Sunday, October 4, 2009


Bridget has finally used her first European word, on our last day in Europe.  Scussi means excuse me...however she thought people were calling her a bad name the whole time.  But now, she uses it all the time.  Along with her other made up words.

Girls loved the Vatican yesterday...and we almost saw more of Rome, however there was multiple protests around the city about the metro, the subway, the trams, and the buses were all out of commission.  Needless to say we followed an English nun named Joanne, and we had to walk about five miles to the nearest place where luckily a subway was running its last trip - back to our neighborhood.

This morning...mass was going on and the Pope was doing it inside the Vatican.  We were outside the Vatican in St. Peters we were still able to see the Pope on the one of the two huge tele-prompters.

After that, we went to the market, where I couldn't help but purchase a couple of pairs of shoes.  We then walked to Piazza Venezzia where we continued to check out the Forum and the Colosseum.  We ended our day site-seeing with some good ol' cups of gelato...NUM!

We are just waiting for my sister to finish getting ready and we are heading to a restaurant that will over-look the city of Rome.  So exciting!

We are tired, we are spent...and we have one last sleep in Rome before venturing back to the states.  I definitely will need a vacation after this vacation!!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

No Place Like Rome!!

We finally made it to Rome yesterday!  Woot!!  We are staying in the center of the city and I couldn't be happier with our hotel location in the center of Rome near the Spanish Steps.  Last night, we met up with my sister for dinner and wine.  At the end of dinner, the server gave us each a small glass of Limoncello, an Italian liquor.  We all cheersed and slugged it down like a shot.  The server bursted out laughing and said "OH NO NO NO NO!!!!  Dis is NOT TEQUILA!"  This is to be enjoyed like dessert.  You are supposed to sip it.  So....the happy server he was...he swung by with another round.  Not that after the couple bottles of wine and one "shot" - did we need anymore.  Especially considering Limoncello is 50% alcohol!  ZEEKS!!

Oh well...better luck next time.

We saw the Spanish Steps and Trevi Fountain, Piazza Venezzia, and the Vatican at night last night.  Today, Bridget and Patti are visiting the Vatican and the Sistine Chapel.  Since I have already seen it, I am cruising the streets with my sister.  We are going to go to my sister's school and apartment and maybe do some shopping.  Tomorrow we hope to make it to Mass with the Pope - its all set up in the Saint Peter's hopefully we make it there!  Then the Colosseum and the Forum!

The best advice I got in Europe surprisingly came out of Bridget's mouth.  "Just look like a seems to be working."  That advice goes far in Rome, when everyone is hassling us to do a tour, or for money, or while we shop...we just pretend we don't know what they say.  Until Sno...butts in and says "NO!!  GO AWAY!!!"

Ciao for now!

Missing Trains + Cinque Terre = typical.

It wouldn't be a trip to Cinque Terre if we didn't miss a train.  Four years ago when Amy and I tried to go to Cinque Terre....we hopped on the wrong train and went to a town that was near the border of France.

So from Zurich, we had to take two trains to La Spezia, where we would take our final train into Riomaggiore, one of the five villages.  Our train from Zurich was supposed to arrive at 11:50 in Milan and our connecting train to Genova was supposed to leave at 12:10.  The Swiss brag about how their trains are ALWAYS on time...well, the Titanic wasn't supposed to sink.  So with our luck...our train arrives at 12:10.  As Patti, Bridget and I jump off the train with our luggage...we see our train taking off.  Ahhhhh!!

We had to buy new tickets on TrenItalia to head to Cinque Terre which luckily we made it there eventually!

WOW...Cinque Terre was all it was cracked up to be and more.  Besides their really crappy, inconsistent, confusing trains...the hike was A-Mazing!!  We started hiking the 7 hour hike at about 4:30pm...when most people were finishing.  A lot of steep drop offs, some with rails and some scarily without!  Some smooth terrain...mostly rough...and even some walking on paths in heavily wooded areas where you never knew when a stray cat would creep out.

