Wednesday, October 14, 2009


I wish I would keep up with this thing!!! Well since Cinque Terre we've gone on a school field trip to the South. We went to Naples and Sorrento. We were only in Naples for a few hours to go to a Museum. Needless to say we didn't get a very good impression of Naples, as it has a bad rep for being dirty...and we definitely saw that side! Sorrento is along the Amalfi Coast which is absolutely beautiful. As a class we went to a restaurant called The Lemon Tree where you get to actually eat under groves of lemon trees. The restaurant is huge and amazing...the food was excellent. The morning after our class dinner we got to do our own thing and so my roommates and I stayed in Sorrento for the remainder of the weekend. We spent our time wandering, shopping, and sightseeing. I can't wait for my sister and mom to visit Sorrento, they are going to love it! It's a sweet, clean town, full of life and tourists. I ate some great seafood, which you have to do while you're along the coast! We also took a fairy to Capri...STUNNING! Seriously amazing! I think Capri, runs a close second to Cinque Terre for me as being the highlight of my travels thus far! I love being along the water, everything about it, the boats, the waves, the breeze, ugh amazing! Again, my sister and mom are going to drool! We took an hour long boat ride around the island of Capri, sadly the Blue Grotto was closed due to the high tides so we couldn't see that, but when I think of the Mediterranean that is what I pictured, every view was picture perfect. We got to see coral in the ocean (not coral reef coral, like coral coral :) ) On our last day we went to Pompeii. Pompeii it is something pretty interesting to take in, we all enjoyed it. It was pretty crazy seeing Mt. Vesuvius in the distance because it looks so beautiful but it's such a bittersweet site, because you're standing in the exact location where so many lives were devastated! We saw some of the casts of the bodies in the positions that they were in when the smoke hit them from the volcano killing them and also a dog :( It was also pretty remarkable to see how they lived, their homes were amazing, with the frescoes, two-story homes, courtyards, and what-not, they knew what they were doing back in 60 AD. I feel like our log cabins from the 1800's have nothing on them, haha! All in all, it was a great weekend!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Cinque Terre

Oh my GOODNESS! Words cannot describe how incredible Cinque Terre was! I was there a week and a half ago and I still can't get the visions out of my head! Everything is truly breathtaking. I had the best of my life with my roommates, all of 7 of us girls ;) The trip there wasn't such a joy, as we spent the day in Assisi with the our class and then took a midnight train that took 5 hours to get to Cinque Terre. Another downfall to our late night train was that we didn't have assigned seats and so we had to sit in the tiny little was absolutely down right MISERABLE! but I knew we were heading somewhere splendid so we all kept a smile on our faces. None of us got any sleep on the train so we were beat! We arrived at one of the towns (Cinque Terre means 5 towns) at 4 AM, so we were hobos and laid out sheets and slept on the ground in a safe area for about two hours while a couple girls stayed up to make sure we were safe. We all watched the sunrise over a cliff, although I didn't enjoy as much as I probably should have because I'm not much of a morning person, especially when I only got 2 hours of sleep on concrete, hehe! Anyways, we made our way to our hostel, got breakfast, took a short nap and went to the beach for the day and did some shopping! At night we hiked up through the hills behind our hostel and found this amazing lookout point at this community space and just hung out together and talked. The next day was the BEST! We got up early, got fruit, and prepared ourself for our day of hiking. We hiked from town to was absolutely amazzzzing. I honestly cannot describe how amazing it is, and words don't do it justice...

The town of Vernanza was probably my favorite of the 5, although they each have there own character. I would love to go back someday, I really enjoyed going with the girls...we had the best time together and hold a special bond together after that trip :)

Friday, September 25, 2009

Long Overdue!

