Monday, August 26, 2013

on an evening in roma.

Let the record show that I experienced heaven on Earth on July 17, 2013.
Let me fill you in on the exact parameters.
The Trevi Fountain at night..... You've gotta be kidding me.
So magical.
Getting a fake Prada bag for next to nothing. Haggling is my calling.
Watching full grown men freak out, pack up, and leave because a cop comes around the corner is the most hilarious.
L'Archetto has the best pasta on this planet and the best service.
I mean like... the waiter braided my hair. It was slightly unnerving but also pretty marvelous. He was too kind.
And this song was on my mind the whole time

I'm sorry I probably got you all hyped up for this post. 
It's actually pretty boring. 
But that picture is rad, right?


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Trevi Travi Trovi

The Trevi Fountain is my favorite thing in Rome.
I think that should be all I say in this post.


You better believe I kept my eye out for Paolo the Italian pop sensation (Lizzie moment). But he didn't come.
I guess just being at the Trevi would have to be enough. And it was. It really really was.
Plus there was a gelato place that had pretty okay gelato (I had better whilst in Rome) that has a really scary scary guy that owns it. He's terrifying and yells at you if you don't choose what you want in a matter of 2 seconds.

So this is the first place we went on this day and it was honestly a dream come true.
I threw in three coins and so now I'm destined to go back.
After we left the Trevi (it was the hardest thing for me to do) we headed over to the Pantheon.
So there's that.

It was so cool and I really couldn't believe where I was.
I had another one of those moments. Another one of those "I-need-to-go-and-hide-under-a-rock-and-never-come-out" moments.
But then I realized it was an incredible thing again.
Seriously you guys. I can't take how perfect Rome is.
And it's about to get even more perfect.
There's this place in Rome dedicated to cats.
You read that right.
It's called the cat sanctuary.
And here's this bit of information: while we were on the metro to the Trevi Nate (professor) came up to me and said "Are you ready?!" to which I responded "YEAH! For what?" he looked at me like I was nuts and maybe a little hilarious? I hope so. Then he said "For the cats! We're going to see the cats today!" I about had a heart attack. SOOOO EXCITED!
Here's some photos of the sanctuary for your viewing pleasure.

Seriously, no humans are allowed in those ruins.
And both of those little babies loved me.
One of them only had one lung and the other was far too nice and cute.
I wanted to take them home and then I realized I still had another week and a half in Italy... Not so fun for a little baby kitty.
After the sanctuary we shopped a little, got some real pizza, and then.... went back to the hotel.
Later that night we went back to the Trevi (it's even more magical at night) and searched for a place to eat dinner.
Stay tuned. That's a post by itself.

Have a splendid day.
Smell a rose, pet a kitty, smile at people.

Love you all.


Monday, August 19, 2013

Gladiator in Training

Well here we go.
Getting a little further down the road to completing this dang blogging about Europe thing.
We're on the third day in Rome.

First we headed to the Colosseum.
Could you believe the metro stop for the Colosseum is Colosseo?
Crazy right?
Seriously though. You walk out of the metro and there it is.
You walk out of the metro and you see this:

You can ignore that person's head at the bottom of the photo.
It seriously is unreal.
You walk into the Colosseum and you see this:

And if you go in the middle of July you almost pass out because it's so hot. 
But then you realize where you are... and you realize how many people have seen this same thing and you do the Lizzie McGuire dance and you can't help but sing "This Is What Dreams Are Made Of" cause really. It is.
And then it really hits you. 
Soooo many people before you have sat in this place and watched the gladiators fight.
And you think you should be a gladiator too.

And as you're thinking about a career in gladiator-ing, looking at where you'll be fighting other gladiators, you might start freaking out.
I'm warning you right now.
If you go to the Colosseum, and I strongly recommend it, you need to stop and really appreciate where you are. 
It's overwhelmingly beautiful and big and you feel so small in comparison. 
You might even come to the conclusion that this place is not only a part of your life, but even more, you are merely a short part of it's life. 
I know that sounds crazy, but stay with me. 
Imagine how many stories this place could tell. 
Imagine all of the people and things that place has seen. 
The idea that this place has outlived many generations before you only points you to conclude that it is going to survive long past your life. Whoa. Heavy.
I don't mean to get super serious on you guys, but honestly it's the most magical realization. EVER.
It will make you want to run and crawl under a rock and hide and never come out at first but after the freak out, after the hyperventilating you will fall in love with it. 
It will absolutely consume you and I promise it's the best. 
Stop and really pay attention to where you are at every place you go in Rome or really anywhere you go. 
Plus it helps to go with the best people you know. 

