Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Wi Wi we're in Pari!

14 hour train ride to Paris..completed and I think we slept every single bit of the way. Also in our night train were 2 people backpacking together from Australia and the United Kingdom..we did a little chit chatting but all 4 of us were exhausted! We skip the train station this time because we knew where the McDonald's was from the first time..& we didn't want to waste any time getting to a shower!! We have breakfast there and then head to our bed and breakfast. The streets of Paris were super duper crowded & our hotel was so cute. It had the balcony's with white curtains, our room had the double doors that you opened up and we had a view of the tallest church in Europe, there were so many postcards with this picture & it was our view from our balcony! The room came with bunk beds but we moved the top bunk mattress to the floor! :) slumber party in PA-REE…WI WI! We showered, was amazing and then hit the city. We always look at a map and google the top things to do in the cities we are at just to make sure we don't miss anything! On the Paris map, there was so much to do and it was spread out amongst the entire city. We decided to do another tour guide hop on hop off bus. Best decision ever. Sat on the top..got a tan..and learned about so many historical buildings in Paris. There was no way we would have ever had the energy or time to hit all these places so we are glad we didn't penny pinch for the day! When we arrived at the Eiffel Tower we both got chills! We couldn't believe we were actually here! & holy moly its HUGE!..We didn't want to waste time walking back to our hotel to change at night so we carried a bag of clothes around with us..because of course we wanted to change for the night life in Paris!..Per usual we spotted a Best Western hotel and walked in to ask if we could borrow their bathroom to change..luckily no one was at the front desk so we helped our way to their bathroom where we changed and touched up our makeup! We wanted to go enjoy dinner where we could get a view of the sunset behind the eiffel tower. We found a little cafe where we got a cheeseburger and pasta, a glass of wine and a cocktail..totaling about 75$ american dollars. Paris is so expensive! yuck…We pretty much licked our plates clean and then went walking through the beautiful green park behind the Eiffel tower that is filled with many tourists and locals. On every corner you have ice cream shops and locals surrounding you with "5 for ONE EURO", "GOOD PRICE GOOD PRICE", "AH SEXY SEXY AMERICAN", "I LUH YEWW"..after a while we were so annoyed, we'd just look at them and go "NOOOO!" In the park we had 3 locals that asked to take a picture with us and we said no and they were trying to take pictures of us and they gave off a dirty vibe so we covered our faces and kept saying  go away go away. It was in a crowded park so it wasn't too bad, but then they wouldn't leave and continued saying inappropriate things to us..after several minutes they were still following us saying dirty things and we said we are going to get the Police and they were like ooh we are scared. By this time it was getting a little scary, they were surrounding us, so we held our purses in the front of us tight, held hands and scurried off a few hundred feet and told 3 police men. They immediately ran off after the 3 guys and grabbed them by the arms and took them away. We didn't want to watch because we didn't want the guys to see us and maybe come back with even worse threats. Generally when you say go away they listen, but they weren't having it, we got a little uneasy..& then problem solved! After that stress we decided to go get a nutella/banana crepe made and churros! The eiffel tower was lit up, carousels everywhere, ice-cream, souvenirs! Picture perfect! We went down in front of the eiffel tower, sat on the stairs and happily ate our desserts in awe of how gorgeous everything was!

"How precious it is, Lord, to realize that You are thinking about me constantly! I can't even count how many times a day Your thoughts turn toward me." Psalm 139:17-18

Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter in Berlin...hop, hop, hoppy Easter!

