Thursday, May 31, 2012

Monday Day 8 Paris May 28, 2012

Finally today was our Fat Tire Bike Tour! Ive heard CEO David Mebane speak several times so I was really looking forward to this. Biking through the streets of Paris was a lot of fun and way less crowded than busy London. We biked to several major monuments and historical buildings but it was difficult to remember the names because some were longer French names. I learned a lot about the history of Paris and I loved looking at all the cute little town homes. After having two bike tours these past two weeks we were all dominating pros at this point. My favorite of course was visiting the Eiffel Tower. All of the girls had a huge photos shoot and it was awesome! This was definitely on my to-do list here in Paris. For lunch our tour guide took us to a cafe in the park. The service was not the best but the food was great. A cheese and salad bread plate was what I ordered, with of course,Ice cream to finish it off. I have found that France definitely knows their sweets because all of them are amazing! When weF finished up the tour my group ran home and changed for shopping in Paris. We went to Galleries Lafayette to find a few Parisian souvenirs. The store had beautiful architecture and seemed to have more of a mall type setting. However it was hot, crowded, and I had to hunt for good prices. I was lucky and found a cute swimsuit, a pj set for my sister Catherine, the perfect little purse, and a jacket. The shopping here is fantastic and I had to contain myself for fear of spending all my Euros. We were starving and ate pizza nearby at a place called Pizza Pina... It was so good, you could tell it was all made from scratch. The boat cruise was scheduled for the evening and we had the best views of the city. Notre Dame and the Eiffel Tower were beautiful up close and I got some great shots of the buildings lit up. It was a great way to relax and sit down from all the busyness from the day. Dressing up and drifting through the river across Paris was absolutely perfect. After the cruise a few of us went back to Aaint Michel for some gelato. The shop served it on a cone in a shape of a flower with as many different flavors as you want. It was go good I got Nutella and vanilla with dark chocolate chunks on my cone. All of us talked about school, life, and really took time to get to know each other. We all were really enjoying our last few nights in Paris. Ice cream, good friends, and the city of lights..what more could a anyone ever want?
xo
victoria
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Sunday Day 7 Paris May 27, 2012

So basically I have been waiting for this day for a long time. Today was our Fat Tire Bike Tour to the Palace of Versailles. It was an 8 hour tour but it all went by pretty quickly since it took us time to get to and from Versailles. Once we arrived we biked around and went to a market place to buy a few things for our picnic. It was nice biking were cars weren't constantly trying to run over us and people weren't shouting everywhere. The market was so cute and had tons of bread, fruit, veggie, and cheese stands. They all looked so good and fresh . My new friend Ashley and I decided to sample a few items and ended up buying some strawberries, cheeses, and bread. It was all so fresh and inexpensive. America should have markets like that besides Walmart and HEB. We found it bit more difficult to communicate, but people were friendly if we attempted a few easy french phrases. After the market we all biked to Marie Antoinette's chateau and listened as our tour guide told us her tragic tale. It was getting to be lunch time so we made our way to the most beautiful courtyard for our picnic. The view was framed by perfect symmetrical trees along the canal where the palace awaited us on other end of the lake. I had to constantly remind myself that no I was not in a postcard. We sat by canal, ate, and took tons of great pictures. Finally it was time to head to the palace. I have never been in a more elegant and extravagant place in my life. It truly was the home of royalty. Everything from the floors to the ceilings were gold, red, extremely detailed, and grand. My absolute favorite was the Hall of Mirrors. That was the room I had been looking forward to most. It was another Pinterest pin must see of mine. There were chandeliers lining every part of the ceiling, walls of mirrors, and gorgeous painted ceilings. The palace of Versailles was breathtaking and a place I will never forget. After Versailles my group and I went to the Moulin Rouge show. All of the dancers, costumes, and acts were amazing. We ended up with a free bottle of champagne woohoo and had a great time at the show. I could go on forever about today, but I will just end by saying bonsoir.
xo
victoria













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Saturday Day 6 London/Paris May 26,2012

Eh it was an early 5am morning of traveling from London to Paris. The bus had to travel under the English Channel so we made our way to the Eurotrain. I have never really seen anything like it before, the cars and buses basically boarded a ferry (train) and it traveled right under the channel. It maybe took about twenty-five minutes so it was not too bad. On the schedule I calculated about 8 hours of road time, but we stopped every 2 hours for snacks and breaks so it all went by really quickly. The scenery was really pretty driving across France. It was filled with green rolling hills, small chateaus, and it looked completely different from Texas's flat plains. During our breaks I noticed the weather was much warmer than London's chilly mornings. Which was perfect, because my suitcase is about 75% dresses and shorts. I also discovered the difficulty of the French and English language barrier on our rest stops. Not all people in France speak English and it's not going to be as easy to stop and ask for directions as frequently as we did in London. On the bus I spent a lot of time uploading pictures, working on last minute journal stuff, and sleeping. It was actually really nice to relax for a little bit. As we got closer to the hotel Dr. Mac announced there will be free wifi! What a relief, we will no longer have to camp outside of a cafe to talk to family and friends back home. Once we arrived I found France to be very different from London. It seems a little rough around the edges and the men are very forward and out spoken; it is a little scary, but it'll be ok with our large group. After we checked in the professors took us to the train station to show us how everything worked. We took the train to Saint Michel to see Notre Dame and to grab some dinner afterwards. The restaurant we found turned out to the best little French restaurant. The waitress was so sweet an understanding. She taught us a few helpful French phrases and we helped her with her English. So far I am having a great time and I have made so many new friends I never even knew existed. Everyone is really cool and we all look out for each other especially the guys which is nice. I am beginning to feel like we are a little family.
xo
victoria
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Friday Day 5 London May 25,2012