There are three villages: Riomaggiore (where we stayed) is the first on the trail, then Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza, and Monterosso.  Being that Bridget forgot her watch, we didn't know what time it when we got to Corniglia (the third village) we looked at the sun.  We thought we probably had enough time to get to Vernazza...after we start walking...I look at the map and realize this is the longest trek between any of the cities...I start to be slightly concerned about how soon it would be pitch dark.   There are no lights on the path...and in many need to watch where you are stepping to either not sprain your ankle and trip, or strictly not to fall down the very steep cliff.  We finally see a sign that says Vernazza and Patti and I begin to cheer!!  That walk was so tough and we were thirsty and sweating like beasts.  We see a sign that says bar and says ice cold water, beer, wine, snacks!   So we get excited and go around the corner...only to see an abandoned shack.  And NO city.  We still had quite a ways to go.  No one else is on the trail but us...the sun is going we start bookin' it.  We finally reached the top of the city!!  And as we start walking down into the city (because the city goes way up into the hills) is FULLY dark!  Ahhhh...just barely made it.
We then went to a seaside restaurant and had a fabulous well deserved meal of pesto pastas (which Vernazza is known for their pesto), cheese, bread, caprese, and none-the-less a bottle of Lambrusco!

The next day Bridget and I planned to take the train to the final city, Monterosso, and hike to Vernazza...and then take the train back.  We go and buy our passes for the hike and train at 8am....only to find out the train doesn't come until 10:15!!  Even though the train schedule said different.  Since we had to check out of our hotel at just made sense not to go.  Boo!  Oh well, we had breakfast and shopped and then off to Rome!!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Fun Facts of Zurich

So as the ultimate tourists...we had an awesome tour of the city today.  We cruised around the whole city by bus, making stops along the way...including a gondola ride to the highest peak in Zurich...and finally a boat ride across Lake Zurich!

Learned a lot of stuff about the is a couple of fun facts to share...

-Albert Einstein attended the University of Zurich, where he later became a professor

-It costs only $1,200 to attend the U of Z for one whole year...but it is extremely difficult to get into

-90 percent of the people that live in Zurich do not own their own place, they rent

-Tina Turner lives in a surrounding suburb (we got to see her villa)

-No school for children on Wednesdays

On a separate note, Bridget has acquired a new accent (that she doesn't realize she does yet)...but she only uses it when she is talking to someone else with an accent!  It is hilarious...not to mention some of her new vocab words (she made up) that she thinks sound European such as "swee"...which means three..."creppay"....which is a crepe...and "sahmee"...which means sandwich.

Speaking of crepes...I was trying to show off my expertise in French today when I was ordering one for breakfast this morning at the market.  I very confidently speak french saying that I would like to purchase a chocolate crepe.  The lady gives me my crepe after I paid and says in English (with a French accent) "Thank you very much...have a great day!"  I walked away laughing after I realized that even though I was speaking a different was very apparent that my native language is English.  Ha!

Off to Cinque Terre, Italy tomorrow in the early morning...we are so excited we got to be here...but are really excited to go somewhere where it doesn't cost $2 to use the Burger King bathroom.

Not sure what our internet access will be like in Cinque may not hear from us until the day after tomorrow when we arrive in Rome!!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Zurich = Amsterdam + Italy + Mucho Moola

Wow...we thought for sure we would love the city of Munich better than Zurich...but after wandering around the streets today...we've unanimously changed our minds.  Because I have been to both Amsterdam and Italy before, I would say Zurich reminds me a little of both places.  The river in the middle of the city reminds me of Amsterdam...and the tiny cafes and outdoor eateries and small tangled cobblestone streets remind me much of Italy.  The only main difference is the streetcars and hills...which added a hint of San Francisco. 

Since we didn't end up on bikes today, we walked all around which worked out great since the city is fairly compact.  Unlike Germany, where we saw a lot of people wearing typical German Oktoberfest costumes (drindl's)...we actually saw a bit of style today...not to mention some better looking teeth.  I don't know what it is with some European countries...but we often run into a lot of people with nasty looking they either haven't seen a toothbrush before or just brush with dirt. 

After reading some information...we got some tips about seeing some "must-see" Gothic churches.  Besides the vampire music that starting playing on the loud church organ minutes after we entered...I was not impressed with any of them.  I think the St. Paul Cathedral in MN outshines all three of the churches we saw put together.

The Zurich Film Festival is going on today and you can bet I have my eyes peeled for celebs!  When at dinner this evening a group of Asian men were standing about 15 feet from our table...taking photos of what seemed like us??  I think maybe they thought we were celebrities...they could have at least been a little more discrete about it, perhaps hide in a bush or behind a fountain??  It was strange.

