Another incredible week has come and gone. I can’t even believe this is my life and I am able to visit all of these places I’ve always wanted to. But the faster it goes means the faster it’s ending… and while I am excited to go home and see my friends and family I really don’t want to think about leaving this place or these people. But this is only week 3 so let’s dive into it!!!! This week I had my usual classes Monday-Thursday and then I spent the weekend in PARIS with my best girl friends and even got to see my parents for a little bit! Paris completely lived up to my expectations and much much more. Here’s my week in a nutshell:
Monday, June 4th 2018: My First Quiz & the Seminarians
I feel like these “school” days can get extremely repetitive, especially for you who is just reading about them. But besides the norm, I had my first quiz in my literature class today and flash forward a week when I am writing this… I got an A so go me. I honestly wasn’t expecting that considering I “studied” on the train home from Florence. With that behind me I didn’t have much planned for the rest of the day other than my usual nap (lol very necessary here) and whatever we ended up doing for dinner later. I was so excited when we decided on another APERITIVO, only the best creation to this God given earth. We tried out a place called La ZanZara and it was so cute!! We ordered our drink as usual and they brought around little singe serving cups of different pastas, meats, seafood, etc. BUT that didn’t completely fill us up so we ended up ordering two full sized pastas to share lol. After dinner we made our way to our usual spot, Old Bridge, the best gelato in Rome in my opinion. We walked up and we welcomed by a group of about 30 seminarians in line with us. They started talking to us asking what flavors were best. This chat was up there on one of my favorite memories from this trip so far. We got talking about what they were doing here and we were doing here. AND let me just tell you I can’t wait for these guys to become priests. They are exactly the type of men we need becoming priests right now. They would give the BEST homilies. I don’t think there was a time where I wasn’t laughing. They also tried to recruit our friend Will to become a priest so that was comical to say the least. Perfect end to an already great night.
Tuesday, June 5th 2018: Holy Relics & Supplì
Today we went to more amazing churches as part of my Theology class I am taking here. We visited Santa Maria Maggiore, the Basilica di San Passede, and St. Pietro in Vincoli. What was special about the sites we saw this week was they all claimed to house a precious relic of Christ’s. Many of these have now been proven they are not real due to things like carbon-dating but it was still so cool to be able to be in the presence of something that means so much to so many people. Many pilgrims were praying and bowing in front of these holy objects and it was a very cool thing to see.
After another day full of walking and seeing these amazing churches we headed back to campus for lunch and naps. Tonight we got some local pizza and I was introduced to supplì, a fried cheese stuffed rice ball. Apparently these are a very popular street food here in Italy and to be quite honest I’m not really sure how I’ve lived without them. I’m obsessed. Then we went back and finally finished (or so we thought) booking our hotel for Paris, which I know, I know, a little late to the game…more to come with that.
Wednesday, June 6th 2018: We Almost Got Scammed & 4 Euro Pasta
Today was quite an interesting one. Class as usual, did some laundry to get ready for the weekend and then had to deal with some hotel drama. Yeah, remember when I said there was more to come. WELL, we kind of messed up. So to give some brief backstory, Krista and I had booked our Airbnb for Paris like 2 months before this. But then we met all of these amazing new friends and they wanted to come to Paris too, so we canceled the Airbnb because it was only big enough for two. So, as a result, we were booking our hotel very late and there were very limited choices as one would expect. We thought we found a great deal on booking.com and I messaged the owner. It was an apartment super close to all the sites and would fit all six of us for a decent price. All was fine and dandy until the owner said we needed to pay the full amount in CASH upon arrival. This wasn’t like 50 euros, no more like 2,000. SO I was like um no absolutely not that is so sketch. And the dealio is I would have canceled right away but there was a no refund policy so if we canceled he would have charged my card the full amount. So I ended up calling booking.com and they were very accommodating in helping us with our issue. They called the owner of the property and we got the full refund and were able to cancel. Whew glad that was over. We booked a new hotel for a little more expensive than we were hoping to pay but anything to be away from that situation I was all for. After that whole debacle we made our way towards the Spanish steps for a cheap and super fun dinner. One of our RA’s on campus had recommended two places to check out. A 4 euro pasta place, and right down the road a 4 euro tiramisu place. This was such a fun way to explore Rome even more and not to mention delicious.
Thursday, June 7th 2018: More Pretty Churches & Leaving for Paris
This morning we visited Santa Crocia in Jerusalem and St. John Lateran. There were more relics like pieces of the real cross, nails, thorns from the crown of thorns, and the “King of the Jews” sign. Whether they are real or not it still is incredible to see them displayed like this. St. John Lateran may have been one of my favorite churches we have visited. I found the regal colors and overall grandness so beautiful.
