Go, Kristi!!!

My travels through life and the world.

Days 17 and 18: Carlsbad, CA July 10, 2014

Filed under: Countryside,Daily Life,Food,Travel,USA,Writing — Kristi @ 6:02 pm

I have some time before my audiobooks download so I think I’ll post about my time with Vicki (my aunt) and Dave in Carlsbad, CA (outside San Diego).


I arrived safely in Carlsbad on July 2 (with only the rear-ending incident to bring me down), and Vicki and I finished a bottle of wine. She made excellent crab enchiladas which we ate out on the back patio. I’m actually shocked that I didn’t take a picture out of their back yard (you can see a little in my work photo), because it is gorgeous!


On July 3 I had the pleasure to go to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. It was awesome!


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Because Vicki donates to the zoo, I got a free ticket and a free tram ride. It was cool. I saw all sorts of herbivores plus a cheetah on the trip.



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Then I went to the big cat enclosures. The picture on the right is a lioness coming back with her Thursday afternoon treat, a white bunny. The photo on the left is the tiger, obviously, who had been stalking a child through the fence, but got disgusted and decided to hang out with me for a little while. 🙂


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I saw all sorts of other animals, which was cool, but I figure the people reading this have also seen those animals before. The one I was very excited about was the California Condor (I could not get a good picture through the fence). When I was in elementary school I used to always do projects on the condors for science class, I’m really happy they are making a comeback in the wild!


I got back and did some work. Here is my work picture. 🙂


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Then, for the Fourth of July I decided to continue my Fastfood on the Fourth tradition (started in France with my friend Julia, roughly 5 years ago) and had my first In-n-Out Burger experience. These are the two lovely ladies who served me. 🙂 (I got permission to post the picture of them).


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And for my patriotic spirit I painted my nails (don’t judge, I didn’t have appropriate tools).


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Then I stayed in for a most excellent party, of which I also have no pictures. I’m enjoying my time rather than blogging my time. 🙂


The next day I drove east to Phoenix, so you have cacti, sand, and thunder storms to look forward to in the next post.


Perugia to Florence: 2 women and 200 pounds of luggage! June 15, 2012

Filed under: Countryside,Daily Life,Italy,Travel — Kristi @ 1:03 pm

Diana (my sister) was studying abroad in Perugia this semester to work on her Italian and I decided to meet her a couple days early for two reasons: 1. I don’t get to see her alone very much, and I thought it would be fun to hang out in Italy; 2. I wanted to help her get her luggage to Florence where we’d meet the rest of the family. Here’s a picture of us in Perugia. She (as usually) looks adorable whereas I look like junk. Oh well!



It was cool hanging out with her in her own space. I met her fantastic friends, and we took lots of scenic pictures.




She showed me around the town and I think my favorite part was the fortress where we got chocolate. It was REALLY good chocolate! We also had a sandwich at “Ciao Ciao’s,” which was a little deli next to her school. That’s not the actual name of the place, of course, but it’s what Diana calls it. As I saw, every time we saw the son (it’s family run, of course) he would smile and say “ciao, ciao!” It was a delicious sandwich. I got the one that Diana always got, it was cheese, capicola , and homemade pesto. Definitely delicious.


Her school organized a going away party for the last day of the semester. Although it was sad for Diana to see her friends leave, I was  happy to see how much fun she had and the fantastic people she met on during her semester. We sat on the “steps” which are the steps leading into the duomo in the center of town. That duomo, by the way, houses the wedding ring of the Virgin Mary, which turned out to be bone, I think. Here is the view from the steps.




We had an emotional night when her friends left, but I got some cool night pictures.




The next morning, we woke up early and hauled our bags to Florence. Basically I had all of my bags, which weighed about 70 pounds, and Diana had her 2 suit cases, which weighed about 50 pounds each, and her backpack. So here we are dragging these bags through the streets of Perugia, onto the mini-metro, and on to the train to Florence. It was difficult! We got on the train without incident (but with lots of stairs).


We got to Florence and then had a snafu. We were told to go to 40 via Palazzuolo to meet our landlady’s mother and then move to 44 via Palazzuolo, where our apartment was. So we get to the door and there are 5 bells. Diana and I looked at each other, and we decided to just start ringing the bells from the top down. Luckily, the top bell was the correct one and because her Italian had gotten so good, Diana was our spokesperson. Diana was trying to explain to the mother that we were here to rent the apartment at 44 but the mother insisted that we were there for the apartment at 40. Eventually we discovered that dad got it wrong (for whatever reason) and we were supposed to be in 40. All was well and we lugged the 200 pounds of baggage up 4 flights of stairs. I was very glad when it was over, however, it was merely a precursor to the number of steps we’d have to go up and down in the remainder of the trip.


