An Irish Adventure

Did you know I used to be an Irish step dancer?

That, fueled by David’s Irish background, is what led to our choice of Ireland for our next vacation. Dave and I also wanted an outdoor vacation, full of scenic landscape and far-out places.

And, landscape there was – lots of it.  Green pastures, sheep, cows (so many cows), and goats roaming the far hillsides. The views seemed endless; from mountains, to hills, to valleys, to ocean views, you could get every view you’d need.

We started the trip in Dublin, picking up our rental car. Of course, me being me, I just figured it would be equipped with GPS. Think again, Jordan. Time to pull out the ol’ map.

Thankfully, we navigated the new lanes, followed the paper route and, of course, asked the locals when we were in desperate need of help.

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From Dublin, we drove to Kinsale, Cork in southern Ireland. It’s a small port town just south of the city Cork. We walked about the town center and visited some local shops – like Koko’s Chocolate!

We checked in with our Airbnb host, Gillian, who was all about the environment, showing us how we should compost through our stay.

There were four different bins we were to put our food in — cooked food, raw food, plastics and paper, and (unfortunate) general waste that didn’t fit any of those requirements.

Our room was an “Olde Cow Stall” that was converted into a living area. It was an absolutely beautiful space full of natural light and a wonderfully cozy bed.

Our first night out we had a Kinsale Pale Ale and fish and chips, caught locally. It was incredibly tasty.

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We also visited a fort while we were in Kinsale called Charles Fort. It’s open now as one of the surviving 17th century star-shaped forts that was in use until 1922.

From Kinsale, we drove to a little town called Lahinch, near the city of Doolin on the west coast.

We chose the Lahinch because of it’s proximity to the Cliffs of Moher, Ireland’s most visited natural landscape.

The history of the Cliffs started about 320 million years ago, when weather in that area was much warmer, with the cliffs situated at the head of a large river. The river’s end brought sand and mud to the mouth, eventually creating what we know today as the Cliffs of Moher. The name comes from a ruined fort  “Mothar” which was demolished and made to be a signal tower during the Napoleonic wars.

The path along the cliffs are quite terrifying. After a certain point, the Visitor Centre ends it’s path and goes straight into a self-guided path.

It turns from a paved path to a dirt path, just along the edge of the cliff, with no barriers or nets just-in-case. It’s truly untouched, but dangerous, as there have been accidents from slipping.

As you may assume from the photos below, Dave had no fear. Look at him go!

From our path along the cliffs, we headed back to Dublin. We stopped in for a cup of coffee and wifi to find our way to our Airbnb and to get ready for a cultural heritage tour of Dublin.

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I would be remiss to mention that Guinness tastes wonderful. Foamy and rich, it tastes like you might as well be sipping on a glass of cold chocolate milk.

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Speaking of chocolate, we also found a “Chocolate Cafe” named Butler’s, which we had to take a photo with because it’s David’s namesake, Butler.

Saint Patrick’s Cathedral was also magical.

Ireland was beautiful and full of significant history. It’s ever-changing landscape and political unrest was interesting to learn about.

If headed to Ireland any time soon, I encourage you to rent a car to travel. By car, you can truly get the feel of the land, even though it can be terrifying to the seasoned American driver.

Try all the beers, eat all the fish, and pack wool socks.

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Sweet San Fran | stories and more

San Fransisco, California.

I traveled to San Francisco, California knowing, and dreaming, up a few things.

One, I knew there was a bridge. Two, I knew there was a recently opened Museum of Modern Art. Three, I knew that somewhere (over the rainbow) there were redwood trees.

During my trip I discovered all these things. The Golden Gate Bridge, I learned, eluded to the name of The Golden Strait, the narrow entrance between the Pacific Ocean and the San Francisco Bay. The Golden Strait was named by U.S. Army Officer John C. Frémont who first discovered it in 1846. They first discovered gold in California just two years later. However, its an orange bridge and not named because of it’s color or because of the gold they found. It was actually written in Frémont’s memoir that the strait looked similar to the Golden Horn harbor in then Byzantium (now modern-day Istanbul). Read more here.

