June 2016-Adventures Abroad

Hello from Ireland, Belgium, Amsterdam, London, Paris, Switzerland, French Riviera, Italy, Barcelona, and Germany!

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I am embarking on a journey of a lifetime where I will plant my feet in 10 breathtaking countries over a span of 32 days, and I want to share the experience with you! So, stay tuned for an array of photos and brief paragraphs featuring all of the foods, historic buildings, and blissful wonders that are to come my way ❤

Follow my adventures further on Snapchat and Instagram @androsefoot

Day 1 and 2: Dublin Ireland

I have officially made it to my first destination, Dublin! But first, let me tell you about my plane ride… The morning to the airport started out just as planned, that is, until we hit the morning traffic going into SF. I made it to the airport a measly 1 hour before my departure and still had to check myself in as well as my bright orange backpack. Nonetheless, I was successful in getting on-boarded and in my plane seat. Then after about 30 minutes of settling into the plane, the captain informed us that our flight would be delayed for 2 hours! Ahhhh… 3 phone calls and 2+ hours later, I had re-booked myself a new connecting flight in Newark and waited in line frantically trying to figure out how I would still make it to the 7 am check-in time with my traveling group in Dublin.

Skipping ahead..

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Only part of the group at our welcoming dinner!

Almost as soon as I stepped off the plane ride, I was greeted by 15+ faces! All with our bags in hand, and sleep deprivation in our eyes. We took a big shuttle bus to our hostel here in downtown Dublin where we got situated, and of course went out and explored! We tromped through the grey windy streets gazing at all of the beautiful old buildings, green lush parks, and of course stopped at a few local pubs. We ate traditional style Irish food where I scarfed down my plate after not eating for a solid 12 hours. And then, we went to our “welcome dinner” where we played games to get to know one another and took advantage of our two free drinks 🙂 Some of the group wanted to go out last night, but this little lady was far to tired for that. Around 11 p.m. last night, it was still daylight outside (super weird) and I pulled my eye mask over my sleepy eyes, my earplugs in, and hopped in bed. What a glorious feeling!

Today we will have a guided tour of the city, go to the Guinness beer factory, and later on the Irish Pub Crawl! Stay tuned… (more photos to come, uploading is taking quite a long time for some reason).

Dublin Day 3 and 4: FAREWELL IRELAND 

The last two days have absolutley FLOWN by. I feel like I have seen and done so much, yet I know I have barely scratched the surface of what this amazing country has to offer. Yesterday (day 3) consisted of the whole group going on a guided bus tour of the city, lead by an adorably nerdy history major, Aeamonn. We “ooo-ed and awww-ed” at all of the detailed architecture, the unique front doors on each building, and the signiture red brick structures. We went through St. Patricks Cathedral, I have never seen such exquiste stained glass in my life. After that, we went to a massive park that gave us our first look into the green grasses that Ireland is known for. Toward the end of the afternoon, we headed to the famous Guiness brewery where we walked through a self-guided tour, which ultimately lead us to the restaraunt upstairs (we were starving!). Now, I’ve had Guiness in the states, and am not really a fan…a friend from San Jose (you know who you are,hehe) loved the stuff but other than with her I never really cared for it. Let me tell you, in Ireland Guiness tastes sooo much better. Like drinking a latte made of beer! So creamy and rich with flavor, not bitter in the slightest. After lunch and our complimentary beers, we headed back to the hotel to get ready for the “Irish Pub Crawl”…

 

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This pub crawl was awesome! I didn’t really understand what a pub crawl was until I was apart of it. Imagine 150+ drunk foreigners from all over the world being lead like cattle through the streets by 2 local Irish men. That was us. We started at one bar where we got discounted alchohol, and were lead every 45 minutes to a new location. It was incredible. My favorite was the second bar, with live music, right when we walked in they were singing halleluja (a song that brings me to tears almost every time I hear it). The third bar was also a favorite, they had beer pong and flip cup going on downstairs while everyone was singing their hearts out to Mumford and Sons! The night ended after 5 bars, made it back into bed around 2:30.

