Thursday, July 21, 2011

Guest Post!

June 26


Women’s Fifa World Cup 2011 France vs. Nigeria

Its official, the blogger has passed on her pen to her sister. That is me! Besides, her and our mom didn’t
go to the soccer game as you read in previous post. (To tell you the truth I bet they wish they did now). Editor's note: No I don't. The bar in Sinsheim was way too awesome.Anyhow, so she begged and prayed and got down on one knee to ask her favorite only little sister if she could partake in the blog and compose a post about the soccer game. Of course, her little sister couldn’t resist, even though it has been 2 weeks since we have arrived back in the states and I am just sitting down and with all my might composing this post. Enough chat let's get to the meat of this post, the world cup game.

First off, a side note, dad and I went to technically the first game of the world cup, because the Germany
game was that night with all the opening ceremonies and such. The soccer match was set at Reinarch
Arena in Sinsheim at 3:00. Dad and I after being dropped off close to the stadium walked and arrived at
about 1:00 that day, before the stadium officials even opened up the stadium. Getting to the arena so
early, we were able to walk around and explore the outside of the arena. (Which had nothing special.)
Then officials finally let people into the arena, so dad and I joined the line to enter. After grabbing a
quick bite of lunch and taking a massive load of pictures, dad and I decided to go journey toward are
seats that were pretty good in row 7. We walked into the stadium at the perfect time, because I got to
get a couple of pictures of the French team arriving off their bus. (I thought I even got a better view of
all the cheering, waving flagged French fans that were parked outside the stadium).

Now for the kick off at 3:00 the game begins. Watching the game and being there, that is what soccer
is all about and the world cup is all about. There were no words that could describe the feeling I had
in my heart. People cheering for both teams no matter what, players getting the fans fired up and vice
versa; even the wave was started numerous time through the crowd. The first half of the game was
a battle back and forth; both France and Nigeria looked to be trying to get stuff going but then would
be stopped. The half-time whistle blew and the score was nothing but a couple of goose eggs. The
beginning of the second half seemed to be turning tides and France started to keep the pressure on
Nigeria, until finally they scored. The French broke the barrier and kept the pressure on, but couldn’t
capitalize on any other opportunities. Finally the whistle blew and the game was drawn to a close,
France had beaten Nigeria 1-0. I had experienced a true world cup game and it was everything I had ever
dreamed of and much more.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Back in Germany

25 & 26 June
We are back in Germany! You know what that means people... it's almost time to come home.
After a loooong drive to Heidelberg, we decided to  just hang out and sleep in that next morning. When I say sleep in, I mean we were all still up and at breakfast by 9. I guess early risers must be a genetic thing. We started walking towards the castle. On the way we stopped by a few stores and found a few neat things to buy. This one store we stopped in was full of neat house products, everything was so neat and clever we ended up spending an hour in there. We headed up to the castle and after a steep hike, we were rewarded with amazing views of Heidelberg. The castle is also host to the most giant wine barrel EVER. There's a dance floor built on top of it, that's how humongous this thing is. We walked back down into old town and started heading back to our hotel. After a quick nap, we headed to dinner, then went to bed.

Sunday morning, we got up and headed down to Sinsheim. For those of you who are confused, dad and Michelle got tickets to watch France vs. Nigeria in the FIFA Women's World Cup. Sinsheim had a football stadium that fits 25,000 people. After getting our bearings and checking out the stadium, we headed into down to downtown Sinsheim. We found the town square where they have a huge stage set up with tables and booths. They were selling food and beer, and all the booths had either information about the tournament, or activities for kids to do. We hung out in the square for a bit and then took dad and Michelle up to the stadium so they could walk around and watch warm-ups before the game.
Mom and I returned downtown and walked around. We found that through most of downtown Sinsheim, they had games and activities set up for kids and families. It was really neat to see how they geared this entire tournament towards kids and families instead of focusing on the drinking/partying aspect of it. Mom and I found a bar that was showing the game on TV and we sat down and ate and had a beer. Even though we had hardly any clue what we were ordering, it ended up being one of the best meals I've eaten on this trip.
We finished lunch, and after grabbing some dessert, we headed back to the main square. The stage had a screen on the back of it that they were showing the game on, and the square was packed with people watching. We think that since the Germany vs Canada game was that night, most people were claiming their spots early. We also ran into the mascot for the tournament, and after he tried to get handsy with me, I finally got a picture with him.