SFMOMA.

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art had been closed for three years until its grand re-opening this past May. The museum has expanded and now offers free admission to people 18 years and younger.

I admired it’s new architecture and the incredible magnitude of each exhibit. David, my boyfriend, and I started at the top floor and worked our way down. Our favorite part of the museum was the insane vertical garden built just outside the museum walls. I also loved seeing Frida Kahlo’s artwork and the work of Rothko as well.

While modern art to some can be tasteless, and I admit it can be hard to understand at times, the SFMOMA did a wonderful job combining all persons tastes no matter what artistic background they had.

The Redwoods.

While the Redwoods are all over California, some people only recognize it as one “redwood forest.” Actually, I was one of those people. I educated myself and learned that California has 40 miles of coastal parks that house and protect these magical redwood trees.

Redwood trees are known for their width and height. Though, they are not necessarily the biggest. Sequioa trees are larger in width but not by height.

Many people wonder how they grow so tall. Redwoods have thrived in a foggy, wet, and dark climates for thousands of years, and are grown in rich, deep soil. They also were known to have some fire damage (thought to be caused by lightning) which caused burls in the tree (a trees scar tissue) that helped the trees grow even more. When we were in California, we visited the Armstrong Redwoods State Reserve. We read about the fire damage on the trees but they mentioned that is was not recent (not in any written memory, that is).

I also read on the National Park Service website that over 96% of the original old-coast redwood trees were logged. During the gold rush, lumberjacks and gold diggers made their way out to the coast to dig for gold and to chop these big baby redwoods down (to build their booming society). It wasn’t until many of the trees were logged that they were realized as precious and valuable trees. In the 1920’s many people then began to try to preserve these trees, such as the 1918 Save-The-Redwoods League.

The park that we visited, the Armstrong Redwoods State Reserve, was named after Colonel Armstrong. He was a successful army official and business man, owning and operating a sawmill site in California after his move from Ohio (WOO!). He later learned of his love of forestry and the redwoods in specific.

In 1878 he gifted 440 acres of what is now known as the Armstrong Redwoods State Reserve to his daughter, Kate Armstrong, to help make his dream of an arboretum. After many failed attempts and trials, and even after his death, in 1917 the now Armstrong Redwoods State Reserve was bought by the County of Sonoma. It officially opened as the Armstrong Redwoods State Reserve in 1936 and in 1964 it was finally deemed a State Natural Reserve. You can read more about the reserve here.

That a Wrap (up).

Our trip to California was inspiring and informative. The price of living, however, (around $5,000 a month to rent an apartment in downtown San Fran) coupled with its crippling homeless situation showed some of Sweet San Fran’s troubles. I wanted to so badly help the many people that were laying on the street and in the subway, but didn’t know how.

Thank you for reading along and I hope that my informative trip to California may help yours.

Cheers. See you on the next adventure,

Jordan | The Tart Peach

Senior Recital and the End of College

Hi!

Sorry I haven’t seen your eyes in awhile. It’s been pretty busy over here on my end. I’m approaching the end of my college career and just finished my senior voice recital.

Since my last post (in December) my hair has faded from it’s pink hue, I’ve traveled with my University Chapel Choir to perform at Carnegie Hall, and I’ve been pondering what to do with my life as this chapter comes to a close.

Bittersweet, sure. But, it was a lot of hard work, sweat and tears (literally). After I finished my recital last night, I realized that this chapter of my vocal journey has come to a close. After training with my vocal professor, Elise, for 6 years of my life it’s hard to see what I’ll be doing every Wednesday at 3:00p.m. anymore. But, I think I have a lot to look forward to.

