My friends and I love to travel. We take every chance we can to visit new places. 
We've done a good job covering ground domestically, but recently Linda and I made a big trip to Europe. 
It's been something her and I have always wanted to do and it was an opportune time for both of us... so we did it! 

I loved it. Loved, loved, LOVED it. 

I kept a travel journal with me on the European tour, and this is what it reads:
(Mind you, I got tired of writing sometimes so some things may not make sense. I apologize! )

Day 1: London

-- St. Paul park
-- Gordon Square
-- British Museum 


My dream come true! 
I've arrived in Europe. It's still surreal. Linda and I had an 8-9 hour flight here and I sat next to a happy woman named Vonzella (what a name huh?) . She was heading to Bahrain. Vonzella's best friend's birthday wish was to spend time with Vonzella... so her best friend's husband bought a ticket for Vonzella to come overseas. What a great present!
If I wasn't chit chatting with Vonzella, I kept myself entertained by watching movies. Oh and there were 333 movies and 251 CDs to choose from. HEAVEN!!!!

London is everything you'd expect. The weather is grey and foggy AND it's raining today. The city is so old. People here aren't as nice as back home, but I still have fun listening to their snobby Harry Potter accents. 

One thing I hate-- the American dollar is SO WEAK here! London is stealing my money!
The American dollar is worth half of the pound, so we're basically spending double. Linda and I traveled to the British museum... it was very big, but not too impressive. It was very cultural, I must say. By the way, all museums over here are free. Can you believe that? I wish that's how it was back home... all museums should be free... they're educational dang it! But education isn't free in America either, so screw that. 

We jumped on the tube and travelled to Oxford Circus. I was trying to listen in to hear the famous "Mind the gap" warning... and yes, I heard it alright. Oxford Circus reminds me of Times Square. Everyone here is fashionable. The girls are pretty and the men are handsome. Americans are ugly compared to these people! They're slender and everyone looks like a model. 
I went into a store called Top Shop. Cristina's boyfriend Paddy told me to go there. It was wild!  I absolutely loved it, thought I was so discouraged by the currency exchange rate I couldn't afford anything. I did buy some sexy lingerie though -- 5 pairs for 10 pounds.

I'm definitely jet lagged and my eyes are giving up. Let's hope it doesn't rain too much tomorrow! Oh, and Charles Darwin is on the 10 pound bill! Wonderful!

Day 2: London

-- Parliament Square
-- St. Margaret's Chapel
-- Westminster Abbey
-- London Eye
-- St. Paul's Cathedral
-- Buckingham Palace

-- Guard sang to us
-- Everyone takes the the tube
-- China Town --Crisy Duck, Friendly Inn, Tai Ka Lok

Woke up early this morning to go on an excursion. We jumped on a tour bus and got to see some great architecture. London is so old... the buildings are huge and ornately decorated. I'm sure this doesn't compare to what I'll be seeing in Rome and Athens. 

Went to Buckingham Palace, the houses of Parliament (with Big Ben!), and St. Paul's Cathedral. We saw some guards at Buckingham Palace... They were young. Soldiers in England have to serve their duty to the queen so they most of the time end up being guards to her palace! Oh they were funny. Fortunately we were there to see the changing of the guards. I looked at one of the guards and he kept moving and turning his head. He wasn't very disciplined. He was blowing the fur around his fuzzy hat to look at me... and when I caught his eye he sang "Beautifuuullll, I just want you to knooow, you're my favorite girrrrrl." What a naughty guard huh? That's a Snoop Dogg song called "Beautiful" BTW. 

We took the tube to Piccadilly Circus, another high end shopping area but even greater because it's got a China Town! We also found an internet cafe for 1 pound per hour. So cheap! We stayed for an hour and facebooked and wrote emails. It felt great to have internet. Then we went to the grocery store... their food is all pre-packaged and already made meals. At least this grocery store was convenient. 

The Evian water is way cheaper here because the Alps aren't far away. I saw a frozen meal called "Nutballs with Nuts." While I was waiting in line some guy dropped all of his groceries and I watched him scurrying to pick it all back up and put it in his bags. I thought to myself... gee.. that's embarrassing. He proceeded to walk toward me and I assumed he was asking me to grab him some new bags since they were very much so broken. Turns out he was asking me to come to his art show. That would've been pretty cool, but I had to deny him because I'm leaving to France tomorrow. 

Linda and I were pretty hungry, so we stopped by a mom and pop shop called Spreads. Guess what I had.... FISH N CHIPS! Basically fried fish with fries. It was delicious... but there was no tartar sauce. So I ate it with ketchup and some vinegar. Linda found Dr. Pepper so she ordered some because Dr. Pepper in Europe is rare. Ah... our meal was very satisfying. 

