Monthly Archives: January 2013

Parental Visit: Florence and Pisa

LAST POST!  FINALLY!  I mean, I enjoy writing these but this trip has dragged on foreeeeeever.  I have other stuff I want to write about!  And I feel like the posts have gotten longer as we go on.  Sorry about that, by the way.  Oh and I have the next two posts written and planned to post but after that, it’s free game as far as what I write about.  I reset all the votes on the poll on the right, and added a couple new options, so go ahead and vote (pleeeeeeease) and whichever gets the most votes will be up after the two I already have planned!

To recap: This is where my parents and I have been so far (in this blog retelling of the journey):

Nice/Monaco     Paris     Normandy     London     Northern Germany and Denmark     Rome     oh and the bonus things I learned

Okay, all caught up now?  Good.  So, Florence!

We took the train from Rome to Florence on the morning of December 31st, and it was by far the NICEST train I have ever been on.  Nice big new seats, glass dividers above the seat backs, free WiFi (Yeah.  ON THE TRAIN.), outlets at every seat, and…drumroll please…train workers came around with a beverage cart like on an airplane and gave us free drinks and snacks!  This was my first time taking the train in Italy, and I thought maybe they were all like that, but nope, just that one.  Actually, now that I think about it, I might have found tickets for that train for first class cheap, that’s why it was so nice… hmm.  Going to check my email confirmations now!

Update: not first class, but 2nd class premium!  Man I bet in first class they get like, recliners and 3-course meals.  I’m surprised I didn’t consider that we might not have been in coach class before, because that was SUCH a nice train.  Makes sense.  Duh Kelsey.

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Parental Visit: Rome

So we left Hamburg bright and early.  We had a layover in Vienna (another country! Yay!) and then landed in Rome shortly after noon.  We took a bus into the city from the airport and then went straight to the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel.  In order to get to the Sistine Chapel, you have to wind through a whole bunch of the museum, which is HUGE!  I think they know most people only want to see the chapel so they do that to get traffic throughout the rest of the museum.  It was cool though.

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It was a lot of long, wide hallways with painted ceilings.

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Parental Visit: Northern Germany (and Denmark!)

(Disclaimer: This post is going to be way longer than most of the others, because I know certain family members are dying to hear details of the trip!  So if it’s too long and you skip it or just look at the photos I won’t be offended. 🙂 )

So we flew to Hamburg, which is a town in northern Germany.  We met our distant relative Peter there, who is related on my mom’s side.  I’ve been emailing with him and another VERY distant relative Karen on and off since October, when I first considered visiting our ancestral home.  The home is a house near Husum in the very north part of Germany where my mom’s ancestors lived!  My last direct relative to live there was my great-great-great grandfather Peter Jürgen Petersen, and Peter’s (who owns the house now) and my closest shared relative is that man’s father Peter Petersen (yeah, I know, the names.  Ridiculous).  Peter Petersen is my great-great-great-great grandfather and Peter’s great-great-great grandfather.  If you kept all that straight… kudos.  Way too many “Peters” and “greats” in that paragraph.

So Peter picked us up and then we rode with him for about two hours, driving straight north to our ancestral home.  It was dark, but cool to see!  Peter showed us around the inside of the house and we dropped off our stuff, then headed to the restaurant where he had made reservations for dinner.

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I took this the next day. Because it’s not dark. Obviously.

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Funny Signs Around Nice

Guess what, we’re taking (another) short break from posts about my parents’ trip!  Only… 3 more of them left, I believe.  When my mom emails me her notes from our time in Germany (no pressure Mom!  Thanks for taking notes!) I’ll resume with posts about the trip, but until then… funny signs from around Nice!

I’ve noticed that there are a lot of funny or punny names of stores and restaurants around here.  Some of them are clever, some are mixtures of French and English, and some are just straight hilarious.  So I started snapping pictures to share them with you all!  Enjoy 🙂

Welcome to King Burger, where you can have it your way, but don't get crazy.

I first showed this picture in this post, but I figured it needed including in this one as well.  King Burger is the name of fictional restaurant from a Mad TV skit (playing off Burger King); it’s hilarious that it actually exists!

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Parental Visit: London

Okay so on Christmas Eve, we caught the Eurostar in Paris to take the Chunnel to London.  We had to go through security like in an airport (although not nearly as strict) and also border patrol before getting on the train.  Just a warning: UK border patrol is the worst!  When I went to London to visit my friend Logan, the guy gave me major attitude because I didn’t have Logan’s address.  I offered to call him and get it and he was really rude to me.  This time, border patrol wasn’t rude, but they do require you to fill out a form about how long you’re staying, where you’re staying (EXACT ADDRESS!), passport number, etc.  No other country has made me do that, so be prepared!

