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A cidade das sete colinas capturou meu coração.

Lisboa, Portugal

sunny 85 °F

Saying that landing a job with US Airways is a blessing can not be any more of an understatement. I'm failing miserably at this blogging shindig because I have been so fortunate to visit so many amazing places and haven't gotten on here to share the shenanigans with ya'll. My first big trip was back in June when I visited my lovely Australian friend Erica in Paris (If you recall a few entries back, I met her in Munich while I was studying abroad in Prague). It was a quick, two day trip, but it was absolutely worth it. Paris is a fabulous city.. good thing I have several people who are demanding I take them there, so another visit is definitely a go!

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Later, I made my way to Baltimore..

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and St. Thomas..

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and Washington, D.C...

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So then of course, as with all great things, the constant travel had to come to a screeching halt for a while. Back to the ol' standard school and sorority and yada yada yada. Things that I love but.. I just don't fit into. I spent two months studying for the LSAT and it literally consumed my life. Once it was finally over, I needed a break. I needed to go somewhere, anywhere, just to get out of Wilmington. So where to go?! Everyone asked why I would want to go to Portugal.. you don't really hear a lot of touristy things there. The most I really knew before I went was that it bordered Spain. I soon realized.. this is why..

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Lisbon is beautiful. Full of beautiful sites and food and MEN. Haha. I traveled by myself.. didn't know anyone there.. just had the bookbag on my back and a bus ticket to the hostel. And I wouldn't have had it any other way. I met some amazing people on my journey and it was so difficult for me to come back to my reality. I left on Thursday evening and arrived Friday morning, obviously lacking sufficient sleep but naturally just as gungho as if I'd had. Once I arrived at the Oasis Backpackers Hostel Lisboa, I dropped my bag off and headed straight out to do the tourist thing. I did a walking tour with an American girl named Kira, Alex from Cologne, Saloua from Paris, Marco from Brazil, alongside our tour guide Uwe from Austria.

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I must be more of a loner than I'd take myself for. In the two days I spent in Lisbon, I did the entire tourist portion on my own. Its almost questionable, my whole social skills thing, being able to just pick up and go off on my own. Honestly, its almost difficult to be among others, because I don't think I'd give well to the non-flexibility. My travel time is my selfish time.. I love the 'on the whim', I love the 'get up and go'. I was able to see two UNESCO sites, Belem and Jeronimos Monastery. Both are seemingly unfamiliar beyond the Lisbon tourists, which aren't very plentiful in itself. I see Lisbon as a diamond in the rough, a city not given its deserving beauty credentials.

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Jeronimos Monastery

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Belem Tower

Naturally, I had my fair share of a good times as well.. I actually fell in love three times ;] Being the obvious American girl that I am, the dudes in the bottom picture are making strange faces because they are saying "duuuude" because apparently I say 'dude' all the time.. dude, really?!

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Obviously I did not get a chance to write this blog immediately after I made my trip, otherwise I would have gone more into detail of my minute by minute shenanigans. But trust me.. this is only the beginning.

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Stay tuned!

Posted by Courtster 11:23 Archived in Portugal Tagged oasis world heritage unesco lisbon portugal tourist_sites sintra belem Comments (0)

Deutschland ist rief meinen Namen.

Berlin.

sunny 80 °F

Last big trip of this go-round. BERLIN! A weekend, however, ended up being WAY too short for this amazing city.

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The bus ride was lovely! Met a British fellow named John and we chatted pretty much the entire way. I'm pretty sure God meant for us to meet, seeing as the doof didn't bring his passport knowing hes crossing the border. So it was a fine of 25 Euros or JAIL.. of course he only has 10 Euros on him. Haha. Poor dude, hes rolling laughing about this unfortunate event while his gf waiting for him in Berlin is freaking out on him lol. So I lent him the 15 Euro so all was well in the world. We got quite the kick out of that. We proceeded through the evening talking about deep life experiences, IKEA Swedish meatballs I HAVE to try before I leave, and witnessing drunks on the Berlin metro, for which I cursed him for having to leave me alone lol. I survived though, obviously. Haha.