*more pics to come!
After arriving in Berlin, we head to the nearest McDonald's(naturally). Sadly this one didn't have free internet but that didn't stop us from using their bathroom to change, brush our teeth and take a perfume shower. I'm telling you we smell like roses right now!! To begin our journey we stopped at the first cafe and got the cutest Easter bunny cookie, a big piece of fried something smothered' in glazed and a mini cupcake..we headed to sit at burger king where Shelly enjoyed her grease and Laura enjoyed her sweets! We then head out to find the Berlin Wall. This place is hard to describe. There was so much history to read on it and SO sad. It was hard to realize that the wall was just knocked down in 1989 when we were alive..normally history is hundreds of years ago, but to think we were in America living a luxurious life (even though we were little) and this country was having control issues. It's just hard to grasp that…hard to explain, but sad yet intriguing. We then plop our happy butts down in the park of the Berlin Wall to get a nice summer power nap. Shelly passes out and Laura lays on her belly and paints her nails. All of a sudden, PLOP. We both feel body weight. Laura assumed Shelly just accidentally rolled over and landed on her and Shelly jumped. Some italian boy hopped in the middle of us, "HELLLLO LADIES." broken english, hard to understand but defiantly a cutie in his rolled up jean capris and suspenders. We all start cackling and his group of friends is to the other side. We end up talking and painting there pinky nails. Italians are so funny how they talk with such expression & they sound cute trying to speak english. They were on a 4 day vacation and play Futbol back in Italy. We end up leaving and heading over to continue our sightseeing..after Laura gets ice-cream..We saw the TV tower, one of the largest Cathedrals in Europe, Berliner Dom,  & Brandeburg Gate. It was easter here so a lot of families and tourists. It was crowded everywhere, but a Happy environment! We saw an Easter Carnival, Laura stopped to eat a huge brotwurst hot dog…followed by 2 ginormous pretzels with cheese. We went to a park where everyone was relaxing and it was outside of the cathedral and sit in front of the fountain for a bit, and we then run into our group of Italian friends and chit chat and exchange emails! There was a girl there that spoke really good English so she was able to make our conversations flow! The cutie in suspenders, she said was a Casa Nova and all joking about it and then she said, ya "and he's little". and everyone giggled and the italian just did hand expressions and was so confused and didn't know we were joking about him!  We then go to the Reichstag which is a HUGE dome where you listen to a headset as you walk up and up where you can see all of Berlin, and a recorded narrator tells you about each building and the view is breathtaking! After a day of walking, everything is aching on us. We head to a river where there are tons and lawn chairs and bars..the atmosphere was very "spring-breakish", malibu, redbull, palm trees, ect. There was the biggest MUFFIN there of all time..with his girlfriend..but thats okay! A good eye candy to leave on! haha We split some good fried fingerfoods then continue our way to take our over night train to PARIS!!! Wi Wi!!!  HAPPY EASTER EVERYONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Love you:):):)

"He is here! He is risen from the dead, just as He said would happen. Come, see where His body was lying." Matthew 28:6