Up next, Florence with the fam.


Bologna: la dotta, la grassa, la rossa! May 2, 2012

Filed under: Daily Life,Food,Italy,Travel — Kristi @ 3:47 pm

After leaving Paris, I had to (eventually) end up in Italy to help Diana get to Florence where we would meet the rest of the family. To kill a few days, I decided to head over to Bologna for a couple nights.


I stayed at the Hotel Astoria, which was right in the middle of the old city and REALLY close to the train station. My first night I had been traveling for hours (I flew into Milan and took the train to Bologna), so I was exhausted. The next morning I got up early and left to wander into the city.


One really cool thing about the city are the covered walkways. The arcades cover almost sidewalk in the city, which is really convenient if it rains, snows, or is really hot. Luckily for me, the weather was RIDICULOUSLY beautiful!




I made my way to the Piazza Maggiore which has the city hall on one side. The red flags aren’t on the building all the time, but it was Liberation Day, so there was a parade and logs of people in Military uniform.




On the left side (facing the city hall) is the Duomo, the Basilica of San Petronio, which is apparently the 5th largest church in the world. Unfortunately, the interesting part of the facade was covered for whatever reason, so all I got was bricks. I didn’t take any pictures inside but I got some postcards, which I might post later.


And on the third side, across from the Duomo, were some cafes where I had a cappuccino.


After my cappuccino, I decided to check out Asinelli’s Tower. There are two, famous, leaning towers in Bologna built in the early 1100s. The shorter one was cut off in the 1300s because it was leaning too far over, and currently leans about 10 feet off center. The taller one (Asinelli’s) only leans about 7.5 feet off center. I climbed the 498 steps to get to the top (about 98 meters high), which gave me an amazing view of the town.


Since it was still early after I got down from the tower, I decided to wander around and go to San Stefano’s church which was really a complex of churches/cloisters/chapels haphazardly arranged around each other. The cool part about this was the Romanesque church that was SUPER old and may be the first Romanesque church I’ve ever been in.


I then wandered back to my hotel room for a little break. I really needed a siesta, so I hung out and read for about an hour before going back out to explore the town. I discovered, by accident I’m ashamed to say, that St. Dominic is buried in Bologna. Because he was Spanish, I assumed he was in Spain, but no, I was wrong. So I first went to see the Chiesa San Francesco, which wasn’t all that impressive, finally moving on to San Domenico.


After leaving San Domenico, I had a bit of a camera scare. I had put it down when I was in front of the saint’s tomb and forgot it when I left the church. I got all the way to the Piazza Maggiore before I realized that it was there. Normally, this is just something that stinks, but a camera is easily replaced. Unfortunately, because of my computer issues, the last week’s worth of work in the archives was on that camera and it really would have been a disaster. Luckily some one had turned it into the guard and I got it back with no problems.

I finished up the day having dinner at Trattoria Anna Maria on Via delle Belle Arti, which was delicious. I got a lasagna with a different kind of sauce and tiramisu, which was ridiculously delicious. I walked back through the Piazza Maggiori at night and it was really lovely.


The next day, my train to Perugia left around 1pm so I ended up wandering over to the university part of town. I didn’t take any pictures, for whatever reason, but it basically just looked like the rest of the city. Then I picked up my stuff, hopped on the train, and headed south.


Paris in a Nutshell April 29, 2012

Filed under: Daily Life,France,Research,Tourist attractions — Kristi @ 11:49 pm

I’m back online after a two week hiatus. Basically, my computer died and my charger stopped working so I had to access the internet on my nook. This was obviously awkward and didn’t allow for much work. Since nothing really exciting happened in Paris, I’m going to sum up my week and a half that wasn’t blogged in this blog and then move on to Italy tomorrow.


So, some highlights:


First, I found some really excellent marginalia. Because I work with court documents, I don’t usually find that stuff but apparently the court scribe in the 1380s was bored and a doodler. Here are some examples.




One of the highlights of my archive experience was the elderly researcher who was using a laptop with a floppy drive. It was very sweet, I thought. Here is a picture of the computer, how hilarious is this?!? The screen was the green and black and every once in a while I would hear the *wirr* of the floppy drive saving information. The next day he sat next to me and was actually very nice. He kept trying to get me things to help with my reading not understanding that my documents were too old.



