So, I went to Paris this past weekend and it started off pretty poorly. Honestly, I think the trip was doomed from the beginning. After only being there for an hour, we took the metro to the Louvre and it was completely crowded. Everyone was shoving one another to get in, and then suddenly I felt a tug. I am usually cautious about my bag, considering pick-pocketing is such a huge thing in Barca, but I just was worried about getting on the metro. So, I look down and see a hand inside my purse. I yanked it out and shoved the girl. She must have been 14 years old, tops, and she just looked at me and kind of laughed. Are you joking! So, I was so upset. I was crying and so scared to look to see if she got any of my stuff...I had my iPod, passport, camera, and wallet with me, and she could have easily taken any of them. Fortunately, she didn't get anything, thank God. I was so distraught from that, I couldn't even appreciate my surroundings, you know? I was shaking so badly and really just wanted to be in my comfort zone, which is currently Barcelona. After that, a big group of us (about 8 girls) went to the Louvre, but Shanna and I weren't interested in going inside. I like art, but I'm not really one to appreciate it.
So, we made plans with our friends to meet up at the Notre Dame, and Shanna and I went shopping. We seriously went into every single souvenir shop in Paris, it feels like. I ended up finding a few things for family/friends, but nothing special. I was on the search for a Fleur-de-lis ring, but I found everything EXCEPT a ring. I knew I'd regret it if I left without anything, so I bought a cute charm and chain. New necklace for me! We ended up not finding the Notre Dame...I mean, it sounds like it'd be so simple to find. However, we asked about 5 people where it was and NO ONE knew. How does that happen? It's one of the highlights of the city! We walked around and found a cute park.
I bought the best ice cream, to aide myself in feeling better after the pickpocketing incident.
That night, we ended up eating at an Italian restaurant near the Eiffel Tower, and hung out with our waiter (who turned out to be a huge jerk) and drank champagne. It was really fun, and the tower is BEAUTIFUL at night! By that time, the Eiffel Tower was the only good thing about Paris thus far.
The next day, Shanna and I were both pretty over Paris. She had been there before, so she didn't have an agenda. I sure did not either, so we opted for Disneyland Paris! Let me tell you, that instantly made me happy. I am obsessed with all things Disney, so this absolutely made the trip so much better. The park was basically identical to Magic Kingdom in Orlando, but a few of the rides were different. I loved every single minute! After we left the park, we walked over to Disney Village, where there are restaurants, shops, bars, and a movie theater. We ate dinner at Planet Hollywood and I bought the most postcards ever. :) I was a happy camper.
Sunday we woke up late and just took our time getting ready to leave. We had lunch at a really cute French restaurant and then went to the Notre Dame (We actually found it this time!). It was a beautiful cathedral and I loved being able to walk through and see all the windows and paintings. I think it's so incredible that after all this time, the cathedrals are still a huge part of these big cities. I think it shows that religion is still such a huge part in our lives.
We also walked around the outside, and in the back is a cute little park. We then HAD to shop some more, and we couldn't pass up the crepes being sold on every single corner. I am no longer a French Crepe Virgin...Mine was muy delicioso with Nutella (the death of me) and banana. It was fantastic.
From there, we ended up back at the airport just in time for our flight.
Although it may sound like an amazing trip, the first day was such a downer that it was hard to make up for that. I was trying really hard to not let that ruin my entire trip, but when multiple people [try to] pickpocket you, burps in your face, elbows you, pepper sprays your metro card, and tries to take advantage of you...in one day...that pretty much ruins everything. Luckily I came home safe and sound, and I know what NOT to do on trips, from now on. Maybe someday I can go back to Paris when it's warm and pretty, and it can redeem it's poor reputation in my mind. We'll see.
For the last week, the Carnaval celebration has been going on all throughout Europe and Latin/South America. Barcelona itself does not celebrate, but all the cities surrounding it do. It's basically an excuse to dress up, drink up, and go crazy! I dressed up like a ballerina, and Shanna was a devil.
We met some friends and hopped on the train to Sitges. It was so crazy. I have never seen so many people dressed up, inebriated, and ready to party. Seriously, I don't even think we walked two streets in the four hours we were there. It was so crowded, everyone was pushing everyone, and no one was getting anywhere. We saw all sorts of costumes like Mario, PacMan, Barbie, and Ronald McDonald. It's funny to see costumes that are so familiar...ie: Joker, Batman, Saw...I took TONS of pictures (too many to post them all), and had a really great time.
Class yesterday, however, did not happen. I was so tired, all I wanted was to stay in my bed. So I did, for the most part. Last night CEA hosted an event to learn how to cook Tapas! It was soo fun. About eight of us made four different dishes: Spanish omelet, roasted sausage and peppers, garlic mushrooms, and fried potatoes with two different kinds of sauces. It was basically a carb-fest, and we ate every ounce of what we made! It was really fun to learn about the different foods and how to make them! I feel so accomplished. We also got the recipes, so when I go home I can make Spanish food for my family. YAY!
Today has been a really frustrating day. I was supposed to leave for Italy at 9am, and I caught the 7:15 Aerobus. It took longer than usual, 45 minutes instead of 25-30, so I ran to the self-check in, only to find that my name was not in the system. I had to wait in the LONGEST line, only to find that I am in the completely wrong terminal! I had to walk all the way to another terminal (about a 5-10 minute walk) and they had JUST closed the gate. UGH! It was so frustrating and I feel awful because my friend that I am visiting was supposed to meet me at the airport. So, I tried calling him, and my phone won't let me call him. I had to buy another ticket, 111euro, to leave later today. I took the Aerobus home (luckily it's cheap!) and had to go to class. This time, I'm leaving way way earlier, just in case, and I'll just sit in the airport and read or something. It's so frustrating when a day starts out like that because then for the rest of the day you feel like everything goes downhill. I guess it's one of those days/weeks/months! Haha. Seriously though, it's frustrating and I hope he understands. I feel awful! Now I have to add going to the phone place next week onto my agenda. I only have Tuesday, Wednesday, and some of Thursday before I jet off to Germany. Man, this traveling stuff can be so overwhelming. Luckily I will get to see a familiar face tonight, as I have known Taso since 8th grade. It will be good to spend time with someone who truly knows me.
Speaking of which, I am so excited because my dad bought a flight to come to London on April 30 (my layover destination), and we are going to spend 5 days touring London! I am so excited, especially since London has definitely been my favorite city so far. I am also so happy because I didn't expect my dad to actually follow through with it! Money is definitely an issue for our family, so I am so grateful he went ahead and booked it. I have been really sad lately when I hear of people's parents coming to visit. I know it wasn't really an option for them to visit (because of my mom), but I still wish it could have happened. It would be fun to give them a tour of the city and show them what I see and do every day. Oh well, I am just grateful that my sister and John are visiting in April, and now I get to hang out with my dad in London! That's a close second to my mom and dad visiting here. :)