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Archive for the ‘France’ Category

You know when you live in dorms in college, and people always say, ‘What do you do if the fire alarm goes off and you are in the shower?’ Well, I can give you want I did, apartment style.

So a few days ago, I was in the shower, when the alarm went off. I distinctly remember looking out around the shower curtain and going, ‘Really?!’ So I jump out of the shower, and I’m throwing clothes on while I am still wet, and I’m listening for doors slamming and such and I don’t hear anything. Then the alarm just stops. So I look out my window and the people by the pool aren’t moving and I don’t hear frantic running so I called my friend who is an RA and she told me that since the alarm stopped I didn’t have to go outside. At which point, it was best to hang up and get back in the shower and finish what I had started.

There have been some interesting things I have observed since being in Maryland. To start with, no one uses turn signals. I would greatly appreciate it if they did. Then, things fall off the back of vehicles at an alarming rate. For instance, the other morning, I was waiting at a red light and a fire truck turned and you just see something fall out of the back of it. So the truck stops in the middle of the lane, puts on it’s four ways, someone gets out and puts on a vest, and heads over towards whatever they dropped. And today, I was driving home only to have to go way around a spill from the back of a beer truck. (Yes, it did smell like beer all around.) I also¬†cannot possibly watch the movie¬†Rear Window down here. If you have never seen it, it is a mind messer by Alfred Hitchcock about neighbors in an apartment. That would be a big no right now. And it’s humid here, really humid.

Then I had some food adventures. I made Quinoa Greek Salad for dinner the other night.

 

The recipe is here. But basically, you cook off the quinoa and add a ton of vegetables to it. So I had tomatoes, olives, peppers, and carrots. Then you make the dressing and crumble feta cheese all over it. Quite tasty. And it stays better if you save all the vegetables in little containers so you can make little servings of it when you want it rather than having it all mixed up and needing to eat it right away. (P.S. one cup of uncooked quinoa = a metric ton of cooked quinoa)

I also made frozen yogurt drops.

 

On a suggestion, I took plain Greek yogurt, added honey, put it in a sandwich bag, and cut the end off and made little drops onto a plate. I put cooking spray on the plate first so they wouldn’t freeze to the plate and then I drizzled honey on top of them as well.

Then the next morning, I made one of my favorite breakfasts ever.

From Paris, one of the best dishes I got was eggs over easy, on top of tomatoes, with basil on top. They served it with a baguette but I had my mine with a bagel (that had tomato basil cream cheese, it almost felt like a themed breakfast). What an excellent way to start the day.

Then yesterday, I found out something mind blowing. You ready? I had no idea you could nuke chicken nuggets rather than putting them in the oven! Completely blew my mind and made my day (it takes so little =) )

Cheers =)

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Seriously now – have you ever given your feet the proper consideration they deserve? I know until this trip I had never really thought about my feet; they just went where they were supposed to. But think about it, your feet are incredible.

For instance, these feet

went to Ambialet, France.

Here, they hiked me all over the mountains, pushed the pedals on a bike after I hadn’t been on one for eight years, walked me over to pet dogs something I did not think I would be doing while I was in France, and then got me to Paris. There, they walked me to the Eiffel Tower, the Musee d’Orsay, the Louvre and a zillion and one other places.

And these feet did not stop there, not at all. These feet

took me to Barcelona, Spain!

Here they walked me up and down the main drag of Barcelona known as La Rambla where I was able to interact with really awesome street performers, found their way to the Picasso Museum and the Miro Museum, and took me to two very Spain-like things: to see Flamenco dancers and to eat tapas!

There was absolutely no reason to rest these feet so these feet

took me to Dublin, Ireland!

There these feet ran through Dublin to catch the bus to make it to the Irish National Stud, wandered all over the absolutely magnificent Cliffs of Moher, walked so far that they walked off the map, and ran through Dublin for a second time on St. Paddy’s night to get my luggage before the place that was holding it closed for the day!

You might think, ‘Well three countries – those feet did a fantastic job in four months!’ They did even better than that. These feet

took me to Edinburgh, Scotland!

