Archive for the ‘Beach’ Category

Amurica the beautiful and free

Sunday, July 7th, 2013

HAPPY BELATED INDEPENDENCE DAY!!!!  It was way different celebrating the 4th in Spain.  A few girls and I went to the beach first which was extremely hot! Then Karolina and I were so hungry we found a kebab near by!!  That was my first kebab and it was so good.  Karolina said they are so much better in Europe than in America!  Good thing I had it here first! Anyways, the students tried to get the whole program to hangout at a bar and they would play american music.  That was pretty fun, but it was a Thursday so everyone who lived far from that bar had to get on the last metro to Bilbao — which was like 10:30pm.  That night ended early.  I chilled outside my apartment and just embraced my surroundings.  It was nice!

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FRIDAY


So everyone wanted to go the beach after school.  I went to the res. halls and had my siesta there.  Then, I went to check out the mall with Brittany. There is a McDonalds and a Burger King there.  The McChicken is call the McPollo…. bahaha! But the Big Mac is the same.. Do you Spain! Also, they serve beer here! What an option!imageAfter that, I went back to my place and chilled in the park and just was in realization that I’m so excited to be here, in this country.  I was literally smiling for like 30 mins, then I heard this owl, but it wasn’t an owl.  It was some like of pigeon.  Annoying little thing! image

Saturday


We had a planned excursion by the school to Urdaibai, Spain.  It was about a 30 minute bus ride to the east near the Bay of Biscay. (The video I posted yesterday was from the Mundaka beach. The place was spectacular!  This is the beach that people are allowed to surf at.  We didn’t have much time to go in the water, mainly because we were hungry so we chose finding food over getting to the water.  But we had a great view of the beach and was able to watch the surfers do their thing.  It was awesome! image

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image(also this is a tortilla de patatas)!

The view was so great, seriously I thought I was dreaming again.  Angelica and I were talking about how we dream about going to amazing places in the world.  We’re here at this beautiful beach and now what you know? We just sat there after the ledge and watched the surfers and enjoyed the short time provided to us!  Then it was time for SIESTA!!! Can we begin by stating that there were only 3 serves for 120+ students and staff there.  Let’s just say it took a long time to get the food to everyone!  Our first course was a ensalada con atún = salad with tuna.  They love themselves some tuna!! It was good, but they drenched it in vinegar and oil! The second course was this beef with veggies and mash potatoes.  That was good, but the mash potatoes were different; there wasn’t a real flavor to it.  Almost like paste!! I don’t know!  The dessert was cheesecake.  I do not like cheesecake for real, but this was more like whipped cream and it was soooooo good! I which I could have had seconds on that! It was drizzled with cherries and pistachios! YUM, then they gave us coffee to end the siesta!  It took us 3hours to do all of that! 

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We ended that trip with at tour of the Gernika Museum and of Peace.  That was pretty cool with the conflict with the Civil War and the Basque Country and also how other countries helped Spain recover! image

Departing Paradise

Wednesday, August 17th, 2011

Our last day in Fiji of course began with packing. Julie and I had thought we needed to be checked out of our rooms by 11, but Dad thought this sounded odd, so he had gone to the front desk the previous day and asked about this and they had told him 10. Once we had packed our suitcases for the last time we headed to the breakfast bar in the hotel lobby where we found Mom and Dad already having eaten but not sitting with any luggage. When we inquired about this we found out that Julie and I had been right, and Dad might be slipping into senility because check out time was indeed at 11. Why he thought the front desk had told him otherwise is anyone’s guess. Julie and I were a little peeved that we were cheated out of an extra hour of sleep, but we were already up and packed so there was no going back at this point. Our international flight to LAX didn’t depart till 10pm so we wouldn’t be leaving the hotel until around 7, meaning we had the whole day to fill before spending another two days either on an airplane or in an airport. While Julie and I were finishing up with breakfast Dad went to the front desk to pay the bill. This bill was going to be massive after all the meals we had charged to the room, room service, bar tabs, and of course the jet ski safari, and to make matters worse it was going to come in Fijian dollars so it was going to be 1.5x higher than it would be in american, numerically anyway. Julie and I did not want to be around to witness the massive coronary Dad was going to have when he got that, so we headed to the pool.

