Thursday, April 30, 2009


I have finally arrived at my new home for the next 7 1/2 weeks! Schladming is an extremely charming town and I already know that it is going to be difficult to leave it come June. School has started off with a bang and the location is perfect. We had our first 'mandatory' workout day yesterday and I chose the Boxing session...what a workout. We were instructed by a member of Austrian BEAST! He is pretty hardcore, but knew how to have a good time as well!

I am enjoying the time already so far, and love living in a lodge style building and having family style meals! It's such a blessing to be in a town and have the freedom to wander around and see what else is out and about in the world of Austria.

will send update again long as the internet is still my friend, but am sick and too tired now to go into tons of detail :-)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

*Hallo* from Austria!

I arrived about an hour ago (9:45p.m) in Salzburg, Austria and hopped a quick taxi to my latest and last hostel of these travels! Today consisted of a very long and uneventful train ride from Venice to Innsbruck, Austria then a transfer onto a train to Salzburg. The long train took me through some absolutely beautiful country side...I can´t even put into words what it looks like here in person. So much of what you might think the mountains and hills to look like and yet so much more! It was raining when I left Venice today, unfortunately, and rained on and off all the way through Italy. It even snowed for quite a while in the very north of Italy and in Austria...the mountain tops are still covered in fluffy whiteness!!
I´m so excited to meet up with my friends tomorrow night...i am in some desperate need of sane conversation!! I am also really looking forward to moving into and starting school again on not have to live out of a suitcase for the next 2 months is just a lovely feeling!!
Well it´s now around 11 p.m. and i am completely knackered...wish me luck with figuring out the showers here and then i´m off for a good nights sleep!

Love you all and can´t wait...just 2 short months until i am home again and hugging everyone around me!!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


I arrived yesterday in Venice and immediately set out after arriving at my hostel. I was able to do a tour of the Doge's Palace and prisons before it closed and did alot of walking...including getting lost for a bit before accidentaly finding my way back to the hostel! Today also included, again, lots of walking and lots of sightseeing. I took a quick elevator ride up the bell tower in St. Marks square and then took the vaparetto over to the island of Murano..famous for it's glass. I spent a good 4 hours wandering the streets and alleyways of Murano underneath the beautiful venetian sun. After making it back to the mainland of Venice, i did more walking and got into the Accademia gallery for free and got to incorporate some art into the day! Gelato at the Florence inport Grom was a wonderful delight...was introduced to Grom by Kristin and her roommates back in Firenze. I just finished a heavy dinner here at the hostel and am about to wander around to see Venice and night and listen to the dueling orchestras in St. Marks Square!!


Monday, April 20, 2009


Today was another full day of fun and adventures! Kristin took me up to her favorite spot in Florence, the Piazzale Michelangelo, which has the best overlook view atop the whole city of Florence! It was an absolutely incredible spot and could instantly see why she loves it so much! I would definitely recommend it to anybody planning a visit in the future to is well worth the hike!
Later this evening we had our daily gelato at our 3rd spot. Friday was a cone of Hazelnut Chocolate and Stracciatella from Vestri's. Saturday was a cup of Chocolate Caffe and Crema from the delicious Vivoli's. Today was a trip to Grom and a cone of Caffe and Crema di Grom(a creamy base with chunks of chocolate and Grom's homemade biscotti!) Three different delicacies that are completely me, these Florentines KNOW how to do gelato!
After some tasty soup made by one of Kristin's roomies...we decided to head out for an evening stroll and of course ended up getting gelato...her rommates fave spot is Grom so we headed back there. I'll admit I had my second cone of the day :-) Couldn't pass up a combination of Caffe and a delicious concoction of dark chocolate!!!

Let's just say....I am going to miss gelato!!!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Day Two in the Firenze life...

After sleeping in this morning...desperately needed...Kristin and I headed to a local cafe for a quick cappuchino and pastry then walked several blocks to visit an injured friend (after we had stopped in a local grocery store!) We headed back out into the sunny streets and walked to the Bargello Musesum...which houses the David done by Donatello and the original casts of the competition for the doors of the Baptistry by Brunelleschi and Ghiberti (guess who won out??) And once again, we were able to walk right in and enter the museum for free, do to the Florence Week of Culture!! After the museum, we walked to a local place for a kebab...tortilla, meat, lettuce, cabbage, tomatoes, cheese, sauce...amazing!! After downing our tasty lunch, we walked to the Pitti Palace and (also entered for free) spent a good amount of time wandering through the never-ending amounts of rooms full of art, furniture, and even some costume/fashion art!
We then headed out into the Boboli Gardens under some gloomy skies but we were still able to enjoy an hour of wandering through the gardens, chatting, taking photos, and meandering through the beautiful gardens!
Since it was about 5p.m. we decided that it was time for our daily gelato...we walked back over the Arno River and headed into the streets and found Vivoli's Gelato shop (thanks to Mommy!!) I had an amazing combination of Chocolate Coffee and Crema....absolutely delicious!! After munching down, we walked back to Kristins apartment and got to make a skype video call home with some wonderful friends from SSU!!! We are now getting ready to head back out for dinner...yum yum yum, another tasty Italian night awaits!!!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Italian Dinner!

