Monday, August 4th: We got up around 9:30 this morning, went to the common area for some delicious breakfast (we are staying at a bed and breakfast) and then got ready for the day. They have Nutella everywhere overhere and Brittany is officially addicted.
Good News! Our parents responded to the call and deposited money into our bank accounts. We are so thankful for them and their love for us!
Our day really got started around 11:15 when we took the metro to Vatican City. Rome is unbelievably hot. We would compare the heat to Texas, but we’ve also heard that you guys are setting some record highs down there and it’s not that hot here.
The line at Vatican City was about a 3 hour wait. We decided to pay 35€ for a guided tour that would allow us to not only understand the things we were looking at, but also allowed us to wait 45 minutes instead of 3 hours. We are so glad that we paid the extra 20€. Our tour guide is from Rome and is so proud of her city. She knew so much about all of the stuff we saw! She gave us some background on specific portions of the Cistene Chapel. Through his paintings, Michelangelo made fun of and/or was getting back at the Pope at that time who forced him to paint the chapel. There is a scene on the ceiling of God’s butt and it was positioned so that each time the Pope looked at it from where he was sitting, the first thing he would see was God’s butt. Another painting was of an angel giving a hand gesture which back then was the equivalent of giving someone the finger. Insteresting. We also learned that Michelangelo didn’t use female models, but instead used male models for the females in his paintings.
So all of his paintings of females look like the females on American Gladiators – they are ripped. After the Chapel, we went into St. Peter’s Basilica – it was huge and unreal. Our guide showed us where the Pope comes and goes for the Chapel, where they put the chimney thing to announce when a new pope has been chosen (white smoke = a pope has been chosen; black smoke = a pope hasn’t been chosen yet) After finishing in Vatican City, we took the metro to the main train station to wait for our train. We played gin (a card game, not a drinking game) for 1 1/2 hours and it was fun. Brittany is really competitive and kept losing so it was not a fun time for her.
Tuesday, August 5th: Last night we befriended an Italian man in our cabin – Fernando. Brittany enjoys striking up conversations with random people and she decided to ask Fernando some basic questions – your favorite color, music, past time activity… Somehow they started talking about the internet and she said “What are some of your favorite websites?” His response? “Hot sights. Do you know hot sights?” He proceeded to tell us about the porn sites that he likes to visit. It was by far one of the most awkward moments either one of us has experienced (and we have experienced a lot of awkward moments). We responded with a lot of awkward laughter and quickly changed the subject. We got to the train station around 6:30 and ran into one of our classmates who had just gotten back from Berlin. We rushed home to shower and get ready for our office visit at 8:30. First we visited Siemens and it was terribly boring. Schneider Electric is way better. Then we went straight to EADS (they are the largest European aircraft makers and compete mainly with Boeing). It was a nice office and we got another free lunch! SA-WEET!
Wednesday, August 6th: Today we got up and headed straight to Dachau. The whole place was just covered in a heavy spirit. The original gas chambers, crematorium, and watch towers are still there. It was so moving to be in this important place and see where people suffered. It was depressing, but we are glad we were able to go.
Then we came home for a few hours and relaxed. At 6 pm, we all got dressed up and went to dinner at Hofbrauhaus, a famous German brewery and restaurant. It was a blast just hanging out with the class! They all got pretty drunk, but it was still fun to see our relationships grow. We have really enjoyed these people.
Then we came home and realized that we completely forgot that Thursday existed. We accidentally omitted it from our travel plans and had no where to stay Thursday. We were able to extend our stay at A&O for one night. We have learned that the Lord’s plans are always better and more thought out than ours. We called it a night around 2 am again this morning knowing that we would be able to sleep in while the rest of our class went to the airport at 3:45 am.
Thursday, August 7th: Today was hands-down one of the most relaxing days we have had. We slept until 9:30 and got up just in time to catch the end of our free breakfast. We started laundry around 11 or so. It was great that we had today to kind of re-group. Laundry definitely needed to be done. Callie fell asleep around noon and woke up around 2 pm. We got dressed and went to Subway for a late lunch. It was de-lish! Then we went to the train station to correct our ticket situation. The 6:40 am train was booked and we were forced to take a 3:17 am train instead. Yikes! After this, we went to a park nearby and played another card game – Phase 10. It was fun and relaxing. We called it a night around 10:30 pm.
Friday, August 8th: We caught a cab from our hostel to the train station at 2:15 this morning. Our train left at 3:17 and we traveled for a solid 6 hours and arrived in Paris at 9:50 am. We ate breakfast and planned our itinerary for London. We had to go through UK Customs in order to get on our train to London and Brittany was stopped by the guard. She said “Do you have handcuffs in there?” Brittany didn’t understand her. “Do I what?” “Do you have these in there?” (as she pointed to her own pair of cuffs). Brittany laughed nervously and said “Uh… yes. They are not real. Uhhh, it was a joke?? Do you need them?” She said no and we were on our way. We were in different carts for the train ride. Callie sat next to a nice man and Brittany sat next to a guy who smelled like poop. We arrived in London at 3:30. We had plans to settle in at the hostel, Callie was going to take her last test of her college career, and then we were going to go to the National Art Gallery to listen to a free jazz concert. Sounds good huh? Well, our plans didn’t turn out the way we planned – story of our lives. Brittany forgot to print off directions to the hostel, but she figured she had the address and we are in a country that speaks English, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to find it. WRONG. We got off at what we thought was the closest tram station to the hostel and were told to go “down this road and to the right.” Perfect. We walked for a while and asked some more people. “I don’t know where that is, sorry.” Hmmm.. We asked some nice police officers. They pulled out their map book and pointed us in what we thought was the right direction. Nope. We ended up walking for a good 2 hours with at least 75 pounds of luggage dragging behind us and on our backs. We were unknowingly close to the end of our adventure and our fuses were about to blow when we ran into some Austrailian girls. They asked where we were headed and we told them. They were headed to our hostel and they each offered to carry one of our bags. These girls were definitely God-sent. We were almost to the hostel when one of Brittany’s wheels to her luggage broke. It was a blessing that it happened at this point in the trip and not at the very beginning – for that we are thankful. We finally made it to our hostel. It is really nice and we are very pleased with it! We took showers and walked down the street to the local grocery store. We got some prepared chicken pasta and dessert and took it to the park to eat and people watch. It was a great way to end our day.
We came back to the hostel and Callie took her test and then we updated the blog. Maybe we’ll watch a movie in the TV room because it’s free here. We are going to try to visit London on 50£… We love games.