To answer your question, “What are you going to do with a Bachelors in Music?” well, I’m uncertain. I think that’s okay, too. If I was so certain about what I was going to do, I wouldn’t have the opportunity to fail, to fumble, to search, and to enjoy the “being lost” part of my 20s. I’m okay with that.

I would like to still dream of becoming a Creative Director of a Museum abroad while working in a café on weekends and singing at jazz bars at night. A girl can dream, right?

To all my fellow up-and-coming graduates, let’s go change the world. The world needs our bright, creative minds and LET’S GIVE IT TO THEM. Who cares if we don’t have money… right? We can make it… sooner or later. Let’s not get bogged down about finances, instead, let’s get excited about all the places we could go.

Here are some pictures of my New York Trip and Senior Recital. LOVE YOU.

 

My senior Recital was March 22 @ 6:30pm. There should be a video up of the show soon, and I will BE SURE to post it to this page and any/all social media. If you came, I LOVE you… and if you didn’t… well, sit back, relax with a glass of wine and make sure to watch the YouTube video 😉

 

Austin, Texas: Keepin’ it Weird

For those of you who follow my often odd adventures, this weekend I went to Texas’ Capital, Austin. I attended a College Media Convention and went to my share of fun sessions where campus university advisers from around the nation pumped my mind full of cool, helpful new tools.

We flew American Airlines and stayed at Hilton, Austin. (Just in case you were wondering) 😉 I took a photo of the sunrise on the plane and the view from our hotel.

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Overall, Austin is weird. I realize their slogan is “Keep Austin Weird”‘ but, it’s not far from the truth.

After we landed and, since we were hungry, we stopped at a local hipster joint. I say hipster because, well, there are so many hipsters here. And honestly, if you’re not hipster, you’re in extreme poverty. The sadness sort of overwhelmed me when we first got to Austin. Our hotel is just around the corner from a Center for Homelessness. Dozens of families, couples, and singles sat outside of the center.

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Cenote was probably the most hipster eatery I’ve been to. It was the urban, Mexican restaurant that is half outdoor half indoor. I don’t remember the name of the dish (sorry, I’m a bad person) but, it was egg, tortilla strips, cheese, tomatoes, onions and avocado. It was NUM. If you’re ever in Austin, check out Cenote!

Afterwards, we went on a walk around town. They have super rad street art!

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Later on in the evening, we headed out to visit some local bars. (I am, indeed, 21). One of our favorites was The White Horse, where they played live jazz and dancers painted the town red.

We also stopped at some trailer trucks… not a cart, not a bus, not just any old “food truck” … a trailer truck. I munched on some good ol’ deep friedness.

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Here are some other lovely shots of Austin; warning, Voodoo Doughnuts included.

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Voodoo Dougnuts were great, the rain is pretty and street art is a thing in Austin. A big thing.

And on my flight back to my hometown (music pun), I snapped these babies..

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These shots were taken over Lake Michigan.

Overall, Austin really did stay true to their slogan, “Keep Austin Weird.” I told my family that I wouldn’t personally choose to live in Austin. While I did have a good time, I would only go to visit and not to stay.

Thanks, Texas and #collegemedia15 for providing me with a bunch of knowledge and the awesome chance to explore the south.

What I Learned From Being Away From Home

I left for a Summer camp job in New Hampshire this Summer and couldn’t wait to get away. I thought by branching out and leaving behind the “norm” my view on life and my abilities would change.

Well, they did. But with change came learning, as with all new things. You can apply any of these points to a hard decision or a difficult road. Mine happened to take place in New Hampshire.

1. Being away from home was difficult.

I missed the little things; the convenient things. The Target right next to my house and the bike trails that I could ride for miles and miles. Because of my allergies, I got extremely sick while at camp and was sick throughout the entire duration. My sinuses were miserable and I was unable to hop in the car and go to the nearest CVS. Where we were, the nearest supermarket was 25 minutes away. I learned not to take things for granted.