Today, our last day (Sunday)…was spent tromping through the rain. We took a bus about 1 hour outside of the city and into the majestic world of Glendalough, a rich terrain full of history. Mountains of green spread all over the land, old brick buildings hiding behind the lush trees, and a giant cemetary full of the oldest toumbstones I’ve ever seen. It was glorious. Gloriously, wet too! Thank the lord I bought a poncho for this trip, it didn’t stop pouring one time, but we were all happy and thankful to be in such a beautiful place that we trooped through it! Tonight is our last night here in Ireland and then were off to Liverpool. I can honestly say, I didnt expect to love Ireland as much as I do. This place is full of happy, vibrant, and welcoming individuals (with super cute accents) whom I will never forget. Thank you Ireland for being you, it was truly a pleasure getting to meet you ❤

 

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London Day 1 and 2

When I booked this trip I foud myself mostly excited for Amsterdam, Barcelona, and Italy…but, now that I’ve been in London for a couple of days…I don’t want to leave! There is sooooooooooo much to see and do here. I mean, there are the most beautiful buildings I’ve ever seen here. They are mixed and intertwined with the hustle and bustle of the streets, an array of buildings so old and unique I cant wrap my head around it. We’ve been using the Tube (basically a subway) to get around, and that is an adventure in and of itself. I am amazed at the movement of this city, there is a certain flow about it. Everyone on escalaters just knows to stand off to the right so that there can be a “fast lane” on the left hand side for example. I love the accents here too! So great. The most amazing things I’ve seen and done were the changing of the guards and riding the London Eye. The changing of the guards was so regal and traditional it gave me chills. Just knowing that that tradition has been going on for hundereds upon hundereds of years, it was truly an amazing expereince! Mixed into all the sight seeing, we have been eating and drinking to our hearts content, being silly, wandering aimelessly, and also…trying to catch up on some ZzZz’s (which seems to be impossible). Well, we have two days left here and I cant wait to see what else London has in store for me ❤

Amsterdam ❤

As I lay here on the top bunk of my Amsterdam hostel bed, I feel the tiredness of my body sinking into the matress. In the last 48 hours I have been trying to get my hands on as much of Amsterdam as possible, I am physically exauhsted…in a great way! After  a 9 hour night ferry ride and two hour bus trip (all before 10 am), we arrived in Amsterdam to the most hipster hostel thus far. Immediately I noticed the 5 guys infront, smoking a joint. That was my first glimpse into the carefree/wild lifestyle the Dutch live.

On that same day, we did a 3 hour walking tour around the city where we saw the canals for the first time, #breathtaking! We got history lessons as well as a peak into the red light district, some smoke shops…which are actually called “coffee shops” where anyone over 18 can go into and buy some weed and lounge around smoking (basically a bar but for pot). After that, we all went on a boat canal picnic adventure! It was awesome!! A local “skipper” (basically a boat sailor) lead us down the iconic canals that run right through the middle of the city, on the boat we had endless bottles of wine. After a few hours we were all feeling pretty great, and couldn’t wipe the smiles off our faces at just how beautiful everything was around us. Good views. Good people. Good vibes all way round. Then we went to a “coffee shop” where we experienced what it was like to casually smoke inside a public establishment without the fear of getting in trouble. 4 joints later, and lets just say we were all feelin pretty good (p.s. all i wanted during that time was Fruity Pebbles haha). Next, we ventured off into the infamous “red light district”, where prositution is legal and the girls stand behind glass doors in their lingere trying to lure in customers, all with the bright red light shining above them. I felt like we were spectators at a zoo, looking in on these animals behind a glass cage. It was really fascinating to say the least. By that time it was around 12pm and we were all exauhsted…

Waking up today (day 2 of Amsterdam) I had no idea that the bike tour I signed up for would mean that I rode 20 miles in the Amsterdam countryside. Yes, thats right…about 10 of us signed up for a bike tour (Amsterdam is known as the bicycle capital of the world) and we rode off into the gorgeous quiet streets of the city. Water canals paved the way for our 20 mile journey, along side them small Dutch houses laced with colorful flowers and lush green grasses. Bicycles and Mopeds whizzed passed us all day, parents with their two toddlers strapped into a front carrying carseat on their bikes peddled along with ease. The sky was endless, the cobblestone streets were bumpy and rattled the bells on our handlebars. It was truly the highlight of my trip thus far…I have never looked at a place and felt so incredibly inclined to want to live there, it was beautiful…absolutely beautiful. I could go on about this bike tour, but i will end with this…my butt has never been more sore in my life!! The seats were so uncomfortable!

