Saturday, June 27, 2009

More still...

On Friday, we went to Giverny at last! Madelyn and I woke up pretty late, so we didn't get going until 10 or so. Then we rode to the train station, and barely made our train headed to Vernon, the nearest stop to Giverny. When we got on the train, nearly all the seats were full, so Madelyn and I sat on the stairs for a while until a nice girl a bit further down the train pointed out 2 empty seats to us. When we got to Vernon, we took a cab to get to the house and gardens, and before going in, we sat on a bench and ate some food together for brunch.
Next, we bought our tickets for the museum and went in. You go through a gift shop first, which was Monet's actual studio in his day, and then you step out into the most beautiful garden.
I'm not kidding. If I have never been sincere in my life, this one thing I mean: Monet's garden is beautiful. It was everything I planned on it being when I was eight years old and first wanted to go there. We walked through the main garden for a while first, and then we headed down the subterranean passage (generously donated by the Annenbergs) to the water gardens. I never thought they could look so much like the paintings do, although one can tell that he painted the ones at the Orangerie at dusk, when the light is more purple and grey. We were there in the afternoon. Well...I won't cover it in words, I guess. You can see the pictures for yourself. We went back to the main garden afterward, and then went to the gift shop, where we bought a few things. (Okay, cut me some slack. Monet is my favorite painter ever and I couldn't stand not getting one gorgeous thing in a shop chock full of Monet paraphernilia.) After some confusion, we got a cab back to Vernon and rode our train back to Paris.
After we came back from Giverny, we rode the metro home and just relaxed for a bit in our rooms before we decided to go to the Eiffel tower. We wanted to get there late, so it would be dark and lit when we went. We were going to leave the hotel at 9:30, but then Grandpa took a really long time at the front desk doing something, so we weren't even on the metro until 10:00 or so. Then it took us about half an hour to get there, plus there were lines. To make this brief, we weren't at the second level of the tower until about 11:30. Grandma and Grandpa were pretty tired, but Madelyn and I still wanted to ride to the top. So we waited in a big fat line. Behind us in the line were a boy and his girlfriend. He was all excited about going up, but she was being the worst Debbie Downer I have ever seen in my life. They had this really stupid argument and I just wanted to turn around and tell her to be optimistic. It was pretty sad. Anyway, we went to the top and took a lot of fun pictures, which you can see on my album here, and then we rode back down. When we got ready to go home, though, we saw that the RER was closed!! Can you beleive it? It actually closes! Anyway, after that we took a cab home, where we had scriptures and prayer and then we went to bed. :)
I will start a new post for the next day.

Friday, June 26, 2009

The Next Day in Paris...

I slept horribly on the night train that time around, but eventually we woke up and got off in Paris. The day was half over by then, so once we got to our hotel (admittedly, with some confusion) we sat around together and decided what to do. Eventually we decided to go to the Musee D'Orsay and then either the Arc D'Triomphe or the Eiffel Tower. So we took the subway and then went to the D'Orsay, which was AWESOME!!!
There are so many impressionist paintings there it would make your head spin. They have an entire room full of Monet paintings, which was so beautiful. :) Plus there were all these gorgeous Van Goghs and Renoirs. And there was one awesome Klimt! It made me really happy. Once we were done with that, we went to dinner at a restaurant nearby.
The photos are now at:

Okay... it is the next day, and I am back on, so I just thought I'd edit this post rather than start a new one, because I just randomly posted about Giverny and the Eiffel Tower. So anyway, after the D'Orsay we went to a cafe nearby for lunch or dinner or whatever it was. They had really good sandwiches; we all ordered clubs. After that, we decided to go to the Arc d'Triompe at Champs-Elysees (I know these all have accents and such, but I just don't feel like putting in symbols). When we got there, we couldn't figure out how to get to the underground passage to the other side of the street. Just Madelyn and I were going to go, since obviously Grandma and Grandpa couldn't do all the stairs it takes to go up inside. Anyway, Madelyn and I spent about 15 minutes running around in the subway beneath Champs-Elysees. Then we finally found the entrance to the top. We came up from underneath and took a few pictures and then we went to the top. There were a million stairs, so once we got there, we were pretty out of breath. We took lots of pictures, bought a thing, and then went back down.
Once we were back on the ground again, we walked around the Arch, taking pictures and trying to figure out where Grandma and Grandpa were waiting for us, since suddednly, all the street corners looked the same. We saw them, and then we went down and then back up outside. We couldn't find them again at this point, so we just started walking around the Etoile, and then it started to rain, hard! Madelyn got her umbrella out and then we saw them and ran toward them, getting wet extremely fast. Once we were all together, we ran down the steps of the metro, where we bought some tickets and then rode the train home. At our stop, Gare de Lyon, it was still raining, but I decided not to use an umbrella just because... you know, we don't have rain at home. A bit later, I think we all had some food together and then we went to sleep, after Skyping the family.


