I have just graduated from Sonoma State University with a BA in Sociology. I have absolutely loved my time in wine country- it really doesn't get more beautiful than vineyards and endless green, but I am ready for the next adventure!

I am from the Bay Area and as much as I want to travel, I want to end up here later in life. I love that someone can go out for a different kind of ethnic food everyday of the week and still have endless options!

In July/August, I will be visiting one of my great friends in England where we will tour multiple castles, London, Paris, Paris Disneyland (we did meet at the Disney College Program anyway), and will be attending the 2012 LONDON OLYMPICS!

Click here for the official website for Edelweiss Lodge and Resort

In September, I will be working as a civilian employee for an American military base in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. I will be in the hotel indusutry working for Edelweiss Lodge and Resort. They say my backyard will be the Alps. I have my hiking boots packed already.

Click here for the official website for the Disney College Program and Professional Internships

About two years ago I participated in the Disney College Program, working and living at Walt Disney World, Florida. It really started my love for traveling and throwing myself outside of my comfort zone. I highly recommend it to anyone who respects the Disney Company and wants to get their foot in the door or just wants a break from life- it was definitely both for me.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Paris in 31 hours, 17.5 miles, and 2,471 stair steps

Those numbers are accurate and completely honestly true. If you really want to explore Paris, 31 hours is obviously not enough, but with the 17 miles of walking I feel that I explored Paris just enough, thank you. With 31 hours, we saw most (if not all) the major tourist attractions/ traps in Paris. We basically had enough time to see and explore the attraction, take a few pictures, and then walk to the next place. Paris' motto: Walk walk walk, stand in line. Walk up a few hundred steps. See something historic. Take a picture. Move on. For this trip I made a timeline:

Arrived at the Paris Eurostar metro at 2pm: Heads up- Paris military with their guns are EVERYWHERE. In the metro. At the Eiffel tower. At the Notre Dame. Again, everywhere. At first you can feel pretty weirded out, but then once you think about it, with their hands right on the trigger they sure are scaring anyone out of any kind of rebellious thinking.

14:00 hour: Take metro to hotel. Favorite moment- so pay attention: in metro waiting for our hotel stop and can't quite see the Paris sights yet. Suddenly a man hops on our metro and starts playing classical French music on his accordion. Of course, like a movie, I can start seeing the old, French buildings and really felt that it was the best way to see Paris.

14:30 Hour: Dumped stuff off at hotel and walk to see Eiffel Tower. Stayed at the Hotel Segur (I highly recommend it to anyone only 30 euros a night and in a safe, nice location. Totally clean and really great staff). See Eiffel Tower, take many pictures (I really have no idea how many in total we have- a lot is the answer the exact amount will never be known), try to have someone take our picture together (its amazing how you can ask someone to take your picture in front of a great historical landmark, but they will always chose put their priority in getting a close up of your own face).

16:00: Walk over to the Arc Du Triumph. Patisseries everywhere you go. I. Love. It. Huge fan of the French's priorities in desserts. Word of advice: at the Arc Du Triumph you can cross underground. After about the second time you almost get run over , go to the underground passing. Climbed to the top and back down- 284 steps one way.

My favorite french word

17:00: Walked the Champs Elysee. It is amazing who will stand in line for what and how long. Now I realize I am being hypocritical because I will stand in line an hour for Space Mountain, but these people just look ridiculous:
What would you think this is in the heart of Paris? A hidden castle, monument, or mansion? Well I would have guessed all of that before coming to this realization:

 Oh my thats embarrassing.

Moving On! Next stop: The Louve! A LONG walk to the Louve. You may start to comment on the lovely hotels that are conveniently right by the Louve. Nope thats still the Louve even though the entrance looks about a mile away. Thats how big the Louve is. The same cannot be said about the Mona Lisa. Tiny... but seriously I would make the word "tiny" smaller to exaggerate, but I'm not that good on blogger yet.

19:00- 1:00 Went home, watched some Olympics (in French rooting for France) with our baguette, cheese, and meat sandwiches. THEN a midnight (or 9pm) excursion to the Eiffel Tower. We waited FOREVER in line, but finally went up the tower. The Eiffel Tower is beautiful by day, but go at night because on the hour for ten minutes it sparkles! I'm not a pinky, glitter, princess kind of girl, but this view of the tower really is beautiful- just do it! Got home at 1am.... so so tired, but saw so much of Paris

Day Two

9:00 (hour #19)- Went to the Eiffel Tower, too long of a line so caught a hop on hop off bus around Paris. Totally and completely recommend it! Too much walking, and you are on a river boat in Paris- its beautiful and wonderfully relaxing. Went to my personal favorite- the Notre Dame! I'm not much on churches- but this place was amazing inside and out. The walk inside was free and I could have spent all day. I wish I could have sketched it, but I draw a dog and it looks like a giraffe so we will leave it at that. It was beautiful to look around and we climbed to the very top! A great view of the top and the Eiffel Tower.