London is a great city. Everything is well organized and the tube system is impressive! It's a lot better than the subway in NYC. Oh and we met a boy named Colin Newton. His friends were cuties. They were headed to Wimberley to see a comedian named Lee Evans. Apparently he's popular. There were a lot of other kids waiting at the tube to go see him. 

Alright, off to Paris tomorrow! 

Day 3: On the way to Paris
and Paris by night.


Waiting to jump on the ferry to cross the English Channel. There are so many Aussies on this trip! AND the euro is stealing our money as well. What the hell. It's like the pound, just a little better. We get back half of what we initially exchanged. Boo.


Night time

Paris by Night (hehe, get it... total asian joke)

When we got to Paris last night, we checked into out hotel --Paris Orleans -- and was nice! Very modern and fancy Buddha statues. Linda and I roamed the streets and found a supermarche. We purchased a bag of chips each. I got a bag of "Petits Fantomes." YUM. Then we stopped by a greek restaurant and had some greek sandwiches --- Un sandwich grec et un steak fromage. Tried my best to speak in French, but I was too intimidated. It was good food though. Went back to the hotel and crashed. It was a long long day of traveling.

Day 4: Paris

Woke up early to go tour Paris. We stopped by the Notre Dame cathedral. OOOOOOOOOOOOOOMG. So gorgeous. I've done many reports on French history... it's just surreal to even see these things in real life! I bought 10 Eiffel Tower keychains for 2 euros. The cathedral is so amazing. Gargoyles everywhere warding off evil, such intricate architecture. We went inside while there was a mass and I took a few pics. The stained glass windows were really pretty too.

We saw a glimpse of the Louvre and L'arc de Triomphe. The Louvre was closed the day we were in Paris... sad sad story. I was upset. The one day that I was in Paris and had the chance to go inside the Lourve... it was CLOSED. 

We stopped by the Eiffel Tower and got really good pictures there. Napoleon Bonaparte was buried in a building right behind it.

Had a quick stop by some souvenir shops... got a Paris badge for myself and two scarves for my mom and my sister. Ate a tuna baguette too!

After that tour, I went to VERSAILLES! HOLY SHIT. That place is HUGE. It's King Louis XIV's palace and it sure was luxurious.

I've always wanted to walk down the Hall of Mirrors and I actually got to do it! It was exciting. The Hall of Mirrors faces the garden, which rolls on for miles! The garden is a public place, so people can just hang out, take walks, and go out in the water. The air was clean and crisp and it was a beautiful day.

Saw the Sun King's room -- la chambre du roi -- and Mary Antoinette's room. I love the decorations and I love all of the floral print! I tried to decorate my bathroom with a Marie Antoinette theme -- with lots of flowers and gold. Speaking of, everything was polished with GOLD! of course, it's a palace and it's supposed to be grand but Louis took up a notch and turned almost everything in there gold.

I met a new tour buddy. His name is Marcus and he's from Sydney, Australia. Maybe it's a sign... me meeting all of these Aussies. :)

Then we returned back to the hotel. Linda and I took the Metro --their subway system -- to L'arc de Triomphe. Got some great pics there and met a Canadian couple. They said Italy is very expensive and Switzerland is worse! ahh!

While we were heading over to the Louvre, we met this cute fella named Julien Sicard. He is a taxi driver, except this is not your typical taxi. It's a battery operated bicycle, a step up from the pedicabs we have in Austin. Julien is 25, blond, tall, skinny, speaks English well AND he is a stretching coach... for old people! He made friends with us and we exchanged numbers and contact information. Then Julien offered us a free ride to the Opera House, which is where the Louvre where we're headed. We took the offer and I tipped him 10 euros. Linda and I went to a Chinese restaurant and almost spent 20 euros each. The portions were half the size as an American dish, but double the price! Total culture shock! Nonetheless, it was filling and just about the right amount of food. Americans need to start moderating like Europeans do. That's why we're so FAT.

After that, we traveled to the pyramid in front of the Louvre. It was spectacular! Paris is really pretty at night. Again, the pyramids blew me away. I can't believe I was there. Everything, the monuments, the buildings, the architecture, even Julien... was unbelievable.

We walked to the Eiffel tower, which took about 30 minutes (or maybe even more) and it was lit blue! Stood underneath and just gawked at the size of it. We stayed and watched the lights twinkle-- it glistens every hour. It was chilly outside and I had to wait about 40 minutes to see the twinkles... when else am I going to come back and watch the Eiffel Tower sparkle like that? Well, I don't intend on coming back to Europe for awhile...maybe I'll see it twinkle again in the future, but very far in the future. 

The metro was harder to figure out... rather than having "northbound" or "southbound" like on the London tube. The French completely rename the whole route/line each way. For example, Line 6 going to the Arc was called "Charles... Etoile," but going home (south) it's called "Nation."