It's the party capital of Europe we hear. Feeling semi refreshed since we had actual beds on our night train**side note-there was a mom, dad and little baby in our cabin also. Made us a little nervous at first b/c we wanted to sleep and not have a baby crying, but turned out she was an angel:) Also, the mom had no problem whipping out the boob in front of us and breast feeding…little awkward! Ok back to us..**So feeling refreshed, our first thing on the agenda was to sign up for a Pub Crawl. We saw someone wearing a shirt on an earlier train about it and thought since this was THE party city we should partake. At the tourist info place we find our pub crawl and bike rental brochures and also spy a sky diving one! But alas, we decide to wait for that until maybe Ireland. Now that our number one priority is done, the next is finding a hostel. Turns out it's Easter weekend and everything is full!! We deliberate for a little but then decide we'll put our bags in a train station locker, then party until the earliest train to Berlin which was 4:15. Smart eh?! Now it's time to start our day. Turns out the Pub Crawl people own the bike rental shop too, and b/c we are going to do the pub crawl we get a discount on the bikes, holler! We also decide to pay the rest for our Crawl adventure and when they hand us the wrist bands we asked if we could put them on now. He looked at us and goes, "Aren't y'all going to shower before??". HAHA!! We go nope, couldn't find a hostel. So needless to say they're going to know we are stinky girls! Our bike adventure takes us all around the city, up to this beautiful park with a bier garten, over looking the entire city. Of course we stop and get a beer! Then we peddle over to the largest castle in Europe. The cathedral in the middle of it was BEAUTIFUL! In the courtyard there's a sign that says ice-cream 25 czk's, so we take this opportunity as another break and get some & someone gets a donut..). When we get to the front of the line and point to the flavor we want it ended up being .90 each. Turns out this was the smallest and most expensive ice cream we had ever bought!! It's about $6 american money. Lol another tourist falls victim to the conversion rate. Oh well, when in Prague! We then head down the hill to the famous Charle's Bridge. where it's so crowded you're only allowed to walk across it. It's beautiful and has statues lined all the way across it on both sides. As we're walking our bikes across we pass tons of artist drawing people. Prague people must be a little bit obsessed with Angelina Jolie and Jessica Alba, b/c most of the artist examples were of them. At the end of the bridge there were homemade type donuts..(kind of the type you made for us growing up hot mama) and Laura gets sucked into another one…a huge round delicious chunk of fried cinnamon sugar…that she also asked for another spoonful of straight sugar in the middle. If you notice from our pictures, we caught Europe at the perfect time and the clouds are always PERFECT. It sounds funny, but the sky looks beautiful..a bit obsessed! Old Town Square is next, where the famous clock tower is. **Graphic Warning**The man who built it was tortured and they removed both his eyes so that he could never build a replica of it. He then climbed to the top of the inside and jumped landing on the gears and breaking the clock. It took them like a decade to repair it.**Graphic Warning Over** There's an amazing restaurant my friend told me about, Bredovsky Dvur, that we literally went on a 45 minute scavenger hunt for. Everyone we asked told us different directions. We finally found it though, read the menu and after all that decided not to eat there lol! We settled for pizza and pasta instead that the pub crawl workers told us about. We're gonna turn into pizzas soon. It was a long day of sight-seeing and biking. Every building in Prague is amazing, this city is beautiful. We were looking pretty rough. Then we remembered our bags and make-up were locked up in the train station. Then we have the BRIGHTEST idea EVER!!!!! Find a Sephora and "test" all their makeup. The closest one was in the mall, so not only did we get makeup and perfume from Sephora, but lotion and deodorant from The Body Shop! They already knew we weren't taking a shower so we had to do something!! Now it's time for the crawl…we meet amazing people there from Canada, Korea, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New Zealand! The first hour of drinks were free, and they made those suckers strong. You could choose from beer, absinth or vodka..and they had trays and trays of absinth shots and vodka. WOOF. A vodka water was vodka with a splash of water! We visit 3 bars on this excursion and then head to the 5 story club Karlovy Lazne. On the walk from bar to bar we get distracted in conversation and picture taking and our group of people lose the group…thank goodness for a homeless man that recognized our shirts and pointed to the bar where he saw the big group go in. At the second bar we had them play the infamous Ke$ha, "BLOW!"..feels like home to me! ha We walked in about 20 feet, it was roughly two ish and were exhausted and decided we were done! (clubs aren't our thing..so over that!, bring on the pubs!) We hopped a cab back to the train station about 2am and hung out there until our train at 4:30. Day 2 1/2 of no shower and sleeping on a train. Look up gross in the dictionary and we are listed as the definition right now. Berlin, we apologize, but we're on our way…

"But God showed His great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners." Romans 5:8

Friday, April 22, 2011

"Buda Buda Buda Buda rockin' err-where"-Budapest

After Munich we went back to Stuttgart, Germany aka our headquarters where we were able to unpack/repack/laundry ect. On our next journey we were off to Budapest, Prague, Berlin & Paris. Our plan was to take an overnight train and arrive in Budapest in the morning. We got to the train station at about 630pm and our train left at 8pm..20:55. When we went to reserve our tickets everything was sold out. (Totally forgot about Good Friday & Easter Monday) so everyone is traveling! In order to get to Budapest we had to first go to Munich then take the train from there. At this point we were just going to "wing it" to get there. We didn't reserve a seat but since we have Euro rail passes we are still able to get on the train and sit in a seat until someone comes to claim it..then we just kicked out to the hallway! Sounds exciting, right? We didn't want to get behind any days since we have so much planned so we were going to hop the train in hopes of a seat but if not..lay in the hallway over night. Delta..our trip blanket..Laura has had since we got to London..his name is Delta..he is the red blanket from the Delta airplane that they give you. (So we think? It's thin..who would reuses it when they are packaged individually anyways?) Well Delta, has been quite the world traveler..kind of like "Flat Stanley". Normally I wouldn't have a problem laying in the train stations or hallway..but I somehow lost Delta..who has been on every ground, train, bed & is ALWAYS with me because I am ALWAYS* cold..and when I'm cold..it can put me in a bad mood quickly! I was going to wait around until a store opened at the train station and just buy another blanket..but we were there from the times of 10pm-4am..so noting ever opened..we hopped the train and actually were able to find seats the entire way! On our last few hours of the train a family of 4 came and claimed the seats we were in so we scooted on down next to 2 people who looked about our age. People don't realize we get ready on trains so I'm sure we keep the stereotype alive over here when we pull our out backpacks and start "primping" ourselves and putting on makeup..Everyone always stares and I'm sure they say something about americans because no one else over here seems to ever have there hair done or make up. So when we first scoot over, we are those annoying girls, moving over the macbook, our makeup, body spray, ect..We then start talking to them and they were 21 & 22, studying in Budapest and they were from Russia. Anna & Pavel. They were so sweet and helpful for our arrival upon Budapest. They told me that Nagy means "Big"..of courseeee, perfect timing when i'm already feeling awfully LARGE! haha & it's funny because my mom calls my dad, "big boy" and she didn't know either! So feel free to call me Big L or laura big =) They passed on a lot of knowledge and interesting facts about all the countries and even how difficult it is for the countries over here just to travel, & really difficult to travel to the US. They said we are so lucky that it only takes us one passport to go anywhere and we don't have to get approval ahead of time from the country we are traveling to. Never realize the nice things that we are blessed with in America! Especially overtime you need to use a bathroom in Europe you either A)have to go to a WC, "Wet Closet" and pay..or go in a store/restaurant/bar, but in order to use their bathroom you have to order something. It gets old having a small bladder. Also you don't get free refills, even at fast food joints; you can't just order tap water. No matter what water you order in Europe it costs you a couple bucks..I drink ALOT* and I have to drink coke with every meal or I don't get full..so this has been a downer on my wallet! 

