Tuscany

A continuation of the post I wrote the other day…

Saturday momma arrived in Paris!!
Sunday we were off to Florence (Firenze in Italian)
Monday we explored Florence a bit and then headed off to the Tuscan countryside
^^^ and I believe that is where I left the last post at

Monday late afternoon we were visited by Isabella (the owner of the apartments) and she gave us the guide for the week. We sure were not expecting all of what was included but in this guide she had put together events for each day we could take part in. Some for an additional cost and some included in our stay. And here mom and I were thinking this trip would be figuring out stuff to do on our own, this was so much more than that! Big thank you to Isabella and her husband Carlo for the wonderful week. Now on to a recap πŸ™‚

Monday evening we decided to lay low and rest some, mom was a little tired and jet lagged from the time difference. We took a little trip to Pienza which was about 15 minutes from the little town Castelmuzio where we were staying. Isabella suggested a lovely little place to eat so mom and I worked up our appetites and explored the town after! Such a beautiful little town nested on top a hill, as most Tuscan villages are. These villages make for a wonderful means of some of the best views I have ever seen when peering out upon the Tuscan hills. Born and raised in Kansas I love the beauty of mother nature when it comes to the country and even hills, we do not have many of those in Kansas πŸ˜‰
I posted some pictures of Pienza in my last blog, feel free to check them out!

Tuesday we decided to partake in a daytrip to Siena led by a wonderful guide, Antonella who happened to be living in Siena for the past 7 years if I remember correctly. She took us on a walking tour which was amazing because how could one possibly walk through these cities and know so much history about them if it was not or had not been apart of them!? More historical facts were told then I could even be able to reinterpret so I hope some of the pictures will do the talking.

photo 1 (3)
Antonella, our guide, telling us about how each person (particularly children) is baptized under their specific district. In Siena there are 17 districts, each representing an animal. The districts compete against one another specifically when the village holds a horse race each year, this is said to be the longest living tradition, 800 years and continuing.

photo 2 (3)
One of the few remaining towers built hundreds of years ago. As earlier stated most Tuscan towns and villages were built on a hill so they could keep enemies out. Back in the day these towers were designed for that but being that it has a lack of windows and features as we have in housing nowadays this implies the change throughout the years.

photo 5 (1)
One of the most beautiful Cathedrals I have seen over here and believe me, that means a lot they are EVERYWHERE

photo 4 (2)
and again

photo 1 (4)
Inside, beautiful

photo 3 (4)
Pure marble floors that have been preserved for centuries

photo 2 (4)
Replicas of the popes, 170 some (did not have room for more)

photo 4 (3)
Ceiling, ahhh πŸ™‚

photo 5 (2)
All done by hand, beautiful story behind this but I do not remember specifics and do not want to relay false information

photo 1 (5)
Another ceiling in the Cathedral, has not been touched since finished centuries ago

photo 2 (5)
Architecture

photo 4 (4)
The town center where the horse racing is held

photo 3 (5)

photo 5 (3)

After Siena we headed back to Castelmuzio to rest before dinner, got lost along the way. I would have to say for getting lost in Italy we did pretty darn good being without the use of our phones having reception and no GPS. My map skills and sense of direction are quite awesome I must say πŸ™‚ ha and my mom’s awesome Italian driving skill ROCK!

Tuesday night we had dinner and wine tasting in Monticchiello which was a tiny town not far from Pienza. We ate a wonderful restaurant named La Porta. Hands down some of the best food I have ever had, along with the wine of course. One of my favorite things about being in Tuscany is EVERYTHING is fresh, from homemade pasta to vegetables to wine and cheese, it’s just amazing! That makes the experience worth more than imaginable, it’s real ❀

photo 1 (6)
view from Montichhiello ❀

photo 2 (6)
the owner, Daria is amazing! If you ever get the chance, go visit her

photo 3 (6)
List of dinner and pairings

photo 4 (5)
1st course πŸ™‚

photo 5 (4)
so good! Daria’s brother produces

photo 1 (7)
best meal I have ever had

photo 2 (7)
another goody

photo 3 (7)
who knew beef cheeks tasted so good

photo 4 (6)
wow I am full

photo 5 (5)
and a little glimpse of the aftermath

That is pretty much how Italians eat, I could barely keep up! Sheeeesh. But some of the best food I have ever had was in Tuscany πŸ™‚

Wednesday we decided to sleep in and then woke up, got around and headed to Montepulciano. No idea how I do not get all of these names mixed up. This was a cute village that had shopping, awesome architecture and some amazing views. Take a look

photo 1 (8)
Another amazing view

photo 2 (8)
Of course this makes for a good view too πŸ˜‰ love you mom!

photo 3 (8)

photo 4 (7)
so cute ❀

photo 5 (6)

We enjoyed the afternoon shopping and then headed back to our apartment to rest and have a relaxing evening.