12:00 Traveled by metro to the Sacre Coeur- VERY different church. Had to cover our shoulders- as you can see my outfit is very scandalous.  I really loved going from one church to the other because they differ in religion, but also in years of making. I could try to describe this, but my history and architecture knowledge is very disappointing- so google it!


After this we got our bags, saw the Moulin Rouge, and a final glimpse of the Eiffel Tower. The one thing I really really truly suggest about Paris is when you are done with the walking, running to the next Metro, waiting in line, etc. get a boat tour (the hop on hop off one that we had didn't provide commentary) for an hour around Paris. A GREAT way to end our exhausting journey. We saw our favorite places once more, understood the funny/ great looking buildings we walked by but had no idea what they were, and those fun facts that you can seem to forever remember but not the time of your dentist appointment.

By this time we left for Disneyland Paris at 9pm, so indeed our Paris trip was 31 hours, we climbed up and down 2,471 steps (Eiffel Tower, Arc De Triumph, Sacre Coeur, and the Notre Dame), and the 17.5 is a strong underestimate of walked miles (I swear the number is at least in the hundreds).

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

If London itself was the Olympics...

We spent three days in London, all were amazing. All deserve medals, but certainly on a scale of amazingness some where more than others.

London's Lion King Show for the Bronze!

Aboslutely amazing show! This was on our last day of London and after the Olympics and sightseeing all we wanted was to put our feet up and be entertained. Well that was an understatement to say the least. Now, being honest this opinion is coming from two people who met on the Disney College Program, so we are a bit biased but thats not the point! I saw the show 10 years ago when I was last in London and I remember liking it, but this time I LOVED it! These people are so creative to turn such a classic movie into an equally as good play. So many times throughout the play I was wondering how they would do certain parts (when the dad dies, the final battle scene, the cheesy love song, etc) and they found ways to do them all perfectly. And we got a great discount, so we were in the fourth row! Now, when you've seen a play in a regular seat it;s good, but it;s a completely different show up front. The facial expressions, practially getting spit on by actors, etc. Needless to say I think I let myself blink once or twice, but not a lot with not wanting to break the star from the actors. Anywaysss the show is coming to San Francisco and you all need to see it. You can spend 10 dollars on a movie or spend double that and get tickets for an unforgetable play- do it!
Heres the official commercial for the Lion King. Watch it.

Lion King on Broadway

London's Sightseeing Snags the Silver!

If you ever go to London or the next time you do get the hop on hop off bus. I will say this again for those of you who just skipped the first sentence- get the hop on hop off bus. London is big- don't try walking you will regret it and if you try the tube well they call it the underground for obvious reasons. And sometimes when you go they will only charge you for one person instead of two (this is where the major luck began!). The tour guides on the bus are either fantastic or absolutely downright dull, but since you are hopping on and off it really doesnt matter. Our first stop was Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, and the Parliament!

Funny story with this photo you see we had to move back to get the whole building and basically bumped into a man. While turning around and saying sorry we (of course) noticed that he was dressed in the athletic gear of the Netherlands. For those of you who dont know their color is orange, so we were too blinded by the neon color to really say anything, but instead looked at his name tag. Really looking back on it that was the time to say something and strike up a convo, but whatever you win some you lose some. Anyways we looked him up and he turned out to be a fencer and predicted to be the best athlete the Netherlands had ever seen. We thought that was as good as it got! Wait till the gold story.

Next we walked across the millenium bridge also known as the bridge that got destroyed in the Harry Potter films. I thought it was fun and gave some great views. On the other side was the Shakespeare's Glob (how convienent I know). Now the globe is not the actual globe that Shakespeare created. Liars. So thats enough of that.


Next: The Tower Bridge!... not to be confused with the famous nursery ryhm "London Bridge is falling down." Actually thats the next bridge over. No, but it really is. To be remembered forever (as is our all common dream) we did the lock bridge thing. In Paris there is a famous bridge where everyone puts a lock on the bridge and throws the key in the river. Well we forgot the lock in Paris, so settled for second best- London! Also, it was right under the Olympic rings... thats got to be good right? Well anyway thats that. As with the silver medal story everyone just really wants to see the gold, so thats go on to that story.


