where I go, who I meet, and what I think in Europe

Monday, June 29, 2009

Day Trip

I realize I haven't written for a few days, but for the most part everything has been pretty routine lately. However, I was fortunate enough to have a day trip off the farm this past Sunday. Francy took Anne and I to the Beara Peninsula. We passed through several towns (if you can really call them that) on the way there. One of them was considered the most colorful town in Co. Cork. Every building was painted a rich blue, purple, yellow, or green. We aren't sure why Ireland's towns are so colorful, but it really is a staple of this country.


Everywhere you drive in Ireland the views are just spectacular. Everything is so green. Francy would beg to differ. He's very upset right now with the farms in Ireland. He says they aren't thriving like they used to because the EU sends checks to farmers because of surplus money or something. I can't always understand what he's telling me, and truthfully, I don't know if Francy knows all the facts either. However, I did have to agree that there were not many animals grazing the grass. I guess with these checks the farmers don't have to rely on crops and animals to make their money. Nevertheless, I was still impressed with all the unadulterated land.




The Beara Peninsula was also grand! It rained for most of the day, so the fog settled in a few times making it harder to see. Francy fished a little on a cliff, and I watched close behind. This checks off one of the things I most wanted to do in Ireland: fish with a local. I thought it was going to be a tough one to check off. Francy didn't catch any fish but he found Perriwinkles on the rocks. He said we would cook them for dinner. I wasn't too sure about them, and I ended up not having any. The day turned out so long, and I was so cold when I got home. I really didn't feel adventurous enough to try a new type of seafood. oh well...




There were two places that really took my breath away. The first was my purple beach. It was a rocky beach and with all the rain everything was very wet. The rocks were absolutely beautiful shades of purple, turquoise, and green. The majority were purple making the beach glow with the hue. Purple is one of my favorite colors, so it was a very special place. The pictures don't really do the rocks justice.







The other place I really enjoyed was this valley we drove through. It was so foggy, and Francy kept saying how it was a shame we couldn't see anything. However, I thought the drive was magical. If you looked up you only saw a heavy white from the fog. The air felt like velvet as I drove with the window open. I'm sure the place is really beautiful on a sunny clear day, but i got a different experience, and I liked it all the same.







One final site I saw the was the "Hag of Beara." The myth goes that a woman waited and waited for her lover to return from sea. She waited for so long eventually she turned herself to stone. It looked like a big rock to me, but apparently, this type of rock can't be found anywhere else in Co. Cork so maybe there is some magic behind the story. Who knows...








I really appreciated Francy taking Anne and I out. We were out for over 7 hrs. It was very generous of him to give us his time. It felt good to get off the farm though. I needed a change of scenery.
Tomorrow, we go to Macroom for the Country Market. Wednesday there is another American girl named Lauren joining Anne and me. Hopefully the three of us get along. I've been very lucky to have Anne here. We make good conversation, play cards, and eat great meals together. She's just another check on the positive part of my trip!

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Friday, June 26, 2009

Tired

So the past two days I have been in a constant state of exhaustion! I yawn a lot, my legs tingle, and I just don't seem to have that ooomph of motivation to get me from place to place. I'm getting enough sleep. On average, I get about 7 hrs of sleep each night. Last night, I got 10 because I went to bed super early in an attempt to remedy myself. Technically I have every right to be tired. I carry about 10 buckets of water a day for the pigs. The milking equipment isn't light. I walk everywhere. I sledge hammered about logs in the ground today. But I'm not complaining at all! I really enjoy this work, and it's definitely eye opening. I've never really had a labor intensive job before, and I truly think it's something everyone should experience atleast once during their life. It's very humbling. Mind power is important and requires a lot of training but so does labor!

Today, I worked out in the field for the majorite of the day. Francy, Anne, and I build fences and fixed gates so the sheep can be more manageable. I also got to shorn a sheep. I used a pair of old shears. It was very difficult. I will put a video up next time I get my camera hooked to my computer. Francy made it look so easy, but it all depends on the angle of the shears and pressure in order to be a success.

Another thing I am working on is driving the small tractor. It's a stick shift, and I don't know how to drive one. Francy takes me out into the field to give me some pointers. Hopefully by the end of these two months I will have gotten a handle on it.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Not for the weak!

Two things happened today that were just not on my list of things I neither hoped or thought I would experience this summer.