Stupid Friday class made me get into Berlin around 11pm, where I met up with my girls from CEA. Of course, they already had their game faces on to go out, so within 30 minutes, out we go! Well, we tagged along with a random assortment of fellows they met in our hostels bar.. one of which actually has a house in Emerald Isle!! How crazy. So he called me Emerald all night as I proceeded to bag on him from being from Canada. Haha. Thankfully, one was a local, so we followed him around all night. UNFORTUNATELY.. we go to one of the very few clubs that you have to be freaking 21 to get into. SO, since me and Mel are not 21, and Lital and Lex feel for us, haha, we went to the biggest club in Berlin called Matrix. This was probably the most insane, hottest, crowded, and techno-ish club I have ever been to. So many sweaty crazies jumping up and down to this "music" haha. We might need to introduce Europe to normal clubbing music ASAP.

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Day dos. Rain. Go figure. So no walking tour that day. BUT. me and Lex did decide to be doofs and check out some museums.. which were SO COOL. First we hit up the Berliner dom, which was probably one of the most massive cathedrals I've ever seen. There was also a wedding going on while we were in there.. so sweeeet! The Altes (Old) Museum housed ancient Greek and Roman artifacts.. I had a sick obsession with all of the fighting and war materials. Some of the shields and swords dated back to 8 B.C!! INCREDIBLE. So I definitely went picture happy there, that you can see via facebook. As you can see in them, and Garth so kindly pointed out, the ancient peoples had a crazy obsession with penises and sexual carvings haha. Cracks me up. Also, I found my future husband.. -picture below- I saw this sculpture and immediately melted. I'm really not sure why.. eh, nevermind, I do know why! Haha.

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When we got back to the hostel, one of Lital's friends from college had gotten in touch with her about meeting up with all of us. So we got dolled up and headed out to a vegetarian restaurant.. yes, me, a vegetarian restaurant. I think I questioned everything on the menu. Haha. Settled with a bean burrito.. not the worst thing I've ever eaten.. but it was definitely lacking somethin.. oh yeah -- A BIG OL' SLAB OF BEEF! Afterwards, we wandered over to home boys apartment and climbed a ladder up onto the roof to watch the sunset over the Berlin skyline. Holy most gorgeous thing I had ever seen. A little guitar playing, a little wine.. perfection. Like a little idiot, I left my camera card in my computer, so once the girls post their pictures from that evening, there will be some on here! So after a fix of gelato, Lex, Mel, and myself headed back to the hostel to spruce up then go out to a very well recommended club joint called White Trash Fast Food.. what a name, right?! They had a live band playing upstairs and the club part was downstairs. Met the most awesome bartender from Colorado who gave us a hard time all night. But it was a real good time.

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Needless to say, we didn't wake up early enough for the morning tour. Lex, Kayki and myself made our way towards the Brandenburg gate, grabbed lunch, then met up with the free walking tour. Can't go wrong! Same company I used in Munich.. Sandeman's NewEurope Tour.. so great. Our British tour guide Rob rocked.. I can't imagine learning all the information they have to know. Haha. We also saw the Berlin Wall, the Holocaust Memorial, Checkpoint Charlie, the most amazing chocolate factory I've ever seen in my entire life, the place of Hitlers old bunker where he died and was burned, the Nazi book burning, Museum Island, the TV tower, which you can really see from anywhere lol, and so soo sooo much more. Once again, I took a lot of pictures, but so did the other girls, so more to come later!

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WENT TO DOLORES. Well, I was threatened if I didn't go, I would get kicked in the face. Thank goodness it was so good.. me and Lex only had to search far and freakin wide for a dang ATM machine. But success, another burrito! A normal one, at that. Haha. And mint lemonade, yum. Of course, that didn't end up being dinner, just a snack-ish haha. There was an Asian restaurant across the street from our hostel we had been eying. Ended up being BALLER, chicken skewers, rice and PEANUT sauce. Interesante, yes. Had a wonderful conversation with Lex. I love how well we connected this trip! Bluntly, I haven't discussed my faith with anyone in so long.. it was awesome to be able to relate to someone. She might have even convinced me to spent a week in Haiti with her next year for evangelism. Uh, I'm game.