Here, an extinct volcano known as Arthur’s Seat was scaled, thanks to these feet. They also traversed to Edinburgh Castle, Calton Park, and took me to eat haggis!

As long as these feet

were in that general region, they also went to London, England!

There they spent an entire day just wandering around different parks and streets and window shopping. Then they hopped on a bus to be toured around London and see Big Ben, the Tower Bridge, and the like.

At this point, I was thinking, ‘You know? My feet really have done enough for me,’ but there was just one more place they had to go!

These tired little feet

went to Zurich, Switzerland!

There they ran from train to train, hiked the Alps, frolicked in a field, and perused all that Zurich had to offer.

I used my feet so much that I wore out three pairs of shoes that stayed in France.

Even after all this work, my feet took me back to the most important place – home.


So really – take a moment and think about your feet. They have taken you so amazing places and they are itching for their next adventure =)

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Well, it’s official – tomorrow I will be fighting the time stream home. This was clearly the only explanation as to why it takes longer to fly home than it did to get here. Maybe we can try warp speed to get us there faster =)

One more side nerdy note: I can’t wait until I am Dr. Stock because it sounds so close to Dr. Spock that I will be completely okay with people calling me that =)

Moving on. Guess what I finished?

Rose’s socks are all done just in time for me to take them home. I even tucked the ends in!

And …

Mom’s Traveling Socks are also officially completely and made a little trip around Ambialet yesterday. Everything is so green here now given the high amount of rain we have been having. On top of that, the river is muddy because the rain was so crazy and at one point, I looked outside and it was legitimately hailing. But the weather is being quite beautiful for our last couple of days here.

Have a rich and wonderful day! =)

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Today has been an extremely relaxing day. After our one class this morning, I decided I really wanted to work on my sister’s socks.

That was only a cuff and heel flap when I started today. But when you pick a two hour movie, you really can get quite a bit done! The movie we picked for the day was the first Sherlock Holmes movie. And can I please tell you that I received a huge reality check when watching this? In the movie, they are constructing the Tower Bridge.

And you know what was so cool?! I was able to think “I was there!”

And Big Ben was in the movie, which I also saw, and I feel like this is going to be the first of many instances where I can say that and really appreciate my time here and the experiences that I have incurred.

And do you know what else is odd? I realized I never posted a Mom’s Traveling Sock from London! So I got the picture off of Carly and I look like I’m deep in thought but I am knitting on Mom’s Sock!

We were just hanging out in a park reading and knitting. It was quite the nice experience =)

Have a rich and wonderful day =)

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Even coming up with a title for this blog was thought provoking because Switzerland was over the top, amazing, and ten kinds of wonderful.

Jen and I headed off on our adventures on Thursday. We kind of had an idea of where we were staying and had definitive modes of transportation in and out of Switzerland but other than that, we were flying by the seat of our pants. I did not bring my Kindle along, no books, and no knitting because EasyJet does not allow knitting needles (this is a travesty), so Jen and I brought along a deck of cards. That saved us the entire trip because we played cards everytime we had free time. One of the most memorable moments was when we were playing a game where you hit the cards and yell ‘Spit!’ except we changed the word; so yes, I did yell ‘Ostrich!’ rather loudly in the Toulouse airport =)

We flew into Basel Airport and then took a train to Zurich. It was really early in the morning so we took an extremely early train because we wanted to be warm and comfortable.

Unfortunately, the train was neither warm or comfortable. There was a wicked draft coming in through that window! Then our plan was to stay in the train station that night only to find out right after getting off the train that the station was closing until four in the morning. Yikes! Thank God for the McDonald’s across the street that was open until 4 am. What a lucky break! We went back over to the train station around 4 and caught a train at 5:55 to our hostel. We walked to our hostel after we got off the train and arrived around 6:30 am and had a lovely breakfast. However, Jen left at one point, and I put my head on my hand and instantly fell asleep and fell off my hand. We clearly needed some sleep. So we grabbed a 45 minute nap on hidden couches so the receptionist couldn’t yell at us. Then we decided that on 3 hours of sleep, a hike in the Alps would clearly be the best idea possible!

This is where we went hiking and it was just such a break taking experience.

I just could not get over the views!

