Paris! part three: free travel!!

Free travel with Kaitlyn! We originally were heading back to Italy for our last free travel, but after falling in love with Paris, we decided to stay in the city for the rest of our trip. We even stayed in the same hotel! We took the week to relax, explore the city, sit in front of the Eiffel Tower, and most importantly, shop ;) The first couple of days we walked around and found some very cool vintage stores and shops. That night, we went to a wine and champagne tasting where we not only got to taste the wines, but learn about where each one came from, how it was made, and how to use your 5 senses when drinking wine! It was very cool! Sunday we tried to go to the Louvre one more time, since all the museums are open to the public on the first Sunday of every month, but the line to get in was a two and a half hour wait! Needless to say, we turned around and found a Starbucks to sit in and reflect back on our trip. Monday we decided we wanted to sit in front of the Eiffel Tower one last time and eat a French crepe, but when we reached our normal spot, we were suprised to find at least 1500 people gathered! apparently there was a concert going on. Now, if you haven’t heard the song “Gangnam Style”, I suggest you look it up on YouTube, it is absolutely ridiculous. Well, that is the song that was playing in front of the Eiffel Tower!! Everybody was dancing along (myself included) and it was like one big party! It was hard to believe that this was happening in front of us, Kaitlyn and I couldn’t stop laughing! We even caught part of it on tape. When we were on our way back to the hotel, we got caught in a hail storm about 20 minutes later……come on, really!? So we had to hide for cover until the storm lightened up, and then looked like wet dogs for the rest of the day. Minus the day of chaos, we mainly used our free travel as a week of relaxation and rest, and as sad as it is, we went to bed early more often than we experienced the Paris nightlife. But finally Tuesday morning came and we made our way to the airport for our last night in Europe. As bittersweet as it is, I definitely think I’m more than ready to be home. I miss my family and friends. I miss having an entire closet instead of a suitcase. I miss not eating out for every meal. I miss being able to do normal laundry. and I miss my bed. And the minute I get the chance, I am going to throw American money in the air out of happiness since I no longer have to use euros/zlotys/kroners/coruns and WHATEVER ELSE CURRENCY that is used in Europe!! So needless to say, this flight tomorrow cannot come soon enough. Now don’t get me wrong, I will probably cry my eyes out at the airport when I have to leave the 17 amazing people that I just spent two months with, but all good things must come to an end. These past two months have been completely surreal and I don’t know that I can ever repay my parents for giving me the chance to have this experience. I do think this experience has forced me to change and grow into a better person, and it’s something that I’m never going to forget. It really has been the experience of a lifetime.


Paris! part two!

Monday we climbed all the way to the Sacre Cœur, which is the highest point in Paris. We stopped for coffee at this little cafe before we got there, where the waiter changed the music from classic French to oldies disco! It was a fun way to start the morning! We went inside the beautiful cathedral and got to see a great view of the city. Later that day, we went all the way to the top of the Eiffel Tower, and holy cow, what a view! We went right as the sun was going down, so we were inside the tower when the lights show went off! They even had wifi, so I was able to FaceTime with mom (for like 5 seconds before we lost service). On the way back, we were lucky enough to have a man playing the guitar on the train. Even better, he started playing an SIE favorite, so we started to sing and dance along! Tuesday we were going to the Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising Agency for a business presentation, but my roommate Chloe and I got down there a little late, only to find that the group had left without us! So we set off in our business attire to find our own way to S&S. After asking for directions three times, taking two trains, and attempting to speak French, we found te building ony ten minutes behind the rest of the group! The presentation was really interesting to see the difference between French and American advertising strategies. After that we went to see Napoleon’s tomb and a museum of hiatorical costume and weapons and such, and then went back to the hotel to get ready for the final dinner. We all got dressed up and walked around the corner to a small restaurant. We each had to get up and talk about what we got out of this trip, which soon enough caused many of the girls (including myself) to cry. After we each gave our speech, we suprised Mr. G with a gift of an engraved Mont Blanc pen, and a lock that we each signed for us to put on the love locks bridge. After dinner, the group went to the bar next to the hotel to continue celebrating the end of our journey. Wednesday morning came early, but we climbed on a bus and got a tour of the beaches of Normandy, Pointe du Hoc, the German, American and British cemeteries. It was a long day, and it was very eye opening to stand where a war took place. Thursday morning we went to the Palace of Versailles and got to walk through the palace with an audio guide that was very informative. We also got to see the beautiful gardens in the back! After we got back from the palace, we went to the bridge to secure our SIE2012 lock, and watched as Mr. G tossed the keys into the river! After he suprised us with the best macaroons in Paris, we each went off into seperate directions for free travel!


champagne and wine tasting with kait in Paris!  (at Ô Château)

champagne and wine tasting with kait in Paris! (at Ô Château)


Paris (part one!)

We’re off to an interesting start, that’s for sure….before we even made it to the train station, we found out that the trains to Paris are on strike! …..Awesome. Luckily, that didn’t affect our train. One of the boys in the group speaks French and sweet-talked his way into getting us on the TGV high speed train, so we arrived 4 hours ahead of time! We walked to the hotel, which is this little place owned by a woman and her husband and their little daschund, Tokyo! We unpacked and then went to lunch as a group at the nearest restaurant that would accommodate all 18 of us. Afterwards we wandered around the city to get a feel of it, and then back to the hotel for a quick nap. Once we regrouped, we walked to the Eiffel Tower, which was absolutely beautiful. Every hour, the tower does a lights show for 5 minutes and the tower lights up like a Christmas tree. We found a terrace that gave us a great view of the tower an took as many pictures as we could before we actually went down to the bottom of the tower. we didn’t go inside because it was getting late, but it was still an amazing thing to see. The next day, we walked around the city with our Art Appreciation professor, Mr. Ducatel and got to see the outside of the Louvre, the Royal Palace, walk through Notre Dame and the Musèe d’Orsay. Saturday we got to see the Louvre, which was the last class traveling day for our Art Appreciation class. We said goodbye to Mr. Ducatel with a group hug and then wandered through the streets of Paris through a few little vintage shops, unfortunately with no success. Sunday was a free day, which everyone used to sleep in for the first time in….about two months! Everything in Paris was closed, which ruined the plans that Sammy, Kaitlyn and I had for shopping, so we instead went to the Eiffel Tower, got crepes and people watched. I don’t think I’ll ever get sick of seeing the tower in person!


@flsunman putting our lock on the love locks bridge and throwing away the key! 🔒🔑 #sie2012

@flsunman putting our lock on the love locks bridge and throwing away the key! 🔒🔑 #sie2012


semester in europe 2012 #sie #gunnamissthis

semester in europe 2012 #sie #gunnamissthis


besties at the gardens of the palace of versailles!

besties at the gardens of the palace of versailles!


walked along the beaches of Normandy today!

walked along the beaches of Normandy today!