Funny thing happened this morning...
Thursday, June 3, 2010
Funny thing happened this morning...
Wednesday the 2nd of June just happened to be a national holiday here in Rome so when we decided to embark upon a journey to the Colosseum we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. We arrived at the Colosseum to find a large crowd consuming the facility. Unable to see the parade occurring below on the lower level, by the Colosseum entrance, we were pretty much dumbfounded by the large crowds and chanting people. Apparently, the dia di Republica is similar to our 4th of July?! They honor all the military, police men/women and firemen(women). Attempting to peep our heads through the crowds and screaming children, we were able to get glimpses of the marching soldiers.
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
When I arrived in Rome yesterday afternoon, I was not prepared for the journey ahead. We walked from the train station to our hotel (about 4 blocks down) and found our hotel- the Hotel Canada (don't ask). Sweating and slightly sticky (as it was 77 degrees & humid yesterday in Rome), we plopped ourselves down in the lobby and waited to be checked in. We threw our stuff in our room, grabbed a map and started to venture out into the city. And BOY WHAT AN ADVENTURE! My feet were not prepared for the rough road ahead. Although we were provided a decent map of the city, Italy lacks one of the most important items necessary for travel by foot (or travel period)- they lack street signs. Yeaaaa...not cool. It is quite common here that every so often on the side of a building on the corner there is a street name, however this does not occur on every corner AND the sign is in marble, lightly carved and sometimes hardly visible. Talk about ancient. The second problem with Italy's geographical mapping is that the streets rarely run parallel to each other. They run zig zag, diagonal or into outer space (no not literally). Oh, and the street you're on will often turn into a different street name. So you may start on one street walking straight, and two blocks down it turns into another street. ?!?! Whack.
Monday, May 31, 2010
Today was our last day of the tour and we basically had the day to ourselves, which was rather awesome because we rarely have free time. We spent the day shopping around and found a great lace shop where my mother purchased a handmade tablecloth. And more importantly, we did buy Murano glass! That stuff is like water here. All shapes, sizes and colors. Luckily, for our last day the sun came out and the morning fog cleared for a beautiful afternoon.
This evening we had our farewell dinner with the entire group. I am sad to say that it is over and that the trip has flown by so fast. But, I am happy to say that I had a great time thus far with my family and the new people I’ve met along the way. Our group was sad to say goodbye and spent a long time after dinner conversing, taking pictures and wishing each other well. I have to say the people in this small group will have a distinct memory in my mind as I became fond of each and every one of them.
Tomorrow we are onto Rome. We will take a water taxi to the train station where we hope to board the correct train amongst the crowds of people. From here on out, we are on our own. No guide. No translator, (except for my dad’s broken Italian) BUT- luckily two nurses. Somehow, I believe we will manage out in the wild…
Sunday, May 30, 2010
I often find myself quite pleased with the simple pleasures in life. And today I found I am rather fond of Bacio chocolates. Made my Nestle chocolate, these are the Italian version of Hershey’s kisses! Bacio in Italian means “kiss”. HOWEVER, I believe they are much better than Hershey’s! Covered in a silver aluminum with little blue stars all over the wrapper, these small chocolates hold a piece of paper inside. The paper contains a quote or saying inscribed on it in 5 different languages. It is basically a chocolate fortune cookie! I ate two and mine said: “Doubt thou the stars are fire…But never doubt my love” (W. Shakespeare) and the second said: “Never close your lips to one to whom you have opened your heart” (Anonymous). I soon remembered that these small chocolates are at Monte Carlo in Burbank! Needless to say, I will be purchasing these regularly from now on because they are fun and delicious!
