Friday, January 19, 2007
Our last stop was London, England. We decided to walk around even though it was raining and freezing. We took out our secret weapon, a super yellow post it note our friend Therese (who works in London) gave us with detailed instructions of where to go. The first thing that caught our attention was the old phone booths all over the city. Here I am on the right trying to call home (it did not work) on the picture on the left. Then we saw Big Ben right in front us. I'm trying to give it a hug on the picture on the right. I'm sure he appreciated it.
Here is Orlando in the middle of the city:
Oh look my friend Big Ben again.
We walked to Buckingham Palace to visit the Queen but her guards would not let me in.
I actually felt bad for the guards because it was raining and they where in these little dog house looking rain shelters. I know they are not supposed to have any expressions but I know in the inside he was wondering "Why did I choose this job?". In general I thought the palace would be bigger, but as my friend Martin said "The real estate in London is so expensive that not even the Queen of England can afford a huge home".
Visiting London was bittersweet because we knew that our European adventure was coming to an end. We did not have much time to complain because soon we where on a plane going back to Japan. Goodbye big food portions, normal clothes sizes, English language and funny looking money!!! Adios Europa!!!! Some day we will see each other again :-) !!!
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
Every hour the Eiffel Tower completely lights up. It was truly an amazing sight, as you can see in the picture below:
Orlando and I decided to have some good old coffee right by the tower. It was actually very good and all the people had a completely laid back attitude, they just wanted to relax and look at the tower. There was even one lady with just her dog hanging out by the window. Actually this is one of my favorite picture of the whole trip, very European.
We got to the city on January 4, 2007 and the bus took us around the Champs-Élysées, which was actually quite scary!!! Cars every where just going around in a circle!?!?!? I had no idea who had the right of way, but luckily the bus driver did and we made it out of the roundabout in one piece.Early the next morning in the morning we went to the Louvre Museum.Here is Orlando trying to find Mary Magdalene (rent The DaVinci Code if you have no idea what I'm talking about). Once inside the museum we went straight to see the Mona Lisa (you where not allowed to take picture of it). I was very surprised by how small it is. I did test out the theory that she is looking at you from every angle, I think she is!!!
Once Orlando figured out the subway system we went to Les Invalides in Paris, which consists of a complex of buildings containing museums and monuments, all relating to France's military history. Here is Orlando posing in front of the building:
In honor of all the Chapelle's shows we watched in our ipod through out the trip we visited Sainte-Chapelle. This Gothic chapel was completed in 1246 and the best part is in the inside. Check out all the stained glass!!! The amazing part is that each huge glass has sections depicting stories from the bible.
We continued exploring the city and found this really cozy little French restaurant to have some lunch. We had a perfect seat right next to the window. The funny part is that it was cheaper to order wine than a Coca-Cola!!! We watched the people go by of all different shapes and sizes. We where there for a long time just reminding ourselves of all we have done, all the new friends we have made and all the places we have seen in just a few months. After living in Japan for 6 months everything seems easier, even if it's all written in French.
Monday, January 15, 2007
"Yodl - Ay - EEE - Ooooo", Welcome to the Swiss Alps!!!!!! In reality no one was yodeling or dressed like these guys to your right. I was sooo disappointed!!! Lucerne was actually a very cute, safe, clean (now that I live in meticulously clean Japan every piece of trash on the ground is disturbing) and beautiful town. There where however thousands of watch and chocolate stores all over town. So we did the "tourist thing" and bought a watch for me (very cute by the way) and loads of chocolate which Orlando and I brought back to work (the ones that survived that is).
Everywhere you looked it seamed like a picture from a fairytale complete with a prince. I have proof look at the picture below:
Here he is again:
Here I am in front of the most famous sight in Lucerne, is the Chapel Bridge, a 204 m (670 ft) long wooden bridge originally built in1333 and it's still used every day!!!
We went to a cool bar next to the hotel to celebrate. There everyone got confused between Euros and Swiss Franks but nothing can stop a bunch of kids trying to get some beer!!! We found 2 of the most entertaining objects of the entire trip at the bar. The first was this very explicit flyer advertising "Frigay Nights" at a local club, which you can see to your right. All I have to say is that thank God that January 3, 2007 was a Wednesday!!!
Here we are walking around town, everything looked super cute with their X-mas decorations.
Sunday, January 14, 2007
I can't even begin to explain how breathtaking the Basilica was, every where you looked there was a painting or an amazing sculpture, even the roof was amazing. I felt like I had attention deficit disorder my eyes could not concentrate on one thing!!!
We continued walking toward the Piazza del Popoloma Rome where the New year's eve countdown occurs. The only problem is that there were about 5 million people in town that day all going toward the same place!!! As you can see on the picture on the right. Everyone had champagne on hand for the big countdown. Once 2007 hit everyone opened their bottles and proceeded to soak us completely with it!!! it was crazy all I could see was lights (from the fireworks) and champagne falling on me!!! It was truly a crazy experience. Once the celebration had ended everyone was trying to walk back to the bus. The problem was that the mob of people where all going the same way. At one point I said to Orlando and the other Puerto Ricans "Ok no matter what happens hold on and stay together". So we navigated through the crowd and made it back to the bus on time. Thank God because some of the people who missed it had to pay a taxi $150 Euros ($194 US dollars) to get back to the hotel!!!
The next day we walked for 8 hours straight all over Rome. We visited the Colosseum first.
Peace out at the Roman Ruins.
Thursday, January 11, 2007
We went straight into St. Mark's square and I could not believe all the beauty around us. I could not comprehend that little old me was actually there!!! If there is one thing I have learned this year is that anything is possible. The first thing that catches your eye in the plaza is St. Mark's Basilica which was completed on 1105. The walls where all covered in gold leaves inside the Basilica:
Here we are on the Basilica's balcony overlooking the square.
Out of no where a blast of fog came into Venice and even though it got colder (yupi!!..not) it really gave us an interesting view of the city. At least it did not flood like it has in the past. The fog let us take these amazing pictures of Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute and St. Mark's Campanile.