1. I experienced three cows get castrated this afternoon. It's done a little differently nowadays; they aren't actually cut off just squeezed so they shrivel up down the road.

2. There was a murder last night on the farm. Not just one, not just two, and not even three. Over 60 hens were violently brought to their death beds during the course of the night. We are unsure what brought this catastrophe. It might be a fox or a muskrat. Those are our predictions. When you have 60 dead hens, you have to clean them up. I bucked up and picked those damn hens off the ground two by two by the feet. I threw them onto the tractor and watched them drive away to their grave in the woods. No no, I never thought I would have to do such a thing in my lifetime. It was not pleasant. It did not smell good. I hope to never do it again. I have pictures, but I choose not to exploit these poor hens online, and I figure you don't all wish to see this violence. However, you may e-mail if you are brave, and I will gladly send you documentation.

RIP my dear hens.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Simple Life

Since days are starting to become a bit similiar, I am deciding to share a few interesting things that have happened these past few days.

On sunday, the leades house had an open day. The Rusheen School came with about a thousand people and there were sports, games, face painting, animal watching, and of course food. I roamed around because it was technically my day off. I spread a blanket out in the orchard and took in some sun. I also relaxed by listening to music and reading magazines. Laying in the orchard is becoming my favorite thing to do. It is just so peaceful there.

Monday night, I taught Anne what a Smore is. We make a fire just about every night because it gives us hot water. I decided why not put this fire to a better use and roast some marshmallows! I couldn't find a hershey chocolate bar so I bought cookies with a chocolate coating. It worked perfectly. Anne was a bit skeptical but I think she really enjoyed them. She made two! Me, I love smores and really can't get enough of them. Too bad they are so bad for you...

Tuesday morning, we went to the market place in Macroom. This market is a little different because every farmer has labels and the people pay for the items at a register not to the farmer directly. This means Anne and I were able to walk around the city until the market was through. I went to a toy store and bought watercolors and paper, so I can paint the beautiful landscapes of the farm. I have already put them to good use. I also bought a skirt at a thrift shop. Macroom is a very cute city, and I look forward to visiting it every week.

Ok I'm very hungy for some supper. Tootles!

Monday, June 22, 2009

A look at the farm

So here are some videos as I have been promising! The first is a short tour of where I live. The last three are a few steps that go into the daily milking of the cows.
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Sunday, June 21, 2009

A Day at the Market

Saturday June 20, 2009
I had to get up early on Saturday, around 6 am, to get everything ready for market. Saturday's market is in Cork City. We sell eggs, milk, yogurt, produce, meat, and sometimes hens and cheese. Anne and I were in charge of the stall. It was a slow day; we didn't even sell all the eggs which is very unusual. If you are curious prices were as such:
6 free range eggs for 2.20 euros and 12 for 4.00
Liter of fresh milk 2.20
yogurt 1.50
cabbage for 1.00
rubbarb for 1.50
turnips for 1.00
and meats at various prices

I used my Borders retail sales skills to my advantage haha. I also walked around the market. There were stalls similiar to ours but also stalls with cakes, crafts, and fish. I bought a delicious apricot bar and muffin for future breakfasts.

After the market, Anne and I relaxed for the rest of the day. I took a blanket out to the gardens and listened to music and read magazines for about 3 hrs. It was such a beautiful day; I don't see how someone could not have spent every minute of it outdoors. Then Anne and I took the 30 minute walk to the nearest pub for a couple beers. I tried Murphy's and Beamish. They are both stouts.

The 30 min walk home was not nearly as enjoyable because it was getting cold outside. Back at home, we started a fire and went to bed but not until we started a fire to keep our new home warm!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Sheep and Cows and Pigs...O MY

Day 2 at the farm and I already know my way around. I woke up before Anne this morning, and I checked on the chickens to make sure they had food and mixed food for the pigs. I began to feed the pigs, but when I got to the pen with the two "lover pigs," I got very scared. The two pigs are half my height and very very loud. They clearly knew why I was there and started jumping on the gate which I was having trouble opening. I knew I wasn't ready to feed them on my own, so I took my bucket of food and waited for Anne to get up.