Our last destination before leaving our tour group and flying solo as a family is Venice! We arrived to our Hotel this morning, which is actually the Gritti Palace and like all of our hotels it is gorgeous. Extremely crowded and clustered today due to tour groups and cruise ships, Venice consists of 118 islands and 400 bridges (or so our guide said). No cars are used- only boats or should I say- water taxis! This place is amazing, just as I remember it! Slightly more developed and chaotic, Venice has become even more crazed with tourists and shops. The alley ways are tight and small leaving no personal space whatsoever. My personal bubble was definitely disturbed several times today. Regardless of the crowds we made our way to St. Mark’s Church and Square where there is a disguisting amount of pigeons and pigeon poop. Yet, people stand in stupidly feeding them and waiting for them to land on one of their limbs. It baffles me because people find this fun and entertaining… All I can think of is parasites and bird flu and disease and ughhhh…. GROSS. However, St. Mark’s is absolutely unlike any other church you’ll see in Europe and I can say this with confidence because it has a Middle Eastern look and décor to it. The floor to halfway up the wall is covered in marble and where the marble ceases, gold (true gold) and colored tiny tiles create the ceiling and pictures or designs of all sorts… completely unique and so much gold… DAMN I wish I could have taken pictures (but we weren’t allowed although a grip of people pretended to not understand the signs with a crossed out camera and took pictures anyway- the picture seems universally comprehensive but perhaps they were blind?!). Our tour later included the Palace of the Doges, which of course allowed no pictures… only exteriorly. Before I say anything else, I don’t want you to the Italians restrict pictures like Nazi’s. They have good reason. You see, pictures- paintings frescas especially, are harmed by light (camera flashes) especially being extremely OLD and delicate. The second reason they forbid pictures is the obvious- copyright. If people take pictures, they usually have to pay $ in order to give credit where credit is due (only in designated churches). Those allowed to photograph are writers and they have paid fines while also agree to stating who painted it, when, where and why…the nitty gritty details. The third reason they don’t allow pictures in my opinion is to force you to want a postcard, painting, pictures, etc. from their souvenir shop for $. I know at this point your thinking…a church has a gift shop? The answer is YES. Italians and/or the Catholic church will do anything for $$$ and let’s face it these places draw in people by the thousands…
Im off to bed now, but tomorrow we have a whole day on our own as it is our last day on the tour. Tuesday we are on to Rome.
Oh and Happy Birthday Grandma- la nonna di cumpleanno felice- la manto e l’amore
Saturday, May 29, 2010
Friday, May 28, 2010
Today we drove to Mantova (as the Italians call it), where we toured the Palazzo Ducale and the Castello San Giorgio which was absolutely huge! This place was a maze and by the time we finished my feet hurt! I definitely got a work out between all the stairs and the 50 rooms we walked through. Love the art though… and the small streets full of shops! ;) We later had lunch at a local ristorante in Mantua where unfortunately, I ruined my appetite by spilling red wine all over my white top! S***! It took me 45 minutes to get the red wine out using white wine (let me tell you the technique works!). By that time though, I had lost all desire to eat, was not in the greatest mood and I reeked of wine from utilizing the white wine to draw out the red stains! Did I mention I couldn’t change my shirt because my suitcase was packed in the bottom of our coach with 30 other people’s suitcases? Yeah…not so cool. I set a new rule for myself…if I’m in white…I drink white (wine). So after boarding the bus while reeking of wine, we continued our trip to Spilamberto, which is famous for traditional balsamic vinegar! We tasted balsamic vinegar that was 12 years old and the second was 25 years old. Yeah. I don’t know how the Italians have the patience to wait 25 years for the good vinegar when they run through stop signs while driving and honk continuously at pedestrians?!
Shortly after our tour of the Museo del Balsamico Tradizionale di Spilamberto (longest name ever), we drove onto Bologna and arrived at our hotel-the Grand Hotel Baglioni. We later ate dinner at the cutest ristorante less than a block from our hotel. The chef became my best friend...in fact I was so special he made me a “surprise” dish (because I couldn’t make up my mind about what I wanted for dinner). It was shrimp with a special sauté… Oh yea…Va Bene! Now that my tummy is full I’m off to bed and I hope tomorrow I can keep my shirt clean…while exploring Bologna…
Oh by the way…GO LAKERS!