Thursday we relaxed most of the morning and had a lady come to our apartment to do Ayurveda massages. That was quite the experience I must say! I definitely feel a lot less tense and relieved but it was a more painful massage as she worked on tendons and bones so the pressure was intense in certain areas. All in all felt very good afterwards! I actually have a half day spa treatment tomorrow in Paris as well so I am just loving getting pampered πŸ™‚

Later on during the day we were supposed to have a vineyard tour at one of the places Isabella and Carlo owned but it got rained out so we enjoyed spending time with Carlo’s father and talking about Tuscan traditions, the way of the land, working and so forth. Thursday evening we met all of the groups who stayed at one of the apartments Isabella and Carlo owned and got together to have a “pici” pasta making lesson! This noodle resembles what we know as spaghetti but much thicker, it’s the Tuscan way πŸ˜‰ Mom and I quite enjoyed this experience AND learned how to make pasta, how cool!

photo 1 (9)
Isabella in the beginning steps to make “pici” LOTS of flour

photo 2 (9)
Incorporating the eggs, water and flour together. The Tuscan way of course

photo 3 (9)
Mom and I’s noodles, after we kneaded the dough so long my hands hurt lol PROUD πŸ™‚

photo 5 (7)
Freaking delish! Aftermath

photo 4 (8)
a Tuscan family meal πŸ™‚

What a lovely evening that was, meeting new people, sharing a wonderful meal together and an amazing family sharing their home with us ❀ Definitely topped off the trip!

Friday we woke up early to make the hour and a half drive back to Florence to catch our flight back to Paris. We arrived back in Paris late afternoon, packed some of my things for my mom to take back with her and then went to dinner and a movie! I am pretty sure my mom and I don’t travel places without seeing a movie, just a tradition now πŸ™‚ Took her to see Divergent, I had already seen it but it was one of my favorites in awhile! She absolutely loved it too.

Saturday morning she left early to catch her flight back home, it was a struggle because I wanted to go back with her. I love it here in Paris but I am also over school, which tends to happen so close to the end and it didn’t help having break so close to the end either lol. Only 25 days left… Where did time go? Going to enjoy every last bit! See you all soon though πŸ™‚

Hope you enjoyed the read
All my love
Kels

Advertisements

Toscana, Italia <3

Mom arrived in Paris on Saturday morning. I barely slept the night before in great anticipation of seeing her for the 1st time in 3 months! I hopped on an early morning train on my way to surprise her at the airport. Had no idea where to meet her all I knew was the Terminal. I guessed the Baggage Claim she would be at and actually got it right, I swear it’s that connection we have that does little things like that πŸ˜‰ I was waiting for her with this sign as she exited the Arrivals area

20140424-111743.jpg

After a couple tears and hugs we were off on the adventure of a lifetime! Headed back to my place to settle in and then we went to LadurΓ©e for some French style macaroons and tea! After that we headed to Versailles to visit the gardens. It was one of the coolest days Paris has had in quite some time but we enjoyed golf carting around the BIGGEST gardens/park I have ever seen. Here are a few pics

20140424-112136.jpg

20140424-112154.jpg

20140424-112213.jpg
We were cold brrrr

20140424-112323.jpg

20140424-112353.jpg

What a beautiful place πŸ™‚

For dinner we headed to a little place we discovered near where we stayed last time and then off to bed! Sunday slept in and did some laundry before headed off to lunch near Luxembourg gardens and then airport for ITALY πŸ™‚

Flew into Florence Sunday evening and then went to check in at the hotel and enjoyed eating on top of the hotel with a wonderful view overlooking parts of Florence.

20140424-112631.jpg

20140424-112702.jpg

20140424-112721.jpg

Cheers to our 1st “real” Italian experience!

