Saturday, July 02, 2005

Welcome to Europe

Alright, so I´m here! Actually I´ve been here for a full week, but now I actually have internet so I can keep everyone up to date. This entry promises to be long, but there´s a lot for me to fill you in on! Let´s start at the beginning:
The Flight
I should have started to worry when my plane couldn´t make it from LA to NY without incident. I mean these are the two largest hubs in the US and planes fly back and forth all the time. But according to American Airlines, the weather was so bad in NY no planes could land. So we landed in Pittsburgh....just to refuel. When we were done refueling the pilot told us we were going to be allowed to land in NY so we headed down the runway. When we reached the end, the pilot told us that he was wrong and we would be waiting here until NY told us we could land. 2 hours later.....we took off. While we were in the air the pilot told us we were again unable to land so we would have to circle a while till they let us land. 10 minutes later he told us we were allowed to land. We landed at 7pm.......we were supposed to get there at 4pm...my flight to Dublin was at 6pm..... American said they couldn´t do anything and sent me to Aer Lingus. It was around this time I began to realize ours was the only flight affected by the weather and no other planes had even been delayed. They were landing and taking off like it was an airport or something. Aer Lingus said the next flight they had was the next day at 6pm......putting me a whole day behind. They said they would try to get me on standby for the 10pm flight, but it wouldn´t really matter because they only had one flight to Barcelona from Dublin and I would still have to wait another day to catch it. I managed to get on the 10pm plane, but while they were checking me in they mentioned that they hadn´t received my luggage yet...which was peculiar since shouldn´t it have been on the plane with me??? I figured I´d worry about it later and got on the plane. When I landed in Dublin I went straight to the Aer Lingus counter to see what they could do for me. The nice man rushed me over to the Iberia Air counter and helped me get on standby for the plane that was leaving in an hour. So I arrived in Barcelona at 4pm....6 hours later than planned and without any luggage. I filed a claim and they promised to get me my luggage the next day.

Barcelona
I wish I could have seen more of the city! Becuase my time was cut short there was very little I did. We walked along Las Ramblas - a huge pedestrian walkway which led to the Boqueria- a huge farmers market. I ate Paella and it was very beautiful there. It was also nice to sleep in a bed. I visited the Sagrada Familiam, which is Gaudi´s cathedral. They´ve been working on it for hundreds of years and its still not done, but its absolutely breathtaking. Oh I guess I should mention here that I still don´t have my luggage and have been wearing the same clothes for 3 days. I called the luggage people and gave them my address in Paris and we took the night train from Barcelona to Paris.

Paris
We arrived in Paris in the morning and first thing headed to the Eiffel Tower. We climbed allllll the way to the top, well the guys did, I stopped just below the top cause I swear the thing was swaying! I was proud that we didn´t take the elevator though cause its way more of an accomplishment to take the stairs. We walked down the Champs Elysee and looked in the stores. We found another farmers market and we took a tour of the city on a bus. That evening my luggage arrived and I was the happiest girl in the world. It takes very little to please me. In my fresh clothes we headed to the Seine for a night cruise. Basically we were in it for the boatride cause you couldn´t hear anything the tour guide said, but the buildings and the Eiffel Tower were all lit up like Christmas. I guess Paris is pushing real hard for the Olympics.
The next day we went to the Louvre, which I´d done, but we went to Napolean´s apartment inside which I hadn´t. It was amazing! So many elaborate and inticrate and I can´t even think of the words. Shanish and I decided to look into having my wedding there. he´s going to call Chirac. After the Louvre (and my crepe lunch) we went to Notre Dame and were just in time to catch the organ! After we headed to Montmartre and the Sacre Coeur and once again climbed all the stairs till we reached it. I think we had the perfect amount of time in France, I don´t know what else we would have done had we stayed longer. We got up in the morning to take the train to Amsterdam only to find we needed reservations and the next train we could take was at 3. So we waited 4 hours in the train station. It wasn´t very fun.

Amsterdam
We headed straight to our hostel to drop off our stuff and then to a coffeeshop. That´s right a real live Amsterdam coffee shop known for selling harder stuff than coffee. And yes, I did have some, but 24 years of never smoking anything meant pretty much I spent my time there coughing and not feeling much of anything. And after we headed to the red light district, which frankly was disappointing. Sure there were sex shops, but there are sex shops everywhere. And yes, there were girls in windows, but they were all wearing clothes so I didn´t think it was that big a deal. The next day we went to the Anne Frank Haus which was such a great experience. I had read the book and imagined the place, but to see it was almost unreal. It was bigger than I thought, difficult to imagine how no one could have known it was there. 2 stories and an attic "hidden". Frankly, I think it was bigger than my apartment. After we headed to the Dam or the central cathedral which is beautiful and surrounded by shopping. There must have been 3 H&Ms on the same block! I was in Heaven. We also learned our lesson in Paris and went to the train station and waited for and hour and a half so we could make reservations to leave the next day.

Cologne
My first day by myself. I took the train to Cologne and wandered around the streets. I looked at all the old churches and walked along the river. Then I headed to the Dom which is the cathedral Cologne is known for. I wandered around the inside and then headed out and to the Museum of modern art. Now, I´m not a big fan of modern art, but Jon is and it made me feel close to him to go to this museum he would have loved. They had real live famous art too by Pollock, Magritte, Lichtenstein, Warhol, and even Picasso so I did enjoy it. That and it was empty. There really is something so nice about wandering around an empty museum, like you own it. I had a coffee in a cafe in the shadow of the Dom and people watched till it was time to catch my train. And for those of you who were worried, I did buy the one and only Cologne from Cologne. How could a shopper possibly pass that up??? (Oh and there were a coupld H&Ms there that I just had to go into- but after being deprived for 24 years can you blame me?)

Okay so this is getting ridiculously long and you´re pretty much caught up. More on Vienna tomorrow

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