2. I missed my family.

You think you wouldn’t, but you do. You would think after all that nagging and bickering and complaining you’ve endured that at long last you’d be free. But, I missed that. I missed my sister challenging me, stealing her lipstick and sharing stories of the day.

3. I missed the freedom of choice.

Being away from home you would think you had more freedom; but, with freedom comes more responsibility. I took a leap of faith and traveled to the White Mountains of New Hampshire not knowing a soul who was going to be there. I thought I could do what I wanted and be who I wanted. But, I guess that just goes with the saying.

I did grow, however.

1. I met new people and learned how to live by myself.

Being transplanted into a completely new environment gives you the opportunity to start over; to re-evaluate things you used to think about yourself and maybe old habits that are brought to the surface. The people I met were extraordinary; Scottish, British, Irish, and people from all over the country traveled to this camp to work and have an awesome summer. I got to know them and they got to know me. I learned new ways of working with people and engrossed myself in the joys of making new friendships.

2. I learned to handle things my way.

Everything I did was my choice and directly effected me. I wasn’t reaching for the phone to call my mom 12 hours away for a decision I had to make right there. It was hard; believe me. For someone who never lived outside her own state, I was independent the moment I stepped on that New Hampshire soil and had to worry about myself. I learned how to make harder decisions and finish larger tasks.

3. I got to travel and experience completely new things.

Going along with handling things my own way, I got the chance to travel a bit around the New England area. Visiting places like Burlington, Vermont and Hanover, New Hampshire. I jumped off cliffs and (thankfully) found my way back up them. Buying cool new jewelry, experiencing nature and all the new culture excited me.

 

So, while my experience was a bit tougher than most and the circumstances (living in a service-less/wifi free camp in New Hampshire) were way WAY different… If you get the chance to leave where you are most comfortable… do it. It may be hard, but looking back on the person you were and the person you are now will make all the difference in the world.

Journals From Madrid

Journals From Madrid: the 4th and final blog post from Europe in Madrid, Spain.

This blog post is a set of four blog posts titled “Journals From…” geared to give you a little taste of my time in Europe. Some information in the post below was taken from my real-life diary.

The third post can be found here; http://bit.ly/1KlBhOi

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Wednesday, 5/20/15

After trains, planes, boats and some wicked subway rides, I’m about finished with my European exploration. (Cue sad face) 😦

As I’m writing this journal, I’m listening to Spanish music and reading a Magazine about Barcelona. It’s about a 2 hour train ride to Madrid from Barcelona and we’re about half way in. The magazine below shows how vibrant and colorful Spain is. The accompanying view is beautiful, although extremely hard to capture on camera.

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After the ride, we’ve arrived in Madrid! And, it’s awesome. My first impression is that it feels like a cross between Paris and Barcelona; modern buildings, rich culture and the occasional famed monument. The people here speak Spanish only and not the language of Catalan/Castilian as they did in Barcelona.

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After we got to Madrid and settled in our hotel, we headed to the Museo del Prado. I stayed and enjoyed the magnitude of artwork for a couple of hours and then purchased coffee afterwards.

The Prado was huge. It’s easy to get lost; much like the Louvre in Paris. The Prado is the main Spanish national art museum, housing the art work of Velazquez, Goya, El Greco and probably the artist I found most interesting… Bosch.

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This is the San Jerónimo el Real Church adjacent the Museum. It’s stunningly beautiful in person and in photo. Dear future husband… wedding here and a party in the gardens afterwards? 😉

Barb, who I had mentioned a little in my past blog post (who I ate dinner in Barcelona with), and I went to the Madrid Botanical Gardens just down the road from the Prado and it was beautiful (it was 1 Euro 50 for a student).

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Afterwards, we all had dinner as a group; Mediterranean salad, duck and potatoes with a Chocolate moose cake for dessert. I ate pretty much all of it and it was muy delicioso. We were on the top floor of the restaurant and when we were finished we got to listen in on an opera performance that was going on downstairs.