After that (yes, the match still wasn't over) we heade up to the Auto and Technik museum. This museum is awesome. I cannot stress this enough! Firstly, it's huge. Secondly, it's any engineer's dream. IT's full of cars and airplanes. They have a concord that you get to walk up into. Although, I would not reccomment it if you are clausterphobic. Dad and Michelle were done with the match, so we didn't get to spend as much time in there as I wanted, but I could have also spent all day in there without realizing it. We are staying the night in Augsberg, then driving to Munich tomorrow to catch our flight on Tuesday morning. The past three weeks have flown by, and it's crazy to think that I have to go home and face real life in two days is daunting. I will have either MIchelle or dad do a guest post on the game and will have it posted soon. 

Friday, June 24, 2011


23 June
I am sitting on an Airbus A321 enroute from Vienna to Frankfurt. 5 minutes in the Vienna airport and I was already struggling to switch from french back to german/austrian (they sound the same people). We left Aix at about 10 am and didn't make it to Nice until about 2 pm even though it was supposed to be a two hour drive.
 Why you ask? Well, first of all, instead of taking the autoroute straight there, we took a little detour. A friend of Dad's that works in Aix told us to take this road that runs right along the Mediterranean and has amazing  views. The road was absolutely beautiful. It started at a town called Cassis and ended in Toulon (?). The road itself is only 10km long but it took us almost an hour to drive because we kept stopping to look and take pictures.

This road is awesome. It is essentially a mountain on the coast of the Mediterranean that has a bunch of hiking trails and awesome views. The cliffs also have bolts in them for climbing routes. I would love to come back and explore that place some more. We arrived in Toulon, where we were supposed to get on the autoroute again, and got lost. Then we had problems at a tollbooth. Then we got lost trying to find our hotel in Nice. I know, quite the adventure.

The rest of the day in Nice was spent finding lunch, then laying on the beach until about 6 pm. We came back, showered, then headed into old town for dinner (about a 30 min walk). This morning, I got up early and went and sat down on the beach and read my book since it was only a five minute walk from our hotel. We checked out and headed to the airport, which leads us to where I am now.
We have just started our descent into Frankfurt, where we will get a car and drive to Hiedleburg tonight. Hopefully I will get decent internet there so I can post the last three posts. Can you belive we only have 3 days, then it's Tuesday and we're flying home?!


22 June
Alright. If you think american toll booths are bad. French ones are way worse. One word: expensive. After a very long day in the car (8 hours), we arrived in Aix. Our hotel was right down in old town, so the night we got there, we just walked down and found a place to eat. Problem was, it was the summer solstice, and there was a huge music festival going on in Aix. There were people everywhere. The streets were blocked off and every square that we walked into, there was an artist performing. It was a combination of the street dance, and a rock concert. I thought it was neat. I was the only one who thought that. The next day was spent wandering around old town, looking at all the shops and the market that was there. We went to dinner with some of mom and dad's work friends who are there, and that was about it. We are currently on the road to Nice, where I plan to spend the entire rest of my day laying on the beach. We took a little detour on this road with awesome views and are currently lost in Toulon (which you can read about in the Nice post), but hopefully we will get back on the autoroute soon.

Pays Basque

19 & 20 June
We are finally away from all the tourists! Whoooooo! We made our way from Rome to Bilbao, then by car to St. Etienne de Baigorry where our family is at. Our two days spent in the Basque Country were amazing. My mom's cousin had two guest houses built that she rents out, so we stayed there and it was awesome to have so much space to just relax. The first day we spent eating and drinking with our family. For lunch, amaitchie (grandmother in basque), who is my grandfather's sister (so my mom's aunt) came downstairs to eat with all of us at the bar. Backstory: Amaitchie and her husband owned the bar that is in the center of town. It was passed down to one of their daughters who now owns it, but they lived above it, and amatchie still does. She is 84, and can't walk, so she stays upstairs. It was an awesome thing that she agreed to be brought downstairs to eat with us.

That night, we went to dinner with the entire family, and it was so fun. They are all very close, and even though we only get to see them every few years, we still fit in seamlessly. The next day we drove to the beach at Anglet, about an hour away. We just hung out there for a few hours, then we came back to the house. That night, my mom cooked dinner for everyone, and they came up to our house to eat. I finally got to put my three years of french education to use, and although I struggled a bit, I managed to have a conversation with my cousin. We all agreed that this has been the favorite part of our trip so far, and we could have easily spent a week there, just making day trips to places like the beach, or down to Pamplona.  