Poolside on the last day

 

 Being that it was fairly early Julie and I were able to snag two  lounge chairs in a premium position, and there we stayed until around two or three pm when we got hungry. By that time Mom had joined us and Dad of course had found a bar somewhere and probably some strangers to talk to, so Mom, Julie and I had lunch at the hotel restaurant that faces the beach.

Beachside restaurant

After lunch we got back in the pool for a bit before Julie decided she would take a nap on a lawn chair and Mom and I took a long walk down the beach. Around five Julie and I used the pool showers to wash our hair and then put our comfortable clothes on to prepare for the plane. From then on it was just a waiting game until 7 when we were getting picked up. So I took some pictures around the hotel to pass the time.

on the beach

 

 

 

Fiji water in Fiji.....go figure. We got these everyday for free.

 

The man who was driving our bus transport to the airport talked a lot about the island we were on as we drove. At one point he said “and to your left you will see the American embassy.” We all leaned to the left to get a peak, but all we saw was a McDonalds. He got a good laugh at this. He also told us that while there are 334 Fijian islands there are only three McDonalds locations, and they have to import the french fries since the potato does not grow naturally there.

We got to the airport and through security with about two hours to spare so we set off to try to entertain ourselves in the terminal. Mom walked around through all the tacky overpriced souvenir shops, Julie and I stood in line to get our Fijian money exchanged, and since there were no bars to be found Dad fished a magazine out of his giant 10 lb backpack of reading materials that he had lugged all over Australia. Knowing that the food on the Air Pacific flight wouldn’t be that good Julie and I invested in some snacks before we boarded, but the food options in the Fijian airport were shoddy at best.

airport ice cream fail

The whole time we were killing time in the terminal we had a live bula band playing, which did give the whole room a jovial atmosphere, which is impressive since we were all about to board a 10 hour trans pacific flight with two crying babies.

Bula band in the international terminal

 

Aiport security....in a skirt. If he really needed to chase someone down it might be tricky in this get up.

We boarded the flight on time and they served us a meal about an hour into it. I think I have been truly spoiled by Qantas airlines because I thought everything about Air Pacific was sub par. The food was awful, Julie’s headphone jack malfunctioned and they had significantly less entertainment options than Qantas has. Still, after you have done a 15.5 hour flight pretty much everything else seems paltry by comparison, so ten hours wasn’t awful, even though it was a red eye flight. Thankfully I was able to sleep a little bit and stretch out, as there was nobody in the seat to my left and Julie was in the seat to my right. I don’t know how long I was out for but I missed breakfast, which according to Dad was worth missing since it consisted of a very soggy hash brown and some questionable gray meat product. We landed in LA mid morning of the 19th we had left Fiji on the evening of the 19th. While the idea of time travel is cool, in actuality its quite bewildering. I don’t think I knew what day/time it was for at least three days after we got home. Still it was nice to be back in the correct hemisphere, season, and country.

A Day of Rest

Wednesday, August 10th, 2011

 

Julie and I didn’t even consider getting out of bed before noon. We were so tired from the constant hustle and bustle of our vacation that we were ready for a little R&R. We probably would have snoozed right through lunch had the maid service not come knocking on our door asking to clean the room. Julie and I sent her away and didn’t roll out of bed till around one, and after grabbing a quick breakfast from one of the take away places in the hotel we grabbed some sunscreen and headed for the pool.

 

Hanging out poolside

 

We lazed around poolside for a few hours, and when that got old took a walk down the beach to see some of the other hotels that were on our island. Around five or so we started to get hungry so we headed back to the room and to find mom and dad. As it turns our parents had started their day a good bit earlier, and of course dad had been seated at the bar at 11 when they started serving alcohol. His drink of choice? A long island ice tea. Mom came along, but she can’t hold her liquor quite like Dad can, so she had abandoned him to relax in the room which is where Julie and I found her on our way back from the pool. Since she had gotten up at a reasonable hour she didn’t have much interest in eating dinner as soon as we wanted to, so we went back to our own room and changed into some beachy evening attire and took a stroll around the resort before headed to dinner together.

hammock sitting

 

overlooking the resort

 

sisters

 