Finally we arrive in Budapest for the day! We get to the train station and just like everywhere in this WORLD, construction is everywhere! Laura was excited to be in Hungary because that's where her ancestors are from! "Nagy" is on menus, street signs, ect. which is neat because it is so uncommon "in the states." We go exchange our money because they don't use Euros. We go to the atm and honestly have no clue how much we are pulling out and won't know until we check wellsfargo. :/ but it was really confusing how to convey the currency..and we couldn't find wifi to use the app on our phone! We become the typical tourist per usual and head first to the Parliament. Buildings in Budapest are gorgeous as is everything in Europe, but every building here is exceptionally detailed. By this time we are starving and go to a self serve restaurant. It's a buffet style but to pay they weigh your food…nuff' said..it was a good thing we didn't know the currency because our plates were a bit heavy! We enhale our food and continue on to sight see. The weather was great and once again in jean shorts and a sundress people just STARE*, even when we try to fit in people still stare. We end up getting gelato..shocking..then heading to the bar for some hungarian beer..shocking! We  come across a nude bar..shall we give it a try? Sure! You only live once right? haha Jk but the evenings in Europe cool down so they always have blankets outside for use. Being in a sundress and tank top it looks like we were drinking beer in our blankets! Such a tease..now we REALLY miss delta!! poor little guy..After that we have a little bit of hungarian money left..(or it could be a lot..only time will tell..) so we stop by a store and grab some snickers bar, peanuts, and waters..NASTY* water at that! Most waters over here have gas in it and it tastes terrible. After a day in Budapest..we head back to the train to take an over night train to Prague!

"May they who love you be like the sun when it rises in its strength" Judges 5:31

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Cheers to Munich Beers!

After spending a few hours in Burger King on Wifi, we hit the city of Munich around 11. Munich is the third largest city following Berlin and Hamberg. Boy was this city crowded! In order to get back to Stuttgart we had to connect in Munich and since its the beer capital of the world we decided instead of switching trains immediately that we would catch a night train to Stuttgart and experience Munich. We walked through the town and window shopped per usual! Which is getting pretty old! We are about to have a meltdown and just shop!! Even though we have absolutely no room to put anything which makes it even more a tease. We finally stumble upon the Hofbruhaus and head on in! This place has an outside beer garden & indoors its tables and tables lined in rows. Everyone is dressed in the traditional Barvarian clothing and their is a band set up in the center playing loud german music. There is only one size of beer you can order and that is one liter. We sit down and the table behind us of 3 guys turn around and invite us over..why not? We are here to meet people and enjoy Europe. There were 2 adults and one guy who was turning 22. One of them spoke barely any english, mostly italian. We order HUGE pretzels bigger than the size of your head and enjoy our HEAVY mugs of beer. I don't see how the waitress' could even carry more than 2 considering it took us both hands just to pick up the beer! We spend a few hours there because we stayed inside and then headed to the outside beer garden. By that time we could barely finish the beer. We forced ourselves to chug it so we could get heading back to the train station so we could head back to our home sweet home, Stuttgart. On the way back Laura stops for her ice-cream and gets a cone with snickers this time. We just must try out each flavor before we leave Europe! It was a shorter day of activities but we were exhausted ready to get home to sleep in the amazing bat cave and attempt to  catch up on sleep before we head off to our next leg of events! On the train ride home we hop in a first class cart, recline all 6 chairs to make a big bed..turned on some Randy Rogers..and immediately pass out! When the conductor comes by to check our tickets, he looks at them but saw we were passed out and the train wasn't crowded so he allowed us to continue our nice little nap! 

