"When you get those rare moments of clarity, those flashes when the universe makes sense, you try desperately to hold on to them. They are the life boats for the darker times, when the vastness of it all, the incomprehensible nature of life is completely illusive. So the question becomes, or should have been all a long... What would you do if you knew you only had one day, or one week, or one month to live. What life boat would you grab on to? What secret would you tell? What band would you see? What person would you declare your love to? What wish would you fulfill? What exotic locale would you fly to for coffee? What book would you write?"

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Back to the Clouds! No Literally this time!


So Where did i leave off? Going to bed in Venice, ah. I woke up feeling much better! Not entirely, but noticeably better. Thank goodness to a hefty dose of Vitamin C and 12 hours of sleep!

Yesterday we climbed on our trusty bus and headed for Verona. The countryside was amazing alone,  we went over the top on the tourist label by continuing to take pictures outside our bus windows, but we honestly couldn't help it. It just all looks like an opening scene to a movie...Villas, farms, horses...vineyards, just everything is surreal. Truly.

Pulling into Verona, I was uuber excited. I was feeling better, had a camera battery (2!) and was set for our 3 hour excursion. We went on a mini sightseeing tour- Again, I was doing a bad job at listening being that I was taking pictures. i really have to follow through on my personal promise to read up on everything I am seeing so that I can appreciate it even more. We ended our mini tour in Juliet's house- the tourist attraction I was most excited to see.

It was alright. I guess I thought it would be like it is in the recent "Letters to Juliet" movie? It looks drastically different in real life, is extremely overcrowded, and has a huge tourist blackhole shop right in the same courtyard. I wanted to get some sort of souvenier that said "Julie" or "Juliet" since that is my name, and also Juliet's name, but no such luck. I got a picture with the statue of Juliet for good luck and long lasting love, I sure need that! ;)  But I really wanted to write a letter to Juliet like in the movie. I thought that was real :(  I had a whole thing in my head ready for how I was going to explain the heartbreak turmoil constantly racing through my head. But, in my head it stays I suppose. I guess the good news is that it isn't drastically different from the movie in the letters to juliet terms--you can write a simple message to Juliet, or whomever I guess, on the surrounding entrance gate walls. Millions and millions and millions of people have written messages, so many that it starts to just look like a big blotch of ink with messages continuously written on top! But still cool.

Juliet's Balcony

Some messages to Juliet written on the wall, and just statements of love (i.e. Initials, hearts, etc).

Just crazy filled with message over message...just lots of ink!

There were actually messages written out on these little hearts, to Juliet, and they were just left on the street to float away to meet the grime and sorrow of the public. I hope they find a home.

Being that I took so drastically long to stare at Juliet's wall, hoping something would happen, I found myself alone for lunch. But no worries--I headed to the main square marketplace where apparantly fruit is the main attraction! Perfect!! I bought a giant cup of FRUIT for only 2 Euro, could life be better? I sat on a goregous fountain again (Italy likes fountains) with lots of others, and enjoyed a delightful fruit cup in the sun. I then walked around, avoided tourists, shopped around a bit....I then got my last italian Gelato (SO YUMMY! I can't believe America is stuck with Ritas. I will never look at Ritas the same after dying in heaven with Italian Gelato). 

After that my friends and I met up and being that they are normal college girls, they wanted to shop (like....clothes shop) so I went with them despite the fact that I usually have to ask my sister if something is a shirt, skirt or dress. The shops we went in were insane, as expected. Adorable and amazing clothes, obviously, but each sold for no less than 98 Euro, crazy.

Overall, I really liked Verona! It was sweet, cute and kind. Nice people. Gorgeous architecture. Exquisite detail to the city. And, yay for TONS of fruit! Its a good life.

Then....another six hours on the bus. Besides hilarious happenings, chatting and getting to know each other better, playing games on iphones, listening to great music, and lots of sleeping, the bus ride really is uneventful and there is nothing else to share about our bus happenings.

Our arrival in Switzerland is amazing! We are back to the language of the German (Well, Swiss-German), where I am again as lost as a monkey in a supermarket. Our hotel is wonderful, and is is so chilly here! Which I like. I would rather be chilly any day than sweating. Perfect hoodie weather, eh? 

Anyway, last night was spent updating ya'll on this blog and facebook, and calling home to many loved ones. Note: To all those I promised a postcard, they will not be arriving until I get home. Its kind of a long complicated story that basically revolves around the fact that I am an idiot. But, they are already written out as I go, they will only just be arriving late is all.

Today we hit up the town of Lucerne, Switzerland! I think everyone was bummed because we have collided into our first bout of extremely unpleasant weather. Rainy, windy, very cold, etc. I think we were all really looking forward to Switzerland for its known beauty but unfortunately Switzerland could only show us rain clouds this trip. It was still pretty, though. And as the old photography saying goes (Actually its not a saying) : No fear if its raining, you'll get a more unique picture! I learned this somewhere when I was first starting the photography shebang, as a young teenager on a photoshoot thing with my dad I think. It was pouring rain and our photography director taught us that even though it sucks that it is raining on your big day to whatever you are photographing, you are one of few that will have a unique picture because of that, so make the best of it! So I got some really nice rain shots of the town of Lucerne. No complaints.