After feeding the pigs, Anne and I milked the cows. Out of the three cows, we get about a bucket and a half of milk. Buckets are big...about 10 liters of milk. Francy, a worker on the farm, got us to help with the sheep. We moved them from the field to the barn, so we could give them medication. It is quite the task. There are over 100 sheep and they cram into a small pen. There are three sections to the pen. They start on the left then we move about 20 into the middle. In the middle section we medicate them and then move those sheep to the right. Then the whole cycle starts over until all the sheep are in the right pen. My job was two hold the one gate shut because it didn't have a latch. Sheep are very nervous animals and tried to get out of the pen with the medicine. I was putting my whole body into keeping this gate shut.

After the sheep, I raked a little more until "dinner" We always have dinner with Collin and his wife, Sally, in their house. Sally is a very good cook. Dinner of course consists mainly of potatoes, meat, and vegetables. It is a farmer's dinner.

Then I weeded the driveway. You see, there is an open farm day on Sunday that a school hosts. Almost 1000 people come and go through out the day, so we are currently tidying up the farm so it looks good for the day.

When the came to a close, I finished reading "Marley and Me" by the fireplace. I cried so hard at the end. This was the first book that every made me cry...ugh. Luckily, I was enjoying myself so much in the stone cottage where the fire was Collin told me Anne and I could move into it unti August 5th when the renters move in. We are so happy because we were currently in the basement of Collin's house. It's a nice basement and we each had our own bedroom, but it got very cold at night, and we didn't have a decent bathroom. This cottage is much better. The kitchen is no longer down the hallway but we are willing to make that sacrafice. Now the two of us literally have a house to our own. Day 2 had been great and full of surprises. I know I smell bad, and my boots are already covered in mud and poop, but hey that's the life of a farmer.

I promise to take pictures and video soon!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

God Bless Farmers!

All I have to say is God Bless Farmers and what they do day after day after day. Obviously, I have some muscles to build. I expect to be very sore tomorrow. I did a lot of different tasks today. I milked three cows, collected eggs, and raked dead grass and pathways for about 5 hrs. Everyone is very friendly here. The farm doesn't seem super organized, but I am not going to make an judgements yet. All I DO know is that I will be sleeping very well tonight.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

day 1 on the farm

o goodness! so I really think this farm is absolutely beautiful! there is so much land and I can't wait to explore it all. My first big job on the farm was to collect eggs and prepare them for market. It wasn't bad at all. After doing this chore once, I feel I am competely competent to do it on my own. From what I hear, this farm isn't the most organized place in the world. Collin's, the owner, main mission is education not making profit at the market. I assume then I will learn a lot about farm work, but I won't neccessarily experience everything a farm has to offer. There are pigs, cows, and a lot of chickens on the farm. I will take pictures very soon.

Tonight, there was a group of 9 french boys on the farm. They come here every summer to complete some type of project for school. This summer they finished the watch tower. They decided to get very drunk tonight, and I felt like the mom. I took care of two of them while the puked in the toilets. This wasn't the ideal greeting, but I got to hear the language, and I definitely helped out...ugh. Atleast these boys were taken care of. This is very different from the American school system. I would rather be caught dead before I was so drunk in front of my teachers. Very very different.

I am very happy with the living quarters. I actually have my own room! I can't complain at all. Currently, it is just me and Anne, a german girl volunteer who is 20. We seem to be getting along well. In about a month there will be some spanish and german men who come as well. It's very late now and I am very tired. I will write again soon!

Butterflies!

There are approximately 45 minutes until I face the reality of this farming program. I just spent the night in the city of Cork. It seems like a very pleasant city, and hopefully, I get more chances to visit during the coming two months. I've got my steel toed boots on and a tie dye shirt; I think i'm set for the farm. I am very excited, but I have nervous butterflies at the same time. I've created pictures in my mind of what the worst could be and what the best could be when I get to this farm. I can only wish for a happy medium. Please keep cross your fingers, say a prayer, wish on a star, or do whatever it is that you do to help make sure this experience is positive for me. I will give you an update as soon as I can!

With love from the farmer in training,
anna

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Ich bin ein Berliner!