After the Colosseum we headed over to the Forums. 
They were so pretty but honestly I couldn't even think straight because I was certain I was melting. 

And then we went to Trajan's column and I saw the cutest old man playing his guitar. 
He was SOO Italian. 

After oo-ing and aw-ing over his music and talking to a very nice British girl who told me that my teeth were perfect and how I was fitting the stereotype of American's, we headed to a church to see Michelangelo's Moses. 
Holy cow was that thing beautiful. 
Just look at him. 
And this doesn't do it justice. 
At. All.

We then headed back to the hotel to take a little nap before we planned on venturing back to the Colosseum to see it all lit up. 
We got some pizza and gelato and were asked "do you want some weeds?" to which I responded "NO."
Apparently all of those years of "Just Say No" had prepared me for this moment. 
I didn't even hesitate. Well done, teachers. Well done. 
And then we got there. 
And the Colosseum is even more breathtaking in the evening. 
It certainly helped that a very handsome Italian man was walking next to me for a while. Mmmhmmm. 
It was a delight. 
Here's a photo.

Go and appreciate your life. 
Appreciate the world around you. 


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Vati-cans, Vati-can'ts

My second day in Rome was exponentially better than the first.
Which was a total shocker.
Because the first day was incredible.
So... Let me start from the beginning.
We got up, went down to the continental breakfast (which is WAY better in Italy by the way), & ventured down to the Vatican.
So this post is going to be constructed of stories of the various CAN'S and CAN'T'S of the very center of Catholicism.
Get ready. This may include some funny stories, some aggravating stories, and maybe some boring ones.

You CAN (and will) get hit on by various Italian men if you're a tourist with long blonde hair.

Here is where my first story comes in.
We had almost made it to the Vatican without getting hit on by anyone.
It was going to be such an accomplishment. 
The Vatican Museum is in my sights, I was freaking out over all of the artwork I was going to see honestly not thinking about anything else, I was incredibly hot because the only dress/skirt I brought was black and it was like 1000 degrees.
But then, just as we were about to cross the street, I was stopped by a tall Italian man who said "You. Are. BEAUTIFUL."
I would have been flattered if not for his long greasy black hair, his creepy smile, and his general slimy demeanor. 
All I said was "Uhhhhhhh...... Thanks." And then I quickly ran across the street (almost got hit by a car too).
But then I looked up and saw this and all was right with the world.

You CAN'T wear anything that will expose your shoulders or knees.

Keep this in mind if you ever happen to be in Rome and want to go to the Vatican Museum.
They will NOT let you in if you're immodest in any way.
But here's another story for you lot
Our appointment for the tour wasn't for a while so we had serious time to kill. 2.5 hours to be exact.
So... we looked for an ATM and got some gelato and were having a wonderful time. 
Then a crazy looking man came up to us and asked if we were going to the Vatican.
(Keep in mind there were 5 of us. All wearing modest clothing or had like scarves and sweaters in our bags).
"Yes" said the five of us.
"You can't. Her knees, her shoulders, her knees and shoulders, her shoulders, your shoulders."
"Ok. Thanks. We got it covered" said Sam.
"Her knees, her shoulders, her knees and shoulders, her shoulders, your shoulders."
To the other girls "Let's leave" said Sam.
So we left. We were at a different location. Far from where we previously were. 
Same scary guy comes, this time he's holding scarves. 
"Her knees, her shoulders, her knees and shoulders, her shoulders, your shoulders."
"Ok. Thank you. We have it covered I promise." said Sam.
He said the same thing and then added "You need to buy these."
"Nope. We have it covered. Go away." said Sam.
He finally went away and about 2 minutes later we saw him selling his scarves to a couple of tourists.

You CAN take as many pictures as you want.

No story. Just pictures. 

So cool, huh?

You CAN'T take pictures of the Sistine Chapel. 

But we did.
I know. 
We totally could have gone to jail for it.
Don't tell the Italian higher-up's.
I don't want to go to jail. 
Sorry, no picture. I don't want to get in trouble.
I might be totally paranoid. But whatever. Deal with it.

You CAN see the coolest things on the planet. 

Like... St. Peter's Basilica. 
And guards with fruity little outfits on. 

You CAN'T sell things on the side of the street like fake bags and sunglasses. 

Cause.... well... it's illegal. 
We were walking back to the hotel from the Vatican and well, we saw quite a few of these very street vendors. 
Then a police officer turned the corner and honestly, I have never seen anyone pick up anything so quickly. 
They seriously grabbed all of their stuff and left without saying a word in 5 seconds flat. 
It was the most bizarre thing to see. 
But also the funniest.

