My Italian Adventure- Part 4

DSCN0761Wednesday, June 12, 2013: 8:46 pm

Today was so much fun! We woke up early and caught a bus to Vatican City so we could go visit the inside of St. Peters Church. We reached the wall outside of the city and saw a huge crowd. We stood in line for a few minutes until we realized that the reason why we in such a large crowd that early in the morning was because Pope Francis was giving a speech today. A morning service of sorts since today was Wednesday. We decided against staying to see the speech as it was going to be another hour and a half before we were able to see him.

In a turn of an events we took a bus to the Roman Forum. It was more expansive than I thought it would be. We took a self-guided tour around the forum and it was so cool! I saw the original columns of the entrance to the Forum. I loved the history of it all. I thought it was very interesting that the area was originally a marsh and they had the technology back in that time to drain the marsh into the Tiber River. The area was so neat to hike through! It was so strange walking on the stones that people thousands of years ago walked on. It made me feel as if I was taking place in the making of history.

Once we made our way through the Forum we came out and there was the Colosseum in all of its gorgeous beauty! The Colosseum, just like the Forum, was larger than I expected! We walked around the outside of it and debated going inside, but the lines were so outrageous and we were all tired. However, the exterior was quite stunning! It was a grey color which was not surprising, but the fact that the structure has held up for so long is very impressive! I find it to be captivating the architectural skills of that era have stood the test of time and remained intact. In addition, I of course had to get my picture taken in front of the Colosseum a half a dozen times. There is no better way to prove something. Am I right? ๐Ÿ˜‰

After the Colosseum we got on a bus to head back towards our apartment for lunch then a nap. Unfortunately, we got on the right bus going the wrong way so we went all the way to the end of the line only to have to turn back and retrace our steps towards our apartment. All in all we were on the bus for about an hour and half. None of us minded much, though, because we got to see the other part of Rome that we were not going to touch this trip. I also got a tiny bit of a nap until I realized, half awake, that I had a silly look on my face and thought that maybe waiting on my nap was a better idea.

Earlier my aunt and I went on a hunt for purses. I have been looking for a leather purse that will match the wallet I bought while in Florence. No such luck yet. Although, we did come across more street vendors with reasonably priced scarves. I really love scarves. Everyone has that one or two things they love to buy and are a sucker for. Mine are scarves and purses. I am proud to say that I bought eight scarves! Now I know you may be thinking, “Why on Earth would you buy that many?!”. My answer is simple. They were a good investment and because I can. So what? ๐Ÿ˜‰ย 

Anyway! While we were out we also got gelato. I mean, of course! I got two flavors, Stracchiato (That is may not be how you spell it, but that is the closest guess I have!) It was a chocolate and vanilla mixture which within itself was delicious! The other flavor was eggnog. I so love eggnog and this was very yummy! It did taste different from American eggnog, but not in a bad way! I guess it is a good thing we walked 6 miles today! It definitely worked off that gelato for sure! I believe I have walked almost 30 miles on this trip. Every day has been 3-6 miles so on average I would say it would be about thirty. A high guess would be 45 miles.

So with that fact, It is very obvious that I am worn out, so I will write soon everybody!

arrivederci!

Beth:)

and one last one…

Yesterday was a very relaxed day. We only went to St. Peters Basilica in Vatican City. The Basilica was absolutely gorgeous! Out of all of the churches I visited on this trip, it was the most incredible. The ceiling was so spectacular and it felt like it was never-ending. They had many of the previous popes buried within the church, but unlike all of the other churches we visited there was a little door where u could go inside. The Basilica also had so many large statues that were breath-taking. It was my favorite church that we visited this trip.

Today I was able to go inside the Colosseum and wow. It was just wow. I thought it looked incredible and huge from the outside, but the inside was even more so! It was so neat seeing all of the little areas where spectators sat to watch the gladiator fights. Although with erosion it is somewhat difficult to picture the stadium and all of the seating.ย  I walked up to the middle section first and it was so steep. The stairs were at a higher incline than we are used to and the “flat” surfaces had an incline. I guess they did not use levels in early architecture! We were able to see the basements of the arena where they kept all of the gladiators who fought and the animals that fought with or against them. It was so neat to see all of the crevices of the basement. It was small compared to today’s size of an arena, but for the era, I can see how it would have been just awe-inspiring.