Hello! It's morning now in Paris. Well, technically it's 11:14 AM because Madelyn and I always sleep in. Today we are going to Giverny, which is kind of the main point of our trip. My Grandma first introduced me to the art of Monet, who is my favorite painter, so it's been a plan of ours since I was eight to go and see Monet's garden together. I can't beleive it's finally happening! Wow!
Anyway, I am obviously supposed to be blogging about Venice, so I will start now. In the morning on our day in Venice, we woke up and got all packed and then rode a water bus back to the train station. There, we left our bags at the left baggage place and then headed off to begin our adventure. First, since it was late, we walked down the street a bit to find some lunch. We at at this little sidewalk stand and I got this delicious peice of pizza with really really spicy pepperoni. We sat down in the back of the restaraunt to eat, and when we were done, we threw little peices of bread at the ugly pigeons and mostly at these cute little birds (which were very fast) there. After that we bought a few presents at this little stand nearby and then we wanted to to go on a gondola ride. Unfortunately, there were no available gondoliers yet, so we decided to go to Saint Mark's Square first. We got on a water bus and rode for a half hour or so.
The water bus feels kind of like the subway, but much slower, and it rocks way more. Plus it's only a boat, so it's super crowded.
At Saint Mark's square, we went to the Basilica first, which was an amazing, majestic church. Unfortunately, you can't take pictures inside, or I would post them here. Unlike most Catholic churches (in Europe and the States) it wasn't all stained glass and statues. The entire building is covered with mosaic pictures of saints, apostles, and Biblical, stories. The spaces are filled in with gold peices. It's dark inside, so when you look up, only a few peices of gold glint down at you. They reminded me of stars.
Needless to say, I gaped with my head back at the ceiling the entire time, and I kept running into things in front of me.
After we were done with the Basilica, we went to the Doge's palace. Grandma and Grandpa were tired, so Madelyn and I just went through the museum alone. We crossed the Bridge of Sighs, where condemned prisoners would look out at Venice and sigh on their way to prison. We also saw the largest oil painting in the world, called "Paradise" by Tintoretto, I think. It is of Mary and Jesus surrounded by apostles and saints in heaven.
After we finished those, we bought some stuff and then rode the water bus back to the railway station. Near there, we got some sandwiches for dinner and then we took our gondola ride. Madelyn and I sang what pretty songs in Italian we know while we were going through the extremely silent canals and backways of Venice. It was an awesome experience.
When we were done, we went back to the railway station, bought one last present, and soon enough, we were on the night train to Paris.
Tada! I have to brush my hair so we can leave, so that's all for now!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Hooray!!! I have the internet!

Soo... we're back in Paris at a hotel with free Wi-Fi at last! I will be blogging faithfully for the next four days, therefore, and will hopefully have lots of cool stories to tell you. :) I will continue with Florence, then.

The next morning, we woke up and ate breakfast at the hotel. They had these awesome little containers of Nutella, packaged the way you'd see jam and butter in the U.S. I put one in my backpack to take home to you guys, but it sort of exploded in my backpack pocket on the train yesterday. After that, we took a cab the Uffizi gallery, where I was really afraid of getting pickpocketed, so I carried my backpack in front all goofily and stuff. Inside, we saw The Birth of Venus, which was really beautiful, and this other painting I really like (also a Botticelli) but I can't remember the name right now. After that, we walked around by Ponte Vecchio and bought a few presents. Then we got lunch and this amazing tall gelatos. They were delicious. After that, we got a cab to the Academia, where we saw the David. It was so huge and amazing and majestic. After that, we took another cab to our hotel, where we picked up our luggage and went ot the train station. We took the train to Venice, where we spent a while looking for some office. There, we checked in and then we had dinner at a restaurant. Next we rode a water bus to our apartment, where we went in, settled, and went to sleep.
The next day was our day in Venice, but I have to get off now to let Madelyn on! I will write more later. :)

Monday, June 22, 2009

Trip to Europe!