After restless attempts at sleep in the Dublin Airport Wednesday night through early Thursday morning, I flew to Berlin, Germany on RyanAirs. I thought I was going to need to waste more time at the Berlin airport, but it worked out great that Kirsten and Birgit were very close when I landed. I got in the car and struggled to keep conversation the whole drive to Birgit’s cousin’s house. I was just so exhausted from not really sleeping. Fortunately, they were tired too because Birgit and Kirsten had to get up early to drive to Berlin. When we got to Angelica’s house, the three of us took a nap. This nap felt very very good. I woke up and continued to relax with a glass of wine and a box of chocolates. J

Friday was a much more event filled day compared to Thursday. We started with some very delicious brotchen for breakfast. Then Birgit, Kirsten, and I went to the SanSouci Park to see the castles. These castles are very different from the Ireland Castles I saw. The San Souci is more like a gigantic mansion. It was built for Frederick the Great. I took a tour of both of his castles; it’s hard to believe that people actually lived in such luxurious houses. I am going to begin saving up. Kirsten and I also visited the tea house in the park where Alexander or his wife would go away to have secret meetings with secret visitors. It rained a little during our time in the park, but I had my awesome green rain jacket on, so I was covered.

After the park, we went into the city of Berlin. First Kirsten and I were on a quest to find the juggling catacombs. It was a mission that Michael, my brother, sent me on. The catacombs were very cool. You can see my videos below. The jugglers who were practicing knew my brother which was pretty cool. It’s weird having a “famous” person in the family even if it just within the juggling world. Go on Michael…Brush your shoulder off.

After the catacombs, Kirsten and I went to catch the 100 bus which takes you around Berlin to a lot of the sites. The bus was really late; we waited for about 30 minutes, but that was ok because the bus also took the two of us where we were going to meet Birgit and her cousin for dinner. We ate a Brewery that had very good beer. I had a hearty dinner of ½ a duck, dumplings, and red cabbage. Wonderful! You can imagine by the time we got home around 11 pm I was so tired! I went straight to bed.

Saturday
More brotchen for breakfast! I missed them while in Ireland. Kirsten and I caught a train into Berlin, and then caught the 100 bus again to the Dom. We decided not to go into the big cathedral because it cost 3 euros and we both had seen so many cathedrals. Then we went see a exhibit of the antica era. There were lots of pots and sculptures. It was cool. We ate our packed lunches on the stairs of the museum. After the museum, Kirsten and I went to the Postbahnhof to see the bodyworlds exhibit. I had seen a very similar exhibit in Pittsburgh at the science center a year ago, but this was before I took anatomy for dance conditioning. It was interesting to see the muscles and bones again now that I knew the names. Kirsten really enjoyed the exhibit too.

We finished the exhibit around 5 pm and really wanted some coffee. We were planning on going to a specific cafĂ© Kirsten knew about, but we couldn’t find the bus stop, so we decided to stay where we were. We went to starbucks at a nearby mall. Then of course we had to do a little shopping. I bought a pair of shorts at H&M for 9 euros. Not bad at all! After shopping, we came back to Angelica’s house for some dinner that Birgit cooked for us.

Berlin has been a lot of fun. I head by to Duisburg tomorrow and then back to Ireland on Monday. My farming program begins on Tuesday. I am getting very excited to start this program, but I hope it turns out to be a very positive experience. My month of backpacking has been so memorable, and I want good memories to continue during the next 2 months. Keep your fingers crossed for me please!
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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Videos

Here are some extra videos I haven't posted of Paris, Amsterdam, and Ireland. Enjoy!
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DUBLIN!

I can't believe I haven't blogged about Dublin yet! Well, I have plenty of free time right now to do just that.

Day 1 (Sunday)
Jill and I spent most of the day traveling by train to Dublin from Galway. We got to the hostel which was absolutely perfect. The Abbey hostel is a mix between our five star corporate hostel in Amsterdam and the intimate Claddagh Hostel in Galway. We were very happy. After freshening up from our travels we took a stroll around the temple bar area. Our two main goals were to find dinner and live music. This was our night to splurge on a fancier dinner since we hadn't done that yet and we didn't want to go grocery shopping. We had dinner at the Quay Restaurant, a two course meal for 19 euros, and then we walked around in the search for live music. In Dublin, live music is very easy to find. What is hard to find is space in the bar. We moved around from bar to bar taking it all in. There was also street music and dancing. We didn't stay out too late because we were tired from traveling and wanted to be well rested for the next full day.

Day 2 (Monday)
Our big plan monday was the Guinness Brewery. It was not nearly as exciting as the Heineken Experience, but we enjoyed ourselves nevertheless. Our free pint at the gravity bar on the top floor of the factory was well worth it. They really know how to pull a pint...obviously.