I am not sure how...but each of us blew through $70 today...and that was just on food!!  Some street-side sandwiches, homemade swiss chocolates, outdoor market pineapple, water ($5), and dinner at a restaurant on a narrow street (sitting outside of course).  Don't worry...we have had no shortage of cheese here we enjoyed some cheese fondue at dinner!  Bridget and I even opted for the wine...but at the price they wanted for the almost-half glass they gave us...that didn't last long. 

Highlight of the night was definitely the lady walking down the street with her pet feret on a leash!!  In fact, it looked like it was the feret's debut on a leash in the busy city...because the entire time walking across the street...she was actually dragging it!  Definitely not a typical scenerio...Patti said it was animal cruelty!  I just took a photo!

Well...sorry to put you to sleep with this post...but at least its helping someone out.  Haven't slept well this whole trip.  Can't fall asleep when I am supposed to or when I want to.  Starting to feel like I am getting I need to get to bed after taking some Nyquil. 

Its also really unfortunate that the first blog post was so eventful...that these next ones just won't ever be able to match up.  Oh well.

Tomorrow we are for sure doing a land-boat-gondola ride tour in the city.  We may also try the bikes again, a castle-turned-museum, and maybe the flea market.  Hopefully the market has some budget friendly food options!

Au Revoir for now!!

The "Famous Room" Relocates to Zurich

It is quite embarassing when the mature hotel reception desk people say " are the girls from the famous room"!!!  Wow...stop the autographs for now!  People on the tram were looking at us pointing and laughing...only for us to realize they were from our hotel.  They were mostly looking at Bridget...probably because they recognize her as the girl balling in the hallway!  Or...actually maybe its the fact that she has a black eye from when Patti jacked her in the face??  Dont worry...Patti didnt get out of that brawl scratch free...she looks like someone tried to eat her neck!!  We ended up having to pay £50 for the maids to clean the room...which they really didnt...and an additional £30 for the lost key.  Wow...not like we need to pay anymore money for our really crappy room!  

Anyways, we safely arrived in Zurich...hoping for a fresh start...literally!  Our hotel room is so has vaulted ceilings with skylight windows that overlook the city...not to mention the bathroom is lit on the outside with neon blue.  There should be NO mistaking the bathroom this time round!  Haha...

And the weather is super amazing...t-shirt and shorts temperatures for sure!  We tried to rent free bikes but there were no more bikes...not to mention the dudes running the bike rental were far from friendly.  Also, if you would like a cheeseburger at Burger King...please bring $12...because thats how much they cost.  Not that I had one...but Bridget grabbed one at the train station for a "snack"!!!  So long for now...gotta go leave this Apple Store and enjoy the fabulous weather and the beautiful cityscapes!


Monday, September 28, 2009

Shit Happens

Omg...its only day three and boy do we have a ton of great stories already.  Minus a slight delay leaving Mpls, our flight went pretty smooth.  Midnight dinner, rise and shine breakfast and then in the Amsterdam airport where we had our first celebrity sighting.  At our gate...riding on our plane to Munich was Entourage's, Adrien Grenier!!!  After pretty much staring a hole through his head at the gate, I stalkishly planned on asking him to take a photo with me at the baggage claim at Munich...but by the time we ended up getting to baggage claim, he was gone.  However, on our flight to Munich, we were handed Red Bull-sized Heineken's...which Bridget deliriously nicknamed them "Tinykens".  Bridget's baggage got lost en route...which made getting into town a bit slower.  FINALLY get to our hotel where we went out for a German dinner which for Bridget consisted of SIX Sausages!!

So yesterday, our first full day in Munich was off the hinges.  We started the day trying to get money at all of the unopened banks.  Nice planning on our part, when we finally got some moola...we headed of the Dachau which was the first concentration camp in Munich.  Very creepy and sad but cool to see in real life and learn more about it. 

We then ventured off to Oktoberfest...where we had an absolute blast, but it was followed up with an unfortunate series of events.  You cant make up the scenerios that occurred.  So we go to Oktoberfest and it is the size of the State Fair...with rides, a merry-go round with a bar on it...and 16 beer tents with music and liter-sized German beers.  Bridget and I went on one ride called the Star was a swing ride...except the swings were lifted up in the sky overlooking Munich....the height of a skyscraper...and let me tell you how freekin' scary that was.  With only a seatbelt and a bar...we are dangling and flying through air...and I couldn't even feel my body...let alone enjoy the awesome view. 