Okay, Verona wasn’t like I remember it. Or at least parts of it are not as I remember. Especially, THE SHOPPING! My inner desire took over today and purchased half of Verona… I have no regrets. I got a lot of cute clothing and a pair of shoes. The fact that I can say I got it from Italy makes me feel so suave. ha. The best part is that the rain and thunder didn’t impede my spending whatsoever. AND believe it or not, my family was without an umbrella. Yes, yes I know… my hair and jeans were slightly drenched, but I was on a mission. I walked into Verona’s version of Macy’s and bought a coat. To my surprise, Hello Kitty is quite a thing here in Italy and it just so happens my credit card has her on it. The cashiers at the department store went bonkers over it. I feared I might not get it back at one point, but I finally was able to complete my transaction and be on my way. The marketplaces and piazzas here are filled with fresh fruit & vegetables, souvenirs, clothing stores, jewelry, paintings, morano glass and so much more.
Now that I’ve gotten ahead of myself, let me tell you about what we did today- other than shopping. We began with a tour of the city of Verona, beginning at St. Anatasia’s church (which is literally the neighbor to our hotel). We then walked to the River that surrounds the inner part of Verona. It flooded in the 1880s and was so high it filled the first level of most homes, apartments and buildings. YIKES! We were also able to see some archeological discoveries from the last 20 years and the arena where gladiators competed and operas were held long ago. However, believe it or not, the Arena is still used during the summer here in Verona! Ha. Rod Steward will be performing in the Arena in June. The best part of our tour was seeing Romeo’s home, which has been well kept and has ristorantes on its first floor. Juliet’s balcony and home is also nearby. Jenny and I say Letters to Juliet a while ago (at a screening) and it is a little different than the movie. You see, people basically tag the walls leading to her home and what isn’t tagged is covered with love notes, letters or simple ____ loves ____ forever notes. And the grossest part is that people use gum to stick their notes up on the wall. Ugh. Talk about germs. In the movie Letters to Juliet, they put up a fake wall in front of these tagged walls to make it look more cleanly and unlike the movie, this area is constantly full of people- young and old. I didn’t tack up a note for obvious reasons, however my sister did. I gave her hand sanitizer right after. In the center of this small piazza there is a statue of Juliet. It is said- if one touches the right breast and rubs in circular motion 3 times it is good luck in love/romance. Whether this is true or not…well…I think a man made that up, simply as an excuse to touch a statues boob.
Oh and by the way, Verona’s cuisine includes donkey and horse! YUCK! Can you imagine ordering…..Yes sir, can I please have a piece of ass for dinner? Literally? Or figuratively? HAHA.
"Good night, good night! Parting is such sweet sorrow, That I shall say good night till it be morrow"- Shakespeare
Arrivederci Lago Maggiore! Onward…
Today we traveled to Verona (oh Romeo , oh Romeo, where art thou Romeo?) and on the way we made two stops. One, was in Bergamo and the second was at the Al Rocol Vineyard in Brescia. Bergamo reminded me of a town you’d seen in a movie. We traversed back and forth up the side of hills to get to this walled city that has been around for centuries. At the point where we arrived for our tour you could see down into the villages below and the view was picturesque. We walked through a tiny street down to (drum roll please) the Piazza Vecchia! Yes, yes our name. Actually, before you get all excited I have to tell you that Vecchia means “old” so it is very common is front of store, square or city names. Basically, this is a square that led to other tiny streets as well as the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore and the Colleoni Chapel. We were able to tour both the Basilica and the Chapel. We learned about the architecture and the art style of the time period. Both were very gaudy (or at least to me they were) and cold (literally). The Basilica is filled with tapestries and fresca paints, but wherever there is not paint or tapestries there is colorful marble or wooden art. The place is so busy that your eyes are overwhelmed by all the colors. The Chapel on the other hand- is purely marble. It is a tiny chapel that Bartolomeo Colleoni dedicated to himself and is buried in. I’d say he was a pretty cocky guy. His name is everywhere you look. I have to give more credit to the guy that designed/built the work of art- Giovanni Antonio Amadeo- if that ain’t Italian I don’t know what is. After a long tour, which included the remarkable architectural history (YAWN), we met back in the square and were on our way to the Vineyard! Don’t get me wrong, I like history but after two hours I was ready for lunch and some vino.