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After we had dinner we went on a guided rooftop tour of Madrid.

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We had drinks at a little rooftop restaurant called The Secret Garden, went on the tippy top of a central mall and then ended on a rooftop club.

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This is the Secret Garden rooftop. Very peaceful and a lovely place for a drink.

It ended up being so cold on top the “club” building that the owner gave us free drinks; a special cocktail. It was very coconut-y. But still, the view from the top was astounding.

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Overall, I really enjoyed my first night in Madrid. ❤

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Thursday, 05/21/15

Today is our last full day in Madrid and the end of my adventure.

We had breakfast in the morning and then we were on our way for a panoramic sightseeing tour of Madrid. We got to see the Egyptian Temple, similar to the one at the New York One Met Museum, and a bull fighting arena along the way.

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Then we went to the Royal Palace of Madrid or The Palacio Real de Madrid where we weren’t allowed to take many photos. I shot a couple good ones along the way, though.

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The palace was massive and extraordinary. We learned a lot about the history and culture of Spain and Madrid in specific. The royal family no longer lives in this palace, as it is open to the public, but they do visit occasionally when welcoming guests of other countries, having large dinner parties or for the coronation of a new King.

After the 2 hour visit, I headed on my own to find Casa del Libro, a well-known Spanish book store. Along the way, I tested my Spanish speaking skills talking to natives and store owners. I bought a bilingual book and a Julio Cortázar book for David.

After, I traveled back to the hotel by myself. It was about a 25 minute walk. Note to self: try not to travel alone by yourself nearing night in a foreign country (it wasn’t the best of my ideas, but hey, I’m still here, right?)

After a small lunch, I went to the Sophia Reina museum adjacent to my hotel. I got to see the very famous Picasso painting “La Guernica.” The painting was much larger than I imagined and it’s meaning could be picked at and debated over for months; war, death, hope… We couldn’t take photos of Picasso’s work, but I got to snap a few of Dali’s.

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I entered the museum for free because it was the last couple hours of the day (they do this most weekdays, so make sure you check!)

When I finished looking at Dali, Picasso and the likes I headed off to my first Flamenco dancing show in downtown Madrid. We took the subway and emerged into the nightlife.

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Typically, the night doesn’t start until later on because it gets so hot in Spain. People eat dinner around 10 p.m. and then go and have drinks and party until 2:00 a.m or 3:00 a.m. in the morning. We went to Flamenco around 10:30 p.m. at night and were given 2 glasses of wine for drinks during the show.

The night ended on a high note (literally) and we took a short subway ride back to our hotel. Tomorrow we wake up and start our long journey back to the States.

Adios, Madrid. Buenos noches y gracias para tu amor…

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Journals From Barcelona

Journals From Barcelona: the 3rd blog post from Europe in Barcelona, Spain.

This blog post is a set of four blog posts titled “Journals From…” geared to give you a little taste of my time in Europe. Some information in the post below was taken from my real-life diary.

The second post can be found here; http://bit.ly/1JqOXad

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05/18/15, Monday

Dear Diary,

Today we did so much in Barcelona. As I write this, I’m proud to say my tan is on point now…(hehe). Well, at least for my upper half, anyway.

We started out with breakfast and a guided tour of Barcelona. During this tour, we had the chance to see some of the famed artist’s Gaudi’s unbelievable architectural works.

One of them was Park Guell… one of the most (not exaggerating) stunning places I’ve ever visited. Built to be a small community, Park Guell is nature in architecture. That was his goal, after all.

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The serpent bench within the park was magnificent and the view from the top was amazing. The bench is the longest in the world and is the most ergo-dynamic.. built to fit the body and the arch of the back. To be honest, it was the most comfortable bench I’ve ever sat on.

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You can see how the bench can be comfortable; the curved line in the middle fits the arch of your back and the little circular blobs massages your booty 😉 Also, I caught this bird mid-flight and I think this is a dope photo. Whaaaaaaa.