"What a idly wonderful world, God! You made it all, with Wisdom at Your side, made earth overflow with Your wonderful creations." Psalm 104:24

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Venice- "The Floating City"

Pictures to come!...  
When we arrive in Venice at 9:30, we got off a stop early to get a cheaper hotel b/c we actually researched this stop, we found a hotel relatively fast and cheap. We had our own room and bathroom which was really nice. We were able to air out all our stinky(and I mean STANKY) backpack clothes, and relax in peace. This place even had a ghetto blow dryer, we were all over that puppy! & wifi…We heard english next door and went to the next room and met our neighbors! Really nice girls doing the same thing as we were..and some guy from Australia..gotta love those Aussie accents! Australia is the next place we would like to go see..maybe in January. We passed out pretty early to catch up on some much needed sleep. We woke up at about 930 and got ready to hit the city of Venice. (Which our neighbors informed us it was everything you imagine and more. We catch the 10 minute train ride down to Venice..hop off and of course pick the wrong way to go..we decided to head to the right which took us to a dead end and a bus stop. So we hike it back and enter the streets of venice. We were so happy and intrigued by the gondolas all houses and buildings that are so historic and the colors of the buildings are so enjoyable. There were people sitting down just painting on canvas' because every direction you look there was something beautiful to paint. We stroll up and down the river, through the small streets and window shop for a bit. We decide to stop at a restaurant and grab a bottle of wine and a Margarita pizza..we always choose this flavor because it's the cheapest :) Its different than what America thinks Margarita pizza is..this is a cheese pizza with olive oil just dumped over the pizza so its still crunchy but so juicy and addicting! We wined and dined there for about an hour and a half and just people watched and enjoyed the weather and our minds still couldn't grasp that we were sitting in VENICE, ITALY! It's so surreal. After we leave there we were a bit giggly and saw an attractive italian man and he talks us into a Gondola ride. They are from 40-60 euro for half an hour but we decided this is a once in a life time opportunity even though we are broke little girls! It was so neat to be on a gondola, with a cold beer, our feet propped up and a guy standing up behind us just rowing away, and they all wear the cutest striped sweaters. Shelly being OBSESSED beyond words with pasta has been waiting for her arrival in Italy. We were splurging on dinner and we were going to get amazing pasta! Laura "needing" her ice cream of the day strolls down the streets of venice when we bump into someone marketing their restaurant and says free glass of wine if you come eat..we say no thanks we are looking for ice cream and weren't hungry yet. The guy kept walking with us and told us he was getting off work and if we would wait he would show us the best ice cream shop and buy us a beer…who can say no to this idea? We go sit out by the canal and enjoy an Italian brewed beer and then head to get Laura her dang ice-cream!! Eventually one of his friends meets up with us and we all chit chat and learn about the great city of Venice! They invite us to their place to eat dinner with them. We are both responsible and kind of walk behind and say if we feel scared at any moment to let the other know..they lived right off the busy tourist street in town homes, so we follow them up and keep the door open behind us and both have on our whistles! Yes we are nerds but hey!..It ends up being a great evening. Over a nice dinner discussion Laura lets them know that we have a chip implanted in the side of our heads, because it is required by the government now before leaving the country..therefore if our parents don't hear from us they can easily see through the chip the last place we were..nice scare-tactic ehh?! They believed it! They made AMAZING pasta and we had beer and champagne and dessert. Of course Laura and her clean freak self does their dishes…loves to clean..so weird! We chit chat for a bit more but have to get back to our hostel to get our bags and head on our over night train to Munich..where the oldest brewery in the world is!..On our way back we can't go anywhere with out Laura needing something..we stop at a store and she gets a banana and a big ol bag of vanilla cookies. (It's so hard to ever feel full when 24/7 you are constantly walking next to clear bakery's or ice cream shops..) The record for one of us is like 80 euros..aka 100$ in one day on cokes, cookies and JUNK! Anyways we arrive back at our hotel..use the wifi, Skype our families and try to upload some pictures. We met some other nice people in the lobby and felt like tour guides as we lets them know the places to go on their travels! We get to the train station where we get McDonald's and a bag of chips..why? We don't know we already had 2 amazing meals and cookies and ice-cream! grrr… We realize our train time is different..and then we realize we are at the wrong stop..we had gotten off the stop before when we arrived for a cheaper hotel and forgot about that until our arrival..but it was okay we figured it out and got on the correct train! This was a sleeping train so we were given minnie rooms in the train that have bunk bed type seating or laying and pillows and blankets..by this time we were drained..slight headache and dehydrated as ever! We passed out besides for the occasional POLICIA who come and ask for your ticket and passport..just to keep the trains safe. So far there hasn't' been many lookers..but every single cop..WOWSERS!! they are so stinkin' cute..we came up with the code "muffin"..so anytime an attractive person walked next to us we would say something about a muffin..haha and he asked for the passports and all shelly could say was Muffin. We wake up at 640am in Munich, Germany. Not much is open at 640 and we are leaving tonight to head back to Stuttgart to re pack, do some laundry and get ready for the next leg of our journey. We grab some donuts and burger king and get on WIFI for a couple hours so we are able to google airports, come in contact with a few people for our next locations, check our bank statements :/ and get caught up..We are headed to the Hofbrau House..one of the oldest breweries in in the world where its pretty much a large drinking hall..with pretzels and sausage!..like Wurstfest in New Braunfels..After our healthy breakfast why not carry on the tradition and go have a few pitchers of beer and sausage for lunch! Adios loversss! Chao!

