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but is it really where i am now? yes, i am back in denver, and i have been here for a month or so, but nothing prevents me from having endless thoughts of madrid. there is really no way for me to describe the places ive been, the things ive seen, the things ive done, the people i met. oh the people...the people were incredible. i can still see their faces in my head. i can still hear their voices, their accents, their characters....

But now i am here. in an american world once agian, where everyone speaks english, and where practically no one speaks spanish. but here, i am all alone, because there is no one that has done what i have done, and no matter how many stories i tell people, they will never really comprehend how amazing spain really was.

i am still in contact with all of my friends, and when i talk to my american ones, i feel safe because i feel that they are the only people that understand me and know how i feel, and know how absolutely amazing spain was. i really cannot put into words the emotions i get, the shivers i recieve when i just think about the places i went to, and the things i saw, and the people i met. no one knows except them, but yet, it is still impossible for any of us to describe these events. there are no words to express these intense emotions.

So this is it. my last entry to spain. i hope to return soon. this summer, i pray. but until then, i will forever have these memories of the best three months, and most life changing months, of my entire existance.


Barcelona Photos


La Sagrada Familia

More Overdue Photos....Sevilla

heres the flamenco show we went to....

dinner on the first night, with imported argentinian beers!

Fun CLub! that girl there is julia, she's chris's friend from sevilla. she's way rad.

spaniards and americans....

christopher colombus's grave!


SO i went to barcelona. and i had the best time there. barcelona is a whole lot different than madrid in good ways too. Its enormous, fast paced, and there are tourists everywhere. its way way way more touristy, and metropolitan and i hardly used spanish there. I really loved barcelona, however, if i were ever to come back to spain, i would choose madrid over it, especially if i wanted to learn spanish because everything in barcelona is in Catalan, whereas madrid is just castellano (or spanish). but the city itself was beautiful, and they have a beach and i got to see the mediteranean sea for the first time and it was really a great place and im really glad i got to go.

I met up with kara there, after i got lost for about 45 minutes trying to find the hostel, which was actually three blocks from where i started, but i ended up in a completely different neighborhood....i know, just my luck. I was supposed to meet kara at 10 but i didnt even get to the hostel until 1045, and i was wondering to myself, how is this gonna work? she doesnt have a phone here. but as i was checking into the hostel, she just walked right down the stairs. it was like a perfect coincidence.

Anyways, i checked in, and by a random coincidence, we were in the same room, one bed apart, which was really cool. SO i put my stuff up and we met up with her family (thats including her sisters fiance, adam, who is the funniest and raddest guy in the world). We got lunch and then we wandered around La Rambla, which is this really popular street with shops and tourists and street performers and tourists and more tourists. It was just Kara, Adam, and I because the rest of the family went clothes shopping because the airline lost their luggage. BUt Jade, Kara's sister was pretty excited about losing her stuff cuz she really wanted to go shopping lol. But the three of us just chilled and caught up standing on a bridge over the sea. it was so beautiful. Then we all met back up and got dinner at an Irish pub. i had a burger and a beer for 5 euro, thats a great deal, but yes, its very american of me.

Later in the night, we went to this cool bar that had tequila beers and lemon beers which were all very tasty. and they had very high alcohol content.... but anyways, everyone else went to bed except kara and i cuz we're young and ready to hit up barcelona's nightlife. Kara met some guy in Peru who owned a bar in Barcelona and he gave her the address. It took us a little while finding it, but it wasnt too bad. it was called Eclipse. He wasnt at the bar when we first got there, but after like 2 hours of kara and i just hanging out, he showed up and got us free drinks for the whole night which was really nice of him. Then he took us to the Sagrada Familia, which is this super famous church built by gaudi. but its still not finished and its been under construction for over a hundred years. And kara and i saw a shooting star over it which was absolutely nuts! but it was really cool. then we eventually went to bed and got up super early the next morning.

We went to the Park Guell, where there is a ton of famous Gaudi stuff. It was really cool seeing all that architecture. we hung out there for quite a while, and then we went back to the Sagrada Familia because the rest of the family hadnt seen it, and I wanted to see it during the day. But we didnt go in at first cuz we were all starving. Adam, who had spent a whole semester in the south of france was used to eating Kebabs, and so was I. Chris, Sirus, Tristan, and I eat there atleast 3 times a week. its so cheap and so delicious. There is nothing better than kebabskis, as we say. im gonna miss kebabs. so anyways, the Catbagan family went to the first restaurant they saw, but adam and i were on a mission. after 30 minutes of exploring, we found one, and it was seriously the best kebab ive ever had. it was so freaking delicious. i cant even put it into words. So after we finished, we met back up with the family, and it turns out, the place that they went into had kebabs....so we all had kebabs, and adam and i had to look all over for one, when it was right in front of us. but all i know is that walking around lost for half and hour was so worth it becuase it was so freaking delicious. im pretty sure their kebabs weren't nearly as good.