Making some tiki friends

We had a “lesbian date night” as Julie calls it, dinner and drinks together at the oceanside restaurant. Once we had eaten we headed back to the room to watch movies on TV and order dessert from room service. Mom came in a bit later and we chatted and hung out and then still ended up going to bed fairly early. It was so nice to have a lazy day

legal drinking in Fiji

 

fruity drinks

 

We thought that the next day would be more of the same, but as it turns out while Mom and Dad had been throwing back long islands at the bar the morning jet ski tours had been heading out. Every year we have gone to the beach as a family Dad has suggested that we rent jet skis for a day, but it has never happened. Every year we have a conversation where he suggests that we do something adventurous like that, and every year mom shoots him down and spends her vacation in a beach chair with a book and a cold drink instead. With our Australian vacation we were breaking all the conventions of the Lapointe family trips, so in their lightly buzzed morning drinking state when they saw the jet ski groups going out Mom and Dad had finally agreed that we would in fact do something adventurous. They had booked us a three hour jet ski safari for the following morning, so we went to sleep with that to look forward to!

How Wonderful It Is to Do Nothing, and Then Rest Afterwards

Wednesday, May 4th, 2011

Lindsay and I were up early the next morning and met Danielle and Anneka for another complimentary hotel breakfast, only this time our view had much improved. The breakfast at the resort was good, and the selection of fresh tropical fruits was certaintly impressive, but it wasn’t as good as Chiang Mai. The bar had been set very high by the Imperial Ping Hotel in Chiang Mai, and the four of us spent every morning debating the merits of every other breakfast we encountered and comparing it to the one in Chiang Mai. After breakfast we had no scheduled activities and the whole day to do as we wish, so we went straight to the beach. There are two main beach areas on the resort that are separated by a big rocky outcropping, so you could swim from one beach to the other but you couldn’t walk to it unless you wanted to climb up the mini rock mountain. Of the two main beach areas one has a pool overlooking it and its where the main reception area is and the restaurant, and the other has to be accessed by a wooden path that goes around the island and its more secluded. This latter beach was where we opted to begin our day. Along the path to the beach are stunning cavernous rock ledges, similar to what you would see in Luray caverns, only they are above ground. So on our way to the beach we did a little poking around. We only caught glimpses of the monkey population that lives on the island, but the day before we saw some monkeys scampering across the roofs of one of the hotel buildings, which was so crazy. Monkeys, just, you know, hanging out.

Walking past the estuary side to get to the other beach

Exploring the caverns lining the path to the beach

Anneka caught off guard

The view of the path from underneath the rock ledge

Anneka, Lindsay and Danielle posing for me

I always seem to do this with my arms when someone points a camera at me

The beach!

Rocks over the ocean! They had rock climbing courses set up on these rocks over the sand but only for the really adventurous and experienced climbers

Phangnga Bay, the body of water that Krabi sits on is known as being a very fertile area, and this is the fertility shrine that pays homage to that. There is a legend about a woman and three suitors that is the reason for all this, but the plaque on the shrine explaining it was written in Thai and I couldn't find it anywhere on the internet.

An appropriate shrine to have near a honeymoon resort

We threw our stuff on the sand and jumped in. There are a bunch of cool caverns you can swim up to and then explore on foot so we spent most of the morning doing that. We saw bats and sea enemies and all sorts of cool sea birds and ocean critters. After a long morning of swimming we laid out on the beach and waited for the sun to get high enough that the rocks no longer kept us in the shade. When the sun became too intense we headed back to our air conditioned rooms to cool off and snack on some complimentary fresh island fruit and watch more HBO movies. Later on in the day we explored some of the local beach shops and once the sun was beginning to set headed back to the main beach area to watch the sunset. Danielle, Anneka, and Lindsay wanted to go check out the bars, but I wanted to eat dinner, and specifically I wanted pizza. After six days of eating Thai food, which, like all Asian cuisines includes no dairy, I was really craving something cheesy. So the other girls set out in search of nightlife and I hung out by the beach with Courtney and Kaela and watched the sunset and then enjoyed a veggie pizza and some cheesy garlic bread with them at the hotel restaurant.