Bars flooded our street, so we chose a little hole in the wall and it ended up being such a precious little place. Almost like a nicer, classier Red Room. Haha. Tried my first White Russian (delicious) but can't go wrong with my new found love, mojito. Ended Berlin chill, calm, cool and beautiful. Had to wake up bright and early for my 9am bus. Crashed hard, of course. Definitely didn't get to spend as much time in Berlin as I would have liked.. there seemed to be sooo much more I wanted to see!

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Now back in Praha.. sittin in Starbucks, attempting to do work, figuring out life -- ya know, the usual. STANDARD. Haha. Home is getting closer and closer, still slightly bittersweet. But with each day, I get more anxious. I can't wait to have my own room AND bathroom, spend time with my family and friends, eat food that I don't have doubts about, wear different CLOTHES!, sprawl out on my big ol' bed.. overall, home will be quite a beautiful thing. I will, however, miss the culture and atmosphere of this place. I've met some great friends.. I can only hope I met them for a reason and we'll meet up again someday. A trip to Haiti might even be in my future! Its that serious!

Now on to my two papers and presentation I have due in the next 9 days.

9 days. Wow.

Caio,
Court.

Posted by Courtster 08:58 Archived in Germany Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

One more week..

..and my packing is a fail!

semi-overcast 75 °F

Ahoy friends!

I'm back home from a wonderful past 4 days. As I said in my last post, how I would spend my time before leaving would be visits to the beach, shopping and just hanging out. Thats about all I've done.. ya know, life is tough. We had beautiful weather on Topsail Beach Thursday and Friday, squeezed 11 people in my grandparents' camper and had an absolute ball. There were the crazies who felt the need to take a dip in the ocean at 11:30pm.. power to them!.. and just hung out on the beach all day and got FRIED! Hopefully some gorgeous, bronze skin awaits us.

The girls of the group

The girls of the group

Saturday was bliss seeing as how I spent it with my very best friends. Allyson and I hit up the movies and saw Letters to Juliet, which was AWESOME.. and made me so excited to go to Europe.. then Miss Amanda met us in Mayfaire and we did a little shopping around. I had a first experience and was able to knock something off of my to-do list, which is to be disclosed... err, just know that it was a good day, fo real :)

Now yesterday was one of the most amazing dates I have ever had. Patrick and I drove down to Southport to catch a ferry over to Bald Head Island. I'm pretty sure the little green space right beside the lighthouse is inching its way to the top of places I'd like to get married. It was GORGEOUS and we had fabulous weather, thank goodness. We took our bikes down there and if I had to guess, we rode about 12 or so miles (there aren't any cars on BHI, only bikes and golf carts, which is SO COOL, they have garages just big enough for a cart :) ) We took a long walk on the beach and had dinner at an awesome restaurant right by the marina. Nothing like the man you love, beautiful sunshine and a basket of fried seafood to make a girl happy!

Bald Head Island, NC

Bald Head Island, NC

So here I am, back in my temporary room. One more week until I roll outta here! Its crazy to think that the time is finally coming up.. after all the preparations, the stress, the money.. this time next Monday I'll be on my way to RDU! HOPEFULLY the dang volcano holds up.. its only adding to my anxiety. Thankfully Heathrow is departing some flights, so its looking alright so far. Plus, theres still a few things on my packing list, so the frantic shopping hasn't ended either. My room is a DISASTER filled with piles and piles of clothes. Funny how I still figure I never have enough! But one good thing came out of this nasty weather we're having today and thats doing away with my procrastination!

Well, I suppose I'll get off here and get some work done. My stinky laundry basket and empty suitcase is hollerin' at me!

Ciao peeps,
Courtney

Posted by Courtster 10:01 Archived in USA Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

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