So from there, we paid a little too much to enter the Sagrada Familia. I mean, yeah, the architecture was really cool, but there wasnt a whole lot we could do, and half of it wasn't nearly completed. and then kara and i waited in line for an hour to get to the very top, which cost us a few more euros. it was a really big ripoff but id probably do it over. it was cool being able to go inside and see it. i mean, this church is one of the most famous of spain, and especially barcelona.

From there, kara and i went to the Picasso Museum which was absolutely wonderful. i loved it. it was just really too bad that i was so tired. i was literally completely exhausted this entire weekend. but im really glad i got to go there. you all know how much i love picasso.
then we all met back up for dinner.

We got paella which was pretty good. and then we went back to the beer bar from the night before, and then Kara, Adam, Jade, and I were supposed to go to this place called razzmatazz cuz its supposed to be really famous and really fun, but it was a huge night club and it was expensive and thats not what we were looking for. so we asked the guy at the front desk of our hostel if he knew of any cool places and he recommended that we go to the Big Bang Bar. It turned out to be the coolest place ever! all the walls had dark gothic wallpaper, all horror like, with posters of frankenstein and other monsters, like i could see a vampire living in this place. it reminded us of harold and maude so to speak. very horror epic. i loved it. they had a big screen playing the original black and white silent film of the phantom of the opera. but the music also added to the venue. it was all jazz, but real underground jazz, and real happenin jazz, real bassy and fun and exciting and it was perfect to dance to. We were there for quite a while and eventually, we turned in for the night.

I woke up really early again the next day and we all went to the Olympic stadium area. We saw this huge castle, which i cant remember the name of cuz it was hard to pronounce cuz it was in catalan. but it was gorgeous. the whole area was really cool, spread out and sort of relaxing. i got good vibes. we got to go inside two of the stadiums and see where it all went down in 92. Then Kara and I left the group and went to see the Perdrera which is another famous building by gaudi, but we decided not to go inside because we were afriad it would rip us off again like the Sagrada Familia. but i got to see it atleast. Then Kara and i decided we needed to eat, and when we went to the picasso museum, we walked through some really cool areas of barcelona and we decided we'd take the metro back over to that area to eat, cuz we passed some rad looking restaurants. we ended up eating at this really awesome place called Mama Shake. We got sandwhiches and beers for 6 euros and it was wonderful. i really like the place. and it was just me and kara in the entire restaurant, cuz it was during the siesta, so everyone in the spanish world was sleeping. the owner was a really nice guy too and we talked to him in spanish for a little bit.

But eventually, kara and i left and went back to the hostel, slept for a little bit, and then we met back up with the family. We went and got beers at that same bar, again...and then i had to leave cuz my flight was at 11pm that night. so i took the train back to the airport and came home and i slept.

and despite being super tired, i had a wonderful time. but unfortunately, i didnt even get to skate :[ and i even got a map with only skateshops and skateparks labeled on it! and i saw skaters and boards everywhere!!!!!! when i come back to spain, im definitely gonna spend a good long weekend just skating barcelona. for sure. :]

Overdue Pictures....Rome

here's the famous sistine chapel. and this picture is an illegal bootleg. no one is allowed to take pictures in the sistine chapel. wierd story too. for some reason, some japanese company owns the rights or somehting like that of the chapel and they forbid photo taking. which i find an oxymoron, cuz isnt the japanese and other asian cultures that are always seen taking pictures of absolutely everything??? i just dont get it.

holy and super clean water that you can drink

these are the famous Spanish Steps in Rome

trevi fountain...

here's me and the group. i know, im a playa!

this is the square where all the public executions were held. how rad!

what's this called again...???

this is where the king and queen would sit to watch

here is the Roman Forum

in the forum is mousillini's retreat...notice the nazi eagle???

julius ceasars house

ceasar's grave

grim reaper in the church that held St. Peter's Chains....sick!



sorry, i have not been doing a job keeping this updated lately.