London 2012 Olympics (really Michael Phelps) deserves the gold!

We got tickets for the duet sunchronized swimming final and medal ceremony. Was it on our top five wants in terms of tickets? No. Did we really care? Hell no, we were going to the Olympics! Our event was at 3pm,  but we got there at 10am to the Olympic Park (where only ticket holders could go) to explore EVERYTHING! Were we ever bored? Absolutely not. Everyone was so so so nice! All the workers, military, everyone. London did it right. Anyways we walked around, got merchandise (an exclusive Olympic Park venue t-shirt rooting for Team GB- oh well they almost had it perfect!), and decided to take pics with everything.

 Olympic Stadium! We were there when Usain Bolt had his 200m qualifier. The crowd from outside was deafening!


This picture above may seem random and maybe even pointless, but lucky we did cause it changed our entire Olympics trip! The worker who took our picture told us to keep a watch for the NBC interview stage because Michael Phelps would be showing up from 12-3pm. I'm pretty sure I immediatly screamed. We had to go to our event at 1:30, so it was pretty unlikely that he would show up at our wanted time. We asked for directions from another employee and she gave us what turns out the WRONG directions, but we were investigating a random stage when Michael appeared!


Random stage I think not- the right one indeed! We were shoved to the very front (not complaining) and watched while he was getting ready for the interview. Super nice and came around to shake everyone's hands! Well to make a long story short, we ended up shaking him and Al Roker's hands, met Matt Lauer and Jessica Ennis (Britain's heptathalon winner). Needless to say after that everything was downhill.....up until we were asked to interview. A man saw that I was wearing the American flag, pointed right at me, and said "American?" We were still in shock but agreed to the NBC interview. Before the camera was rolling he said he would ask me some questions about Michael Phelps- without pausing we both yelled, "We just met him and he shook our hands!!" He just stared at us and calmly said, "Woah wait for the camera ladies." Lets just say that when you meet one of the most famous people NEVER, I repeat, NEVER agree to do an interview right after because you will sound like a complete idiot, but whatever whats done is done.... and it helps that it was NBC KSDK aka NBC St. Louis.. NOT California. Anyways it was fun and our day wasn't even over!

 The flag that got me my 15 minutes (more like 30 seconds) of fame.

Synchronized swimming was great, Russia won the gold, Spain the silver, and China the bronze. It was clear that Russa should get the gold, I dont know anything about the sport, but I can easily say that. The thing about sunchronized swimming is that they are not allowed to touch the bottom of the pool, so the next time you see girls in the air think twice about it being a sport. Better yet try it next time your in a pool and invite me so I can have a good laugh.

My exclusive t-shirt and the venue!

Our GREAT seats!

The winners!

Anyways... Olympics absolutely amazing, but celebrity spottings always make it better. Thank you London.

It's a Small World After All

Life mottos and advice for visiting the most magical place on earth: 

So Melissa and I visited Disneyland Paris and I was trying to think of a fun way to share our adventures. Nobody wants to read an overly long paragraph about someone else's travels (I apologize in advance thats London's post). With that we thought up some mottos/ advice/ warnings when visiting this place that indeed summarized our trip, but may help you with yours.

1. Embrace the small things- they will make you the happiest

Yeah Space Mountain is fun and all, but lets be honest, really the most fun come from the rides and things with no lines. So with that when your feeling tired instead of agreeing to stand in a long line because thats your way of "relaxing" (which by the way nobodys friendship got any better by standing in the hot heat doing nothing with a bunch of rowdy kids and strangers) get some ice cream and sit in front of the castle or anywhere else that has good people watching. Disneyland of all places has the best people watching and should never be ignored. So with that- sit down on a bench or curb, get your ice cream whipped cream and cherry on top and watch the stupid tourists.. and don't forget to laugh.

Its the small thing... lets change that last word shall we? Its a small world. Go on it once... maybe twice. Your already there the song will be in your head anyways, so you might as well make it worth it! Its those great rides that have lines that let you walk right on with little or no wait with the catchy tunes, simple plot, and sometimes a very famous Johnny Depp character. Go on Pirates, Jungle Cruise, Haunted Mansion, Its a Small World- the rides with no wait don't let you have time to build up the anticiaption. Therefore are more enjoyable without letting you down from exaggerated expectation.

And when you find something you like, whether it be parade, show, or ride, go with it! Keep attending the show, riding the ride, etc. For example, the first day we saw the most amazing Disney show Tarzan. Best. Show. Ever. and we literally saw it three times. It was a great way to relax and they redid it in such a way that the music was all to the same beat, but in many different languages. Phil Collins you are brilliant.