"Blessed are they who have the gift of making friends, for it is one of God's best gifts." Thomas Hughes 

Monday, April 18, 2011

Roamin' round Rome!

Chao! more like woof…is our train really arriving at 5:40am and we expected to sleep and didn't even get a seat on the bus?! Talk about "backpacking.." We were told we didn't need to reserve a seat on our over night train..we show up..get on..and its full with reseverations..we are stuck in the cold nasty little hallways of an overnight train. We have been so lucky with our trains but this one was straight up DISGUSTING* & smelly! Through out the night we would bounce around and maybe get a few minutes of shut eye..but that was about it because it was too chilly to fall asleep. Once we arrive in Rome its early, so we hit the streets per usual(after Laura gets her $7 coke, sugar donut and creme filled croissant and start looking for a hostel or hotel. Finally, our luck has run out..NOT ONE single place has vacancy! We were dirty/smelly/cold/tired..I'd say on the merge of having a break down..On our way out of the last hotel we see a bathroom and go to use it..it must have been door #3 because BAM! We walk into a little room with a shower and toilet..but wait..we have no towel :(..but we are filthy. We gave ourselves a shower through the sink using toilet paper and our body wash..quite interesting with 2 girls, 2 backpacks..and a tiny space. We were able to at least wash our body's, brush our teeth..the necessities which made us feel a bit cleaner. This time with finding no place to stay we hike our way through the streets and begin to be tourists but this time moping around our massive bags that get in the way of everything. We head to the metro station and get our tickets for the day to hop all over the city. Rome is awesome! Pictures just don't do justice..We went to the Colissieum, Vatican,  Piazza Del Popolo and the Fountain de Trevino. Instead of paying for each tour we just decided to follow them around and actually learned alot of history! The first guy we talked to was actually visiting from Plano, Texas! Such a small world. Not to mention the Vatican is astonishing. It over does the White house by no means. Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous. We then stop by the cutest bakery and order a Margarita Pizza, tuna & egg sandwich, and 4 scoops of ice-cream..did we mention the ice creme down here is to die for!! Come about 5pm its been a long 12 hour day and we head to McDonald's for some free wifi before our train..which once again cant just be free..Laura orders a McDonald's meal and M&M's and Shelly gets a big ol' pizza pita wrap..(something in the water over here makes you eat eat eatttt…MOMM I WANT A NANA I WANT TO EATTTTTTTT…this is quoted daily by us ;) Shout out to Lizzy n Kels! haha. We run into a few ticket problems then jump on the evening train to head Northeast to the city of Venice….we are anxiously awaiting our gondola rides and pounds of pasta that venice has to serve! Until then we are going to pass out on the train and get a few zZzzZZ's in before we start looking like CHUNKY* ZOMBIES*!!!