so this weekend we went to sevilla. the night before we left, thursday night, a group of us went out to a huge dance club called Lemon. it was free which was the main attraction but it turned out to be one of the coolest places ive been to in madrid and im hopin to go back again! it was a really huge place, with two floors, and they played great music....and yes, there were tons of people there on a thursday night. you can go out on a monday and find a ton of people. the people here never stop....

when we left we started walking around to find a cab when these four guys were just hanging out and then one of them slapped the other guy and then again....and again...and then all three of these guys ganged up on this one guy and dropped him to the ground...like full on kicked his butt....the guys face slammed the concrete and then the jerks ran off once they realized what they had done. fortunately, the cops showed up like two seconds later just by random, but it was still crazy to see.

then i woke up like an hour and a half later to drive the 7 hour bus ride down south to Sevilla. Sevilla was real pretty, with a lot of really old history. i really liked it. they had bike paths all over the place and palm trees because its like 15 minutes from the beach and everywhere you looked you could find some old palace or something. the first day we just ate lunch and then got coffee from a local shop. Sirus got this hot chocolate that is very particular to spain....it was super thick, like it was pudding, not hot chocolate. but it was very delicious. Then we went to a flamenco show which turned out to be way awesome! i really really enjoyed it! the guitar player freakin' shredded!!!!!!!! he was my favorite part. the dancers were really intense, but overall it was a good experience and im glad i got to see a huge part of spanish culture before i left.

then that night, after dinner, we went out. Chris has been to spain before and he met a girl from Sevilla in the past, so we all met up with her at a place called FUN CLUB. according to her (julia), its the best club in sevilla. and it turned out to be way rad. it was only five euros to get in, but that got you a free drink and this place had some really good music and a lot of people. we had a really good time, but by like 4 am i was completely exhausted, especially from going out the night before. But it was totally worth it.

We woke up a little late...as in both chris and i slept through our alarms and got a wake up call from a friend at just the right moment. Anyways, we quickly got ready and ran downstairs, hurriedly crammed breakfast in our mouths and then we took a walking tour through a few of the most important churches/palaces in sevilla. they were all pretty cool. The last church we went into, however, had the bones of Christopher Colombus!!! that was sick! and then we got to climb to the top of it (for free, which was surprising cuz every church that ive been to in europe has had some sort of a fee to climb their towers....). but we all walked up to the top and got an incredible view.

From there, we all got lunch, and then we went back to the hotel to take a nap. that night, tristan, chris, and i met back up with Julia and went to dinner, and afterwards, chris and i were still completly exhausted so we didnt wanna go out. we went back to the hotel for like 30 minutes and tristan ended up convincing us to go out. On our way out of the hotel, we ran into Sam, Sarah, and Lorena, so they came with us. First we went to this horrible irish bar (i hate the irish bars) full of americans with the worst music ive ever heard. i really hated it. but luckily, after like 45 minutes, and chris gettin hit on by a 40 year old drunk man from canada with crutches, we left. haha.

we ended up going back to fun club hahahaha. but this night, saturday night, was so much better! there were way more people (which i didnt think was possible) and it was just overall way better. i had a blast. but unfortunatelly, gettin home at 5am again was probably not a wise decision. We woke up around 930 the next day, yes, to our alarms finally, and we headed out. It took another 7 long hours in the bus to get back to my beloved Madrid. Then, i slept after eating doner kebob, which we go to all the time cuz the food there is absolutely amazing. we are all going to miss the kebob....

Rome: The City of Hell

Rome. oh jeez. crazy weekend.

There i was, hanging out with my usual crowd of spanish friends on a typical friday night, up until about 1 am when i left for the airport to head to Rome. Now I'd first like to start off that trip had started off in the wrong direction straight from the beginning. First, i booked my ticket about a month or so ago, and i was supposed to be going with 2 girls from my program, but as of a week ago, they informed me that they had changed their plans and were going to Rome at the end of December. Great. Thanks for telling me this! so I was headed to Rome solo. Which i was okay with, i could see everything i'd want to and i'd get a lot of graham time, which is very importnat, and im very independent so that would be no big deal (especially since i spent my entire time in Paris alone....well, atleast during the days anyways...). So anyways, i left the Residencia at like 1 to take the metro to the airport because its free, and I was going to just sleep in the airport until my flight left.....my flight wasnt until 7 am but the metro stops running at 1:30am. I was gonna do that so i wouldnt have to pay 30 euro for a cab.....but of course, just my luck, i missed the connecting metro and i had to walk all the way back home. By this point, i had a few hours to sleep. and by a few, i mean one and a half. so i slept. i got up, and at this point, i was so negative about the whole trip. all my friends were stayin in madrid this weekend (my favorite place....id rather be here than anywhere else in the world...especially with my friends who were headed to Kapital which is a 7 floor discoteca!). i was not looking forward to Rome and i even considered cancelling my flight. And i know, mom, you wont like this either, but i didnt even have a hostel booked, so i may have had to have slept on a bench in rome (but hostels are everywhere and really easy to find).
So anyways, i regretfully caught a taxi. the driver was a real nice guy from colombia. we talked about life...in spanish of course. and then i paid him his 25 euros and i went inside the airport. I was just walking around looking for the check in booth that i needed when i ran into one girl from my classes. We started talking and it turned out that we had the exact same flights! And it also turned out, that she was traveling with 9 other girls, and one guy. Things were looking better. So i started talking to them all, and they were really nice, and then they invited me to tag along with them. And i did. and they had a hostel booked too! and when we got to the hostel, there was only one bed left, and i got it. Its strange how it seemed like someone (god? maybe? i dunno!) didnt want me to go, and then since i decided to go, everything worked out rather...perfectly. So we checked into the hostel and we went straight to the Vatican which was right up the street from us.