The Al Rocol Winery is located on the outskirts of Brescia, in a town where over 100 wineries compete for rankings in the market. We were able to take their sparkling vino as well as one of their red and white vino. They served us a variety of foods that complimented the vino and it was amazing to see how the wine is processed as we got a tour of the cellar. Did I mention that at the vineyard there were goats, lambs and rabbits frolicking around in the brush? No, we didn’t eat them and no we didn’t hunt them! But, you get an idea of the setting. Our table was outside under a shaded area and lunch was light (finally- less than 4 courses). I loved the winery and the best part was that the wine was super cheap. My sister got 2 bottles for 10 euros- that’s about 13 U.S. dollars. This is not cheap wine either, actually the quality is one of the best in Italy! They say it is so cheap because the vino is made in that particular city. It is not shipped and it is not imported. It is made in their cellar, off their vines. Plus, there are several other competing wineries nearby, so the cheaper the better.
Now, we are at the Due Torri Hotel Baglioni in Verona and I am slightly intimidated by the fact that as soon as you step outside our hotel entrance, there is a church, and oh down the street- there is another church. AND if you’re just so lucky to walk the street in the opposite direction- another church.
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
If you could see where I’m sitting right now…on my balcony viewing the lake, small villages across the way and of course the Alps, you wouldn’t want to leave either. Tomorrow, we are on to Verona- the city of Romeo and Juliet. I have to say, I’m sad to leave Lago Maggiore. This place is beautiful and I feel our time here has been too short.
This morning, I had the opportunity to sleep in- yet didn’t. Ugh. My body managed to decide waking up at 6 a.m. Italy time was somehow okay. My mind on the other hand was screaming “why?” Over the last few days sleep has been few and far between the hours of sightseeing and tours. Today could have been my day to catch up, however it was a fail. So, I continue to be slap happy and live on little sleep, which I somehow manage to do quite well. Now that I’m rambling on, let me get back to what we did today… We took a walk along the lake front to the dock where we boarded a boat that took us to Isola Bella (one of the three islands on this gigantic lake). This is the island castle/ home of the Borromeo’s (Italian royalty from centuries ago that still exits according to our tour guide, the princess and prince are somewhere in their seventies and have children and grandchildren). This island is basically a huge home with 25 rooms that we toured and over 100 that we didn’t tour that the family still visits and stays in during the months of August. All I have to say is: Hi, can I become part of your family? I too would like to be a princess and own my own island someday. Sheesh.
The gardens were (I’m sure you’re sick of hearing me say it-) gorgeous and the views from the island were---- yea yea you get it. Take a look at my pictures…like I said before- my description does no justice to the actual sites. The garden also has it’s own family of peacocks. Funny story actually. My mother is deathly afraid of birds and two of the males began to fight over their territory as she was walking along. They ran right in front of her and my sister, both of them ran off screaming. But, the good news is we got to see one of the males spread his feathers… he was showin’ off…my mother cursed him out loud.
After returning from the garden, we did some shopping in the marketplace located on the island and we then gathered our family members and belongings to disembark from my- I mean the Borromeo’s castle. We then walked around the city of Stresa, which is well- adorable, it reminded me of Beauty and the Beast when Belle walks through the town I wanted to break out in song: “Tiny streets, full of little people, waking up toooo say…. Bonjour”….oh sorry that movie takes place in France. My bad. You get the picture though. Of course at this point my father’s mind was solely on food and food alone, darn Italian. All these cute boutiques and he wants to eat soooo- we ate. At this point, I feel as if all we do is eat. And if we’re not eating, we’re drinking and if we’re not drinking (by drinking I mean wine) we’re having, cappuccino, expresso…ugh if my stomach isn’t full I’m on a constant crack high as the Italian coffee is so strong it sends me through the roof. My hands start to shake and I’m ready for a 20 miles run…luckily right now with my lack of sleep this does wonders…
Again, I’m rambling. Soooo, after lunch we continued shopping, found a phone card for E.T. (my sister) to “phone home” or should I say Mike… HAHA. And then I stupidly shoved gelato down my throat so now I’m extremely full. My sister and mother want to walk to the cable car that takes you up the mountain for a supposedly “great view”, but I can’t even move…they deserted me at the hotel and I’m now relaxing…
I just might be…whining. In all seriousness, why leave Lago Maggiore? I’m in heaven. Oh and by the way, in case one doesn’t know- yes my great aunt and uncle are with us, real joys I must admit and quite hilarious …
Monday, May 24, 2010
Wow. I don’t even know where to begin with today’s journey. Out all the places I’ve been in Italy, today was definitely my favorite and will be for the remainder of the trip since I have been to the other destinations, but never….never have I been to or experienced places like Lago Como, Bellagio and Lago Maggiore! If you aren’t sure where to visit it Italy…this is it! It’s surreal and completely movie-like…
A little history/summary….