After the Colosseum my aunt and I went shopping for four hours or so. It was so much fun to walk in and out of the little alley ways that we would have never seen without our mini adventure. And by mini, I mean seven miles…Today’s grand total of walking was 10 miles. So, I am very tired and I can feel a heartbeat in my feet. Do not think that is natural! The adventure was a lot of fun and we poked our heads into many tiny little shops. ( I was looking for a purse.) We were on the hunt for whatever goodies we could find (and we found sooo many!)

Anyway, I hope you all have enjoyed my little travel journal for the past two weeks. It has been a very fast, exciting, and adventurous two weeks.I have loved every minute of it and I cannot thank my grandparents enough for giving me this wonderful gift and opportunity. I hope that one day I can come back and visit the parts of Italy I still have not seen, but for now, I am ready to go home. This country has been so wonderful and has taught me many lessons I would have never learned without a visit. I am so very blessed to have been given this trip. ๐Ÿ™‚

Arrivederci,

Beth:)

My Italian Adventure- Part 3

RECAP TIMEEE

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Goodness, I have not written much lately! We visited the Uffizi, in Florence, on Friday. The Uffizi is an art museum that showcases many famous artists, one being Michelangelo.

On Saturday we headed to Venice on a two-hour train ride. Walking around Venice was so surreal. All of the canals through the city were absolutely adorable! Our hotel was within a minute of San Marcos Square and was very nice. I loved being in San Marcos Square a lot. It had a lovely ambiance that was enriched with the dueling orchestras on either side of the square. It was very nice to just sit back and listen while eating gelato. On our first day there we went inside of the Basilica. The basilica was gorgeous and the ceilings were amazing! The pictures were made out of mosaics and all gold. My favorite part of the basilica, however, was the fact that it housed the ashes of Saint Mark. You know, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John? Yeah…THAT Mark. It was so awesome!

Our next day in Venice was short, but incredible! We went for a gondola ride through the small and narrow canals as opposed to the Grand Canal. The Grand Canal has way too much traffic on it to be an enjoyable ride. Oh my goodness though, the gondola ride was everything I had imagined and more! The gondolier wore the striped shirt and the uniform hat! We found out that normally it cost extra for them to sing to you and we decided against that, but during a quiet spell, the gondolier starting whistling a melody to go along with the boat ride and while not a big gesture, was still amazing! He was also very informative and showed us where Vivaldi, Mozart, Casanova, and even, Angelina Jolie lived during their times in Venice.

Later that day we got back on the train and headed for Rome. The train ride was a four-hour ride, but I thought it went quickly! Once we arrived a the Roma Termini, we caught a cab to our apartment. I thought the taxi drivers were insane in Florence…then I experienced the ones in Rome. They are nuts! We arrived at about 4 pm so we decided against going out an exploring. However, yesterday was our first day out an about and it was so much fun! We visited the Trevi fountain which is so much more grand and expansive thanย  the pictures portray. I, of course, had to throw a coin into the fountain and make a wish. supposedly throwing a coin into the fountain also means you will visit Rome again one day. I would not be opposed to that idea at all! It was quite funny. We were walking through all of these ally ways and all of sudden…POOF… we come around the corner and there it is in all of its magnificent glory!

Yesterday we also visited the Pantheon. I loved it! I had learned all about it during Western Civilization class this year and there it was! What I find interesting about it is that there is a hole at the top of it (on purpose) and it is angled in such a way that rain never or rarely gets inside! Fun fact of the day right there! I also did not know that the Pantheon is a church! Who even knew that?! Not me! Fun fact numero dos for the day! ๐Ÿ™‚ I enjoyed walking all around and seeing the art inside.