It's almost 11:15 p.m. and Kristin and I just arrived back from our dinner that we left her apartment at 8pm for! I love the lifestyle in Italy. We walked to one of her favorite restaurants a few blocks from her apt., Il Teatro ristorante. We walked in and were very warmly greeted by the hostess, waiters, and chefs...true locals we are ;-) With a 'buona sera' and a kiss on each cheek I instantly felt like one of their own! We hadn't even ordered when we were pleasantly surprised by a plate of this delicious thin, crunchy, almost like a flat type of breadstick that was covered in olive oil, garlic, and fresh basil...on the house!! After ordering, i primi of tuscan bean soup for me and tortellini w/ham for kristin, i secondi of chicken and grilled veggies and turkey in a cherry tomato sauce for Kristin, we enjoyed our toscana rosso vino and the delicious bread and crunchy starter!!
The soup was incredible, almost a stew, chock full of vegetable, chunks of bread and tasty beans. I couldn't even finish it all...when one of the waiters (an older Italian gentleman) came to clear it away, he jokingly fed me one more bite while asking 'basta?' (enough?) He cooly gave me a kiss on the forehead and cleared away our plates.
Time passed quickly while Kristin and I had discussions on everything under the sun, from growth to our refreshing to talk with her again! Our main dishes arrived and we were fully me, the Italians know how to feed you :-) We were able to enjoy every last bite, enjoy our last sips of wine and chat some more without being rushed out of the ristorante.
We decided to take a little longer walk (to walk off all the salt intake :-)!) After walking past il Duomo and around San Lorenzo, we passed a building that we had seen from the dome this morning that Kristin still wasn't sure of it's use...for some reason I had a strange recollection of Jen purchasing bread in an indoor permanent stall type market...turns out, this was where that was!! My memory is such a weird thing!
I love the italian lifestyle and could adapt so very easily...anybody down for walking everywhere with me when I return to the states this summer?!?!


I arrived yesterday, after a few very long train rides, in Florence. I hadn't thought that I would be returning to this city but am so happy to be here! I got to my hostel, Ostello Monaca, and got into my room then headed out for some walking and exploring. After walking across the Arno I wandered my way to see the Duomo, walked through some other streets, passed the Uffizi and many other famous landmarks. I eventually crossed over the Ponte Vecchio and ate dinner at a Rick Steves recommended restaurant overlooking the Arno river. An amazing first night in Italy dinner of pizza, wine, tiramisu, and a cappuchino!!
This morning I woke up and got all my things back ready to move...after standing outside of the hostel for a few minutes I saw my dear friend Kristin walking towards me! After an emotional reuniting and several excited hugs we headed to her place to drop off my luggage then head out for the start of our adventure!! We started our morning with a cappuchino and pastry at her favorite local tabacchi then walked to the Uffizi gallery. The line was really long but with Kristin's handy museum pass (given to students in her program) we were able to hop the line and all the museums were free admission I was able to walk right in :-) It was so incredible to see all of the art I had spent the last few years studying. The first time I set foot in this museum I had no idea that I would have been an art history major!! Kristin's love for Art History meant we were able to enjoy our slow saunter through the exhibits.
After the Uffizi, we made our way to the Duomo and stood in the quick line to climb to the top of the Dome. We began our ascent of the 463 steps to the very tip top of Brunelleschi's masterpiece! It actually began to downpour while we were walking up, but fortunately, it stopped for the time that we were on top and we spent a good amount of time enjoying the views and chatting in the open air above Florence! We were both pretty hungry after the climb and Kristin took us to one of her favorite sandwhich shops around the corner from her apt. An amazing little hole in the wall (literally) where I had a mozzerella, ham, and rucola(arugala) so so good!!! After munching, we headed to the Galleria dell'Accademia and just walked straight into the lines and no cost!! Michelangelo's David is just such an amazing work of art. We stood and sat in awe of the sculpture for probably 30-45 minutes before finally wandering back out into the streets of Firenze. Even though there was a light sprinkle we decided on gelato being the next stop. On recommendation from a professor's wife, she took me to a place called Vestri....and even Kristin claims it was the BEST gelato she has had since she has been over here!!! I had an amazing combination of Stracciatella and Chocolate incredible, it was soft and perfect and we got a HUGE portion for only 1euro70.
We are now taking a slight break in her apartment before deciding what to do next :-)