"The Lord will guide you always, he will satisfy your need..You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail." Isaiah 58:11

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Everything's nicer in NICE

We woke up this morning at about 9ish. Actually showered and refreshed..finally the fro's were straightened and we began to look like girls again! =) That's exciting…we walked the streets of Nice and once again got lucky with a beautiful day..once again something everyone let us know does not happen much. Nice is beautiful. Imagine deep blue water with sails, yachts and Aladdin like buildings(or see above, haha). We first stopped at Emilie's. A delicious delicious delicious bakery where we had a cupcake and a white chocolate cookie. Absolutely delicious. We are pro's at finding a breakfast for champions..but how can you help it when every single direction you look had windows full of home made donuts, pastries, cookies, and breads. We then walked through the"old city", which still had the same buildings from back in the day, of all different colors…orange, yellow, greens and blues! We noticed a sign that said Chateau so we hiked up and it over looked the entire city and beach. So beautiful. After that we headed down to lay out at the beach. Once we laid down it was warm but at a few points it got a little chilly. We headed back up to the market to attempt to be healthy and grab some fruits..but of course the market was already gone and they were setting up tables for the evening time. We saw a straggling orange in a trash box..grabbed it..peeled it and ate it. Still tasty. After that we hiked back into the city and stopped to share a bottle of wine! Laura finally likes white wine, hallelujah! Then a group came to perform in the street and we had the perfect view. There were about 5 or 6 men doing body combat type things..SEXY* dayummm! We took a video that we will post..its 6 minutes but watch it all! It's pretty funny..at one point a little girl goes by in a stroller..if you pause it you will notice she is like a mummy* so bundled up she couldn't even put her hands down and she has on the cutest sunglasses..also the filmer..got a shot of the cute man's booty! haha We relaxed and chit chatted after a wonderful busy day exploring the beautiful city of Nice, France. We head to the train station, grab a Kebab on the way..then cough cough Laura cough cough continued to get a bag of chips..a roll of cookies..a bag of M&M's..2 cokes..Heineken..and I think thats all..We got inside our cabin in the train and asked our conductor where the plugs were. He told us they were only in first class, we were bummed since the MAC was dead, then moments later, Voila, he pointed at us to follow and took us up first class where we sprawled out! Tonight we take a night train to Italy..next stop we will be waking up in ROME! EEEEK!

"Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong" 1 Corinthians 16:13

Round and round we go, where we'll stop nobody knows!!(Not even us…)

Wake up call this morning was 6:30am, b/c we had a 9am train to Marseille, France…and somebody, no fingers pointed(but my thumb is pointed at Laura Gayle), likes to get to plane/train/bus stations hours early! I don't mind too much b/c knowing us we would get lost or something. We find the closest metro station..piece of cake, then hop the first subway to the train station..piece of pie, but exiting the metro…that's where we mess up! Instead of following the rest of the people towards the train/bus station, we exit on the other side(figures) and see no station in sight. We ask someone and we were actually only a block away, so not too bad. But alas, this is why LG is so smart and gives us extra hours to play..I mean get lost..with:) So we're on our way to Montpellier, our connection city in between Marseille's, and the train ride isn't bad at all. We even met a couple who are from Malibu, CA(they live by famous people), and got some blogging done, as you see below. We had no idea we had gotten 3 days behind. We'll try to never let that happen again b/c I know you all wake up every morning waiting(with bated breath)/hoping a new blog is posted, and we know you all have alerts set to tell you a new one is up….and by you all, we mean Hi Moms!!! We make it to Montpellier and turns out we have a 2 hour layover. So what do we do?! You got it!!…find the closest McDonald's so we can swipe some free wi-fi, of course! We diddle addle on the world wide web for a little bit then catch our final train to Marseille, or so we thought… Once we arrive there, we look around, not to impressed and decide to head to Nice instead. We look at the boards and see that there's a train leaving in literally 8 minutes!! So we hightail it to the train and jump on at the last minute. We had to sit in the very back, on the floor, for the first hour, but then eventually got seats. Just in time actually to see the beautiful Southern France coast! We arrive in Nice, France and immediately start looking for a hotel. Not a hostel, b/c we wanted a shower and our own room this time! We try several, at least 6, before we found the right price at Hotel de Centre. Don't get me wrong, we tried to wheel and deal, but good'ol Simon downstairs wasn't having it! Shout out to our new "stubborn at $40" (haha)friend Simon!! Thank you for the extra towels:) So here we are in bed, freshly showered..literally could have been an herbal essence commercial it felt so good, and ready to hit the hay.  Bonne Nuit!!!! (good night:) 

"For all God's words are right, and everything He does is worthy of our trust. He loves whatever is just and good; the earth is filled with His tender love. He merely spoke, and the heavens were formed and all the galaxies of stars. He made the oceans, pouring them into his vast reservoirs." Psalm 33:4-7

"May God give you eyes to see beauty only the heart can understand"

Friday, April 15, 2011

Biking in Barcelona (The map is totally wrong!)