The next, and final leg of my Amsterdam trip happened just a few hours ago… We went to the Anne Frank museum, which until we got there I had no idea that the museum was the actual building that Anne Frank and her family hid in for 2+ years. Right in the heart of downtown Amsterdam is an old building that Anne spent her last years in, writing feverisly in red plaid diary. I touched the bookcase that hid the secret entrance to their living quarters, I felt their kitchen counter as I walked through what used to be their dining, living, and kitchen room. I saw original newspapers, memoirs, official documents and more regarding the Frank family and WWII. After 30 minutes, I had walked through Anne Franks home trying to imagine what it was like to live inside for 2 years, I could not. The stairs were creaky, the rooms small and the windows blacked out. Then, I went into the room and saw her diary. The orignial red plaid diary of Anne Frank. My eyes started to well up with tears at this point. A little girl so optomistic and wise beyond her years has literally brought people from all different countries together with that diary. All she wanted was to become a famous writer after the war was over, and even though she didn’t physically survive the Holocaust she without a doubt has changed the course of history with her writing. I felt immenseley grateful to have experienced that. All she wanted was to be free…to sing, and dance, and walk the streets as she pleased…so, now I leave Amsterdam with more purpose than ever before. I will walk, sing, write, laugh, and explore the world for all of those who never got the chance. Thank you Amsterdam and Anne, I’ll be back<3

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This whole blogging while traveling thing is harder than I thought…

I told myself, “every other day take 20 minutes out of your day to write and blog about your travels”…this has not happened. I am on day 21 of a 32 day journey, and I simply cannot fit in enough of what I want to do throughout this trip. I am thinking of this trip as a sampler platter, one with 10 different bite sized treats that represent the 10 countries I have/will visit. I get to bite into it and explore its flavors, each one so unique and delicious, yet so short lived! None of this trip has even soaked in yet because each day is filled with so much stimulation. It hasn’t registered in my brain all of the amazing things I have seen and done; seeing the changing of the guards, a 20 mile bike tour, scaleing the Swiss Alps, taking a boat around the Eiffle Tower, roaming the streets in Italy, swimming in the Mediterranean Sea, and now soaking in the chill vibes in the French Riviera (just to name a few).

And now as I lay here in my hotel bed with a sunburnt stomach from my glorious morning of swimming in the South of France’s chilled sea, I can’t help but feel blank. Not in a bad way, don’t mistake me there…but just in a, “Wow I can’t even comprehend it all kind of way.” I don’t think it will all sink in until I’m back home and scrolling through all the photots. So for now, I am living in the moment with my eye’s wide open enjoying every second of this experience. That counts for people too… I have met so many amazing people on this journey, and I want to soak in each of them and their personalitites before we all fly back to our seperate lives. I have learned a lot about the “human connection” on this trip, how important it is to feel connected to others and how sometimes it’s nice to be disconnected. Some days on this trip I would find myself walking slower behind the group just to be alone for 5 minutes to soak in what it was that I was looking at without any interruptions. I want to be apart of every moment, yet I want to have my own moments.

I didn’t get the chance (on this blog) to write about my stops after Amsterdam. We went to Belgium for just a short 3 hour pit stop where I had the best pasta of my life, and of course a traditional Belgium waffle! Then we went to Paris! Paris was a whirlwind…it was one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen with the glistening Eiffle Tower and architecture to match…but it was also my least favorite city. Mostly because it felt the most unsafe…Next, we went to Switzerland, OMG loved it! I fell in love right away when I learned that it was German speaking country (i love the german language), and then the breathtaking scenery of course! It was the only place I’d ever seen that I could compare to Yosemite, which for me is one of the most unfathomable places I’ve ever laid my eyes on. It was a quaint and short little stay, but it was one of my favorite parts of the trip. Then Italy! This is when the weather started to get really hot…the shorts came out and the sunhats were on. It was exactly how I envisioned Italy; ecclectic and colorful with a pizza shop on every corner. It was my favorite architecture of this whole trip…nothing matched and each building had its own personality! Then we made a quick stop to see the Leaning Tower of Pisa…it was very very hot there, but I did get a classic picture of me pushing over the tower. Now, we are here in the French Riviera where we have been laying on the beach, roaming the beautiful French streets, and going out for lovely bits of foods. It reminds me of the book “Eat, Pray, Love”. I think my mom would love the South of France…someday I’ll bring her here. We have only the rest of today, and then tomorrow we are off to Barcelona!

I am so overjoyed about being in Barcelona! I plan on living it up with all of my amazing new friends I have made on this trip, and doing some amazing souvineer shopping! I don’t want this trip to end!!

 

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