I apologize for not keeping up with this blog!!! School has been crazy. Anyways, I will update you with what I have been doing. In the beginning it was so relaxing here in Rome, before all of the craziness of school began. There was a night where all of the graphic design students got together on the Spanish steps and just talked and talked for awhile and drank some wine, it was so much fun to sit back and relax and enjoy eachother's company. Afterwards we walked around a bit and checked out the Trevi fountain at night, which is remarkable, it's quite the tourist attraction, which takes away from it, but I could just stand there and stare at the fountain forever dreaming about never leaving is so romantic (I wish I could have seen it with you Blaine, haha). This night seemed to never end as one of the girls met a guy named Alfredo that has a dancing role in a moving that is coming out called "When in Rome" and he told us to find this dance we checked it out. It was crazy! Very cool, but I felt like I was surrounded by the rich and famous of Hollywood or something, I was definitely out of my zone. We didn't stay there much longer than 20 minutes or so before we made the long treck back to our apartment. The next day we went to a beach that is outside of Rome. The name of the beach is Ostia Lido...very pretty. According to Italians they don't consider much of this beach, but just a place to get away to on the weekends, but to me, an Iowan who doesn't have beaches, it was gorgeous :) We had such a great time at the beach we went there again a few days later. Within the next week we did a lot of exploring throughout the city, which was great. For class we were told to go on a scavenger hunt and to document places by taking photos. I roamed around (haha get it?) with Becky and Karen, two of my roommates, and we tooks 7 hours to do it, but we also went into a few stores here and there. One of the reasons we were asked to do this scavenger hunt was for a project, we were to find a location that stuck out to us that we would like to sketch at, in which we found interesting, that we would like to design an identity for. I chose Campo di Fiori. Campo di Fiori is really's an area that is filled with an open market everyday except Sunday in the mornings and early afternoons and then the spaces becomes a social space, full with people of every age eating, drinking, and talking. It is a great area to be in.

Moving first weekend trip was to Tuscany! I went with Laura, another friend and roommate :) We had a ball. Our first stop was to Grosseto. Whoops, was that a mistake! That was definitely my fault, I had found online all of these great things about Grosseto, and how it was so pretty and what not...well, that must be in the country side, because the city was grungy. We stayed in the town for not much longer than an hour to catch a train to Siena :) Siena was BEAUTIFUL! So quaint, yet full of life. We both loved it! The streets were windy and we had a ball shopping our hearts out, even though we didn't anything, but a couple scarves. For dinner we ate a cute restaurant that served us a plate of goodies for free as an appetizer (that was nice!) poor Laura couldn't eat any of it, but the cheese because she is Celiac. I got spicy salami pizza and Laura got an omelet, we both split a half liter of their house red wine. After dinner we walked around a bit, got gelato, which was the best I have yet!!!! I got half cafe (coffee) and half pistachio...delic! Then we stopped in a little, cute bar. There weren't many bars that we saw in Siena. We both had drinks and then went back to our hostel, which was more like an apartment, and got up early the next morning to take pictures around town. We waited around a bit until noon for our train to Florence and rode that for a couple hours. Right away we dropped off our backpacks at the hostel (which was amazing, I highly recommend Plus hostel) and went out to explore. We had a lot on our to do list, not to mention a lot of shopping to do! There were a lot of markets so we hit those up, which was fun, we got to barter :) Laura ended up with a new leather purse the first day, haha. We both fell in love with tons of scarves, they were amazing. After our detour we went to see the David! It was breathtaking, truly. I had no idea he was that large and that perfect. Seriously, it's amazing. The sculpture is so beautiful, we were both in awe. There were also sculptures from Michaelangelo leading up to David that were never finished and get this...they were all laying among ruble until 1860 (or something close to that year)....isn't that crazy?! After the museum we explored some more, saw the Duomo, which was beautiful to say the least, and then grabbed some dinner right across from it so we could oo and awe :) I got the dinner combo of a salad, lasagna, and a glass of house red wine for 9 euro, I thought that was a great deal! After dinner we took a bottle of wine to the famous bridge on Florence that you always think of the Ponte Vecchio, and just sat back and people watched and talked. The next day we went on a wine tour in Chianti wine region, which was incredible!!!! Karen and Becky also joined us for the tour as they were also in Florence for the weekend! The vineyards were beautiful and picture perfect. We got to cut grapes from the vine, all while seeing villages in the distance, truly magical. They fed us and gave us plenty of wine, believe me! We had a blast! When we got back into Florence we rushed back to the markets to look at the leather once again, you see we had been told that Florence is the place for leather. I had been contemplating getting a weekender bag, but I'm so cheap that it took me forever to decide, finally I gave in and I got it! I love it and it makes me think of my grandpa because I always use his old leather weekender bag :)

This coming weekend we are going to Assisi with school and then when we get back the 7 of us from our apartment are going to Cinque Terre! I cannot wait, Cindy always talks about Cinque Terre so I'm excited to see what it's all about!

I will keep you posted with how the trip Carolyn!