You CAN eat delicious food.

You CAN'T have pizza after 3:00 p.m.

We attempted to get some real Italian pizza and it didn't work out so well.
We walked into about 7 million restaurants (really it was only 2) and they each denied us our pizza.
So we settled for ravioli and lasagna.
And it was so worth it cause it was so delicious.

You CAN jump on the beds of your hotel.

So we totally totally did.

Basically that's it, you guys.
More Vati-cans than Vati-can'ts.
Rome = love.
I love love love Rome.


Saturday, August 10, 2013

Rome If You Want To.

Listen to this when you read this.
And maybe watch the music video. It's hilarious.
The dance moves are unreal.
The first part of the song is a little scary but get past the first 15 seconds, it's worth it.

Alright let's get down to it.
Let's get to the nitty gritty.
Rome is beautiful and so enchanting.
Except there's this thing called dragging your luggage everywhere that makes Rome a little hard to love.
We had to drag 2 suitcases each through customs, to a bus, to the metro, and to the hotel.
Once we got to our hotel, all sweaty and gross, all was well.
Honestly, I have never been so excited to take a nap.
Except I couldn't even do that because we were headed to the Roman Baths. In Rome.
I'm dying.
I still can't believe I went to Rome.
The Baths were beautiful.
And I had a way good time.
Here's some photos:

After the Baths we headed over to the Circus Maximus.
It was cool and we had a gladiator race.
I mean, I didn't compete but I cheered the competitors on.
We then headed down to this place...

Apparently if you put your hand in the mouth of that first picture, it will bite it off if you're a dishonest person.
We didn't go inside but I am confident that I would have kept all 10 of my fingers. 
I'm honest, guys. I'm honest. 
After this we were all so exhausted that we just headed back to our hotel to eat our free dinner. 
At this point I had been awake for roughly..... 36 hours. 
It was insane and I was so tired. 
But the first day in Rome was considered a success and the next day I would be going to the Vatican. 
Stay tuned. 
Italy has some good posts for you guys.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

For Hugh.

So... I know that like it's going to be incredibly hard to beat that Harry Potter post.
But stay with me, guys.
We can do this.
We can make it to the end of my European trip (which actually ended a while ago).
I promise there's some really good posts coming.

So we're at July 13. 
This day was basically a "catch up on shopping and enjoy your last day in london" day. 
So like all tourists do whilst in London, we went to Portobello Road to search for the blue door made famous by "Notting Hill"
Yeeeeeeaaaaaahhhhhh... they painted that door. 
But a few of us girls might have said "whoopsi-daisies" a couple of times in honor of Hugh. 
Even though the door was virtually impossible to find, we did have a fabulous time scanning the street vendors for various antique items which included: polaroid cameras, books, vinyl records, jewelry, etc. 
I just. I couldn't get enough of this place. 

aren't they cute? Shelby and Chelsea

When I thought I had about had it (the heat is so hard to deal with over there.... especially when there is no relief) I found a vendor that had the coolest old books I had ever even seen. 
He had records out the wazoo!
He had some old magazines! 
He had some insanely cool cool cool things! 

I mean.. Kasee found me the album of my dreams (Frank Sinatra singing Cole Porter) as well as her own (Frank Sinatra singing his own songs).
I found the coolest book on the Fall of the Roman Empire for my cousin.
I found an awesome newspaper from the WWII.
I found another record I was basically crying over (The Beatles 20 Greatest Hits).
Look how nice this guy is. I can't even take it. He was so cool and had the coolest stuff I had ever seen.
Plus, I saw a cat that day.
And I was wearing the Def Leppard tee my cousin bought me for the trip.
It was a fabulous day and I loved every second of it.
But packing was a nightmare and I had a couple breakdowns. As did some other girlies in my group.
It was something else.
I think I was mostly crying because I knew I would be leaving my most favorite place in the whole entire world. How about I just move back over there?
Would any of you be mad?
I totally wouldn't even be mad.