Today Friday May 25, 2012 a attended Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry...well almost lol However, I did go on The Making of Harry Potter Tour, and it absolutely was amazing! I had no idea how much time and work producers spent creating the Harry Potter films. It was really neat to be able to see how all the magic happens in the movies. So many talented artists, designers, and engineers were needed to create JK Rowling's magical world of Hogwarts. This tour had all of the major set pieces, props, and costumes the actors wore. I could not believe that it was all right there in front of me, I was in complete awe the entire tour. One of my favorite parts was learning about the green screens and special effects. Surprisingly most things were actually shot without a green screen. A lot of the camera shots had build in illusions to make objects fly, look further, or bigger than they really are. The Making of Harry Potter Tour was a wonderful experience and made me love the stories even more. Anddd now onto reading the books Lol That afternoon my group and I did what every Londoner would do and that would be afternoon tea. We went to the Orangery right behind Kensington Palace and had a grand time. The girls and I dressed up and had tea, cakes, and finger sandwiches. It was fun to have a real tea party by a real British palace. Once we were full on tea and cakes, it was time to do a little shopping on Kensington Street. I had several pounds left and boy were they burning a hole in my pocket. Most of my time was spent in Zara, H&M, and Accessorize. I purchased several colorful tops, a pair of crochet shorts, a pair of floral shorts, and an adorable pink hairpin. It was a successful trip and now I have some cute new clothes for Paris. To properly end our week in London, several of us decided to go to Ice Bar London. The concierge told us to take bus 9 to Picadilly Circus, but of course it no longer stopped there. We found this out twenty minutes into the ride. We already missed our 8:00 reservations and we could only hope there was a later spot available. It literally felt like we were in a movie when we hopped of the bus and ran across Covet Garden through London's busy night scene. During our frantic dash I noticed all the clubs and bars were in full swing. Friday evening was definitely a night to be out in London. Finally we found Ice Bar and it was a blast. We all had so much fun dancing around in our parkas and gloves in a room that is literally below zero degrees. The drinks were great and served in an glass made of ice. Everyone had an amazing time, got some great photos, and made memories we will never forget.
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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Thursday Day 4 London May 24, 2012

Sooo this morning I was free of any major plans until 2:00. My group had already taken our bike tour and we decided to visit the London Tower. I wasn't really sure what exactly the tower was, but after today I learned that I was awesome. The tower was also the perfect backdrop for some pretty amazing photos. Once again, my friend Allen let us have a photo shoot. The tower was so grand and enormous. As we made the trek towards the tower, beautiful giant yellow roses surrounded the walkway. They filled the air with a sweet perfumed smell. The Tower Bridge or London Bridge was on the way and I once again had to remind myself that yes this is real. The tower tour was fantastic and our tour guide was hilarious. He told us stories of the royal family, past coronations, gruesome beheadings, and the stunning Crown Jewels. They were 532 ct. of wow! Rubies, emeralds, sapphires, and of course diamonds covered the displayed crowns and orbs of British royalty. I want to be royal haha After a long cab ride and local interview, Harrods was our next destination. Richard Madely did a wonderful job explaining the brand, value, and experience of Harrods. It was the most amazing store I have ever seen! He told us mind blowing stories that all came down to how Harrods create moments into memories for customers. That entire presentation was definitely a memory I will never forget at the finest department store in the world. After Harrods I was suppose to see Wicked but I was incredibly exhausted. I was disappointed in missing but I did not want to push myself too hard. It was nice to take some time to myself. That was exactly what I needed to recharge after a long but amazing past few days. As I returned to the hotel I chose to purchase the 24 hr wifi. Calling my parents, catching up with anxious friends, and working on schoolwork was a great way to settle down for the evening.
xo
victoria
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Day 3 Wednesday London May 23, 2012