I ABSOLUTELY LOVED PARIS. I plan on coming back, for sure. 

Day 5: Bordeaux 


On the way to Bordeaux. All I see is land... green fields and the weather is crummy. We stopped by a small place to look at a cathedral (I don't remember the name!)... Linda and I signed up for a few more excursions in Rome! Yay. Though... these excursions are getting a bit costly. It's hard to narrow down what we want to do because we're trying to budget, but at the same time these are once in a lifetime opportunities. 
Few more hours til we get to our new hotel. Met an American girl on this tour named Annie. Another girl named Christina and she's from Sydney. 

Oh... and Barack Obama is the NEW PRESIDENT of the UNITED STATES! 

Oh and that's a picture of the big pyramid at the Louvre. I like this picture a lot. -----> 

Day 6: Bordeaux on the way to Barcelona

We had dinner last night with a tomato salad, grilled pork and apple pie. It was OK... Haven't been impressed with the food here yet, only because the good stuff is not affordable! I was at the supermarche and bought a baguette just for fun. Bread is essential to all meals in Europe. I've eaten so much frikin' bread already, especially in France! I'd wake up at 6:00AM and look outside my window to see people walking out of the boulangerie with a baguette in their arms. Clay LaPoint was telling me about people carrying baguettes around town, and now I actually see it! Our hotel room was right across from that boulangerie. Shoulda went in there. 

I had an odd dream last night. It involved:
-Pat's house/restaurant
-Josiah... cooking a lot of eggs
-my mother as an angel
-Thuy got into an accident
-my parents getting a divorce

It was strange. My mother had passed away and I was the only person that could see her. Really sad story. 

Just met another Aussie lady on the tour. She's funky and she's got awesome stories to tell. She's been all over the place and she's a Harley Davidson rider! A world traveler, both her and her hubby. She's got kangaroos in her back yeard and gargoyles on her fences. Her name is Toni and her husband is Shaun. Toni tells me that Aussies love to travel. I also found out that their vacation times are a lot longer than ours. They get four to eight weeks, depending on your job. So that's why I see Aussies everywhere!

Barack Obama is on the front page of "Le Figaro." Funny to see that cause I learned about "Le Figaro" in French class. 
Obama as president is so symbolic. I believe it will change how people in other countries will perceive America. EVERYONE in Europe favors Obama. They might even be more excited than Americans! Peter, my Aussie love, really opened my eyes. He was so into politics and voting... it made me rethink about the reasons why I hadn't registered. So.. I registered to vote, but my voters card never came in. I was too late. I didn't care about politics because I simply have no interest in it. I was for Obama originally for the wrong reasons. I liked his campaign tactics, not what he was saying. I liked him because he was a celebrity. But now I realize that I like him for more than the superficial points. I like him because he is the outcome of America's hardships. His ideas are fresh, young, new. This is what America needs right now. And so what he looks good on camera too! 

Change. Hope. 

This is history. This is what the world's been waiting for. 

Let's hope he lives up to the hype he promises. 

Stopped by Chateau de Carcassonne. There was a crepe shop in there. I had une crepe sucre et un croque monsieur. Tres delicieux!
The castle was beautiful, though I only saw a part of it. Wish we could have stayed longer. 

Day 6 & 7: Barcelonaaaaa! 

Wow, what a great city. We got into Barcelona pretty late in the evening. It was a free night for us because everyone else went on a dinner excursion (which sounded fabulous, and we kind of regret not going)... Flamenco dancers and lots of food... and unlimited! Anyway, Linda and I walked all over the city. Our hotel was in the middle of the rich area, so we just window shopped. Couldn't buy anything because we couldn't afford the Gucci and Prada. We stopped by a local bar/restaurant (La Carvana) and ate Paella Mixta, which is rice with all sorts of meat-chicken, squid, beef, mussels, shrimp. It was soo soo soo soo good. Then we ordered some Barcelona beer called Moritz. It was pretty strong. The bottle had 5.4% alcohol...and it was so cheap! 1.50 euros. MmmHmmm... Sooo goood. 

Day 8: Barcelona

Woke up and went on a tour. Saw the Sagrada Familia. It was MASSIVE and really "artsy." There were a lot of symbolic things incorporated in the architecture. We didn't go inside, but got a few pictures outside. After that we saw another cathedral that wasn't impressive... I totally forgot its name. 

I've concluded that european drivers are fucking insane, but I can also say that they have precise parking skills and are really good about swerving/squeezing between other vehicles. Seriously, they've got guts. Everyone in Barcelona owns a motorbike. They park for free in front of the shops.... and the city rounded the curbs on sidewalks for the convenience of the drivers. 

