Monday, November 14, 2011

London Bridge is Falling Down

London, England: The Big Smoke.
London is a little over 600 square meters and is home to almost 8,000,000 people. It is located in the southeast part of the United Kingdom and is the largest metropolitan area in the UK.

I have not been to London, but it is one of the places I have always dreamed of going. It is known as the most visited place on Earth and all my friends who have been there have nothing but great things to say about their visit. I would love to go see all the landmarks and get to experience the British lifestyle and see what all the hype is about! Hopefully I get to do this in the near future!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Tropical Paradise

St. Maarten is a beautiful island located in the Caribbean. It is considered a part of French and Dutch territory (the French "own" the North and the Dutch "own" the South). It is home to about 38,000 people and is about 13 square miles in area.

St. Maarten is a big destination on many cruises. I have been here twice on the two cruises I went on, once in 2006 and again in 2007. It's beaches are breathtaking and the clear, turquoise water is an incredible sight to see. Not only that, but it is very warm and a lot of fun to swim in!

There isn't much to do here aside from go to the beach and do a little bit of shopping, but it is definitely somewhere I would love to go again and would recommend to anyone!

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Holy See

Vatican City: The smallest country in the world. It has an area of about 44 acres and has a population of just over 800. The Vatican City is known for its Catholic history. It is home to the Bishop of Rome (the Pope) and the Sistine Chapel. The Sistine Chapel is full of beautiful artwork, including the world-famous "Creation of Adam." The Vatican City is a very beautiful, historic country and it's definitely something worth seeing!
"Creation of Adam"

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Ooo La La!

Paris, France: "The City of Love." Every girl dreams of going to Paris, whether it be for fashion, love, or just to see a beautiful city. Paris is a 41 square mile city located in the north of France and is home to over 2,000,000 people. It is the capitol of France and by far my favorite place I've ever visited. I went there for a quick visit for a few days this past summer (2011).

I was lucky enough to have my own personal "tour guide" per-say. My best friend was on a study abroad in Paris over the summer (hence, why I went) and she took me around to see all the fun sites Paris has to offer! We ventured all over town from the Eiffel Tower to Notre Dame, and Sacre Coeur to Shakespeare's Bookstore. Everything we saw exceeded every expectation I had before going.

I definitely visited at the perfect time; the day I flew in was the last day of the Tour de France. We got to watch as the front pack of bikers raced past us on their final stretch. It was a once in a lifetime experience seeing the sea of bikers pass at incredible speeds. This is definitely something I won't soon forget! :)
My favorite part was, by far, watching the Eiffel Tower sparkle at night. It was the most beautiful thing I've ever seen and pictures truly don't do it justice. I wish I could describe how incredible it was but there are no words that explain it. I will go back to Paris someday and I can't wait for that day to come. I've never fallen so in love with a city and I would go back in a heartbeat.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Blast From the Past

Rome, Italy: "The Ancient City." Famous for its history and incredible architecture, Rome is one of the coolest places I've visited. It is located in the central area of the Italian peninsula. It is the country's largest and most populated city, as it is home to over 2.7 million people and is about 500 square miles. I was fortunate enough to visit this beautiful city in December of 2008.

As Rome is very well known, I'm sure most people know the main attractions to stop and see. It's hard to say what my favorite thing I saw was because it was all so amazing. The Coliseum was unbelievable. It's massive and has so much detail and history. It was seriously incredible. The Pantheon was constructed really well so that was cool to see! Walking up to the top of the Spanish Steps was definitely worth it. It was a view of the city unlike any other. The Trevi Fountain was way bigger than I expected and had such stunning detail as well. The Catacombs were awesome. I'm really into that kind of stuff so it was exciting for me to be able to wander around underground. Not to mention, the scenery above ground was astounding. So open and green; it was absolutely beautiful.

I love Italian food so it was great being able to taste authentic Italian food. The pizza was delicious and so fresh! Of course, there's gelato. I'd had gelato in the states before but nothing compares. Italian gelato truly is amazing; so much better than what we have here.

Wandering around Rome was a blast. Although I loved it, I'm not sure it's a place I'd like to go again. I will probably go once when I have a family of my own, but it's one of those places that I don't see changing anytime soon so I feel like I've seen it all already. It's definitely a place everyone should visit once in their life though, especially if you're into history and art!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Living Like A Local

San Carlos de Bariloche: A relatively small town in Patagonia (Southern Argentina). It is home to approximately 108,000 people and is a little under 30,000 square miles.  Bariloche, like Zermatt, is also known for it's incredible skiing. I had the amazing opportunity to spend a month in Argentina with my ski team in the summer of 2007.

The resort we skied at was called Cerro Catedral, meaning "hill cathedral" or "cathedral of the mountain." The skiing was unbelievable; possibly the next-best to Utah! :) We even got to train with the Argentina national team!

We were training just about every day but the few days we had off, we wandered around the town or had off-snow training (dryland training). My coach was raised in Bariloche, so he showed us around local-style and even took us to tea and dinner at his parents' house one night! We got a delicious home-cooked Argentine meal, which is not one to be forgotten!
Argentina is famous for its chocolate and steak (two pretty random things, I know, but I completely understand why they're known for it!). There are probably about 10 different chocolate companies downtown, all with multiple stores like this. All the store is is one huge room of every kind of chocolate you could imagine! It was absolutely delicious! My favorite steak restaurant was at the resort and is called Rodeo. We got so much amazing food for so cheap! Which leads me to another thing I love about Argentina: how inexpensive everything is. We always had very high-quality meals and our individual bills ended up being only about $5 USD. Such a bargain! Plus, all the souvenirs and chocolate were reasonably priced as well! :)

I've been back to Argentina with my dad twice since 2007. The first time, we went back to Bariloche to ski because he wanted to see why we loved it so much! He definitely fell in love with it too! The last time I went back was with my whole family (except my mom) last December, but unfortunately, we never made it past Buenos Aires due to an airline strike. It was way cool getting to see a major city there, though, and such a difference from the Argentina I knew. I know I will visit again in the future and I recommend it to anyone who wants to see something completely different than the lifestyle we're used to here in the US.