Now i need to interrupt this to add a side note that pertains to the title of this entry. A friend of mine that lives here in the Resi and is in my program, lauren, she has this theory about hell. and in hell, its not a terrible place where you swim laps in pools of fire. everything is just extremely inconvenient. everything. For example, there's always traffic, always the parking spots in the back, things are always on the top shelves, the drive-thru's are closed....you get the point. so back to my story.

The Vatican is the most obnoxiously inconvenient place in the world. Now, upon arrival at the Vatican, we somehow got on the topic of hell (great place to be discussing hell, eh?). and i said that hell would probably be inconvenient and everyone thought the theory was funny (just as i had thought when i first heard it). Long story short, the Vatican is confusing and is so obnoxiously set up that we ended up getting lost and having to around things about 304349238409281 times that weekend. and everytime we hit a dead end or got lost or had to walk around, we'd laugh becuase the Vatican had become a perfect example of Lauren's hell.

So we saw the Vatican. we even took a tour cuz we could get in immediatelly and see everything without standing in line for 3 hours. And our tour guide was hilarious. he was from cincinatti or something. but he was great. My opinion thus far was not so positive. the Vatican Sucks. The Sistine chapel is way overrated. I mean, yes Michelangelo painted it upside and what not, but it didnt do anything for me. nor did his wall mural in their either. to me, it was just another stupid huge church. and St. Peter's Basilica was Enormousssssssssssssssss but probably the most petrifying place i've ever been in. They have this huge shrine right in the middle where St. Peter is buried, the first pope, and people are freaks in there. anyways, i could care less about the Vatican. It was only somewhat impressive. Actually, to be honest, ROme is unimpressive. the only thing i got somewhat excited about was seeing Moussilini's private vacatoin spot that still had a nazi eagle crest on it. that was cool. the vatican, lame.

After that, we ate spaghetti dinner and got gelatto which was amazing and then we went down to the Spanish Steps which was a famous spot to hit in Rome. It was okay. nothing too exciting. just a bunch of steps. From there we went to the Trevi Fountain. Now that was pretty cool. it was this huge fountain with giant white marble statues of all kinds of stuff. It was full of people throwing coins in and eating gelatto. then we went home.

The next morning we went back to the Vatican to see the tombs underground (they closed it the night before so we missed it). We went in and saw all the tombs of the dead popes. when we got to pope john paul II, there was a special roped off area to the back of it so that people could stop and pray....and that was petrfying! people were balling, and kneeling and giving themselves up to this guy...religion scares me when it gets that serious.....dios mio!

Anyways, once we got out of Hell again, we decided to break the group up because some of the girls wanted to wait an hour to see the pope give sunday mass. and the rest of us wanted to see rome (i could care less about seeing the pope). So we went to the Colliseum. That was pretty cool to see, and I'm really glad we went there. Thats probably the most famous historical spot in the world. we took a tour through it, which was pretty short, but i hearrd a lot great stories aobut battles and stuff that went on there. it was really great. Then we got another tour of the Roman Forum, which is where we got to see Julius Cesears house, and his Grave, and Mousillini's getaway home and the Circus Maximus and a ton of classic roman ruins. oh, and of course more churches. churches, churches and churches! im sick of churches.