This morning I was able to enjoy my English Breakfast and it was really good. I think I finally adjusted to the time zone here and I am sooo glad. London is too beautiful to feel tired. This realization hit me when we arrived at Westminster for our meeting at the House of Parliament. I was completely speechless as I stepped out of the tube station. Right in front of me was the iconic Big Ben and the House of Parliament. It was at that moment I finally felt like I had arrived in London. We all gathered for our group photo in the park by the House of Parliment. We had a great view of the London Eye, the Thames River, and all of Southbank. Sir Peter Viggers (retired member of Parliament) gave us a great presentation on the English constitution. It was extremely interesting to hear about political life in London, it's very different from the written American constitution. Afterwards, we made our way to Westminster Abbey. I had no idea what a treat it would be! It's beauty was absolutely mind blowing. The church was filled with incredible old English architecture, colorful stain glass windows, and famous tombs/memorials. I was unaware of all of the different writers and scientists that shared the same burial space as the Kings and Queens of England. Our tour guide was a sweet older woman who definitely knew how to tell a great story. The Fat Tire Bike Tour was one of my favorite events of the day. It was the perfect way to see Kensington Palace, Buckingham Palace, and Hyde Park. Hyde Park was probable one of the most relaxing places I have been. I wish there was a place like that in college station, studying would be much easier to study under a big tree by the pond. The day ended with drinks at Oxo Tower. We had the best view of Southbank and the city lights. The classy atmosphere was definitely worth the price. It was a great way to have a taste of London night life.
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Tuesday Day 2 London May 22, 2012



Today was a great day to be in London. I could not believe how much we covered in a day, which I am sure how all days on this trip will be. On our walk to orientation, we discovered Kensington Street and all it has to offer. It turns out that a lot of major shops and restaurants were right behind our hotel. So I definitely made a mental note to go back again during our stay. During changing of the guards, I think we may have seen the queen in her limo drive by. I wasn't too sure about that, but my friend Tyler was sure of it! Buckingham Palace was huge and not too much seemed to be happening at the changing of the guards. As was traveled back we ended up getting to see the band and guards. It turns out they moved some of the ceremony due to construction. Our evening was random, unplanned, and filled with new friends. My roommate and I met a group of people also on the Study Abroad Trip. Some of us hadn't met yet and we all had a great evening together. We took a walk down Kensington Street to look for a bite to eat. On the way we made a detour through a really nice residential area. The town homes were absolutely beautiful and you could even see chandeliers thought the painted white rimmed windows. I would love to live somewhere like that, at least for a little while. My new friend Allen was generous enough to share his camera and snapped some great photos of the group. We asked a friendly local where would be a good pub for dinner and he mentioned Prince of Wales. So we took his advice and boy did we have a good time! The bartender was so friendly and loved "the Americans". We all laughed and joked and talked about what we looked forward most on our journey.

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Saturday, May 19, 2012

Ready for an Adventure!


So it has been while since I have posted, but school was literally taking over my life. I am so glad to finally have a break and ready have some summer fun! Tomorrow I leave for a month for my Marketing Study Abroad trip and words cannot describe my excitement!!! I will be traveling to seven different European Countries.  England, France, Monaco, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and Italy are on our scheduled itinerary. 


I am so blessed and thankful to be going on this life changing adventure.  70 students from the business school will be going and lucky me, one of my best friends will be rooming with me.  This is the perfect way to obtain six hours of international course credit lol.  In each country we will be attending company tours such as Audi, Harrods, Bloomberg, wineries, and perfumeries.  This gives us a view of how business is conducted outside of the United States.  That will definitely be interesting to see exactly what European business is like . We are also required to keep daily journals, perform local interviews, do company write ups, and basically document our entire experience.  My favorite part of this course is creating a 40 page photo book.  I think this is a great idea because otherwise I probably would not actually remove my photos from my computer.  It will be nice to be able to have a detailed memory book and photo book of my summer abroad.  


A few things I am looking forward to...

England: Visiting Oxford University, Tour Harrods, High Tea at Kensington Palace, Ice Bar, Fat Tire Bike Tour of the City, Drinks at Oxo Tower, Shopping on Oxford Street, Tour of the Olympic Stadium, Wicked, Tour of the Harry Potter set

France:  Versailles (Hall of Mirrors), Moulin Rogue, Paris Seine River Cruise, Paris Opera House, Dinner by the Eiffel Tower, Laying on the Beach in Nice, and making perfume at the perfumery.


Italy: See the churches of Verona, Walk through the city, tour the winery



Austria: Take a Sound of Music picture, visit Swarovski crystal, explore Old Town, go canyoning, find a random festival


Germany: Tour Audi, Haufbrau House, Shopping, Hopefully see my friend Martin!


Switzerland:  King Luwig's Castle, Play in the alps


As far as packing, I think I pretty much have everything.  Surprisingly I did not pack as many clothes as I thought I would.  I tried to keep in mind that there will be plenty of souvenir opportunities.  My mom definitely saved me when it came to packing my life haha.  That woman can work wonders with a space bag.  There were times I became overwhelmed with the entire ordeal, but she kept me in line and focused on what needed to be done.  I think part of it was the fact that deep down I am a little bit nervous about traveling abroad.  I have ever been to Europe, and being out of my comfort zone can bring out the nerves.  My Aggie family will be with me along with amazing professors and classmates; everything will be fine.  But I think that this will teach me a lot about myself and overall  be a great learning experience creating memories I'll never forget.

xo
victoria



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