Wednesday, May 14, 2008

A Whirlwind Beginning to My European Escapade

Hello everyone, and welcome to my blog! I'm always bad about writing regularly, but I am going to make another legitimate attempt at doing so. I want to keep it as short and sweet as possible, so I will give you an abridged version of my mad crazy stories.

Well, here I am sitting in the French countryside about two hours southeast of Bordeaux, in the middle of nowhere (this place doesn't even have a real address)! I'm staying with my friend's mom, helping her out with some projects in the garden and building an arbor out of trees from the woods in her backyard.

It will be exactly two weeks tomorrow since I've arrived in Europe, but it seems like it's been a couple eternities! I've been on the constant go and had some crazy things happen to me already
, so this is a good chance for me to relax and rejuvenate before heading to Cannes for the film festival on Saturday.

So here's a brief recap of the beginning of my trip. After a long week of final exams, a 2-day photo shoot in Palm Springs, graduation, packing, and moving out (getting almost zero sleep, might I add), I finally walked onto that British Airways aircraft ready to start my European escapade, not once looking back! Boy, was I ready to turn this continent on its ear!

On the plane, I was initially sitting next to a really obese lady who occupied two seats. The flight attendant felt bad for me, so she moved me to a new seat, which worked out perfectly for me. It was in the emergency exit row, so I had plenty of leg room, and I was sitting one seat away from a girl I went to Pepperdine with. She was going home to Greece for the summer and said I should come visit her. I might just have to take her up on the offer!

Once I landed in London, I was still pretty unsure about where I was staying. The photographer I worked with in Palm Springs had told me that his nephew Craig lives in London and would love to show me around. I decided to give him a call and ended up staying over there for two nights. We had a great time, going to bars and pubs in SoHo and Notting Hill. He owned the craziest fur coat that he let me wear!

During the day I explored the city while Craig worked and then we met up in the evening. I walked through St. James Park and got to play with my brand new Nikon point and shoot, taking photos of the beautiful swan, geese, and squirrels. I also saw some of the typical touristy things like Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, and Big Ben.

I am not too crazy about doing touristy things, but there are certain things in certain cities that you just shouldn't miss (e.g., you can't go to Delhi and not see the Taj). You just have to find the right balance of doing local activities and seeing tourist sights. For me, staying with couchsurfers or local friends is the perfect solution because they know of all the little hole-in-the-wall hangouts that tourists have never heard of.
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I was only able to spend a day and a half in London because I had to fly off to Barcelona. I will explain why in my next blog. Gotta go for now!

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"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeing new landscapes, but in having new eyes."