Monday, June 20, 2011


Hey guys, I finally got my act together and updated the pictures page. Check it out!


15 16 & 17 June
WARNING: Yes, this is long. It’s almost 1000 words. If you want, you can just look at the pictures, it’s ok.
Arrivaderci Italia, Hola Espana! Yes this is yet another traveling post to be put up when I finally get internet again. Come on people, you know the drill by now. I can eaily sum up Rome in one word; hot. I have the sunburn to prove it (Kendra you are going to be proud, I will be tan when I get home). Of course there are many other facets to Rome other than the weather, but the weather was a predominant factor in what we did, where we went, and how we got there.
We arrived in Rome pretty early on the 15th so we spend that day wandering around. Our hotel was two blocks from the train station, so after we figured out the metro, we rode it everywhere. Unfortunately, we didn't even think about this the first day, so we went marching off down the hill to the Colosseum. It was only a ten minute walk, but it was so hot out we were all exhausted by the time we got there. After a quick jaunt around the outside we walked down the street a bit and found that the huge park (for lack of a better word) full of remains could also only be accessed by ticket. Since tickets for that were also good for you to go into the Colosseum, we bought tickets and strolled our way back to the Colosseum since it was smaller and there was going to be more shade.

After wandering through the tour groups Colosseum, we hopped on the metro stop (conveniently located across the street) and went back to our hotel. Once it cooled down, we took the metro up to the Spanish Steps. We ate dinner in that area and walked down to the Trevi Fountain. Even at 22h, it was still completely packed. Michelle, dad and I did the typical “make a wish, throw a coin in the fountain.”

The next day we got up early in the morning and visited the park across from the Colosseum full of ruins, like Palatine Hill, and the Roman Forum. It’s referred to as “Ancient Rome.” It’s so neat to see all of those ruins and how they were built, and the excavations that are still going on today. The only problem was that it was hot. We had our Vatican tour that afternoon, so we were all covered up, which made it almost too hot to handle, we were constantly seeking out shade.
That afternoon, we took a tour of the Vatican Museums. Our tour guide was awesome, at least at the times when I was paying attention. I learned a ton about some of the works in the museum, including a bunch of details about Michelangelo’s paintings in the Sistine Chapel. I like to wander through museums at my own pace, so I didn’t always stay with the group. The Sistine Chapel was just breathtaking, except it was filled with people. I felt that many of the people there did not respect the fact that it is a sanctuary, and that they needed to be quiet and to not take pictures. For a chapel, there was a constant buzz of noise. Afterwards, we walked into St. Peter’s Basilica. Wow. There was mass being said in the back of the basilica, and we were privileged enough, we got to walk back and receive the Eucharist.

*My opinion on the Vatican; skip this paragraph if you might be offended in any way. You have been warned* The Vatican was my favorite place in Rome. Hands down. In the basilica, even though there was a fair amount of people in there, you can still feel that it’s a holy place. The Sistine Chapel was beautiful, like I said before. The problem is, that with the re-structuring of the Vatican Museum a few years back, in order to see the Sistine Chapel, you have to pay to enter, then walk through the entire museum. I think that this is wrong, that if myself, as a practicing Catholic, travel to the Vatican, then I should not have to pay to see someplace that is so deeply rooted in my faith. #endrant

Friday was exciting. In the morning, we had our segway tour of Rome. I had more fun riding the thing than paying attention on the tour (in case you haven’t noticed, tours aren’t exactly my cup of tea). Segways are ton of fun. If you get the change to ride one, you will have a blast. Sadly, ours had speed limits on them, so when I would get a little too excited (which happened a lot), mine would start tipping backwards, forcing me to slow down. Our tour guide, Amanda, was awesome, and we got to see some really neat places in Rome that we would have otherwise not gone to. It made going up and down hills super easy and we weren’t tired when it was over at noon. After a quick lunch, we walked over to the Pantheon and checked it out.

Overall, Rome was hot, and just packed with tourists. I know we hit pretty much all the major tourist attractions of the city, but it was just insane. I’m glad to get out of Italy and away from all the crazy tourists for a while.