Friday, May 15, 2009

Our Trip To Europe

Well our trip to Europe has come and gone and it feels like it was forever ago! We left on April 22nd and came back on May 3rd and visited 3 countries during that time. It was a whirlwind of a trip, we were constantly on the go, but we loved every minute of it.

Here we go! It's gonna be a long one!


Our flights there:

We had some pretty eventful flights to kick start our trip. Our first flight was from Salt Lake to Newark, I think it was about four hours. As we were finding our seats on the plane we walked past this guy who was spitting off all these random facts and was showing off his oscar that was very worn, anyone seen the movie Rainman with Dustin Hauffman? Well this was the real life rainman the movie was based on! That was pretty cool! Next up was our 9 hour flight to Frankfurt, Germany. As we were waiting to board our flight we realized we had a very diverse group of passengers on our plane. There was a big group of orthodox jews, a big group of germans all with matching cowboy hats (returning home from Texas) and a large amount of heavy metal junkies. Apparently there was a Heavy Metal Festival going on in Germany so we were on the flight with about 5 different bands going to the same festival. These guys were all old balding guys with nasty strangly long hair, and fading tattoos all still holding on to the dream. Long story short, it was pretty much the flight from hell. I was tired and they were drunk, loud and foul. Towards the end of the flight I couldn't take it anymore and basically told one of them to shut up. DON'T MESS WITH ME WHEN I'M TIRED MAN!!!


This is me passing out in the Frankfurt Airport... soooo tired!

So we finally made it to Frankfurt and my bag happened to be one of the last ones to come out and we ended up missing our shuttle to Heidelburg. The worst part about it was the fact that Troy had told me a million times not to check my bag because "Something is going to go wrong". I had perfect faith in the baggage system and told him he was crazy if he thought I was going to bring a carry on bag for our 12 day trip to Europe! Well of course, it turns out that MY CHECKED BAG was the reason we missed our shuttle. Man I hate it when he's right. To top it all off the shuttles only come once every hour and when we went to take the next one it was FULL! We ended up waiting for TWO HOURS at the airport for a stinkin shuttle because of MY CHECKED BAG. I REALLY hate it when he's right.

Germany:
We finally made it to Heidelberg and it is was more beautiful than I remembered. We had an awesome time touring around with my family over there. My cousin took us around the first day and then we met up with his daughter Lara and we toured the castle and then had a delicious german meal at her mom's. It was a great time.




The second day my Uncle and Aunt took us around to all the surrounding towns and little castles and we had a great time. We were sure to stop by the super market and load up on delicious chocolate and candy. I just love Germany so much, I think it's one of my favorite places. It's SOOO beautiful, everything there is just so well kept and clean and it has such an enchanting charm, I just love it! It could just be the German in me coming through bringing me back to my roots. I have to say that the whole time I was there I missed my Mom a lot. It just didn't seem right to be there without her and I know she was probably pretty jealous that we were hanging out with her family. Speaking of her family I just have to say how incredibly sweet they were to us. They did everything they could to make sure we had a good time and were taken care of. My uncle also told me a lot about my ancestors and that was really neat to hear. I was pretty sad to say goodbye to them and hope to see them again soon!





With my sweet aunt and uncle




Paris:
We took an awesome train ride from Germany to Paris, the scenery was incredible! Once we got to Paris Troy and I had a fun time trying to figure out how to get to our hotel from the Train Station. Without the travel book my sister Charity gave me for my birthday we would have been completely hopeless, it was a life saver! Our hotel was perfect and it was right in the middle of the city by the Opera House. It was called Hotel Choiseul Opera and we would would reccommend it to everyone!
Our first destination was the Eiffel Tower, the thing I was most eager to see in Paris. It was awesome! We climbed 700 stairs to the second level and it was an amazing view! They had all kinds of fun facts to read and cool displays up there, we had a lot of fun! This thing is HUGE, in fact Troy and I lost each other for about a half hour and we were both a little worried, well I was worried, Troy was just mad! Haha oopsies!