Okay...had enough...time for some drinks!!!  We went to the first beer tent called the Fischer Vroni...where I was hoping to find my friend Denise from Munich.  Inside...there is a stage with a band and hundreds of rows of picnic tables with reserved tables.  In order to get a have to be sitting at a picnic the only picnic table we found that had vacant seats had five guys ages 35-50 from Lucerne, Switzerland.  The spoke a little we chatted with them while drinking our Liter Dark Beers!  What a riot the beer tent was...there were a few songs that were chanted every half hour that everyone sang (except us becuz we didnt know the words)...and lots of cheers-ing and German dancing.  We got some great video clips from this...that we'll have to post later. 

Three liters of beer each...and it was time to close down the tent.  Bridget and Patti had been running around I ended up locating Patti...but Bridget is no-where in site...we looked around and couldn't find her so we figured she would turn up outside.  When we didn't find her at either exit area of the tent...we tried to go back in the tent and look for her, but the bartenders wouldnt let us back was closed.  We figured she would have to figure out her way home....even though she was never navigating us...and she always thinks we are lost or headed the wrong direction.  Patti and I...and a 50-year old guy from Switzerland who thought he was coming with us...walked to the Tram Station.  At the stoplight, we look over and see Bridget who is stumbling just following the crowds of people.  YAY...we found her...but she was in worse condition than we thought!!!

On our half-hour tram ride home...Bridget first is laying on me...and then gets up and lays flat on her back on the floor of the tram.  Me and the local college guys tried to pick her of them even got off at our stop...just to help her off the tram because she wasn't interested in moving.  We get home and 50 year old creepo is still with us for some unknown reason and our room key is lost.  We get a new key and Bridget goes up to the room first.  I get upstairs shortly after and brush my teeth and go to bed while Patti tells creepo to please leave the premises of our hotel...which he did.  Phew!!!

Two hours go by and all of the sudden I hear Bridget WAILING...balling...and talking like a five-year-old mental patient!  She is crying saying "Someone went poopie on my bed!  The is poopie on the floor...someone went poopie!!"  Patti told her to shut the f--- up and she didn't listen...and kept wailing and saying the same thing over and over.  Finally...I got to witness a Jerry Springer-style all out brawl!  Patti starts punching Bridget...and Bridget is grabbing her neck scratching.  Then Bridget runs out of the room...and steps in a big ol pile of poop in our door entrance and continues to wail and cry in the hallway yelling that there is human feces all over our room.  She starts banging on the neighbors doors in the hotel...wailing and asking for help but they are yelling at her to Shut the f___ up.  Our next door neighbor actually gets up and comes into our room so Bridget can show him the pile of poop!  Sweet.  He goes...thats poop alright.  It sure stinks.  Then all of the sudden this super scary guy with a moustache came busting in and says in an accent "if you don't shut the hell up I am calling the Polezei!!!!!"  Yikes...I am so scared I am Scooter does when I turn on the vaccum.  I offer Bridget to come and lay in my bed with me...which is slightly bigger than a cot...where I had to snuggle and console her like a five year old until she stopped crying and shut the up.  Meanwhile people are knocking on our door...and we arent answering and I wont fall asleep for two more hours I was so scared. 

Morning.  Well...needless to say the poop scent in our room was overwhelming and super sick...and Bridget kept talking about the poop in the morning and I instantly felt ill.  I opened the 5 ft by 5 ft window and puked outside the window.  I was going to do it again but noticed someone walking instead...I motioned the girls to give me the trash can...and as I am getting the can...projectile vomit went on Bridget and in the can.  I then start wheezing really bad and cant breathe...and Bridget wants to get out the video camera...rather than helping. puke noises made Patti ill and she ran to the bathroom and threw up herself.  After laying in bed trying to recover...the maid opens our door...and no less than 1 second later...she is gagging and throwing up in the joke.  She even sent other maids over to view the mess and stench!!  Embarassing.  Patti goes out there and says there was food poisoning that occurred and they told her to see reception.  Reception gave Patti cleaning supplies and hazardous waste bag to clean up the poo.  Needless to say there was still a stench after clean-up...and we are currently known in our hotel as the poopie girls!  Reception desk was making fun of us in German when we finally ended up leaving our hotel room...after laying around like piles of shits.  Literally.  We havent figured out who poopie'd in the room...but we are thinking along the lines of "you smelt it you dealt it" along with some other external forensic evidence! 

Anways...toured the city by bus today...and we are hungry now so we are off to dinner!!  Tomorrow morning we take our trip to Switzerland by train.  No more drinking for this crew!