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We also had the chance to visit the Sagrada Familia, to which my mouth dropped to the floor as we passed. It’s only partially finished; its expected completion date isn’t for another 11 years in 2026. At that point, it will have taken 100 years in total to complete.

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After the tour in the morning, we had Paella for lunch and then took a train to the city of Sitges just off the coast of Barcelona.

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Sitges was a quaint little town away from the hustle and bustle of the city.. where, that tan came from I had mentioned earlier 😉 I got to swim in the Mediterranean (super salty, btw).

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For dinner we had tapas and sangria (nom) in Sitges. The weather was just perfect and, not that it matters buuuttt if you’re wondering, it WAS a topless beach and was my first ever visiting one.

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After a long, sandy train ride back to Barcelona, we called it a night and waited for another full day.

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05/19/15, Tuesday

Today was one of my favorite days. We went to the markets in Barcelona and shopped around. It was rainy, though, so the weather wasn’t on our side.

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After we shopped at the food markets, we had lunch at a restaurant called Piscolabis and we had tapas as a group (LOTS of seafood, hehe).

After that, I ran over to the Picasso museum.. and let. me. tell. you… it was awesome.

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We got to see some of Picasso’s earliest works through his Blue Period. And, as an extra special exhibit, we got to see the contrast between the work of Salvador Dali and Picasso.

Admission was free for University students but I bought a lot of souvenirs … 😉

After that I went and enjoyed lasagna and a mojito with some friends in downtown Barcelona. We talked about life, love and family.

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We took the subway home and when we got back to the hotel a nice couple sat and shared a Magnum chocolate ice cream bar with me to which I am truly grateful for. It was THE BEST ice cream.. and can be purchased in the states too, actually.. hehe.

Today was our last day in Barcelona.. I really, super enjoyed myself. Adios, Barcelona! On to Madrid…

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Up next: … and, last but not least, is the last post, “Journals from Madrid..”

Journals From Provence

Journals From Provence: the 2nd blog post from Europe in Avignon, France.

This blog post is a set of four blog posts titled “Journals From…” geared to give you a little taste of my time in Europe. Some information in the post below was taken from my real-life diary.

The first post can be found here; http://bit.ly/1KEkmo7

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05/15/15, Friday

Dear Diary,

Today was mostly a travel day! We traveled to a hotel in the middle of a walled castle; the City of Avignon. It was my first time ever traveling on a high speed train; the views were spectacular.

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When we finally arrived to Avignon, we had to wheel luggage on cobblestone for what felt like half a mile to our hotel right smack dab in the middle of the city. It felt super authentic though, of course 😉

Our hotel is right across from the Palais des Papes, or the Popes Palace, where in the 14th Century popes existed separately from the Vatican in Rome. The inside was massive; we got to see where the popes lived, ate and (of course…) prayed.

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While inside the Popes’ Palace, we went on a guided audio tour to which I just walked by myself. It was actually quite peaceful.

The area around our hotel and the Popes Palace was also beautiful. More modernized, though.

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We also had a half-day to do some shopping and walking. I bought my younger sister Lavender soap at this brilliant little soap shop in the city. If you’re wondering, everything here actually does smell like Lavender; even the towels in our hotel… hehe.

For dinner, we headed back to our hotel and had chicken and potatoes; one of my favorite meals of the trip.. super tasty. (We also had a a little dibble of wineeee) 😉

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Avignon is very peaceful compared to Paris; quiet but still beautiful.

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05/16/15, Saturday

Bonjour Diary,

Today we woke up and had breakfast downstairs which consisted of a coissant and nutella, yogurt/granola and coffee. Everything is very sweet here, not like a McDonalds Sausage, Bacon and Cheese Breakfast Sandwich, for sure. 😉

After breakfast, we went by bus to visit Pont du Gard, a Roman Aqueduct made over 2,000 years ago. It was built in under 5 years and the construction was based solely on the rocks holding themselves together. It is a top the river Gard or over the Valley Gardon, meaning Garden.