Sunday, September 6, 2009


I apologize for taking so long to blog about my first week in Rome! I absolutely adore it here. Every corner you take ultimately takes your breath away by the beauty of the architecture. The people here are so beautiful with their tan skin and flawless sense of style (most). People here also seem to be quite friendly and I have already had a couple older women try talking to me in Italian thinking I was Italian (which was fun). Within the first few days we saw the Pantheon which is stunning, Trajan's column, Trevi fountain, and our studio which is in an old palace. Today we are going on a long walk to document where we have been for a class assignment and along the way we are stopping at a large flea market only open on Sundays. I will blog more later, but for now I will leave you with a cute pic from one of the first days :)

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Fun In Ireland

We saw quite a bit in Ireland, had a few pints, and ultimately got super excited for our next desination...ROMA!

We shopped along Graffton street (which is one of my favorite streets in Dublin)...

We went to the countryside on a bus tour to see the Wicklow region which equals one word GORGEOUS! It was by far my favorite day of the Ireland trip, I loved everything about that day.

Our first stop was Dun Laoghaire-I can definitely imagine myself living in a town just like this, and this is what I kind of picture Maine to be like, a quaint, seaside town...too cute!

Our next stop was a coffee shop that had the most amazing looking pastries but I restrained myself...hard to believe I know! Next we were onto Wicklow!

We saw the spot where they filmed P.S. I Love You :) & Where so many other famous movies were filmed including Braveheart. When we were outside taking pictures it was sooo windy that you wouldn't be able to imagine it! So when we boarded the bus again the driver offered us shots of Jameson, it definitely warmed me up! After we came down from the hills we ate lunch and then headed to an old monastery. The monastery was beautiful. The ruins were incredibly old and set in such a peaceful little village area. Many of the headstones were huge celtic crosses that were just gorgeous! I kept looking for an Egan gravestone, with no luck. I found out that in this particular site the names Bridget & Patrick seemed very prevalent and the last name Byrne was everywhere!

There was also a walking path that lead us to a picturesque lake–it was so calm and beautiful. Words can describe how beautiful it was. There were breathtaking hills in the background, forests behind us, and some ruins around us. I could have camped out there for the night, not to mention that I didn't have to worry about snakes. Oh yea, I didn't mention that yet! No snakes! How perfect is that? There are barely any bugs and no dangerous animals in Ireland and noooo SNAKES! it's amazing, I loved it!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Goodbye America, Hello Dublin!

After we said our goodbyes Bridget, JJ, Ryan and I only had to wait at our gate for probably an hour or so until we boarded or plane and took off around 7:15 Chicago time.The first view we had our Ireland was really cool, except right away JJ said "it looks like Iowa!" I was like how really, how can you say that?!? I noticed that the farmers must divide their land by trees instead of fences, it looks really neat from a distance. Ireland looks like a patchwork quilt made up of kelly green and wheat, seriously.

We made it to Dublin safely Thursday morning at 7:30 am (Dublin time-1:30 am Chicago time) after a short plane ride of only 6 hours and 15 minutes! I was planning on sleeping for the majority of the plane ride because we had a full day of touring ahead of us, but that didn't happen, I didn't sleep a wink!!!

Haha anyways. After we took a bus from the airport to the city centre we walked around to find our hostel. As soon as we got our luggage safely stored away we were off! We jumped aboard a hop on/hop off tour bus that had a character of a bus driver, we loved it!

Driving down the streets was so pretty, everything is pretty magical :)
To list off everything we did within the first day on no sleep was see Temple Bar district, Dublin Castle , Kilmainham Gaol (which is an old jail), Guiness Storehouse and Brewery, Jameson Whiskey Distillery. In between that we stopped at a cafe and for dinner we ate pub in Temple Bar that I had been to my first time that I was in Dublin 4 years ago, it brought back memories!

Here are some random pics of the day...

I ended my day with fish and chips! It was delic! :)

Friday, August 21, 2009

So soon...

I cannot believe that I leave in 5 days! It's so crazy!!! I'm all packed and just getting ready to head back to Dubuque. As far as the packing went–I thought I was going to totally over pack, but now I feel like I under packed, as I almost have a completely empty second bag (I guess that just gives me an excuse to shop more while I'm there!) Blaine and I had a few friends over the other night to grill some hot dogs and burgers and show them our place :) It was fun! (Cindy, I made vodka, soda, and lime, haha) I've said most of my goodbyes so the reality is really setting in!