Lago Como or Lake Como is where many famous American actors, actresses and people of higher class own homes and not just any home. I’m talking about lake front property that is colonial style with a view of the Alps. (The pictures tell more than I can). While on Lago Como in a boat we were able to see the homes of George Clooney and what used to be Versace’s house. Both amazing and beautiful! We began our journey at the Villa Carlotta, which is basically a mansion that has been turned into somewhat of a museum for people to view Lago Como from various heights in the home. The gardens are absolutely gorgeous and in bloom as Italy received a lot of rain a couple weeks ago. We then boarded the boat which took us to Bellagio on the other side of Lago Como (no, not in Vegas!). We enjoyed lunch and gelato here. I also FINALLY got some shopping in at some boutiques! We also went to a silk factory (apparently Lago Como is known for silk production)! This was the coolest quaint town with narrow paths of wide stairs leading up into higher regions of Bellagio’s shops and restaurants. After leaving Bellagio, I thought my trip couldn’t get any better. However, we boarded the boat again and toured Lago Como until we came to the city of Como and boarded a coach instead. The coach took us to Lago Maggiore. I soon fell asleep and when I awoke, we were entering the drive way of the beautiful - Grand Hotel des Iles Borromees. Let me just say beforehand, that the pictures do not even do it justice. The entire hotel reminds me of the movie Princess Dairies, but on a whole other level. It has lavish antiques, sculptures, paintings and tapestries everywhere. The hallways of this hotel consist of six Galleries of art. AND, my favorite part---- our room has a balcony view of Lago Maggiore which absolutely breathtaking. So just call me Princessa from now on because right now I’m living the life- if you don't believe me check out the hotel website: http://www.borromees.it/v3/. Housekeeping comes twice a day (something I’ve been trying to figure out because I don’t need my linens changed every 24 hours) and I have meals practically thrown at me. Yet, again I don’t speak Italian and last time housekeeping walked in when I was showering. Oops! I can’t read the “do not disturb” sign to put it out! It’s in Italian- “Si prega di non disturbare!” Now I know.
Anyway… Lago Maggoire is probably my favorite thus far (although I’ve been to the rest of our locations and I’m sure I won’t change my mind). This is surreal- the balcony, luxuriously over-decorated hotel, boat dock out front, warm weather and housekeeping that won’t leave me alone…I’m moving….GOODBYE L.A.! Hello Italy! This is life…let me go sit at my vanity and get ready for dinner now…
Sunday, May 23, 2010
So, throughout the night I was awaken by honking horns and yelling fans of the Italian soccer team...THEY WON! The streets were filled with people celebrating and it lasted pretty much all night. Can you blame them? Apparently, it’s been 50 years since they’ve won this championship! Hence, the craze.
