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Friday, April 26, 2013

Spring Party

We started off the night with dinner at the cheesecake factory, then  ventured to LACMA {Los Angeles County Museum of Art} for some art exploration before the main event.

The event was held at the Peterson Automobile Museum {home of the Batmobile!} and lots of other shiny cars. I think we managed to do everything besides tour the main attraction...must have been too distracted by the smores bar and Italian sodas.

Spring semester is speeding by. Just a few more papers, projects, presentations, and final exams to crank out. TWO more weeks!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Travel Break Chronicles {Part 5}

In the late afternoon we docked in Barcelona, which means we had the night free to explore the town. After much debate, we decided to see the fountain show at Montjuic.

There were three different fountain shows. The first one was to classical music and the second to contemporary music. We only stayed for the first 1 1/2 shows so the third one remains a mystery, that's my excuse to go back ;).
Montjuic also has a huge castle looking building that you have to climb a bazillion stairs to get to. From the top you could look down and see all the city lights.
After the show, we walked along a  long street of shops. We tasted coffee and ate a baked carne something that tasted amazing.

Then we returned to our flat and found that the neighborhood was all lit up for the Christmas season.
The next day we went to Park Guell, which is Barcelona is famous for. Just like the other crazy cool buildings we had seen before, this park was designed by Gaudi.
Artsy benches decked out in colored ceramic.
Love these girls!

That night we visited the Christmas craft fair and finished some last minute shopping. Then we headed back to Israel to finish up the last few weeks of the semester.

What a whirlwind and wonderful travel week it was! So thankful & blessed.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Travel Break Chronicles {Part 3}

Read Part 1 here & Part 2 here.

On our third day, we docked in Marseille, France!
 The city filled with historic charm. It felt like what I had always imagined France to be, except maybe a little older looking, which I guess I should have expected considering Marseille is France's oldest city. Every time we entered a shop, the store owners would greet us with a friendly "Bonjour!"
From our port, we bused into the main city center. Navigating a foreign transportation system was something else. We had no idea where to get off so we just got off when everyone else did, which ended up working pretty well.
Stripes! Even the buildings in France are fashionable.
 A friendly stranger led us to this amazing outlook. Isn't that view stunning?!

After more aimless wandering, we stopped by the visitors center. Best decision ever. They told us to visit the Notre Dome (which is on top of that steep hill in the picture above).
 360 view from the Notre Dome & God's glory on display. "Since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made." ~Romans 1

 The main city square where all the big shops are at.

 This is the oldest town in France. Tons of narrow winding streets surrounded by tall buildings and the occasional suspicious man in a long black trench coat. We gripped our bags a little tighter and didn't wander around there very long.

It was pretty late at this point, about 5:00, and our call time was 5:30. 

Around this time, we got lost on the streets and couldn't find our bus stop. 

When we finally found a bus, we didn't even know if it was the right bus. I asked the driver where the bus was headed and discovered he could not understand a word of English. 

Then I started to freak-out.

What if we are on the wrong bus headed to who knows where? What if we miss our call time and the boat leaves without us? What if we're stranded in France without a passport, without a phone?! Then we'll end up on the streets, in the rain, and we'll probably be kidnapped! {Oh the thoughts that ran through my head}.

I went around the bus like a crazy lady asking if anyone spoke English. And nobody did. 

Finally, an angel of a man, who was probably the only one in all of France who spoke English, came onto the bus right before it left, at 5:15. He assured us we were indeed headed to the port {whew!}, told us which stop to get off at, and gave us directions to the port. Surely we would have been clueless if it weren't for him. 

Time was of the essence and then we found ourselves in the middle of terrible bumper-to-bumper traffic. It felt like we stopped at every.single.red.light. My heart was beating so fast and my friend's face was white. 

When the kind man saw the looks on our faces, he asked when we had to be back by. We told him 5:30 and he calmly replied, "Don't worry, you'll be fine, but when you get off the bus...run."  

That didn't help our nerves one bit. 

When the man pointed out our stop, we sprinted off the bus, across the freeway, and ran down the road leading to the port.  

And then we did the unthinkable...we hitchhiked...in a big, white van! I thought we could quite possibly be getting kidnapped, but we were desperate. 

The man in the van pressed on the gas and whizzed us to the port. I guess he could tell by our panting voices that we were in a hurry. 

We finally made it to the ship at 5:40! We were the very last two people to board. The ship had waited for us! God was so kind to us that night and His grace was evident in such a tangible way.

Back on the boat all was calm again. It was time for dinner and then a show.
Just livin' the cruise life.

Up next...Savona, Italy!