We went from there to what i call the Bone Church (i forget its real name). but what they have there is all the bones from all the past monks. i guess when the monks died, they skinned them and placed their bones all over the walls. it was so sick!!!!!! they stacked the bones in crazy shapes and made all these patterns out of their bones, and they had these really wicked skull shrines. it was horrorepic! then we left.

and we went to this other famous church that housed St. Peter's chains that bound him upside down on his cross and an unfinished tomb carved by michelangelo or rafael....i dont remember. either way, the chains were put up in this GIANT shrine right in the middle of the church, and it was completely dissappointing and unimpressive, and the statue, it was beautiful, but nothing i hadn't seen before. and of course it was super religious. and some guy yelled at me to take my hat off. oh well. im mr negative. so we left there and met back up with the other girls, because our tour guide of the Vatican had talked to one of his buddies the night before to meet us close to the colliseum for a cool walking tour of rome (wiht the Pantheon included, which is where rafael is buried), but he never showed (the girls were mad at him. i didnt really care.) so we walked to the pantheon ourselves. and then we had dinner, and it was wonderful. it was small, and expensive, and i was still starving afterwards, but it was fun.

overall, i didnt like Rome. It's too religious and boring (the night life sucks there....but then agian, the nightlife anywhere away from Madrid sucks...). I was fortunate to have been given the chance to go there, but i didnt like it. i probably wouldnt go back, or atleast make it a priority. The people i was with were great, i loved them all and they made the trip really fun and exciting. dont get me wrong, i had a great time, but at the same time, i almost wish i had been in madrid.

And i had a huge revelation while i was in Rome. I do NOT enjoy european history. I've been to tons of gorgeous castles, churches, palaces, etc. all over europe now, and yes they are extremely impressive, but the history lacks something. i didnt feel any emotions coming from any of these sites. I would have expected myself to get extremely excited when i saw the colisseum and the roman forum, especially someone who loves history as much as i do, but it didnt really do much for me. but when i think about events in american history, im in awe, and it makes me way more experienced. So atleast now i know which part of history i really want to study, and which part i dont have a connection to. The history here is strong and incredible, but seeing the places lacks something in me....a soul? a heartbeat? i dont know what it is, but somethings not there.

but anyways, i am back home, and safe in my favorite place, Madrid, and i survived a potentially catastrophic weekend that turned out for the best!

Paris Photos

here are the photos you've all been waiting for!

every night, after they turned on the blue lights surrounding the eiffel tower, every hour, on the hour, it would flash or sparkle with white lights for a few minutes. here's what it looked like....

here's our view from the hotel

here's notre dame...really wasn't too impressive.

this is the pantheon where marie curie is buried

luxembourg gardens

this is the church in the last scene from the Da Vinci Code!

outside of the louvre

this is the Musee d'Orsay

arc de triomphe


this is the view from the top of montmartre. since i didnt go to the top of the eiffel tower, this was the best i could get, and it was free so you cant beat that!

Chopin's grave

Jim Morrison's Grave!!!!!!!!!!!!

this is the polish choir that we met!

La Louvre!

this is a terrible photo, but its the mona lisa. everyone keeps telling me that they were so unimpressed, but i thought it looked wonderful in real life. however, everyone also tells me that the louvre is amazing, and i thought it was all boring. i really didn't enjoy the louvre. you can only see religious pictures for so long.... i definitely prefer 20th century art...such as picasso. the d'Orsay was way better.

Picasso Museum!!!!!!!!

in front of the musuem, there was this giant mirror with some black triangle painted on it. in this photo it looks like some black ray is just shooting straight out of the building.

thats pretty much an overview of all the photos. i mean i took over a thousand so thats just the tip of the iceberg. i hope you enjoy the photos and i hope they make you very jealous. :]


I just got back from a fun-filled, and extremely tiring weekend in Paris, France!!!! It was a pretty cool place. I can honestly say it was the most gorgeous city i've ever been too. But i still like Madrid more lol :]

We left Madrid on thursday around 2 or 3 in the afternoon (which meant no skool for two days! woo!). Our plane landed about nine or so, but we had to drive an hour to actually get to paris. We all fell asleep on the bus ride there, but within an hour, we finally made it to Paris, and the best part was, was that our hotel was 5 minutes from the Eiffel Tower and you could see it from the hotel! it was nuts!