One of the great things about the archives is that they are a walled complex with the reading room (where I spend my time), a museum, and some really lovely gardens. For whatever reason the gardens are always closed when I go, but this year they were open and I got to see them. Next time I go I’ll spend more time in them; they were nice.




Finally, a few random images from around town. I went to mass at Saint Severin, which is my favorite church. I had fondue for lunch. Went to the Luxemburg gardens and read a bit. Had coffee at Le Rostand. I wandered around a bit, but I only gave myself Sundays off so not a whole lot of time.




So there you have it, Paris in a nutshell. Tomorrow, Bologna!


Arches and Archives April 15, 2012

Filed under: Daily Life,France,Research,Tourist attractions — Kristi @ 12:10 pm

Sorry for the lack of posts, but in all honesty, not much has been going on around here.


Starting this past Wednesday, I have been at the archives each day (with Sundays off, of course). I walk the 2.5 miles to the archives and then walk the same back. I do try to vary my route, which brings us to arches. As I was walking to the archives on Wednesday I decided to go down Rue de Faubourg Saint-Denis. It looks like a normal side-ish street in Paris until… BAM! Arch.




I, honestly, had no idea this thing existed. On the top it says “Ludovico Magno” or Louis the Great, and I couldn’t figure out if it meant Louis XIV (Versailles king) or Louis XVI (French Revolution king). Well, thanks go google, it seems that it was built in 1671-4 to commemorate the military victories of Louis XIV, the Sun King. Apparently in the 17th century, this was the entrance through which the kings passed after religious services. It is on the site of the old toll-gate into Paris from the north. Anyway, the thing is huge and I first saw it as in the picture on the left, which meant that it looked like a giant wall, and it is taller than the 6-7 story buildings on the street, basically it is freaking huge (I may have even gasped). This is why I prefer to walk in Paris; I never know what I will find.


Either way, I made it to the archives and got my documents. As many of you may have read on facebook, I made a small breakthrough and may have made a HUGE breakthrough.  Basically, I discovered that the writing in the margin of my page might actually be useful. It’s one of those things where we assume medieval people are stupid. Of COURSE a medieval scribe would make searching easier! Why did I think he wouldn’t. So here is a picture of the reading room that I spend 5-6 hours a day in, the amazing coffee machine in the archives that gives me a 0.50 euro espresso (or two each day, why don’t we have these in the US?!?), and also a picture of a very useful marginal note. Can you read what it says?




Give up? Well, it looks to me like it says “Sinam in causa divorcii,” which roughly translates as “I will permit in the case of divorce.”


So there you go,  part of my breakthrough.


The archives close at 4:45 so I head out and trek the 2.5 miles back to my apartment, the only difference being that going back is all up hill (as I live right near Sacre Coeur). Now, on Wednesday, as I was walking back I decided to go up rue Faubourg Saint-Martin (2 blocks east of rue Faub. Saint-Denis) when suddenly… BAM! Another arch!



This arch wasn’t as big or as impressive as the first, actually it was a bit *yawn* after the first one that morning, but I had no idea THIS one existed either. It was also commissioned by Louis XIV in 1674, right after the completion of the other one and served a similar purpose. So there you go, arches and archives.


I will leave you with your Church du Jour: Eglise Sainte-Elisabeth. Built in 1648 it sits on rue du Temple not too far from the Place de la République.




By the way, I did not end up going to church this morning. I decided to have lunch with a friend instead. We’ll see how next Sunday goes. 🙂 Au revoir


The Day of 3 Churches and my Apartment April 12, 2012

Filed under: Daily Life,France,Tourist attractions,Travel — Kristi @ 2:44 am

I arrived safely in Paris a few days ago with only minor injuries. As I was getting into the cab in Swansea to go to the train station, I kneed the car REALLY hard. Basically I have a bruise above my right knee that is 1.5″x3″ and REALLY painful! Other than that, I got here. One thing I have to say is that Charles de Gaule Airport is really creepy on Easter Sunday; it is empty and just disconcerting. Paris is also pretty empty and it was weird to show up and have no one around. Add to that the constant rain and it made for a Gotham City-like feel. Either way, everyone came back the next day and everything was back to normal.


As I came to France 2 days earlier than planned I discovered that my trip coincided with my friend David’s trip. David and I got our masters degrees together and I haven’t seen him since Kalamazoo last year, I think. I had a coffee with him and his wife at Cafe In, on the southeast corner of the square that holds the Tour Saint-Jacques. We didn’t have long as they were heading off to a tour of Notre Dame.