Ladies, with a body like Tarzan's how can you not show up all three days for some entertainment? 

2. Pass it along

Pass the good luck along. Leaving later in the day? Get a fastpass you won't use, scout out your audience, and give it to the most deserving (whatever that means). We did this with the famous Thunder Mountain Railroad and its more fun that you think. Judging others but with good karma at the end. Family looking like they want their picture taken? Just do it because chances are you will want a picture now or later on in the day. OR they will be the family with the power of the fastpass later on. Also, bring a thing of those 1$ packet of glow stick bracelets that you can get at Michaels or Target. Giving a kid a glow stick is like giving an adult a million dollars.. but cheaper and even better facial expressions. They will look at you like you are Superman, the parents will give you an exhausted smile because you just gave their child a distraction,.... and may offer to buy you beer. So a win win for all!

3. Play along. You're there to be a kid, this is the place to get away with it

One of my favorite times of the trip was when we went into Phantom Manor (Paris' Haunted Mansion) and a cast member was trying to be freaky and stare at everyone. Well as I am the competitive one I stared right back and we got into a staring contest. Naturally I won and I thought that was that. Little did I know when we got off the ride he was waiting at the exit. In my defense it was a lot darker and as we left he jumped out and starred (quite creepily) at me. Well I screamed and ran away and Melissa was laughing the entire time. I certainly gave him a  story to go home with. Point is play along, you're there to be a kid so do it. These cast members are just as bored as you think they look, so play along make their day. As someone who once worked there someone who plays along makes all the difference in an 11 hour shift.


4. Even if you don't think it will work- try it! You will never know if you don't ask

A new ride opened up and the wait time was 70 minutes. We were not going to wait that long, but right when the park was closing and the man was closing the  line, Melissa RAN (gave those Olympic athletes a run for their money) and asked the man if he could squeeze two more people. He said yes and we waited 30 minutes for a great new ride that we would have never gone on before! Ask to be in the front or back of the ride- one time it worked for us and another it didnt, but you will NEVER know if you don't ask.

5. People will never do exactly what you want them to do- its called life so let it go

One word to describe this: Pictures. Some advice: if someone asks you to take a picture in front of a historic landmark, the Disneyland castle, or whatever what they are really asking is for you get the whole special landmark and only part of themselves. I look at myself in the mirror when I brush my teeth twice a day, I know what I look like, I don't need a picture to remind me of that. However, I don't see the Eiffell Tower or Disneyland Castle twice a day, so when I spend all of this money I would rather get pictures of these things instead of my whole body. This joke all started when Melissa came to visit me in California with the Golden Gate Bridge and has carried on until today. Its amazing how many people will do this... but sometimes you will do it yourself. Check it out:

6. Go with someone you can be frustrated, exhausted, and will stick up for you even when your too tired to. Most importantly go with someone you will still love at the end of the day. 

True statement. This may be the most magical place on earth, but it can also be the most stressful. Or maybe I am just mildly claustraphobic. Either way, it can get quite exasperating, so go with someone you are really good friends with or plan to be so very quickly. We were sitting and waiting for a parade, when many families starting walking over us to get to the next "land." One father decided he was going to step on my leg. I totally understand the stepping of the leg with big crowds, but I dont get the apology that did not come next. If I felt flesh under my foot I would apologize, I didnt think I was even that big on manners! I was so tried that I just let it go. Meanwhile, Melissa looked him right in the eye and yelled "OW OW OW!" I just looked at her and asked if he had stepped on her too. She quickly replied, "No, it just looked like that hurt." Ladies and gentlemen, that right there is the kind of person you want to take traveling and Disneyland. The kind of person that will stand up for you when you are too tired to fight the battle.

We literally asked three different people to take our photo and they all turned out like this. And we found they zoomed it! Well thank god I got a picture with the girl wearing yellow pants..

 I don't understand this zooming in with a castle in the background thing

Literally our last photo of the trip at the Harry Potter Studios. It just makes you laugh after a while.

And sometimes your gonna do it yourself:

Apparently I think that London should try and inspire generators. To be fair, it was REALLY early in the morning that day. 

7. No regrets! This should just be your general life motto anyways
I used my life savings to go to London. I have my whole life to make money, but I had only one time to really take this trip. No regrets.

All in all, don't stress out about getting the first seat on Space Mountain, finding the best souvenir, or taking the perfect picture- just enjoy what you got, I promise it will be a lot more enjoyable and a lot less stressful! It took me a day to figure that out and the other two were so much better... not get caught in the "perfect vacation" trap.