After class we went back for lunch and to finish packing. I was a little worried because these European airlines are very stingy on the weight of the bag as opposed to just the size so I packed very light with only a carryon and a small purse. We did decide as a group to check a suitcase because we knew we would be doing some shopping lol. We left for the airport and got a 48 euro voucher for the taxi which was super nice because it’s usually over that by quite a bit. We got to the airport, got through security and had just enough time to grab something to eat before boarding. The flight was super easy, only about two hours, which I slept for most of anyway. Our goal when we arrived was to find a crepe place. I had the most bomb banana and chocolate crepe before we went to check into our hotel and go to sleep for the night.
Friday, June 8th 2018: Shopping Day & Seeing My Parents
I woke up so excited for today. The only things we had on our to-do list was shopping, eating, and meeting up with my parents for a little. We woke up around 6:45am to get ready for our big day. We also had a little photoshoot on our BALCONY because why wouldn’t we?! We stopped for breakfast at this super yummy spot, Claus. I got avocado toast with a poached egg, pain au chocolat, and hot chocolate. Talk about a great start to my morning. After breakfast we walked to the Arc de Triomphe and met up with Mom & Dad who came to see me for the weekend and explore Paris on their own. We made a stop at the Eiffel Tower for some typical touristy pics, had some quick lunch, and then the shopping day began. Did we go a little overboard at the Longchamp store?… maybe. But everything was so much cheaper here because this stuff was actually made in Paris. So it’s justified, right?! Then we made one final stop at the infamous Laduree, the ultimate macaroon destination. Let me tell you they were worth every penny. I got a box of six because one, I wanted that many, but two, to get a pretty picture. I got lemon, vanilla, pistachio, rose, blackcurrant chocolate, and raspberry. My favorite was raspberry. SO GOOD. We finished off our long day with dinner at Les Deux Magots where apparently a lot of famous writers like Hemingway would go eat while he wrote. I got a delish duck dish with mashed potatoes. After dinner we went back to our hotel for the night. Tomorrow is going to be PACKED.
Saturday, June 9th 2018: Seeing ALL the Sites & Dinner with Mom and Dad
I knew today was going to be a packed day but boy oh boy was it a packed day. We woke up early again because we had to get a head start on the crowds. We stopped in the cutest little pastry shop called Secco and I got a quiche lorraine and pain au chocolat of course. Then we began our insanely action packed day filled with all of the touristy locations. We started off at the Musée d’Orsay, then Sainte-Chapelle, Pompidou, quick pitstop for lunch and then the Louvre. Sainte-Chapelle was probably my favorite with the incredible stain glass everywhere, especially in the “jewelry box” which used to house all of the church’s relics. Truly unbelievable. My favorite museum we went to was Musée d’Orsay. It was an old train station turned museum and there wasn’t a room that didn’t capture my eye. Oh and we saw the Mona Lisa!! And tbh super anticlimactic but still super cool!!! After a day full of fun and learning so many new things we stopped at Angelina, home to the most decadent hot chocolate you will ever have. They brought it out in pitchers for us to pour into our mugs with homemade whip cream. It was basically liquid chocolate that’s how thick it was. After a much needed break at Angelina we headed back to our hotel and got ready for dinner with my parents. I was so excited to see them and they were so excited to meet my new friends. We went to Restaurant Vagenende. It was only a 9 minute walk from our hotel and was on the list of historic places in Paris. It was so beautiful. My friends couldn’t stop saying how much they loved my parents which made me happy. We enjoyed our evening with them talking over yummy food and wine before we sadly parted ways again. After dinner we made our way to a nearby crepery (our newfound love on this trip) before heading to the Eiffel Tower to see it all lit up at night. It was the perfect day.
Sunday, June 10th 2018: Mass at Notre Dame & Heading Back to JFRC
This morning was yet again another early morning. Are you even surprised at this point?! We want to fit it all in as you can see. We decided we were going to attend mass the Notre Dame because why wouldn’t we? And it was the coolest thing but also one of the strangest. So we were celebrating the mass as one does at 8:30am when all of a sudden I look around and see a bunch of tourists walking around the outside of the church with their selfie sticks and flashing cameras…DURING the mass?…the mass kept going and they were speaking French of course so I didn’t completely know what was happening but all masses are basically the same so I knew the gist. Then we get to the Eucharist and the consecration and people are just gathered around the sides watching in awe. It was the strangest phenomenon. As we are about to receive communion people are taking selfies with us in the background. So strange. After a beautiful yet odd mass we went for brunch at Season, a super fun and yummy place about 30 minutes away walking. We like to walk though so it was really nice. We got a few things to share for the table, some caramel pancakes and a banana bread and then I got an egg sandwich and açai bowl. They were soooo yummy. Then unfortunately we had to leave beautiful Parieeee and head back to JFRC. We did make a stop in the airport though for some yummy rosé before we left lol. It was such an incredible trip I LOVE Paris and definitely will be back.
That’s it for week 3!!! Props to you if you actually read that all the way through!!
UP NEXT WEEK: Santorini, Greece!!!!