After the factory, I took Jill on a walking tour of the area. We found some older churches to go into and visted Trinity College. The campus is absolutely breathtaking. The buildings are so old and detailed. We wanted to see the Book of Kells, but it cost 8 euros, and we just weren't willing to pay the fee considering 8 euros equals two beers. The evening took us back to our favorite bar The Quay where we helped ourselves to some pints and made friends with the bartender. We also met two Scottish men, Stephen and Andrew. They caught our eyes by their kilts they wore. Let's just say they definitely wore their kilts the authentic way. Stephen and Andrew were great fun, and we showed them Gogarty another great bar with traditional irish music all night.

Day 3 (Tuesday)
Ouch! It was tough getting up Tuesday morning due to Monday night. We had a few too many pints, so our solution was to sleep in a little. After we showered and ate, Jill and I walked along the Liffey. We saw the Custom House and stopped for coffee. It was a relaxing day with great conversation between us. We discussed our plans for the coming year and repeatedly exclaimed how happy we were at that very moment in Ireland. At 5pm we went to the DanceHouse. It is a building with many studios and open classes. We took an hour long contempory dance class. Dancing always feels so good when it has been awhile since your last class. After class we went to the grocery store to get food for dinner. I cooked up some stir fry for us; it was bangin! Then we went back to the Quay to enjoy jills last irish pint of Guinness.

Day 4 (Wednesday)
Jill left early this morning to catch her plane home. I am still in the hostel, but I'll probably head out for a walk soon. I have to leave for the airport around 9 pm, but my flight isn't until 6 am. I have to store my luggage at the airport and the storage facility isn't 24 hrs, so I have to get there before they close. It's not going to be very funy sitting in an airport all night, but I have to do what I have to do. I head to Berlin for the weekend with the Anders again. I'm excited to be back in that city.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

If it's not free it's not for me

Spending time in Europe has made me realize there are a lot of free things in America I take for granted because here in Europe you have to pay for them. Some of these things include:

Toilets (50 cents)
Water fountains (non existent)
Theatre programs (3 euros)
Water at restaurants (not free because it's always bottled)

When I think of more I'll add on, but all you people in America everytime you use a public toilet or drink from a water fountain please think of me and the money I had to spend to get those everyday amenities.

Galway

Galway is a magnificent city! If you ever find yourself headed to Ireland, please take atleast a day to explore this quaint city. On Friday, we started with a trip to the laundrette. The owner was absolutely fabulous, and we met a man name Gerry who was a famous Vietnam Reporter in the U.S. He's interviewed people like Bob Hope and Marilyn Monroe. It was pretty cool.

Then, I played tour guide and brough Jill around on a walking tour of the city. We visited St. Nicholas Cathedral, Lynch's Window, Eyre Square, Lynch's Castle, the original Claddagh jewelry store (where i bought a clauddagh ring), the Spanish Arch's, and the Cathedral of St. Mary assumed into heaven and st. nicholas. You can imagine this took quite some time, but I appreciate jill putting up with all my touristy sight seeing!

We thought it was appropriate at this time to take a break for our feet and have a beer. I tried a new beer called Kilkenny. It's not quite as dark as a Guiness but served similiarly. It's very good! Dad I really think you'll like it!

Friday ended really well because JIll and I went to see the play The Playboy of the Western World by Druid Theatre Company. The show's a very dark comedy/drama, and the company did a great job.

Saturday
Our last day in Galway, but Jill and I spent most of the day outside in County Clare. We took an organized bus tour to the Cliffs of Moher. We stopped and many places along the way including Dunguaire Castle, Burren hills, town of Doolin for lunch, Poulnabrone Portal Tomb, and a cave on the way back. The cliffs are breathtaking! They stretch for miles and give you a great view of the Aran Islands. We were so lucky with the weather too, it began to rain for time on the cliffs but quickly turned back to a cool sunny day. Like I said, Galway is really a great place, and I have definately fallen in love with Ireland here. I am really looking forward to spending two months on the landscapes I observed today!





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Friday, June 5, 2009

Long time no see




I feel like it's been a long time since I last updated this blog. I suppose it's really only been a little over two days, but since I am not in a different country, I've lost my bearings a bit. First, I am safe in Galway, Ireland with Jill. Our hostel here is not nearly as nice as our 5 star hotel (aka stayok hostel) in Amsterdam. Amsterdam ended with quite a bang. Our big event on Wednesday was th Heineken Experience.We went with Mark who we met at the hostel. He's from New Jersey. The company turned the old brewery into a walking tour, and it was awesome! The staff was very entertaining, and the tour had activities like karaoke and rides that took you through the brewing experience from the perspective of a beer bottle. Through out the tour you go three free beers, but we become so friendly with the staff they let us hang out a bit and just kept pouring us free drafts. They loved us in Amsterdam.