The first night i went down to the tower with Lorena (of course :] ) and this girl named Becca. we just lied underneath it and took pictures and enjoyed finally being able to see the freakin eiffel tower!

the next morning we had to get up really early. Like 8:30 early. As a group, we all got on the bus and took a 3 hour tour around the city seeing the eiffel tower, trocadero, the french military building, which is way gorgeous and it was where Napeleon went to school (and there were bullet holes on the side of the building from WWII when the germans took over Paris!!!!), we went by the some palace and some other really historical and completely gorgeous buildings, but i cant remember their names because we drove by most of them so quickly. But atleast i got to see them! we actually stopped at Trocadero, which is across the way from the Eiffel and we got to take pictuers of it for like 15 minutes. Oh did i mention that it rained the entire weekend there?!?!? so my pictures have such an eery vibe. to me, it couldn't have been better. i take the best photos when its raining....

Then we went by the Arc du Triomphe and Champs-Elysees and Place de Concorde and some other famous buildings that again, i cant remember the names of, but they were mostly goverment builings that have existed in Paris forever, we saw the Pantheon (where Mari Curie, Rousseau, and Voltaire [i think voltaire] are buried!), the Ritz hotel, the Place where Benjamin Frankling stayed when he came to France, and the church in the end of the Da Vinci code which was made famous by that book, and we finished at Notre Dame, which was really nothing too special. From there i broke off of the group to go see some stuff that only i wanted to see. I first went to the Musee D'Orsay. I stopped at a stand on the outside of it for a sandwhich and then i wandered around the museum for like 3 hours. it was fantastic. they even had a special Picasso/Manet exhibit which was sooooo rad!!!!!!!!!!

Then I walked around the city all the way over to Plaza or Place de Concordes, Luxembourg gardens, Pantheon, and the Arc du Triomphe to take pictures of all this stuff. Then i returned back to the hotel, cuz it was dark by this point, and chris happened to arrive at basically the same time with Tristan. So we went out to dinner, which by the way, food is SOOOOOOOOOOOOO Expensive in Paris! it drove me nuts! i paid close to 20 euro for a cheeseburger!! i was starving afterwards but i didnt wanna get any more food cuz it was so stinking expensive. It was really funny though, becasue one of the waiters there was a real salesman. he threw us a pitch convincing us to eat there, and he realed in like 3 or 4 other couples. it was pretty funny to watch this guy. and he did it all in French, he didnt break into english once. But he convinced this couple from England to come in and we all struck up conversation. Real nice people they were. And to be honest most of the french people were really nice, except for a few. i got a few dirty looks and stares at my pants....thats normal though, eh? Then we went to a convenience store to get some coke and we ran into two random girls from Washington State. We ended up walking back to their hotel (they were in paris for the weekend, but they were studyin abroad in London). We all tried to fit into the tiny elevator there, but we weighed too much and it got stuck and we broke it and it freaked us all out cuz we were trapped in there for like ten minutes and it was so tiny you couldnt move and it got super hot cuz we all had coats on. i eventuallly pulled as hard as i could on the doors and they slid apart. the elevator was like a foot off the ground. scary as hell, but funny as well hahaha. so we took the stairs.

we ended up going to the eiffel tower after they changed their shoes or something (girls....), and we ended meeting more people there. we met an entire choir from Poland and they sang to us and they were so much fun and really really nice! at the end of the night, tristan ran up and grabbed one of them and kissed her under the tower....real smooth like. everyone was cheering, it was hilarious. but really cool. and then we were walking back and one of the girls we met from washington flags this random guy down who was driving a moped and tells him it was her bday (which it really was) and asks for a ride. so he took her around the block at like 2 in the morning on his vespa. pretty hilarious like. then i went to bed ha.

the next day we got up about the same time and we all went over to the Louvre. I finally got to see it! i've waited so long to finally go there. Let me just say one thing though. If you are going to get lost anywhere, don't let it be the Louvre, because that place is a disaster. And yes, i'm implying that i got lost. for like 2 hours hahaha. i lost the tour somehow cuz our tour guide just skipped over Madonna on the Rocks by Da Vinci, so I just went to glance at it and everyone was gone. and the Louvre is a freaking maze. it's impossible to find anyhting because its like a hurricane of paintings and statues. and to be honest, i wasn't impressed by the louvre at all. the d'Orsay was a million times better. No offense to anyone, but I can't handle five thousands pictures of jesus. It's just boring. I've come to realize i dont like Renaissance art. It's so predictable and boring. I like a little excitement to the paintings. I definitely like 20th century art the best. But I'm really glad i got to wander around the Louvre for a few hours. I know this may sound ridiculous, but I think i saw everything there. I was trying to find the group and through that i hit every room. granted i didnt take all of it in (and it would be impossible to do that cuz it is the world's largest museum) but i think i saw it all. and there were only a few pieces i actually liked. Venus de Milo, Mona LIsa, and Madonna on the Rocks and that was pretty much it. The history inside there was great though. It was an old castle for the Kings, such as Napoleon and I got to see his old living quarters. it must have been nice to be Napoleon.