Shortly after being awaken by the honking horns and chanting fans for the third and final time, I drifted off into a deep slumber that was suddenly interrupted by a morning wake up call at 6 a.m. It came way too quick. My body did not want to get out of bed. Yet, I forced myself to the bathroom to get ready for the day ahead of me. Our tour group met in the lobby to receive these items called “whispers”. Actually pretty cool...they allow the tour guide to speak softly into a microphone and the group to listen without her yelling. They look like a tape-recorder that hangs around your neck and has once earpiece for you to listen to the guide. We are also able to wander a little from her and view the areas, art or whatever item she is discussing without losing her voice. Overall, pretty awesome...however, most of the folks on this tour are (well I’m not going to lie)...older. They had a bit of trouble when we first started out. Some were on the wrong station and others didn’t have their earpiece plugged in all the way. Needless to say, it took a little longer for our guide to start the tour than expected. But, we’re in Italy, everything is a little delayed! ;)
Our tour began at the painting of the Last Supper. I wish I could say I got a great picture, but we weren’t allowed photos in this particular gallery as the flash ruins the paintings and the lighting is very dim so as not to cause fading. Let me tell you, the painting is mind-boggling. It has survived a number of bombings during WWII as well as restorations of the building and painting itself. Unlike many other Da Vinci paintings this particular one is not a fresca painting, meaning it fades faster and is more difficult to restore (especially the vivid colors). In fact, there has been numerous occasions in history where they thought the painting was lost and incapable of being restored. Obviously, with technology and artistic capabilities of current, it is kept immaculate.
Our next stop was the castle of Milan! Here we learned why the city is built the way it is. The reason there are hardly any parallel streets and the city is somewhat of a maze is because the homes or buildings of the time surrounded the castle in a circular shape. The castle was amazing! We took a tour inside the museum and saw a number of pieces of the castle and it’s art that had been saved during battles or wars throughout the centuries. The last stop of the day was the Duomo and Galleria, which we visited yesterday. Today, we received a little more history and background to the Duomo.
To top off the day, we returned to the room where my computer was dying from no charge. :( Leave it to my father to try to figure out adapters! YIKES. He proceeded to try an adapter my uncle brought on MY straightener! Snap, crackle and pop is all I have to say. Basically, if you’ve ever seen “Just Married” with Ashton Kutcher and Brittany Murphy (which happens to be one of my sister’s and I’s favorite movies), we relived the scene where they blow the fuse with a few minor discrepancies- 1) it was a straightener not a vibrator and 2) we didn’t set the fire alarm off. Our power in our room went out and we had to call the concierge to reset the breaker. Thank God it wasn’t my computer! My dad was fired from playing electrician and I asked the gentleman who fixed our power for a proper adapter for my computer. I’m all charged up!
Oh and more importantly.... YES I’ve had gelato--- so far carmel, cioccolato (chocolate) and stracciatella (chocolate chip). Perhaps, by the end I’ll have tried pretty much every flavor... Ciao (for now)!
Surprisingly, I slept quite well last night. A total of 8 hours and then I dozed off again after looking at the clock to make sure I wasn’t going to be late for breakfast. And weirdly enough, after a light breakfast and a walk to the Galleria Vittorio, I took a 3 hour nap. However, in spite of my jet lag the day was awesome. The weather was a beautiful 75 degrees and not a cloud in site. Our walks to the Duomo, Scala and Galleria were all relatively local and the shops are just amazing (for window shopping that is). It’s crazy expensive here! The shoes are probably my favorite part, because they are so detailed and extravagant, although I would never try to squeeze my gigantic foot into one.
Anyways…the Duomo was (of course) detailed to the extreme and was located in the Piazza Duomo where apparently the locals were waiting for a HUGE soccer game to be played on an enormous t.v. screen in the middle of the piazza. This team is some sort of European champion and is playing in Spain this evening (9 p.m. Italy time). Today, one could definitely tell the tourists apart from the citizens or locals. Not just because of the cameras but because we were the only ones not wearing a soccer jersey or t-shirts with the soccer teams name on them. The fans are insane. They chant and scream at those who are wearing the other teams jersey or carry their flag. They also wear wigs and paint their faces blue and black – the team’s colors.