Today we visited Vatican city, which means yes, I was in yet another country today and I did not even have to show my passport! Although, it was like going through airport security all over again! I loved Vatican City! We went through the museum kind of quickly because we were there for the main attraction… the Sistine Chapel. Which, oh wow…that is all I can say. It was fantastic! Michelangelo did such a spectacular job. I found out that there had been so many candles and oil lamps used in there that until the 80’s or 90’s, the ceiling had more or less been significantly darker than the original had been. Then they recovered the Chapel and the colors were so vivid that art critics did not believe that those were the original shades. The people in charge of recovering the Chapel verified that the colors were in fact, part of Michelangelo pallet. They figured this out by looking at work of Michelangelo’s students. The fact that they could verify that is incredible. While we were there we also walked on the grounds of St. Peters Church. I saw were the pope stands when he is delivering services. Tomorrow I believe we will be going back to the church to see the inside. I think that will be fun!

The people are different here than the people in Florence. For one, the people on the streets trying to sell purses (not out of a tent, as they are carrying them) are fewer than those in Florence. Still as direct, but there are less, so we encounter them less often. Personally I like that…I respect that they are out there trying to make a living, but after being asked for the hundredth time if I would like to buy a purse, I start to get slightly annoyed… bus alas, in a big city, what do you expect?! I am not complaining! I am in one of the greatest cities in the world with the best people! This city has been thriving for thousands of years and I had the absolute privilege of getting to see it and I could not evenย  be happier! ๐Ÿ™‚

Well, that is all I have for tonight.

Until tomorrow (hopefully…I need to be more regular than this)

arrivederci,

Beth ๐Ÿ™‚

Italy-The Vacation of a Lifetime

This time a year ago I was on the vacation of a lifetime. I saw so many famous works of art, ancient cities, and interesting people. I thought in remembrance of the voyage I would post my adventures again. So Enjoy!

Looking over Florence, Italy.

Looking over Florence, Italy.

I arrived in Italy yesterday with my grandparents and my aunt. What a gorgeous country! Like a true blogger, I am keeping a journal to remember this wonderful trip forever. I want to write all my adventures here as well for you all to enjoy. Currently I have no means to include pictures, but once I return home I will post many. Right now I am in Florence, or Firenze as it is spelled in Italian. It is a beautiful city and our apartment looks over the Arno River. Included in this post is what I have written in my journal so far:

Monday, June 3, 2013

My first day in Italy! Once we reached Rome, we took a train from the airport to the Terminale Roma in order to catch the Eurail to Florence.

Our travels began yesterday nearly 24 hours ago. We sat on first class on the airplane and that was an amazing adventure within itself! I never want to go back to coach! They gave everyone a tablet to watch movie and television shows, listen to music, or play games. I watch Safe Haven and Identity Theft, two movies that I have been wanting to see. Between the movies and the sleep I was able to get, the long flight went quickly! We had an overnight flight so we had meals on the plane. They were so much better than I believed they were going to be! My dinner included a salad with balsamic and vinaigrette dressing, a bread stick, grilled chicken with some sort of white chocolate gravy sauce (it was the most delicious sauce for anything that I have had so far), asparagus, and tomatoes. We were also given Ben and Jerry’s ice cream with our choice of toppings. It was really a treat to be taken care of so well!

Once we finally landed in Rome, it was a completely different atmosphere. People were dressed nicer for traveling. The pairs of sweatpants I saw were now few and far between which I thought was interesting. However, more people spoke English in addition to Italian so understanding people was easier than I imagined. Later, we took the train to reach the Terminale Roma. That was interesting because in the United States, one can hardly find a train station that is so populated! The station was a melting pot of cultures. There were various nationalities there visiting. We finally got on the Eurail and began our journey to Florence. We had an hour and a half train ride through Tuscany and the numerous villages were absolutely breathtaking. It was like something out of a movie so of course I had to put on my music so it was like I was in a movie! ๐Ÿ™‚ The Duemo is in Florence which I am excited to see. I learned about it when I was a sophomore, in World History and swore that one day I would visit. I cannot wait to see it!