It’s so beautiful; mystic and embodied by an all-knowing sort of glow. We got the chance to walk inside the Aqueduct and the view from the tippy top was amazing.. well, extraordinary even. It had a mystic, surreal look. The wind was so strong it took my breath away (literally).

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And this is the view from the top…

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On the next stop, we journeyed to the city of Nimes. We learned about wine and the making of it on the bus ride there. We also learned about Champagne and olive oil.

Nimes is known as the French Rome, where at the time, Romans came and built the Nimes Arena where we visited and I learned about bull fights and gladiators.

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Nimes is also known for the first making/production of Blue Jeans … “Blu de Nimes” Blue Denim. WAAAT?

I felt very Roman.. but also very French.

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05/17/15, Sunday

Today was mostly a travel day to the city of Barcelona, Spain. WEE! Or, I mean Oui!

We stopped in the city of Carcassone in southern France on our way there. Carcassone has a neat back story, though but basically it’s a medieval castle where the well known “Robin Hood” was filmed. I liked it, especially where the name comes from; Carca- queen of the city, Sone- bell.

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When we finally got to Barcelona after hours of driving by bus, we got the chance to visit Downtown Barcelona. Barcelona is so very colorful and the people are vibrant and alive, even at 2 a.m. I’ve been trying to speak in Spanish as much as possible.

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Even the Subway was colorful.

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I’m excited for Barcelona.

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Up next is the third post “Journals From Barcelona” ❤

Journals From Paris

Bonjour, Peaches!

I JUST got back from a 12 day trip to France and Spain (phew) put on by EF Study Tours. I had a wonderful (emphasis on wonderful) time; while I was there, I kept a Journal that I wrote in each night to help keep the days straight.

This blog post is a set of four blog posts titled “Journals From…” geared to give you a little taste of my time in Europe. Some information in the post below was taken from my real-life diary.

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Dear Diary,

05/13/15 Day One

Today is my first day in Paris. I’m sleep deprived and didn’t sleep at all on the 8 hour flight over, but we have a full day ahead of us.

We landed in Paris at 8 a.m. and I went directly to the restroom. Each bathroom stall had its own light and was super fancy. I guess I decided to leave mine off.

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I thought the colors of the bathroom were pretty rad, too.

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Walking down the streets of Paris is amazing. Everything is so opulent and beautiful- white limestone. The way they speak is so romantic; it’s like every word has a purpose.

We visited the Notre Dame Cathedral, the small garden beside it and the bell tower.

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The garden was magnificent, too. The people all looked so in love. Maybe they were in love with each other or maybe the city; either way, they looked like they were filled with immense happiness.

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The view from the top was also magnificent. We climbed step upon steps to get to the tippy top, from which views from all around the city could be seen. I say 8 Euros well spent for this sight.

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Paris is a beautiful city.

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05/13/15, Day Two

Dear Diary,

I woke up after 10 beautiful hours of (much needed) sleep. I’m feeling well rested. Jet lag is real, though. Really.

Today I learned that I really enjoy saying “Bonjoir” or “Bonsoir” to people and having them automatically and instinctively reply back “Bonjour, madame” or “Bonsoir, madame.” I don’t know, it’s something that I’m not used to. I love it. I guess I’m feeling a little more French than usual 😉

We also went on a 3 hour guided tour of the city, where we learned a bunch of cool facts about the history of the city. We stopped and looked at where Napoleon died (now where some victims of war live the rest of their lives) and the Eiffel Tower.

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Seeing the tower from a far and up close is so neat. By day the tower is amazing, but by night it’s even more spectacular. The light show at 10 p.m. is definitely a must see.

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Then, by night..

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We also visited the Louvre, which was WAY WAY WAY larger than I ever imagined. The glass structured triangle is just one of the entrances to the museum, with the buildings surrounding it housing all the art.. and I mean A LOT of art. You’d have to spend every day there for 2 months to see each work.