I instantly wanted to jump in to all the fun, simply because of all the gorgeous men that flocked to the piazza, however their were three slight problems- 1) I don’t speak Italian (other than curse words) 2) I was with my elder uncle and aunt and 3) I don’t really understand soccer other than a goal is good, which I guess is all that matters however, I feared cheering for the wrong team and being mauled. So, I left the Piazza in utter amazement and knocked out at my hotel. At dinner, we got to meet our tour guide- Christina, who will be guiding our group through all of our destinations (except for Rome where my family will be on our own for a few days). To no surprise whatsoever, Aliza and I are the youngest on the tour, but we met a bunch of very hilarious older couples and all in all we believe this shall be an amazing trip…
Tomorrow we must arise at 6a.m. (that’s 9pm U.S. time) to make it to breakfast and start our day…
Friday, May 21, 2010
10 long hours of being on a plane then walking across the Frankfurt airport to a connecting flight that sat on the runway for a half hour and FINALLY arrived in Milano at approximately 230p.m. Italy time (3:30a.m. U.S time). Praise Jesus! My bum finally stopped tingling and my muscles stretched. I paced the terminal while my father and uncle attempted to collect the luggage. My father stated that the Italian people (his people) do everything slow and patience is a virtue, meanwhile I was thinking this is ironic because daddy…you don’t have patience sometimes and at this point in the journey everyone was CRANKY! BUT, as soon as we stepped outside, I instantly remembered why I loved this country when I came here 10 years ago with my best friend (Natalita and her family). The friendly people, our talkative bus driver, the small and quaint buildings, the language and my overall sense of excitement gave me a surge of energy. We then proceeded to board a rather nice van that took us on a route that only God could follow. All I know is that it involved the freeway, a handful of lefts and a million rights down small tiny one-way streets made of cobblestone. I’m pretty sure our driver almost ran over two people on Vespas, not too mention the entire street is filled with parked bikes, motorcycles, cars and other forms of transportation. Our hotel is called the Grand Hotel Et De Milan and you would barely be able to find it if driving yourself, simply because it has a small set of double doors amongst a street full of shops, boutiques and restaurants. Quite the quaint little place and absolutely gorgeous, it reminds me of a New York styled hotel but much much more sophisticated and peaceful. Oh and did I mention the gorgeous men here? I am in heaven…and isn’t it ironic that as I type I am hearing church bells? HA HA.
In the midst of all my excitement, I am the only one who couldn’t nap when we got to our rooms. Unfortunately, my mother gave me the low down on walking around by myself and I couldn’t convince my sister to forgo the nap, sooooo I anxiously waited for her to wake up and typical me…I went to the gym… what do you expect I can’t understand a word they are saying on the t.v.! Now, it’s dinner time and room service it is, as everyone is feeling jetlag (except me)…after dinner we shall explore…
Ah, Finally. It is now 250a.m. U.S. time and I am just getting into the Frankfurt airport (it is 1150a.m.). Don’t get me wrong the German language is interesting, but the people here have such thick accents that when they speak to me in English I think they are still speaking German. Anywho… it was an extremely treacherous plane flight of approximately 10 hours in which I tossed and turned in attempt to get some Zzzs but failed. After ohhh… the 7th hour my bum fell asleep and I became antsy. I am in a state of sleep deprivation and my sister and I have a case of the giggles. We spent most the plane flight sleeping on each other’s shoulders and competing at sudoku (I officially stink). I’d have to say the highlight of the flight was the rather plump lady who unknowingly had her mini pillow stuck in the back of her pants when she went to disembark from the aircraft. My dad and I saw her 10 minutes later walking through the terminal to our connecting flight…she still had the pillow stuck…hanging out of her pants. Can’t help but laugh. We are now boarding our plane to Milan…it is a short flight and it will be around 2 p.m. Italy time…my sister is aching for a nap, although I am encouraging her to fight it. I doubt she will listen to my advice. I am so happy to be here I think I shall survive the sleep deprivation at least until my body tells me otherwise…
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
...today I had my interview at CHLA (which went ...I think extremely well). Surprisingly, I wasn't nervous and I received the general surge of questions such as why do you want to work here... why do you want to be a pediatric nurse and how do you handle conflict? They all seem rather relevant to the field, but I can't help wonder how many times they hear the same answer. In any case, I used my experiences over the last two years to persuade these interviewees....I'm a patient advocate, compassionate, family center care provider who likes to laugh while maintaining a purely professional relationship with patient's families and my co-workers. In short, I told them everything I think they wanted to hear....so now I leave it in their hands for two weeks! After that, I am suppose to receive a phone call telling me good or bad news. At this point, I truly focused on getting onto my plane...escaping reality for a bit...