On my way to and from our date, I stopped into the churches I passed. As many of you know, I really like old, European churches. They often have some of the best art you’ll find, the architecture is amazing, and they are free and quiet. When I’m overwhelmed by the sheer number of people in Paris I’ll duck into a church for some quiet time. On this day I checked out 3. First was Notre-Dame de Lorette. It was right down the street from my hotel on rue Chateaudun and was really quite pretty.It was built between 1823 and 1836 and was (according to the pamphlet) the most highly decorated church at the time.




The next church, on my way to coffee was Saint-Eustache, which is prominently outside of Les Halles. It was built between 1532 and 1640 and is much more what I’m used to when I go into old churches.




The final stop on my way home was Notre-Dame des Victoires. This church was built in 1629 by Louis XIII and became a major pilgrimage site for healing by Mary. One person in particular is St. Teresa, who was healed in the church in 1883 and is now a major part of the church (she has a shrine as you walk in). One interesting thing about this church is that the walls are covered with ex-votos, which I don’t see very often. These pictures aren’t as good as usual as I came in the middle of a chapel service and when it was done I didn’t want to disturb anyone.




The next day, I walked to my apartment (about a mile from my hotel) with my pack on (about 60 pounds) uphill. It was pretty rough, honestly. My apartment is about a block from Sacre Coeur, is adorable, and VERY tiny. So here are some pictures of that. The first two are of the apartment itself, the third is the view out my window.




From Milan to Leicester July 28, 2011

Filed under: Britain,Daily Life,Travel — Kristi @ 7:13 am

My flight from Milan left on Friday at 3:20 but I like being completely sure that I’m not going to miss my flight so I caught the 11:30 bus from the Milano Centrale to Bergamo airport (about an hour drive) and got through security very quickly. I had about 2.5 hours to hang in the airport so I read my Rick Steves Great Britain book. Have I mentioned how much I love Rick Steves? 🙂


Flight was uneventful. I sat next to a lovely woman from the Leeds area who currently lived in Italy with her partner and children. And then I went through customs. It has been a while since I’ve been through customs in the UK and I forgot that they require an address where you will be staying. I had forgotten to write down John’s address, as he was going to pick me up at the airport, and I couldn’t remember anything. The guard was not happy with me but he was pleasant and asked me all sorts of questions, just making sure I wasn’t planning on remaining in the country. After about 5 minutes they let me in, but I have to be honest, I was nervous. John picked me up and we went to his little cottage in Groby. John lives in this adorable, and tiny, thatched roof cottage. It has 2 rooms on the first floor (livingroom and kitchen) and two rooms on the second floor (bedroom and kitchen). I tried to take pictures of the inside but, in some cases, it was too small to really get a picture of anything.





Cat, John’s girlfriend, met us at the cottage and we went out for fish and chips at the local shop. The chips were great, the fish had no taste other than fat, but John ate the whole thing (which was HUGE) and then complained that he didn’t feel well. Shocking! After we all went out to the pub, which is conveniently located right next to the cottage, met Seb there, and had some pints.




John had a last minute change of plans for Saturday, he is the secretary of the Supporters’ Trust for the Lincoln football club and had an important meet and greet during the day, so we decided that I’d spend Saturday with Seb. So, I packed up my stuff and headed off to Wigston.


The next day, Seb and I decided to go for a ride in his boat. Here is a picture of the boat.



It is very amusing. We popped it onto the canal and headed towards the pub. It turned into a lovely day, although at first we were a bit nervous because it was raining pretty bad. We trundled down the canal and I learned how to work the locks, it was pretty cool, lovely country scenery, and I got my arm workouts in.






It took us about an hour and a half to get to the pub, which is a mile or two away; clearly not the most efficient mode of transportation. We got some cokes and cheesy chips, and made our way back to the boat.



I decided to walk back alongside the canal as I hadn’t gotten much walking in the last couple of days. I also got to work all the locks by myself on the way back. It was pretty cool but I didn’t get many pictures, mostly of sheep.




Overall, it was a lovely 3.5 hours. We got back around 7 and had to get ready quickly to go see Seb’s brother’s band play in town. They were actually quite good, unfortunately the mic was terrible and I could hardly hear Ollie’s singing. Way fun, though, and an overall fun day.




The next day, John and Cat picked me up and the plan was old broken things and green things.