We also visited the I AM AMSTERDAM sign in Museum park. It's a great picture opportunity.

Thursday was really a travel day. Jill and I woke up early to catch a bus to the train station. We took a train to the airport. We flew to Dublin and then trained it to Galway. It was a long day, but luckily we met no glitches in our plan. As our said, our hostel here is not nearly as nice as Amsterdam. It's hippied out and has a slight scent of mildew everywhere you walk, but we are lucky enough to have found it for such a cheap price. There are many long termers here that volunteer as staff for the hostel. Jill and I feel a big like outsiders, but no worries because we have each other!

It's kind of exciting that we are here in Galway right now because there is a big boat race that just docked here. There is a huge stage setup outside by our hostel and there are free concerts every night. Jill and I went there last night and then walked around town.

This morning we are going to do laundrey and tour Galway.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

I AMsterdam

Hey everyone,

day 2 is coming to a close for amsterdam. Jill and I got a lot done. We walked around to view what we considered some pretty cool sights in town. We started out at Anne Frank's Annex. I've been to the hideaway ten years ago, but it was much different visiting it as an adult. In 5th grade, I thought the Annex was "so cool." Of course, I understood the severity of why Anne's family was in hiding, but it didn't hit me emotionally. Today, I was really affected by the writings of Anne's father. He spoke about how surprised he was by Anne's maturity and insight within her journal. His love for Anne was so apparent, and I teared up a few times through out the museum, but as most of you know, it doesn't usually take much to make me get emotional..haha.



The other major activity Jill and I did was paddle boating down the Amsterdam canals. this was a lot of fun and a little nerve wrecking. (video will come soon)!

Then in the evening, Jill and I went to Karaoke in the hostel. We got the party started, no joke. The bar was mostly filled with 16 yr old Germans, and they were not doing Karaoke the "right" way, so Jill and I set the bar higher. We sang "The Lion Sleeps tonight" "I've got you babe" and "Big Spender" throughout the course of the evening. The owner of the hostel loved us so much he gave us each a free beer. We also met Mark who's from New Jersey, so that was pretty great.

Well my internet time is ticking down... I hope America's weather is treating you as well as Europe weather is treating me (knock on wood).
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2 days w/ no pictures

Allow me update you with my past two days of travel. First of all, I have made it safely to Amsteram, and I am enjoying Jill's company very very much! Unfortunately, I am using the hostel's computers for internet so there won't be many pictures until I get to a hostel with free wifi which I think will be in 3 days.



I finished my glorious 5 days in Paris by visiting the Musee D'orsay. It was all worthwhile just to see the Degas paintings. It was amazing to see his dance paintings up close; photographs just do not do them justice! I also got to see his dance sculptures. It was really a treat. Another amazing sculptures I saw while at the museum was Rodin's "The Old Courtesan" sculpture. I used this sculpture as inspiration for my Liz Staruch's sight specific work during the fall 2008 concert. Again, this looked much better when it was 6 inches from my face. I concluded Paris with a boat ride down the Siene River with Justin. We got lost trying to find it but that only made the trip more of an adventure. Luckily, we made the last boat ride, and I finally understood why Paris is called the "city of lights."



Yesterday, I arrived in Amsterdam with Jill. The hostel where we are staying is very nice. It's a little out of town which can be a problem late in the night getting back, but the breakfast is very good and the sheets clean. What more can you really ask for? During our first day, we took in the local color for most of the afternoon. It was definately a day of splurging, but I haven't done that yet, so I didn't feel too bad. We ate a sit down dinner and then visited an Irish Pub called Mulligan's. We talked to the owner Shawn about Ireland and Amsterdam. He was very friendly and helpful. The evening took us to the Red Light District where we enjoyed the various entertainment it had to offer. If you really want details, you can email me at Karancer701@msn.com. I'll just say it was a lifetime experience haha.

Today, Jill and I plan to visit Anne Frank's hideaway. I am about to go glance at a map for awhile so we know where to go. Tootles for now.

with love,
anna

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