Monday, September 12, 2011

A Mountainside Paradise

Zermatt, Switzerland: Home to the world famous Matterhorn. Also home to some of the best skiing on earth. Any avid skier or outdoorsman knows Zermatt is one of the hidden jewels of the Alps. I had the incredible opportunity to visit this beautiful town a few years ago, in the summer of 2006.
Zermatt is a very small town located in the west of Switzerland, right on the Italian border. The town is home to approximately 5,800 people and is under 100 square miles.
Something unique about this town is that no cars are allowed. The hotels have "taxis" that take luggage from the bottom of the hill up to where you are staying but other than that, it's all walking.

I went with my ski team, so most of what we were doing was outdoor, physical activity. We skied just about every day and the days we weren't up on the mountain, we were doing things like hiking, ziplining, visiting ice caves, and just hanging out in town. Zermatt is great if you want to experience a real small-town feel of Europe. I highly recommend visiting this town to anyone, even if you don't consider yourself much of an outdoorsy person. It is absolutely beautiful and I would love to go back some day!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Oh, The Places You'll Go...

Today is your day.
You're off to great places!
You're off and away!

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.
You're on your own. And you know what you know.
And YOU are the guy who'll decide where to go.

You'll look up and down streets. Look 'em over with care.
About some you will say, "I don't choose to go there."
With your head full of brains and your shoes full of feet,
you're too smart to go down any not-so-good street.

And you may not find any
you'll want to go down.
In that case, of course,
you'll head straight out of town.

It's opener there
in the wide open air.

Out there things can happen
and frequently do
to people as brainy
and footsy as you.

And when things start to happen,
don't worry. Don't stew.
Just go right along.
You'll start happening too.


You'll be on your way up!
You'll be seeing great sights!
You'll join the high fliers
who soar to high heights.

You won't lag behind, because you'll have the speed.
You'll pass the whole gang and you'll soon take the lead.
Wherever you fly, you'll be the best of the best.
Wherever you go, you will top all the rest.

Except when you don't
Because, sometimes, you won't.

I'm sorry to say so
but, sadly, it's true
and Hang-ups
can happen to you.

You can get all hung up
in a prickle-ly perch.
And your gang will fly on.
You'll be left in a Lurch.

You'll come down from the Lurch
with an unpleasant bump.
And the chances are, then,
that you'll be in a Slump.

And when you're in a Slump,
you're not in for much fun.
Un-slumping yourself
is not easily done.

You will come to a place where the streets are not marked.
Some windows are lighted. But mostly they're darked.
A place you could sprain both your elbow and chin!
Do you dare to stay out? Do you dare to go in?
How much can you lose? How much can you win?

And IF you go in, should you turn left or right...
Or right and three-quarters? Or, maybe, not quite?
Or go around back and sneak in from behind?
Simple it's not, I'm afraid you will find,
for a mind-maker-upper to make up his mind.

You can get so confused
that you'll start in to race
down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace
and grind on for miles cross weirdish wild space,
headed, I fear, toward a most useless place.
The Waiting Place...

...for people just waiting.
Waiting for a train to go
or a bus to come, or a plane to go
or the mail to go, or the rain to go
or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow
or the waiting around for a Yes or No
or waiting for their hair to grow.
Everyone is just waiting.

Waiting for the fish to bite
or waiting for the wind to fly a kite
or waiting around for Friday night
or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake
or a pot to boil, or a Better Break
or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants
or a wig with curls, or Another Chance.
Everyone is just waiting.

That's not for you!

Somehow you'll escape
all that waiting and staying
You'll find the right places
where Boom Bands are playing.

With banner flip-flapping,
once more you'll ride high!
Ready for anything under the sky.
Ready because you're that kind of a guy!

Oh the places you'll go! There is fun to be done!
There are points to be scored. There are games to be won.
And the magical things you can do with that ball
will make you the winning-est winner of all.
Fame! You'll be as famous as famous can be,
with the whole wide world watching you win on TV.

Except when they don't
Because, sometimes they won't.

I'm afraid that some times
you'll play lonely games too.
Games you can't win
'cause you'll play against you.

All Alone!
Whether you like it or not,
Alone will be something
you'll be quite a lot.

And when you're alone, there's a very good chance
you'll meet things that scare you right out of your pants.
There are some, down the road between hither and yon,
that can scare you so much you won't want to go on.

But on you will go
though the weather be foul.
On you will go
though your enemies prowl.
On you will go
though the Hakken-Kraks howl.
Onward up many
a frightening creek,
though your arms may get sore
and your sneakers may leak.

On and on you will hike,
And I know you'll hike far
and face up to your problems
whatever they are.

You'll get mixed up, of course,
as you already know,
You'll get mixed up
with many strange birds as you go.
So be sure when you step.
Step with care and great tact
and remember that Life's
a Great Balancing Act.
Just never forget to be dexterous and deft.
And never mix up your right foot with your left.

And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!
(98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.)


be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray
or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O'Shea,
You're off to great places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting,
So... get on your way!

-Dr. Seuss