The Chunnel was cool for what I saw of it… as I’ve mentioned, I have an extremely hard time staying awake on any form of transportation!  I stayed up for awhile and then when it got dark (from going underground) I fell asleep basically until we got to London.  When we got there, we took the tube (underground/Metro) to the stop closest to our hostel, then had a short walk there and found it no problem.  We dropped our stuff in our room (only ones in it for that night!  Yay!) then went to some nearby shops to buy some snacks for Christmas Day, since nearly everything was going to be closed; the bar under the hostel was serving breakfast and Christmas dinner but we wanted to make sure we had something to snack on for supper.   Then we went to a nearby pizza place for dinner, which was delicious.

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Parental Visit: Normandy

After one day and night in Paris,we took the train to Caen, a town in Lower Normandy in northwestern France.  We took the tram and a bus to the Memorial Museum, where we had a couple of hours to explore until our tour of the D-Day beaches.

The front of the museum.

The front of the museum.

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Parental Visit: Paris

My parents and I spent two nights in Paris, but they weren’t consecutive; we went there from Nice and spent one night, then spent a day and night in Normandy (that’ll be the next post), and then back to Paris for one more day and night before heading to London.

We took the express bus to the airport in Nice, then flew EasyJet (a budget airline) to Paris.  We took the RER train into Paris, which took longer than expected due to a strange 15-minute-delay of sitting on the tracks partway there, and then we went to find our hostel.  We got a free upgrade to a private three-bedroom room (WOO-HOO!), dropped off our stuff, and then headed out to explore the city.  The first place we went was Sacre Coeur, which is somewhere I’ve never been before and is in the Montmartre section of Paris, not far from our hotel.  It’s a huge church on top of a hill with an amazing view of the city.

Dad standing in front of the Sacre Coeur church.

Dad standing in front of the Sacre Coeur church.

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January 9, 2013

Hey all!  I know I said a post about Paris was going to be next, but I’m interrupting the surely-super-long stream of posts about my parents’ visit to do one about my day yesterday. Regularly scheduled posting will recommence soon, but this post is timely due to the date today… but I’ll get to that!

Yesterday, both me and my friend Amanda who is also an assistant didn’t have any classes.  We decided to get lunch, and I said I would come to Antibes, the small town about 13 miles southwest of Nice along the coast where she lives.  Have I mentioned I love the train system here?  It was a 4-euro, 20-minute train ride to get there.  Amazing.

To rewind a tad: the past week or so I have been looking into places to get my hair cut.  For a long time now I’ve been planning on eventually donating my hair to a company that makes wigs for people who have lost their hair for one reason or another, either Locks of Love or Pantene Beautiful Lengths.  There are pros and cons to each, but I’ll let you do your own research if that’s something you’re interested in.  I’ve got a class to get to!  Later I’ll explain why I chose the company I did.

Okay so I was debating going to a French-speaking place or an English-speaking place to get my hair cut.  Going to a French-speaking would be a good experience and would help me practice my French, of course, but with getting a mass amount of hair cut off I was nervous to try to explain what I wanted (and why I was saving my hair) in French.  However, the one English-speaking place I found in Nice was more expensive, waaaay more than I’m used to paying… heck, the French-speaking place was more than I wanted to pay too; in the States I’m a $5 cosmetology school/Great Clips kinda girl, but I guess when in France…!

When in France, wear an awesome towel on your head.

When in France, wear an awesome towel on your head.

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Parental Visit: Nice and Monaco

When my parents arrived in Nice, we dropped their stuff off at my apartment, got pasta for dinner, and then I headed to my private English lesson while they wandered around and explored the area near my apartment.  I ended up NOT having a lesson (my student forgot) so I came back, called them on the cell phone I got for them to find out where they were, and met up with them.   We grabbed a drink at a cocktail bar not far from my place then headed back so they could get some sleep.  They had had an EXTREMELY long day of travel and were jet-lagged!  The free espressos they got at the pasta place didn’t help very much.

The next morning we took the train to Monaco and explored for just a couple of hours, since I had to come back to teach in the afternoon and the only train was shortly after we arrived.  But my parents were able to see the scenery and walk up to the castle where the prince of Monaco lives.

Dad checking out the view over Monaco.

Dad checking out the view over Monaco.

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Parental Visit: 13 Things I Learned

(13… because that’s how many lessons I came up with)

I’m home from my parents’ and my two-week, eight-country tour of Europe!  It was a wonderful whirlwind trip that went smoothly for the most part, with only a few minor hiccups.  However, being home doesn’t mean relaxing; on Friday I fly to Paris for a day and a half to see my best friend from ISU Chelsea, then I come back on Saturday and not only do I have classes starting on Monday, but I also need to sort the hundreds of photos my parents and I took this trip, and figure out how I’m going to write about it without it taking over my blog for the next month!  If you have any suggestions, I’d love to hear them!

The last time I saw my parents, three months ago.

The last time I saw my parents, three months ago.

Traveling with my parents for two weeks taught me several important things, both about Europe and going on a trip with your parents/other people, as well as traveling in general.  As a “placeholder” post until I get my first one about the trip done, I would like to share with you some of the things I learned!

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