The churros here are the best I've ever tasted. DELICIOUS. The churros were so yummy that we stopped by the churreria for another. They've got cream filled churros, and chocolate covered churros... what a delight. 

And can I mention again that Europeans are so beautiful? The men are so attractive! I could gawk at them all day long. Dark hair, tall, lean... mmm SEXY. 

Linda and I hung out with Aussies today. They're so much fun. We all took the bus to Park Guell. It's a huge park with an amazing view of the city. There's lots of mosiac art on ceilings and walls. It's very "spanish".... Hanging out with Aussies today was refreshing. They are all just happy and have great attitudes. 
The bus ride was 1.30 euros to ride each way, which is better than the 5.30 lbs I paid in London. 

Wish I could have gone out last night to a bar or something. I need to party while I'm in Europe! Oh, and the bars close at 6AM and apparently they play a lot of american music. 

Tonights dinner was very filling. Buffet style and I stuffed myself way too much. I'm greedy I suppose.

I bought a Barcelona button and a FCBarcelona scarf! So cute. 

Tomorrow.. French Riveria. 

The bell boy at our Hotel Catalonia was adorable! 

Lots of cool graffiti here too. 

Day 9: French Riveria

Driving to Avignon now....

Stopped by Palais de Papes, the pope's palace. Not too much to see here. The toilets clean themselves! The cleanest port-o-potties I've ever seen.... and they're free. You go in there, do your business, then when you're done you step out, close the door and the toilet cleans itself. 

Got a steak frites sandwich and it was huge! I could only finish half of it... but it was really good and only 3.50 euros. 
The drive was nice.. miles and miles of wine vineyards, but the grapes were all dead since it was winter time. 

Our hotel was nice! It's called the Park Inn... the bell boy was also the shuttle driver (the hotel offered free transportation). He took us to the Cap3000, which is a shopping area and we went to La Fayette. That was a grocery store/shopping mall. The grocery was like Whole Foods, fresh sausages, lots of fish, and oh dear... CHEESE! Lots of it! and the fruits look so much better than ours!

The bell boy, or bell man to be more correct, came to pick us up and took us around on a personal tour. Drove us up and down the Promenade d'Anglais and showed us the nice parts of Nice. The area we were in was very posh... LA style, but French. It was a lot like Venice Beach. We got to touch the French water! I just grazed it with my fingers, cause it was really cold cold cold. Oh and the bell man's name was Eddie. He was nice and a bit of a flirt. He was very handsome, and if he were ten years younger I'd probably jump on him. 

Linda and I bought a bottle of wine each. They were personal size of course. It was a bottle of red wine, the twist off kind. I finished half of my bottle and passed out... wine makes me tired. 

And Eddie taught me that Encueiler means FUCK YOU. :) 

Day 10: Nice to Florence, Italy

The Drive was terrible. It was so long, but we are finnaly in Italy. Passed by Eze, where we stopped by a parfum factory called Fragonard. Parfum is the most potent, then eau de parfum, then eau de toilette. Our parfum tour guide had some crazy lips and I couldn't stop staring at her. Her lipstick was everywhere! 
The smells started to get to me so I had to step outside. How could a parfum factory not have any coffee beans to smell? 

Though the drive was really long, the scenery was the most beautiful of all. There were hills after hills of water and trees. 

We stopped by an "Autogrill." It's a popular fast food/convenience store. Linda and I got a pasta each and a place of spinach. Pretty damn good for fast food. And there were pretty green/blue eyed boys/men there. They were really good lookin'. 

Got to our hotel (Hotel Europa) and it was tiny! Linda and I decided to wash our underwear and it was a good idea at the moment... until we blew out our electrical fuse! We had no power cause we were using too much voltage while we were drying our panties. We had too many hair dryers going on at once.... oops! Linda washed her panties in the sink, and I used the bidet. Though, when I am thinking in retrospect now... that's kind of gross. Washing my panties in the bidet... Yeah... I guess I was desperate! I figured the bidet doesn't get used often because only tourists from other countries stay in hotels... right? ehhhh....

Dinner was a disappointment. The pasta was gross and hard. My portion of fish was meager. Blah. 
Linda and I went to the gelato shop next door, Gelateria Ballerina, and got a flavor called Gelato Rock! It was vanilla with chocolate and nuts and VERY tasty!

The people I'm traveling with are pleasant. There are the young ones who are curious about the world and trying to "find themselves." Then there are the older ones that are going because they figure they'd better do it now or never. And there are the newlyweds ready to get it on in every city. 

And we stopped by the leaning tower of Pisa! I bought a Pinnochio keychain, a pashmina, and a Pisa pin. Seeing it was crazy! Couldn't believe me eyes. The weather was nice today. All I could think about was the line in the Goofy Movie when the guy has a stack of pizza and he says "a leaning tower of cheeeese -ah."