I was on my way out, but still looking for the signs of anyone from our group and i found becca and cal. They told me everyone had left already. So i started to take off and I ran into Tanner. Him and I proceeded to the Picasso Museum, which was so wonderful! it was pretty small but filled with Picasso's, which you all know i'm a huge fan of, and there were also some paintings in his personal collection from artists such as Monet, Renoir, Matisse, Rousseau and some others. It was great. And then we ate lunch at a chinese restaurant. what i got was good, but his lunch wasn't so great. He ended up meeting a friend there but i was exhausted at this point from running around Paris for two days so I walked back to the hotel, but it took me 2 and a half hours! and it was dark by the time i got home. And although I was exhausted, it was a great walk because i got some awesome photos and i got to really see a whole lot of Paris. Paris is so gorgeous and rich of history its disgusting! I really liked Paris, i wish i had some more time to spend there, and some more money cuz it was so ridiculously expensive. I'm sure i'll go back one day. And i'm gonna have to because there was soooooo much there that i still didn't get to see! such as Versaille. i know, i know, dont yell at me for not making it there, but it was kind of expensive and far away, and i just couldnt fit it in. But ill get back there someday, i promise.

Anyways, i made it back to the hotel around 8 or 9 and i fell asleep for the whole night. I really needed that sleep. Anyways, We only had about 4 hours to do stuff on our last day because we had to head to the airport around 3:30. I walked for about 40 minutes to Invalides and then i realized that i didnt have enough time to keep walking if i wanted to get to all these places i had in mind. I headed to the Metro there, and some really nice girl stopped and helped me figure out exactly where i needed to go. I took the metro straight to Montmartre which was wonderful because i got a great view of Paris (and since i decided not to pay the 12 euro to go to the top of the Eiffel Tower, this was a free way of seeing the same thing). From Montmartre I went to the Cemetary where Jim Morrison is buried. Unfortunately when i got there, i only had like 10 or 15 minutes to spend there because it was about an hour ride via metro back to the hotel and thats all the time i had left. So i ran through the cemetary only to realize that there were hundreds of graves of really famous people. I accidently found Chopin which was rad, and then after a while i finally found Jim Morrison. I also heard a rumour that Salvador Dali was buried in there but i didnt get a chance to find out. But i made it back to the hotel with about 30 minutes to spare, which was surprising because the metro went way quicker than i was expecting. I was starving at this point and i randomly ran into a bunch of the girls in my program and we ate these delicious Panini sandwhiches and crepes. it was a perfect way to finish off the weekend. And then we rode the hour long bus ride to the airport and we flew back to Madrid, thankfully and finally. I loved Paris, but I missed Madrid so much. It's hard for me to stay away from here because there is nothing like it and i've fallen way too much in love with this city to leave it for more than a weekend. Plus, in France, I don't speak any french and since i'm so used to using spanish, i kept saying things in spanish, such as Oh Sorry, or Thank you, or yes please, but i said it all in spanish and the french people would give me strange looks. and then i'd remember that yes isn't "si," its "oui." but now im home again and i can finally use spanish agian, and i love it.

So last night, after we got off the plane, Chris, Tristan and I ate at Doner Kebob (ostia!) and then Sirus and I met up with Alejandra and her two friends from Israel, whom we had met last week. It was their last night in Madrid so we went to go get some Sangria, but our place was closed, probably because it was late Sunday night, so we headed to a place called Ojala, but they didnt have what we were looking for, but they referred us to a bar across the street. We got these amazing Mojitos and it was really fun just hanging out, back in Madrid with some of the funnest people i've ever met. these girls were a riot. and not to mention Sirus was with us. that kid is so hilarious!!! i love hanging out with him, he's the most fun in the world!
Last week when we met them, Sirus taught all of us how to do the dance to the song, "Soulja Boy" or something like that and last night we filmed all of us doing the dance together, with sirus singing the lyrics, keeping the beat. it was so funny!!!!!!!! it wasnt as good as last week, cuz some spanish people cheered for us afterwards, but it was still hilarious. Eventually, Alejandra said her tearfilled goodbyes to her friends (she hasnt seen them in 4 years!) and we departed. Then i crashed and went to bed hahah. thats my weekend.