Our apartment is very quaint. It looks over the Arno river and the view is breathtaking! I can see hundreds of scooters lined up on the streets from my window. Which reminds me, let me talk about the driving here. Traffic laws exist, but they must be enforced lightly because people pull out in front of each other, weave between cars, and do not pay much attention. The funny part about this is, however, is that the anger levels are way lower than what I am used to. People go with the flow and road rage is at a minimum. The motor cyclists do make me nervous with the way that they drive. They will weave in and out of cars that are less than a few feet apart! It is an absolute miracle that they stay alive!

Regardless, it is such a beautiful country. When we were flying in I could see Tuscany and it was such a surreal feeling and experience. To know that this land has been farmed for nearly 3,000 years, if not longer, is amazing. It has been quite a long day and I am ready for some sleep…

Tuesday, June 4, 2013ย  8:00 am

Well, I have been up for nearly three hours already. I was very out of it last night. Jet lag has not affected me much yet…I don’t think… I keep forgetting that everyone at home is still asleep as daylight has not reached them yet. That is strange. Since we have arrived in Italy, the few Italian songs have been on a continuous stream in my mind. None of the American music I know seems to fit with the baroque architecture here. Although, when we made a trip to the market yesterday they had Bruno Mars playing over their music system. I thought that was odd because 1) it was in English and 2) don’t they have their own pop sensations? I guess with the globalization of everything it makes perfect sense to have him singing! I really want to hear Italian music, but evidently the Italians do not want me to hear it! Yet, I still have nearly 2 weeks here so that could change!

I am starting to understand why writers such as Ernest Hemingway came to Europe to write. Although he wrote in Paris, Italy has that creative ambiance as well. I hope that one day I can visit Italy again and sit at a cafe with the city bustling around me and just write. While I have barely ventured out onto the streets so far, I feel as if this atmosphere is very relaxing and quells the soul. I know that it will be difficult to go home to the suburbs knowing that this all exists and has been thriving for thousands of years. I am beginning to see that there is more in this world than I ever imagined. I am going to go for awhile until I have more adventures to write about. Until then, arrivederci!

Still Tuesday… 12:50 pm

We have returned from walking around Florence. What an interesting experience! We saw The Duemo and went inside. It was absolutely gorgeous! The ceiling of it told a story about the journey of life and death through a painting. It showed Heaven and Hell and those who were living and dying. It was a painting from hundreds and hundreds of years ago that had a depiction of Jesus and God. It was an incredible masterpiece. The Duemo is a church and currently a place of worship so every once in awhile you would hear an automated voice say, “Shhhhh, Silencio!”. It would then get louder and repeat itself. Lastly came the English translation.

We also visited many places including the Piazza Della Republica which had a large archway that looked as if it was an entryway to the city at one point. We also visited the Piazza Di San Giovanni, and the Piazza Della Signoria. The streets around Florence are very cramped. The idea of personal space is non-existent. Nearly every building is adorned with flower boxes that contain a wide selection of gorgeous flowers.

Before I came to Italy, I had heard about the gypsy’s and pickpockets. We came across a few gypsy’s today who came up to us begging for money and followed us until we said “Va via!” loudly. Va via means ‘go away’ in Italian and they listen. Everyone is very abrupt and direct here. As I mentioned with personal space, there is none. To some, “no” is not an answer. Some of the vendors keep pressing on until you tell them for the umpteenth time, “no” or if you just walk away.

Anyway, we also saw the Statue of David. Rather, the weather durable David. Tomorrow I will see the real one, the original, not a copy, David, that Michelangelo carved at the age of 26. That is quite the accomplishment Mr. Michelangelo….be proud!

In addition to all of my adventures we also tried gelato! It was sweeter than ice cream and thicker. I got chocolate gelato that had chocolate chips in it which really added something special to it. It was so yummy!

I have always heard about people backpacking through Europe and I saw some people backpacking and it looked like a lot of fun. I hope one day I can do that!

