Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Sunday, April 12, 2009
Well, God really just worked this one out. Andrew, Ryan, Markus, and I just went with the flow (more or less). Flew into Milan, only to leave on that train to Monterosso, Cinque Terre. Oh how wonderful it was. We hiked through all five towns, seeing some of the extravagant and visual stimulating nature in the world. So wonderful. Besides the tranquility of the nature, the little towns rocked our socks. World’s best gelato in Corniglia. We felt “five steps closer to the Good Lord”- Porter Frasier. It was definitely a euphoric experience. We then proceeded to have two great dinners as well (and the best shrimp ravioli on the planet). Couldn’t ask for more. Off to Florence.
Lost my jacket at the restaurant the night before, so we wandered down to see if somehow, someway it would be there. There was a strange Italian man outside and I told him the deal, first English, then Spanish, and he finally caught on. Then he proceeded to inform me that the tiny little old lady walking up at 9 in the morning was the owner. She got my jacket and with no time to spare we caught our train. God is good.
We then went to Pisa on our way to Florence, because well, you have to. It was chock full of awkward tourist posing, and it cracked me up. Lets get out of here! Then we arrived in Florence and we were greeted by some friends who took us to their place to stay, for free! We did all Florence had to offer, it was really wonderful catching up with the Clemson crew, and meeting the Clayton family as well (great folks). I saw enough Renaissance art to blow my brains out, although it was appreciated. We also got janked into buying scam gelato. I asked for a small and the man gave me a mountain of gelato and charged me nine euro. I almost proceeded to throw it back at him in my outrage, but when in foreign parts I have to be careful. We met lots of interesting people, including a child prodigy from Seattle named Caedyn, whose parents are in a Heart Tribute Band! Very sweet girl, and a goofy fam for sure. Hooray for washed up tribute bands. Power to the people. Great dinners, great company again, and I can’t really ask for any more.
Well, caught the slow train to Roma. It was a beautiful ride through Tuscany. We got off the train and went straight to the Vatican. It lived up to all the hype. Go and see for yourself, I can’t describe it and do it justice. Couldn’t take pictures of the Sistine Chapel… so just google it. Next day we did the whole coliseum bit. So solid! Then as we were getting a tour of the Roman Forum and ruins, our Australian tour guide David got arrested. Bummer man. We then ventured to meet back up with friends after they got out of their architecture class. Oh, I forgot to mention we also got to stay here free. So huge. Besides that we met some great guys in Eric, Allen, and John (Giovanni). Pretty cool how you can just meet people and already feel like we are pretty tight. I guess doing things on strange terms in Italy will do the trick. Then a long tour to see every site in Roma, and bam wind up with another great idea, brie and pancetta pizza. We about lost it. All has to come to an end. If you thought this was remotely interesting, then great, because it was better than this. If you didn’t, then… it was better than this so there is still hope. Well folks, that’s all I got.
James Dolph-Gooford Stark IV
So, let me just start off by saying there is nothing like good company. It has been incredible getting to meet people, people who know people I know, strangers, and the whole bit. We got to meet up with a couple friends dear to our hearts, Graham and Mary. Also it was a pleasure to meet many of Robert’s friends Clemson. What a blast.
Paris never seizes to disappoint. This was my second adventure into this grand city; this time about 4 years older and with a level head (perhaps). If there is a city that I love getting lost in, it is Paris. Eclecticism defined, there is always something new to dive into, whether art, music, gastronomy, or just living. I couldn’t be more content. We dominated crepes and bakeries could not handle us. We could not handle them. The feelings were mutual.
To all the naysayers, I’m here to be a proponent of the Frenchies. They were good to me, and provided an excellent experience for all. No me puedo quejar.
What an excellent time seeing all the sites, and everywhere we walked, I just was taken back by every ambient surrounding. Whether a monument or an office building, it was all so spectacular. Versailles was so peaceful. The ostentatious presentation of royal regalia was ridiculous. The garden is what did me in. I got to pretend to be a professional photographer. Good convo, good café, it was real.
The picture to the right is the typical spirit of protest manifested in the people of Paris---------------------->
Topped things off with a day of just me, wandering and exploring. It was due justice, as a city like Paris deserves that individual attention. I am dying to go back, pronto!
Hooray, Mom’s in town! It was such a blast getting to spend some time with her in Spain; such a surreal experience. I did my best to give her an experience a la Espanola, and I think it lived up to the hype I gave it (minus erasing all of her pictures). We spent the weeke
nd strolling through Granada. What a place. The Alhambra was spectacular, seeing a flamenco show in a cave was as well. Our aimlessness in this far out place really was incredible. I feel like Mom stepped up to the plate when it comes to trying some new stuff, although I couldn’t talk her in to trying the bull’s tail (which is actually pretty solid if you ask me). Also, I got to be her sorta, kinda, not really, licensed guide through Sevilla.
I was really taken back by a couple things: Foremost, this life in Spain, well, has become my reality. It felt like she was infiltrating my reality. I have not forgotten that there is another life at home; I still care about it. It’s more of an issue of knowing that things are going to be okay back home, because I have faith in it.
Secondly, my Mom is rad. She does not get enough credit. She was such a good sport and really willing to go with the flow. It’s cool growing up and to watch your relationship with your parents evolve into more of a friendship. They have done all they can up to this point to raise me well, and now it’s time to let loose; it is up to me. So know we just have a blast and be as nostalgic as ever, just for her sake. Times were good then and they are good now, so let’s keep the jams rolling.
Today I woke up and didn’t feel right. I felt like I was shortchanging people. I can’t look myself in the mirror and try to justify not doing this anymore so here it is. I’m going to give a breakdown of my past few trips. So, lets embark.
Yes, I can now say I have been to Africa. But, I still believe I haven’t really gone to Africa. Let me explain.
Well, crossing the Mediterranean is quite magical, especially if your ferry almost capsizes. As we crossed the Moroccan border from the Spanish protectorate, we picked up an Moroccan tour guide that claimed to be Michael Douglas. Oh man, Michael Douglas was a character, taking us through the cities and teaching this culture to us.
It was so interesting experiencing Arabic culture. I know what all of you are thinking; yes I rode a camel. I ate some interesting foods and had some great tea. The experience was much different than I thought it would be. It was very intriguing getting a peek into an undiscovered world for me.