Lisboa, Portugal

This weekend I went to Lisbon, or Lisboa as you say in SPanish or Portuguese. Our plane took off saturday morning at 6 am so i didnt sleep the night before. we all met around 4 am. The plane ride was really quick, only about an hour. When we landed, we took a bus to what i consider "downtown" lisbon, near our hostal.

oh yeah, and i forgot to mention, right there in the main square, they set up a skatepark just for that day for some competition or something. i was wicked upset i didnt have my board....

anyways...we got some breakfast, and then we searched for our hostal, which turned out to be the best place ever! it was so nice, and brand new too. all the rooms were decorated individually. our room (room number 303!!) was rad, and all of us got the entire room to ourselves. the hostal served breakfast for free, so we ate again, and then we went exploring. we first went up to the Castelo de Sao Jorge. Real sick.

so then we went back down to the main area, saw some famous church and did some wine tasting, and then there was a huge teacher strike.

then we ate dinner at some local restaurant, and it was real great. and it was run by one lady and she was so nice and she cooked all the food herself and it was great! then we found this other famous church....whats crazy about this church is that we just caught the very end of a funeral and we watched them load the casket back into the hearse. real horrorshow.

then we returned to the hostal and got dinner there. it only cost 8 euros, which is a great deal and we got homecooked food and it was delicious! and we also made friends with all the other people there! after dinner everyone (including the chef and all the employees at the hostal) went out to the bars and such. Lisbon is a real cool city. it really is. its gorgeous, the history is incredible, the architecture is absolutely beautiful, you can see the beach from all parts, and the people are so friendly. everyone spoke english and i even learned a few phrases in portuguese so that im not a complete idiot. but i really enjoyed it. the culture was great. its a smaller city, atleast it has a homey feel, unlike madrid, and if anyone says portugal or lisbon arent worth visiting, they are so wrong.

Anyways, the next day, we ate breakfast, and we took sandwiches with us so we wouldnt have to pay for lunch later on, and we took a train that was like 45 minutes long to a town called Sintra which is right outside of lisbon. this city was probably the most beautiful place ive ever been too. it was just starting to turn into fall, so the trees were chanign colors, and this place was a very small, quaint, little town right in the mountains, still with a view of the beach, and even lisbon, and they had castles everywhere! it was incredible!!!!

first we made our way over to the royal palace, but we passed some other really cool things along the way...

heres the palace...

heres a shot of the moorish castle, which i visited later on my visit...but this is the view of the castle from the royal palace...

this was some crazy garden castle thing. we had to pay to go in, so we opted out of that one, but it was still a really gorgeous place to be.

then we went back down to the royal palace and ate lunch with two french guys we had met the night before at the hostal, who randomly appeared in Sintra (you can see that picture above). one of them brought an acoustic guitar and played music and sang to us. he played really cool songs too, like stuff by coldplay, and bob marley and the beatles.

then we went to the moorish castle. it was so incredible! the view was so wortht the 11 euros! (the 11 euros atleast got us into the pena as well..thats coming up next....get ready!)

this is a view of the pena from the moorish castle....

so we had to hike a whole lot more, to get to the top of another mountain, but we finally made it to the Pena, which was a very colorful castle. and we got to wander inside and everything. it was so awesome! you could smell all the antique smells from stuff dating back to 1400....it was intense.

whats really cool about this picture is is that as soon as the sun started going down, this huge mist rolled in, as you can kind of see in the clock tower behind.

this is one of my faves. thats me with the moon....

anyways, by this point, i was super exhausted and we all fell asleep on the train coming home. but we got back and relaxed and ate dinner at the hostal again. oh and by the way, our hostal had a tv, dvds, and computers so i got to check my emails and we also watched half a movie (made of honor or somehting...) because we had like 45 minutes before dinner and we were too tired to go out any more. but we ate, and we still did end up going out. we went with some of the remaining people in the hostal. since it was sunday nigght, a ton of the people in the hostal were gone. we went out with a guy from australia, living in england, another guy from korea/california who was also living in england, and those two french guys from earlier. we were all really tired, but we figured it was our last night in Lisbon so we should take advantage of our time there. we ended up in the gay district on accident hahaha not that it mattered, but to be honest, im really glad we got there because in one of the bars, the bar tender gave us free drinks all night. it was so nice of them! and they were all super friendly. like i said, lisbon is a way chill place and all the people are amazing. so we didnt spend any money and we still got to have loads of fun. but we got up bright and early, caught our plane back home after getting our free breakfast, and then we went straight to skool from the airport. its been a long weekend and im glad to be back home, back in my favorite place in the entire world....madrid :]

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