Due to popular demand that I write about my trip (Leslie) (haha) I am writing about my trip.
So far we have been to Paris, Riomaggiore in the Cinque Terre, and now we are in Florence.
I will write about the best parts of every day, since I'm sure you don't want an account of my boring multitudinous train rides. :)
On our first day in Paris, which was Thursday, we took a bunch of trains and went to Versailles, which was very pretty. Of all the inside portion, the Hall of Mirrors was my favorite part. :) I can't post pictures yet, because I didn't bring a USB cord, but I will post an album when I get home. After we went through the palace, Madelyn and I explored the gardens there, which was the coolest part. We took lots of pictures. There was a part of the gardens where they played very loud classical music, which I liked, of course.
On Friday, we went to Caen, where the Normandy beaches are, and we had fun going on a tour for a long time and seeing all the cool war stuff there. It took a long time and it was fun going to a lot of different places. Also, on Friday night, something interesting happened. We went to eat dinner at a hamburger place, and when we sat down to eat, there was a guy sitting diagonally from us who stared at me the whole time. When we had finished eating, he waggled his hand in a "call me" signal. I looked away and laughed, sort of embarrassed, and he borrowed a pen from someone, wrote his number on a napkin, and held it up. When we were about to leave, I got up to tell him that I'm American and I wasn't going to be in Paris long. He introduced himself and he said he really wanted to contact me. He wouldn't take no for an answer, and he gave me his email and asked for mine. I thought, "What's the harm?" so I gave it to him. And now I have a friend in Paris.
Saturday was the best day by far. We went to Notre Dame first, which was just as majestic and beautiful as you'd expect it to be. And when we went to the Louvre, a miracle happened. During the morning, I tried to contact my friend Megan, who was with my school's tour group in Paris, but I couldn't reach her, so I gave up. Somehow, impossibly, they happened to go to the Louvre on the same day we did and we ran into members of the tour group. It was so exciting and amazing! We went to dinner with them that night before taking the night train on our voyage to Italy.
All day Sunday we traveled, and eventually we got to our town in Cinque Terre, which was Riomaggiore. Because we got there so late, we didn't get to spend a lot of time there, so Madelyn and I explored the city together for a few hours. At night we had a testimony meeting because we couldn't go to church (click for more information about my church), which was pretty cool.
Today we took a lot of trains and made it to Florence. Once we got here, we got a cab driver to take us to our hotel, the Hotel de Rose Palace, which is very pretty and well furnished. Shortly after we arrived, we went to lunch together and when we came back, we talked to my mom for a while on Skype and told her what's been going on. A while later, Madelyn and I went exploring around Florence, which, around here, is kind of dirty and not very pretty. Plus I was really scared a lot of the time because I have heard it's not the safest city in the world. When we came back, there was a very cute boy at the hotel desk. Later that night, we went to dinner at a pizza place, and I made up stories to myself about each table.
For instance, at the table across from us, a middle aged couple was out with their son and their daughter's fiancee, and he was trying to impress them because he wanted to marry their daughter. The son liked the fiancee, because he has a cool car and because he signed the son's cast really well. The mother also approves of him and thinks her daughter has chosen a handsome man. But the father is still trying to ascertain whether there is the potential for success behind the young man's scruffy beard.
Et cetera.
When we came back, we Skyped our family some more, and Madelyn and I went to the lobby to ask the guy if we could take a picture with him (and to ask for a wake-up call). He said no. It was really embarrassing and I felt pretty stupid and depressed. After that, we ran up the stairs and now we are back in our room.
Ah, well. At least one person in Europe liked me, right? I guess I'll post this now.
By the way, Leslie, you need to sign on to AIM or something so I can tell you more. And, which Euros do you have in your foreign currency collection? Do you want any more?
That's all for now, then! Bye!

Sunday, June 14, 2009


So... my graduation from Palm Desert High School was quite an historical occasion (hahaha! I just seized the opportunity to be a grammar stickler). Here are some pictures.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Birthday Presents

I am trying to pick a present for one of my really good guy friend's birthday. 
Soo... any suggestions??
And what would you rather:

This clock, designed after the Rubix cube?

This awesome Star Wars T-shirt?

This Star Wars trivia book?

A talking Japanese watch?

Or this Pop Art camera?

Please vote at the poll!!!