"Hallo, Bon JOUUURRRRR, Hola, Hi!!" This is how Shelly likes to walk up and down the crowded streets of Barcelona. We already stick out like a sore thumb and then with this…people just think we have gone crazy! The spanish culture is a lot different than any other. Ty gives us a heads up about that. It really doesn't process or stop us..so we think. We get up at 7..everyone in the other bunks are still sleeping, so we roll out of bed very quietly (in the same train outfits) and head downstairs to our free breakfast..which is more carbs..aka 3 slices of toast and a white muffin. All carbed up we head out to rent some bikes..the city is dead and all we find is the trash men cleaning the streets..aka their 7am is our 4am..We find the bike shop and it doesn't open until 10am! So we end up walking around and heading down to the famous beaches until we can grab a bike. We then head out on our excursion to see the historic museums and cathedrals. Barcelona is very bike friendly and you get to bike on the road as long as you follow the rules..At first, every time I looked up the phrase ""$#!T Shelly" was coming out of my mouth because she would be in the middle of lane..looking all over the city, "slowly but surely". Cars would be behind her or swarming around..let's just say I'm blessed to still have a traveling buddy! We then get the memo we stay to the right of the lane and when on the streets peddle fast, otherwise move over to the sidewalks. We go by a few museums that are swarming with tourist. Lunch time..we head to a super market and each buy a big bag of chips..Shelly gets a water and Laura gets a 4 pack of Coca Cola. We sit in front of the super market until we our full. Our next journey is off to the "La Segrada Familia", a historic Cathedral that took over 100 years to build…we take the typical tourist pictures of it and then decide to head back. We are looking at the map to see the streets where we are. We find that we are on Mallorca street and according to our map the church is on a different street…We are both a little confused but just conclude the map is wrong and the famous church is just misplaced on the map.  Eventually make it back to La Rambla street. It gets a little chilly and we didn't pack warm..(Dad-I should have listened!!) so we buy the "touristy" Barcelona sweatshirts and head to the market. It's beautiful in here, full of beautiful fruits, veggies and a gorgeous layout of chocolates…setup about the size of a convention center. We then head to buy and mail a few postcards.. All the post cards have gorgeous pictures of "La Segrada Familia" and we see a fountain that is on the backside of it..we then start to think…where was this fountain of water and why does this picture look so different?? It then clicks that maybe the map wasn't so wrong after all..maybe Shelly & Laura were just taking pictures of another pretty church and thats why it wasn't crowded as well. Its in the evening now but we bike ride back about 20 minutes and "TAA DAAA" we arrive at the correct Cathedral that is super crowded! It was breath taking (minus the STUPID construction being done on it!) After that we head down to Olympic park where the olympics had taken place..(we have now seen the Atlanta Olympics, Barcelona and we saw the future olympics in London!- pretty cool!) We bike ride along the beach and head over to the new "W" hotel they just put up because of the view right over the ocean. Our bikes were due to be turned in so we drop them off then go grab dinner. Once again we end up at a pizza parlor and grab a few slices and beer. There were 2 guys working that came from Argentina and one had a Johnny Depp look to him, muy caliente:):):). They were very friendly and spoke some english. I don't know if it was the inhaling of our food or what, but they "bought" us another slice of the giant pizza and a brownie :/ …we are stuffed but definitely don't turn down free food! As we roll our selfs back to our hostel, from being so full, we still manage to(accidentally)stop at a super market where Laura buys her roll of cremes and chocolate dinosaur cookies..and yes, eats them all! We head back to the hostel where we immediately just pass out after this 10 miles of walking & 20 miles of biking day! 

"Dear Lord, grant me the grace of wonder. Surprise me, amaze me, awe me in every crevice of your universe…Each day enrapture me with your marvelous things without number. I do not ask to see the reason for it all' I ask only to share the wonder of it all." By Abraham Joshua Heschel