Just being able to see these views was all that I could have hoped for in Switzerland. But you know, Switzerland wouldn’t have been complete without some yodeling so Jen and I found an awesome little clearing and we yodeled away!

After our lovely hike, Jen and I just hung around the area near our hostel. We walked and found the lake, and found an awesome swing set which I am sure we could have fell asleep on. We decided to call it an early night, and both of us were in bed by 630 and went to sleep between 830 and 9.

Sleeping a solid 10 hours will do wonderful things so the next morning we were ready to go! Our plan was to spend the entire day just touring around Zurich. I loved Zurich for the fact that it did not feel like a tourist city. The architecture did not make it feel particularly old like some of the places I have visited and was quite appealing to me. We walked down the main shopping street of Bahnhofstrasse. Everything was so expensive on that street that I was afraid to breathe on it but it had some great window shopping. Jen and I found this awesome toy store and spent a ton of time in there.

Then we headed over to Linderhof which was this awesome park with some great views over Zurich. It was such a wonderful place to sit and ponder life and just enjoy what was in front of you without feeling rushed whatsoever.

Next we spent some time over by the lake and guess what?

Mom’s traveling socks made it to Switzerland! No way were they going to go everywhere else that I visited and not Switzerland! And here they are looking over lake Zurisee which had such lovely views.

We also found another green space and took pictures there under a really lovely tree.

We just had such an incredible day just walking around and stumbling upon cool little things and enjoying each others’ company and constantly reminding ourselves that we were in Switzerland! We appreciated Switzerland the entire time we were there and never really got over the fact that we were there!

Jen and I have a notorious sweet tooth between the two of us and so, of course, we splurged on Swiss chocolates!

And they were just as delicious as they look! We capped off the night by hanging out with friends and that just made Switzerland end on such a high and happy note =)

And here we are after over 24 hours of being awake:

And not looking too shabby either!

I can’t believe we actually made it to Switzerland and more than that, I can’t believe how much I fell in love with it. It’s right up there with Dublin for me on favorite places I visited which means it made the number one spot with Dublin. The whole trip was so laid back and we did such a wonderful job of enjoying ourselves seeing as we had practicially no plans whatsoever! Thinking about this weekend still puts a smile on my face =)

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Good Morning!

Good morning! Have a simply lovely day =)

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Awestruck in Lourdes

Now, I have been in a lot of churches and holy places since being in France, but Lourdes took the cake.

Jen, Eric, and I decided that we all just really wanted to go to Lourdes while being in France and we are only three hours away so we made plans for Easter Monday. We drove to Toulouse to catch our train, and right after we paid the toll to go into Toulouse Eric goes, ‘I have never actually driven to the train station in Toulouse before.’ But it worked out and we grabbed the metro to the train station. The ride was really nice. We had quite the nice conversation and it was hard not to smile in such good company. We completely looked like Americans with our . . . peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (but they were on French bread)!

Lourdes was quite lovely when we got there.

We headed over to the Grotto and we went through the Rosary Basilica. This was so cool. There were three sections, each with five mosaics in them and they represented the Glories, Joyful, and Sorrowful mysteries. We were able to make connections all over the place and pull so much from these. My personal favorite was that at the top of the mosaics they would have scenes from the Old Testament which correlated with the New Testament scenes on the bottom. We even pulled in information from our art class this semester!

Once we finished going through the church, we took the path that we thought was going to the Grotto but it actually led us to life sized Stations of the Cross. Talk about being blown away. It made it seems so much more real because of their size and how they were located and displayed.

We sat here and just contemplated and prayed for a while. There was no need to rush and it was a good place to center what was going on in your mind.

We eventually did find the Grotto!

We walked through the Grotto and were able to touch the rocks and they are worn smooth from all the people who have done the exact same thing. To stand there and realize that a miracle occurred this made this, without a doubt, the most powerful experience I have had yet. It was especially meaningful because I choose my confirmation name after Saint Bernadette because of what took place in Lourdes.

For the rest of the day, we visited an underground church, walked to a mountain, rode the train back, and rocked out in the car. What a perfectly lovely day =)

(If you are looking for a bit of history on Lourdes, head in this direction!)

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