Second sunset in Krabi

So pretty

After dinner I met back up with Lindsay, Anneka and Danielle and as we were exhausted we didn’t even bother trying to go out, we just went back and lazed around chatting and watching movies before going to bed in our super large and very low king sized beds.

Punta del Este

Friday, April 23rd, 2010

My trip to Punta del Este was over Semana Santa. I didn’t take that many pictures of this weekend, but it was very chill, I caught up on reading and slept on the beach.


We experienced a little mix-up getting there. We went through Buquebus and were supposed to take the ferry to Colonia and then a bus from Colonia to Punta del Este. We thought the time on the ticket next to the bus meant the time the bus was going to leave, but really it was the time to arrive. Whoops. They very helpful in fixing the situation (a reminder that I wasn’t in Argentina anymore) and it all worked out anyway. Although it took a lot longer and included a trip to Montevideo. Here we are wasting time at dinner in Colonia, waiting for the bus that had already left:

I promise this is not what I thought I ordered.

The first day on the beach I could wear my bathing suit! Well, it was a little too cold with the wind. Definitely didn’t have appropriate clothing so I basically wore the same strange mix of layers everyday.

Day two at the beach was a little different. This is how I found my friends:

That’s our hostel! My bed in the hostel was more comfortable than my bed at home. Although I’m sure much dirtier. On that note, I like hostel living a lot more than my Mom would think.  (Okay maybe only for a few days). And you can meet a lot of interesting people. Punta del Este was really expensive (compared to BA) so we made pasta one night and had tomato soup and grilled cheese for Easter dinner!

Marisa and I both bought this tapestry. There was only one left so we fought over it but then the guy said he could go get another one from the store. It turns out there are many uses for a tapestry. Towel, blanket, decoration, cape, slipcover, bedspead…the list goes on.

Grandma’s Chaos Tour

Monday, October 12th, 2009

We passed our one month mark in Europe last week, and it’s crazy to think we’ve been here for as long as we have. Despite its significance, however, last week went by fairly ordinarily. Wednesday we were treated to a free lunch at a wurst stand which was rather greasy, but good. That night my friends and I made dinner (it seems Wednesday night dinners have replaced Taco Tuesdays), and we had fun making pasta and catching up on gossip. I only have one class on Thursday, and it’s an evening one, so I spent the afternoon searching out the university libraries I’m going to need this semester. I played the role of the confused exchange student very well as I still don’t know how to find books in the teeny tiny Social Sciences library. One day soon I’ll have to summon the courage to enlist the help of a frazzled librarian. Fridays are free, and so some friends and I finally got the kebaps (delicious, cheap, Turkish sandwiches) we’d been craving and then spent the afternoon at Frau Schoettke’s making improvised but quite tasty apple tarts with Kirsten and Rachel.

Rachelle and I attempted to go to bed early Friday night, but 4 am rolled around awfully quickly and the alarm clock was beeping away. Yes, we got up at 4. We had to be on a bus at 5. Somehow no one slept in, and 30 of us were able to get on said bus, passports in hand, and set off on what our tour guide for the weekend, Frau Schoettke, called “Grandma’s Chaos Tour.” The trip lived up to its name very shortly thereafter as Frau Schoettke’s friends began passing out shots to everyone on the bus. At 5:30 in the morning. Oh boy.

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Most of us attempted to sleep on the bus as we drove through Austria in the dark, but soon enough we arrived in Trieste, Italy, where we disembarked to stretch our legs and walk around pretty Castle Miramare on the Adriatic coast. The views were gorgeous and the weather warm so everyone enjoyed it. I had never been to Italy before, so even though it was a short visit I’m excited to be able to check it off my list.
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All too soon it was back on the bus and headed towards Slovenia. Frau Schoettke informed us that Slovenia is one of the ugliest countries, but I didn’t think it was all that bad. The geography definitely changes though, from the mountains and evergreen trees of Austria and northern Italy to hills and scrubby trees. And there’s very little to see, just a handful of houses and a odd abundance of roadside ads for cell phones. We drove straight through Slovenia, and when we got to the border of Croatia we left the European Union and so had to stop at border control. At this point Frau Schoettke informed Rachelle that it was to be her job to use her “pretty eyes to make the border guards stamp our passports.” They don’t normally take the time to stamp everyone’s I guess, and I’m not sure if it was Rachelle batting her eyelashes or the beer Frau Schoettke gave them, but somehow we got stamps from both Slovenia and Croatia. Cool.