Italy is known for its fashion, namely Milan. It must be a lot of Italy because the streets are filled with fashions I have only seen in fashion magazines. As I mentioned yesterday, people are a lot dressier. Even though not everyone is in high fashion, many of the women have leather purses, scarves, and high heels on and so many of the men wear blazers and leather shoes. It is easy to distinguish the natives from the tourists. Italy is known for its high quality leather. Before I leave I plan to buy a wallet or a purse. I went into one store where the man working spoke Italian mainly. When I meant to say “okay”, I said si, or yes. Then when I told him, “thank you”, I said gratzi. Instead of it sounding smooth like it should be I pronounced it like gratzee (like Yahtzee, but with a grrrrr sound). Anyway, adios!

Still Tuesday…5 pm

We just a ate at a truly pure Italian restaurant. I ordered spaghetti al la carbonara. I thought it was going to be normal, to my standards of course, but alas, it was not. The spaghetti was more of a yellow color as opposed to the white shade I am used to seeing it as. It also contained more oil than I use. The carbonara (or bacon) was also very different. It was sweeter, but it was also boiled instead of being fried. Not my favorite way of preparing it, but it was interesting to try! ๐Ÿ™‚

While we were eating the author, Dan Brown walked in. There were only two other tables eating at the time and mainly everyone kept to themselves. Brown was taking pictures with a lovely view of Florence as the back drop. He just wrote a new book called ‘Inferno’ and is famous for his bookย  ‘The Di vinci Code’.

 

I will continue with part 2 of my Italian adventures soon! Stay tuned!

Arrivederci,
Beth ๐Ÿ™‚

Show Me the Positivity

How often do you see a positive news story? Once, maybe twice a week? A glance at the latest news on the internet and television could make anyone cringe with the negativity that oozes out of it. Let’s not even begin with the tabloids! The magazines that line walls in grocery stores are the ultimate source of hostility. optimism-quotes-stay-positive-quotes-Optimism-is-a-happiness-magnet.-If-you-stay-positive-good-things-and-good-people-will-be-drawn-to-you..

I decided that I am through focusing on the negative that is forced upon me daily. Instead, I wanted to focus the attention on the positive news that is happening in our world. There are so many stories that have not and will never make the news because they are so positive and will not generate buzz and revenue. It is quite unfortunate that this is the current case and state of our world. Scare tactics will always generate more commotion than a kind story. It is no wonder so many people hate the world we live in! All that is focused on is the multiple conflicts going on in the world. Why is it so difficult to focus on the positive news going on? Oh, that’s right, it does not make money. Can the media, for just a few stories, focus on something that makes people proud to be living in this era? Can the media focus on something that helps us grow for the better?

bethegood

Knowing that this is something inconceivable for media outlets, I concluded that I should help people see that there is kindness still left in humanity. I want people to get a warm and fuzzy feeling knowing that good things STILL HAPPEN! I want others “Faith in Humanity Restored”. I know that we as the human race work better together when positivity surrounds us. This drove me to an idea I am in love with.

I am determined to showcase different positive news on my blog every week or so. I want people to start noticing that there is more to the world than unhappiness. That we can persevere and do anything we set our minds to. What we all need is to be a little more inspired in our lives. With all the pessimism encompassing us, we end up being less enthused about our lives and end up falling into a rut of misery. This is not the way we should be living our one and only chance at life.

Here are my favorite, recent news stories that display many positive aspects lacking in current media:

(I am quoting the actual titles of the headlines)

Teacher Donating a Kidney to Her Sick Student

Boy Mows Lawns, Raises $16K for Tornado Victims

Very Concerned, Very Honest Preschooler Returns Lost Nickel To Plymouth District Library

How Crime Rates Have Fallen by Up to 70% in Parts of the Western World

Breast cancer treatment breakthroughs herald hope for patients and those at risk

Dairy Queen employee goes above and beyond for blind customer

Man Gives Away Belongings to Counteract Black Friday ‘Craziness’

NASA Space Telescope Spots the ‘Hand Of God’ After Incredible Star Explosion

Timโ€™s Place: The Restaurant that Serves Breakfast with a Side of Hugs

7-Year-Old Sophie Lester Asks Australian Science Agency For Pet Dragon.. And They Deliver!