Some Rain shots:

After that was our optional excursion to Mt. Pilatus- one of the highest mountains in the swiss Alps! Crazy cool! We got to take a 90 minute ferry ride to the base of the mountain, where a train takes you up to the top of the mountain. Everyone thought the train was hilarious until we reached 2,000 m up, when people were starting to get nervous. It was not a slow train and it was about a 30 minute ride up!

The beginning of the train...

Taken from inside the train...Gettin' high!

Tunnel ahead! Oh boy.

Lookin' Down!

Gettin' into the clouds.....

Pure CLOUD outside. Crazy.

AND WE SAW SNOW! My tour guide said she was not expecting there to be snow, so it was a rare thing that we got to see snow. Not very much snow, but snow all the same. Also, we passed the elevation of the clouds and our windows were open, so clouds sort of just came through and were in the midst of our personal train car, it was so cool. I got some SWEET shots of the clouds and the mountains, even if that was all we could see.

At the top of the mountain, it was a mix of rain and snow and literally so many clouds it was hard to see your hand in front of you. But being that we are stubborn and persistent college students that are for the most part healthy, strong and athletic, we totally went on a miniature hiking tour to the VERY top of the mountain. I forgot to look at the exact elevation but I'm pretty sure it was pretty crazy. My hair was soaking wet due to the moisture in the air, but breathing in that fresh mountain air was like no air I have ever breathed before. Just exquisite. We got some cute pictures at the very top, even though all that you can see behind me is white abyss. Still cool, though. It helped our afraid-of-heights- people not realize how high up we were. Then me and and another friend opted to continue on a more crazy hiking tour and it was a lot like cave exploring on an unbeaten path down the other side of the mountain! We went down as far as we felt like, and then came back up and took a chairlift thingy down the other side. Pretty rockin awesome is what I say!

Tonight is all about rest....tomorrow we have a 5:30 am departure to catch our train to Paris! Ouch! It will be a long day. We arrive in Paris by train around 1, then have a sightseeing tour, a cruise around Paris, and then reservations to go up the Eiffel Tower. :-)

I can't wait to start drawing and painting some of my photography shots I'm getting! I have so many ideas. I also have FULL intentions on making a book of all my Europe photography. SO FAR, I have exactly 731 shots, and thats not counting Venice being on the iphone, and I also still have Paris and London to go. And, I will go full out crazy monkey beans when I am in London. I will photograph like I have never photographed a city before. London won't know what hit it after I'm gone! So I plan to be coming home with at least ~1200 pictures. After that I want to weed through, edit, and then select which ones to put in the book in chronological order. Then this book, will be something I can easily show friends, coworkers, etc or anyone that wants to see. Yay!

Apparantly I am known as the "photographer" of the trip. A girl that I bumped into on the tour yesterday, whom I only just learned her name, said to me, "Are you the girl thats getting all the crazy good pictures? I saw you taking pictures before and I thought- I have to get her name So I can see them later!" I just sort of stared at her, and I was like, "Is that really going around?? " I thought it was funny. My close group of friends likes to look through my pictures so this is good because it reminds me to delete the bad ones as I go, so they don't see all the "attempt" shots. I think it is perfectly acceptable for even a professional photographer to have to try 2-3 times to finally get or pick the perfect shot. And then there are times (and everyone laughs at me for this) that I literally don't look at anything on the camera, and literally just point and shoot and hope for the best, if I see something but am moving too fast to safely stop and capture. Sometimes those photos come out the BEST. While travelling, I have learned one very thing about photography: Sometimes you have literally five seconds. You see something with your eye and you can't think about it. You turn your camera on if its not already, get the lens cap out of the way, bring it up to your eye, find your subject, zoom in/out and click- all within five whole seconds- otherwise you miss it. I am certainly not one to sit there playing with "What effect should I choose? what should the lighting be? Let me wait for that person to move first..."   no. Just, shoot. Take the picture. Otherwise you miss it. After you get that first golden shot, then you can experiment and try taking it again but slower if the moment is still happening.

Even with perfecting that point and shoot speed, I even miss a lot too. Sometimes you can only just see things with your eyes and remember them, and thats OK too. Otherwise you'd be walking down the streets with your eye in a viewfinder, and thats not exactly safe or wise. Other times its just really not appropriate to take a picture, as much as you really, really, really, really want to. Especially when it comes to people. Also, many europeans in big cities, will dress up so that you will take a picture, and then they want a Euro! So, funny.

Anyway, enough about pictures. Is this blog getting to be long enough? Shabam, I thought this would be a short one!

One more really important delight  I want to share with you and then I will let you resume on your imporant daily activities:

 I FINALLY found the PERFECT postsecret postcard I plan to use to send in the secret I have been rewriting in my head, over and over, just waiting for it to be OK to let go of it and send it. I promised myself that I would find myself the perfect European postcard to perfectly fit my secret, and I did today. Of course, I can't tell you what it looks like or what the secret is, because thats a secret,and it might end up on the website! ;) But I found one and that makes my day SO happy!

Anyway, I think thats it for today. Not sure when I'll be in wifi coverage again, being that tomorrow Is Paris, and who knows with Paris. Even if we do have wifi, we will be out late on our cruise and chances that I am going to sign on and update is slim, but we'll see! We shall just see.

Thank you for reading everyone, It really means so much! The blog stats went crazy high yesterday with the four posts on at once- and its all thanks to you guys!

Miss you!

~ A Writer in a Nurse's Body

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