The next day we went to the Louvre, this place was UNREAL! It is a GIANT palace and the palace alone would have been a sight to see, but it was full of some of the most beatiful and historic art. We could have been there for days, but after 4 hours I was so tired and wanted to get out. We were trying to find our way out and were having a hard time, at one point I started to panic a little because we kept thinking we'd made it to the exit, but we actually hadn't even gotten close and I needed out ...NOW!





We FINALLY got out and headed over to the Notre Dame cathedral and that was pretty cool. After that we went on a little boat tour down the Seine River, it was a lot of fun and luckily it had a glass canopy on top because it started to pour! The next day we walked through some really pretty parks and went to see the L'Arc de Triomphe and then we were on our way to to catch another shuttle to the airport to fly to Rome!





Rome:

We got to Rome after midnight and needed to take another shuttle to get to the city center. We were pretty tired and HUNGRY! One of my best friends, Elena, happens to live in Rome with her husband, Vince. They were nice enough to come pick us up from the bus station and we stayed at their place. It didn't take long for Elena and I to start reminiscing and laughing our heads off!
The next day we slept in a bit and then discovered a market near the apartment and enjoyed some fresh fruit and some italian treats. After our brunch we headed over to the Colosseum and took a tour that was pretty interesting! I learned a lot. That night we went out to an awesome pizzaria in this random little neighborhood with Elena and Vince. It was the best pizza I have ever tasted! It was a lot of fun to spend time with them and we followed up our pizza with what else... gelato!! We seriously ate it daily! SOOO GOOD!
At the Colosseum

The next day Troy and I went to the Vatican. Elena and Vince's apartment is just 2 blocks or so from the Vatican. We went and lined up in this giant winding line for about an hour. There was this lady who seemed to be looking for someone and worked her way up the line until she was right in front of us and stayed there. I figured it wasn't a big deal until next thing we knew she was lifting the rope and letting about 25 people cut in the line with her!!! NOT COOL! Turns out she was with a tour group and I have a feeling this wasn't the first time she pulled that trick. I was really annoyed at this point, but it was no use yelling at these poeple because they didn't speak english or at least were pretending they didn't. Once we got in it turned out to be a lot more expensive than we expected and there were no maps or anything to show you where you were going or what you were looking at, which also really annoyed me. Then to add to the equation the place was just CRAWLING with people! It took me some time to get over my bad mood, but I finally forgot all about it once I was able to take in some of the incredible art in the place. It was beautiful. Interesting fact: The Vatican City happens to be it's own Nation and is one of the smallest in the world. The citizens have to show their passport to the guards to get in and they even have their own currency. Who knew??
Inside the Vatican





This is at St. Peter's Chapel where the pope gives his sermons every Wednesday. It was beautiful!



That night we left on a spontaneous trip to the coast and stayed with a friend of Elena and Vince. We caught a ferry in the morning and headed to a little coastal town named Amalfi. It was the most perfect little Italian town with the homes built into the mountains! I loved it and it was fun to see the ocean! That night we had dinner at Vince's family's place and they were just the cutest people! They actually had lived in Calgary for several years so it was nice to have something in common. After dinner we drove all the way back to Rome.
On the Ferry to Amalfi




This is Amalfi! Isn't it gorgeous??




Eating Gelato of course!



Elena and I



The next day was our last day in Italy and we spent it running around seeing some more tourists spots. We went to the Spanish steps, the Trevi Fountain and the Pantheon. It was a really fun day and we were really sad to have it all come to an end and have to say goodbye. Elena and Vince dropped us off at the bus station and we made plans for a reunion in 2012!



At the Trevi Fountain




We hopped on a plane to Frankfurt, spent the night in a hotel and flew home the next day. It was an awesome trip and we really had a blast! Thanks to everyone who helped make this trip possible for us! It was a dream come true! I sure hope we can go back someday!
*We took a lot more video than we did photos so maybe I'll post some of those another time.

3 comments:

.Ang. said...

AWESOME!

Angie said...

These pictures are SO gorgeous Jem!!!! You guys must have had just a blast, I'm so glad you got to go =)

Alyson Cowley said...

You are going to have to help me when I play my own trip to Europe.....someday!