Kentucky Facebook Users Rally to Help Homeless Woman Find Shelter in Cold

Stay tuned for more positivity. I believe all humans need to stay positive to function well.

May all your days be optimistic and exciting!

I hope you all had a lovely weekend,

Beth:)

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What Defines YOU?

One of the most inspirational videos I have seen in a long time. always know that you are beautiful and worth it. Always strive to be better and make something of yourself!

Something to remember,

Step back and remember, everyone has something to contribute in this world. We are all here for a reason. Just because someone is not like you does not mean that they are a bad person.

Be nice. Be kind. Be loving. Be the best version of you. Be someone who you would want to spend time with.

Have a lovely day!

Beth

Wanderlusting

Wanderlusting- A very strong or irresistible impulse to travel.

Would you expect anything less from a girl who has spent so much of summers, spring breaks, and numerous other vacations traveling? I have been so fortunate to have the opportunities that I have had to see the world.

As of this blog post, I have been to 47 states in the United States. I have been to Canada, the British Virgin Islands, and Italy. This much travel is nearly unheard of for anyone at or under the age of eighteen. I have been sailing in the Caribbean. Floated down a canal in Venice. I have walked along the Grand Canyon in Arizona. I strolled across the Golden Gate Bridge in San Fransisco. I shopped on Michigan Avenue in Chicago. I got sprayed by the rushing waters of Niagara Falls in Ontario. I listened to a man play the accordion in Piazza Novena in Rome while I dined on authentic Italian cuisine. Needless to say, I have had experiences few my age can say they have. However, I cannot help wanting more. I want to experience it all!

I want to experience the hot sun warming my face on a Mediterranean beach. Preferably in Spain. The fog and rainy days of London are in my future as well. A leisurely stroll along the Seine River in Paris while eating a baguette would be lovely too. Surfing in Hawaii. Hiking in Alaska. Observing the endless rolling hills of Ireland. Taking in the beauty of Greece, Scotland, Wales, Portugal, Germany, Austria. I want to accomplish all of these goals in my life.

We all have a bit of wonder and wander in us.

Where do you want to wander off to?

Comment below and let me know!

Beth:)

18 Things Being 18 Taught Me

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At every age we learn something different about ourselves. We grow, mature, and shape into the adults that we will be one day.

Turning 18 is a stepping stone into adulthood. You are finally considered legal. As for me, this year has been my biggest year yet! I graduated high school and continued my journey into college. I have learned a lot of things along the way which I would like to share with you now.

  1. Do not take your time with others for granted.

  2. It is okay to not know what you are going to do in the future.

  3. Compare yourself to no one.

  4. Patience is key.

  5. It is okay to be wrong sometimes.

  6. Coffee is an essential part of a diet.

  7. Do not feel like you need to act a certain way to impress people. Always be yourself.

  8. Love 100% of yourself 100% of the time.

  9. Grow and mature at your own rate.

  10. Do not be ashamed to take a nap every once in a while.

  11. Working out regularly always makes you feel better. Always.

  12. Some friendships are not meant to last forever.

  13. Do not spend your life on social media. Also, do not put your everything in your life on social media.

  14. Take pictures of everything. You will want them someday!

  15. Have pride in your work. If your name is on it, it represents you, so do your best!

  16. Work hard and everything will work out how it needs to.

  17. More people care about you than you know.

  18. If you do not put 100% of yourself into something, do not expect 100% of the rewards.

My 18th year has been perfect. While the beginning was stressful with my last semester of my senior year, graduation came quickly. It was the most empowering moment of my life. I knew I had worked very hard in high school and that was what I had to show for it. After graduation I took a life changing vacation to Italy which changed my perspective of everything in my world. Then college came and I left home for the first time on my own. What an incredible, changing experience that was! I met so many new and different people and did things I could have never done if I had stayed at home.

I think it is safe to say that this year was as perfect as perfect gets.

Here’s to hoping 19 is just a lovely as 18.

Beth