell from this picture, but it was amazing on the inside. I can't even explain it... And it was massive!! The gold lettering near the top of the picture is 7 feet tall and the altar in the middle is about 3 stories tall.

This is an illegal picture I took in the Sistine Chapel. I could have spent hours in here, except that every 30 second, the quiet was interrupted by a guard yelling "QUIET!" and "NO PHOTO!" I obviously didn't follow all of their advice. I just had to get one picture of this masterpiece.

This was Venice! It was a gorgeous place. We did all the musts - a gondola ride, a visit to St. Mark's cathedral, and a trip to the glass factory. It was great. The people there weren't as nice as other places in Italy, but I think they were used to dealing with a higher class of tourists, not humble students like us.

This is outside the gazebo from the Sound of Music! We went on a tour of all the sites from the movie while we were in Saltzburg, Austria. It was so much fun! My friend in this picture had basically the entire movie memorized, so of course we reenacted as much as we could!

This is a kind of sad picture... It's from the concentration camp we visited called Mauthausen. It was a depressing, but powerful. It was something I was really glad I got to see.

This band was SO COOL. They were performing on the Charles Bridge in Prague. They made me miss TJ even more... oh, and watch the singer's eyes. He's hilarious!

These are the doors in Wittenburg, Germany where Martin Luther posted his 95 Thesis. A lot of what we learned about on this trip had to do with the protestant reformation and so this site was especially important. It was so cool to go to a place where something so important happened. It really helped my testimony grow. I realized that God really does guide people to do things in their life that will help the gospel grow, even if they don't realize it.

This was a wonderous place in Munich called the Haufbraghaus. It's the largest beer hall in the world, and highly recommended by the trip director (a religion teacher) who eats there every year at least once. It was the place where I first experiences Wiener Schnitzel, and had my largest glass of Fanta. It was great! They had an umpa-band and people in the traditional german get-up. It was quite the experience...

This was one of the most beautiful places I've ever been in my life. It was a lake below Neuschwanstein Castle (the disney castle). The fall colors were amazing and this man decided to take a nice little spin in his canoe just in time for a Photo opp. The whole area was breathtaking, but this picture captured it the best, I think.

This is, well, THE EIFFEL TOWER!!! I really didn't think I would be as excited to see it as I was. On our first night in Paris, though, as we walked around the corner and I saw it, I might admit I screamed a little... It was amazing. The ride to the top was also phenomenal. I don't this TJ would have liked the glass elevator, but I thought it was great! You could see all of Paris from the top, and I'm so glad I experienced it.

This was the place I was probably the most excited to see going into this tour. The Louvre was overwhelming, but had some things in it that I always wanted to see. After we were done at the Louvre (where I could probably spend a week without seeing everything) we headed over to the Musee d'Orsay where most of the impressionist art is. Though there wasn't as much to see, I was just as blown away. This was basically one of the best days of my life :)

So this is the Tower Bridge outside of the tower of London. This was something else I was really excited for. I've always had this strange obsession with English history, especially Henry the Eighth and the Elizabethan era. So, the tower of London was kind of a jack-pot. This was where Ann Boleyn (Henry's second wife) was executed, where the crowned jewels are kept, and lots of other awesome history took place. I could have spent all day there, but unfortunately, I got about 2 hours.

And this is inside WICKED!!! It was the second time I'd seen it, but just as amazing. It was kinda fun too because all the actors had english accents. I think that was one of the parts that was the most fun about London... the accents :) The play made me miss TJ even more though. I'm glad this was our last stop...

And last of all, here is some of the food that saved my life on this trip...

Starbucks saved my life when I needed some good comfort food

And these are Kabobs. Yum. That's all I have to say

Last of all, but most importantly would be gilatto, but I don't have a picture of that....

Well, that's it! I know it was a lot, but believe me, this is after taking lots out. I hope you liked it! I hope you can all have an experience like this some day if you haven't already :)