So here's why we cue the crazy.
I pulled an all-nighter and I was about to stay up for another 20 hours.
It's fine.
We left our flat at like.... 4 in the morning to head over to Heathrow.
Yeah, we were on our way to
I know.
It's crazy.
So we took a little bus over to the airport which was actually like... a relief because as much as I love the tube, it is absolutely impossible to get your dang luggage on and off the train and through all those people.
And I was wired the whole time.
SOOOO SAD but SOOOO excited.
So we printed our tickets and got in line to check our monster bags.
I was certain that my bag was under 51 pounds or 23 kilos.
I got rid of some heavy stuff and packed all of the heavy stuff I still had in my mini little carry on.
Yeah.... I think the woman that was working was out to get me.
Ok I want you guys to keep in mind that my friend Jessica had already checked her bag and it weighed in at roughly 25.8 kilos. Ok. Keep this information in mind. Thanks.
So, as I was saying, I get up to the desk, put my bag on the little scale and held my breath as I waited for the little numbers to show up.
23.8 kilos.
I was home free!
Yeah..... think again, Sam.
She looked me up and down and said "Your bag is too heavy. That's going to be 40 quid."
I looked at her, stunned, on the verge of tears.
She then stood up, looked over the desk at my carry on and said "That is too big, you're going to need to check that. That's going to be 40 quid. You owe me 80 quid."
Again, I just looked at her, stunned and this time I was crying.
If you guys know about the conversion rate between the dollar and the pound you know that 80 quid is roughly $120.
Not happening.
That's when my second wind came.
"Nope. Not paying you that. I will move stuff from my carry on into my checked bag."
She was stunned and let me do my thing.
I took extra long just to spite her because the line behind me was insanely long.
Plus I wanted her to have just as bad a day as I would have.
But then I got on my plane to Rome and all was well.

This is already too long.
I'll end here.. just keeping you wanting to hear more about my adventures in Rome.


Monday, August 5, 2013

Move over Disneyland

Seriously, move over Disneyland. I've found a new happiest place on Earth.
It's called The Harry Potter Studio Tour.
It's heaven.
I have never been somewhere that's quite as magical.
I know what you're thinking
"OBVIOUSLY SAM. It's Harry Potter. It's based on a magical world. Gee wiz."
Yeah. I know.
I know. Trust me. I know.
Ok, I'll start at the beginning instead of just telling you how happy it made me.
Cause I could go on forever about it.
So.. If you read my previous post, you know that I had quite the day at Abbey Road and whatnot. 
But if you know how much I LOVE Harry Potter, you can imagine how incredibly excited I was for the next day. 
Yeah, needless to say, I didn't sleep hardly at all that night. 
But I wasn't even tired when I woke up after sleeping for a mere 3 hours. 
I had to get up at 7:00 to make it to the studio on time. 
But I was totally fine with it.
Not tired. 
We got the train station nearest to the studio and waited very impatiently for the bus to pick us up. 
And then.. The bus was there. 
And it was the cutest thing. 
Because it was a double decker, and it was all Harry Potter-ed out. 
Such a dream. 
And then I got to the studio and I was so excited I couldn't even stand myself. 
And I held Ron Weasley's hand. 
No, I really didn't. But they had his handprints there and I put my hands in them. And it was a beautiful moment.
I'm not crazy, I promise. 
Just too stoked on life to even worry about how nuts I was acting. 
Guys, they had the cupboard under the stairs. 
They had the Great Hall
I won't tell you all of it in case you'd ever like to go.
And you should seriously think about going.
I will show you some pics though. Not the way cool things though. Just some pretty awesome stuff.
Ok no, I'll show you the way cool things too. Some of my favorite stuff.

If you are a true H.P. fan you should know what this is. For those of you
who don't, it's the Leaky Cauldron.
Honestly. Go watch the 3rd movie.
I'm dying just looking at this picture again.
This case is where Dumbledore keeps all of his memories, obviously.
We were in front of the Potions classroom. That should explain my excitement.
Just the joy that overcame me when I saw this howler. Too much. Too too much.
I just. I want to live there. Gryffindor common room.
These made me the happiest girl in the world. That "R" sweater. I can't. It's too good.

I will say this though. 
The butterbeer is to die for. 
Seriously. Get like 7000 cups of it. You won't be sorry. 
And... I spent far too much time there. 6 hours to be exact.
And I cried. 
And when I had to leave, I was a very upset girl. 
But then later that night... I had the opportunity to go to Les Miserables. IN LONDON. 
That was a dream come true. 
It was the most wonderful thing I have ever had the opportunity to experience.
The music gave me the chills and brought me to tears. 
So beautiful. 
Plus, I got to go to the play with the two most fabulous people I have ever had the privilege of knowing.
My two most favorite girls.
Cha Chi (Chelsea) and Kasee.

I had the best time.

After the show we got some delicious waffles and talked about life, love, and how much we've enjoyed our time in london. 
'Twas the night of my life and the day of my dreams. 
I don't think I've ever experienced such happiness. 
It almost made me sad to know that I wouldn't ever feel so happy again. 
It was the most perfect day in the most perfect place with the most perfect people. 
I will never EVER forget July 12, 2013.