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Shortly after we crossed the border we stopped in a small fishing village to eat lunch at a waterfront restaurant. Frau Schoettke had already decided that the food of choice was to be calamari. I ate the pieces that looked like onion rings, after drowning them in tarter sauce, but my friend Phil got all of the pieces that had identifiable squid characteristics. We lingered over lunch, and watched Frau Schoettke drink more and more wine, before finally leaving for our hotel in Umag, Croatia, a few kilometers further down the road.

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Our hotel was a resort, though one mostly shut down for the season. Frau Schoettke has been coming to the beaches here since she was little, so it’s no wonder she loves taking each new semester’s worth of AIFS students. After a minor mishap involving room reservations, we all jumped into our swimsuits and headed to the beach, where some people quickly shed their swimsuits again. Yes, it was a nude beach. And a few of the guys in our group may have been extremely enthusiastic about this. And Frau Schoettke may have encouraged this enthusiasm. A lot. The weather was warm, but it was 5 in the evening and cooling quickly and the water was pretty cold. I got in up to my knees, but a few people managed to legitimately swim in the short time we had before rushing off to a buffet dinner in the hotel. Because the resort is primarily a destination for German/Austrian and Italian tourists, the dinner was an amusing mix of sausages and pasta, but we all ate well and stuffed ourselves with ice cream to top it off. Later that evening we found a taxi driven by one of Frau Schoettke’s friends (Really, who isn’t that woman friends with?) and drove into the little town of Umag itself. Not much was open, but we walked around for a while anyway. Croatia feels like you’re somewhere else. The buildings were just a little rough around the edges, laundry hung out of every window, and I think we saw more cats than people. If that’s eastern Europe, I can’t wait to go back. But we finally found our friends in a bar (well, we heard them before we saw them) and got treated to an entertaining round of interpretive dance by several group members and a middle-aged Croatian man with a ponytail. Too funny. It started to storm shortly thereafter, and we went back to the hotel to watch the lightening from the balcony in our room with some friends. After getting lectured for being too loud by the woman in the room next door (in a language we didn’t recognize), the four of us retreated inside to watch American movies in English with Croatian subtitles. After having been up for almost 24 hours we were so tired that reading the subtitles was a vastly amusing ordeal. In case you were wondering, it seems New Jersey translates to Jerseyu. You would find that funny too if you’d been as tired as we were. Needless to say we fell asleep very quickly that night.
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In the morning we had yet another hotel buffet for breakfast (this time there were crepes! With chocolate sauce!), and then it was back on the bus again. We drove back across the border and into Slovenia where we stopped at a massive cave system. We had to take a little train into the side of the mountain before getting out to walk around. The caves just went on forever. It was cold in there, but we amused ourselves discussing the possibility of death by stalagmite (or stalactite? I still don’t know) were they to fall and what sort of Lord of the Rings characters the various rock formations looked like. After a few hours in the caves, it was time to get on the bus yet again and drive the last few hours of the trip back to Salzburg. By the end of the trip, everyone was going a little stir crazy from being cramped up on the bus so much. Some of us chose to alleviate this through sleep, others through the seemingly continuos consumption of alcohol. So while the trip was chaotic at times, and no one was ever where they were supposed to be when they were supposed to be, and I’m still not sure how some of my friends managed to get completely drenched when all they had to do was run from the taxi into the hotel during the storm, the trip was all kinds of awesome. How often can you say you’ve been to four countries in one day? It was a whirlwind, and all of the countries we saw certainly deserve more than a few hours visit, but it was a good start.

We got back to Salzburg to discover the temperature had dropped dramatically, and fall has finally arrived for real. There was snow on the mountains around the city when I woke up this morning, and there is talk we might get some on the ground in the city by the end of this week. Crazy! I like the cold, but I can’t help but miss my nice warm Virginia falls a bit. Now for the rest of this week I just have to stay warm, stay dry, and catch up on homework so that I can enjoy this coming weekend in Vienna!