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I still think Paris is amazing.

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05/14/15, Day Three

Today was the day we visited Versailles Palace!

But, in the morning we visited the Catacombes. We arrived at 8am when it opens at 10 a.m. usually. We were the first ones in line, definitely. It cost 10 Euros. I thought historically it was very interesting to see, but it was creepy, overall. Lots and lots (emphasis on lots) of bones. Lots.

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On the flip side, Versailles was AMAZING! I have never seen something built with such talent; it is so well designed that I remained wide-eyed and in awe.

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Tomorrow we travel to Avignon, France, to visit a walled city and explore.

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Paris in three days. Provence in two. Barcelona in three and Madrid in two.

Stay tuned for the following journal entries and a look into other spectacular cities.

Up next: Journals From Provence.

Penix in Paris; A Trip Abroad

Hi, peaches!

I have three words for you… Penix in Paris.

Well, I’ll be in and around France and Spain (AH!). How have you been? I haven’t posted in a while annndddddd I’m sorry about that. My b. My Saturdays’ (SAS’s) have been crazy but I haven’t had the chance to pull out my camera and snap pics for The Tart Peach (I’m sorry, Xander). I DO, however, have some cool news.

I’m LEAVING FOR EUROPE IN LESS THAN 30 DAYS. (cue excited but nervous screaming).

I’ve wanted to go abroad for a long time now and found the opportunity through EF College Tours to take a 12 day, all inclusive, trip to Paris, Provence, Barcelona and Madrid.

I plan on blogging/journaling and taking LOTS of pictures. Penix in Paris…am I right?

I leave May 11th! I’ll be traveling with three awesome girls, Shawntel and Megan (Capital students) and our Capital tour guide, Holly. We’re going with a couple other universities as well, so we won’t just be ridin’ solo.

Our itinerary is JAM PACKED and I’m excited. Here is what it looks like;

  • Day 1, May 11: Fly overnight to France
  • Day 2: Paris
    • Arrive in Paris
    • Take a walking tour of Paris
      • Latin Quarter
    • Visit Notre Dame Cathedral
    • Enjoy dinner in the Latin Quarter
  • Day 3: Paris
    • Take a guided tour of Paris
      • Place de la Concorde
      • Champs-Élysées
      • Arc de Triomphe
      • Eiffel Tower
      • Les Invalides
    • Visit the Louvre
  • Day 4: Paris
  • Versailles
  • Day 5: Avignon
    • Travel by TGV train to Avignon
    • Take a tour of Avignon
    • Visit the Palais des Papes
  • Day 6: Nimes
    • Take an excursion to Nimes
    • Visit the Nîmes Ampitheater
    • Visit Pont du Gard
      • Mémoires de Garrigue
  • Day 7: Carcassonne + Barcelona
    • Travel to Carcassonne
    • Take a tour of Carcassonne
    • Continue to Barcelona
  • Day 8: Barcelona
    • Take a guided tour of Barcelona
      • La Sagrada Familia
      • Montjuïc Hill
      • Barrio Gótico
      • Barcelona Cathedral
    • Visit Parque Güell
    • Barcelona Flamenco Evening
  • Day 9: Barcelona
    • Enjoy free time in Barcelona
    • Dalí Museum in Figueres
  • Day 10: Madrid
    • Travel by AVE train to Madrid
    • Take a walking tour of Madrid
    • Visit the Prado
  • Day 11: Madrid
    • Take a guided tour of Madrid
      • Plaza Mayor
      • Puerta del Sol
    • Visit the Royal Palace
    • Toledo
  • Day 12: Depart for home

OKAY! That’s what I’ll be doing. I’m pumped. PIPin.. (Penix In Paris’n)

Then, after that trip, I have some other BIG and exciting news to tell you about. Stay tuned.

Love, JP