Hope everyone had a wonderful Easter as well, definitely a different experience being over in Europe for it but loved seeing all of the pictures that were posted πŸ™‚

Monday is a holiday in Europe so a lot of celebrations are still going on from the long Easter weekend. We walked around Florence a little bit in the morning before going to the airport to pick up the car we would be traveling in for the week. Here are some pics from Florence

20140424-113030.jpg
Cathedral

20140424-113120.jpg
it was HUGE

20140424-113153.jpg

20140424-113220.jpg

20140424-113250.jpg
stopped in for some chocolate

20140424-113337.jpg

One of the most amazing parts of this trip is really seeing how “old” things are, there is so much history here it definitely goes beyond what I have come to know in America. Such beauty ❀

After walking around and some lunch we got a taxi and went to the airport to pick up the car. I tried to wheel and deal with the guy but we settled with an Italian car, how could we not! Fiat Panda, yep like a little go-cart practically but it is FUN! Manual drive and I will say my mom fits right in with these Italian drivers lol CRAZY help me!! jk jk But driving through the Tuscany hills is no joke! I actually gave it a whirl yesterday to see how my manual skills were coming along and I made it! I am still terrified of starting and stopping on a hill but it was fun to drive πŸ™‚

We arrived at our place in the lovely little village of Castelmuzio and instantly in love. Check it out for yourself! Our little apartment for the week…

20140424-113947.jpg

20140424-114007.jpg

20140424-114031.jpg

20140424-114109.jpg

20140424-114128.jpg
everything here is made in the Tuscany region ❀ so good!

20140424-114207.jpg
God’s beauty ❀

20140424-114251.jpg

20140424-114327.jpg

20140424-114358.jpg
our apartment upstairs

20140424-114438.jpg

20140424-114511.jpg

How can one go through out life and never come here!? Hands down the most wonderful places I have ever been and I will DEFINITELY be coming back! I will also say that we found this place in Rick Steves book “Florence and Tuscany“. I bought the book and had it sent to my mom’s house a month or two ago so she could do some research on a place to stay. She discovered a wonderful recommendation at Casa Moricianni which just so happens to be AMAZING! The owners, Isabella and Carlo Moricianni have made this an extremely enjoyable experience to say the least. We arrived and Carlo met us and showed us to our apartment. He speaks French and Italian so it was quite nice to chat with him using some of my acquired skills in French πŸ™‚ We were in AWE and just blown away by the classic, sophisticated, antique and historic beauty. Isabella showed up about 20 minutes later to go over an itinerary with us. A written itinerary of possible excursions, spa treatments, places to visit, dinners, wine tastings and more! About a hand full for each day of the week was provided and we could indulge in ANY of it, wow wow wow ❀

We got settled in that evening and then headed to one of the nearby Tuscan towns, Pienza for some exploring and dinner.

20140424-114835.jpg

20140424-114903.jpg

A very cute small town in the Tuscany region. Actually spent a few times driving through and hanging out there.

I will wrap this one up for now but I will be back later to tell you all about our week in Toscana (Tuscany) I am off to get an Ayurvedic massage πŸ™‚

Love to all!
Kels

I took a stand

Bonjour! Γ‡a va?! Oh you know just working on my French πŸ˜‰ Hope everyone had a good week! Spring has sprung and I am loving it. Plus that means SUMMER is right around the corner, eeeek! Well just wrapping up the week to start another. Last week was good, super busy with classes though (what else is new) and trying to finish out this week strong because next week it is SPRING BREAK b*tches πŸ˜‰ Been trying to get some things done before break so I can be homework free and come back strong to finish off the semester here in Paris. It is quite interesting to me we started a couple weeks later than classes in the US but we end around the same time AND have not only 1 Spring Break but 2! I guess all the hard work really does pay off hehe.

This week I have a Test in Entrepreneurial Marketing, a Presentation for French Civilization and a 20-25 page contract due for International Contract Negotiations. Also been trying to work on my 20-25 page Marketing Plan that is due in about 3 weeks for Entrepreneurial Marketing, busy girl I tell ya! Trying to maintain my energy and workload so I can get as much done before my mom comes to see me on SATURDAY!!!!! I am so excited to see her, we will also be traveling to Italy next week and enjoy some countryside in the Tuscany region. WHOOP WHOOP! After break I have 3 classes that following week, 4 classes the week after and then only a couple Finals the week before I head home.

Speaking of home, I booked my flight back to the ICT (Wichita, Ks) for May 22nd! That is kind of early considering they have until June 10th to give Finals here but I only have 2 Finals and my last one is May 15th. That being said I will be returning early because I start Summer classes on June 2nd, blah. The good news about all of this is I GRADUATE NEXT SPRING! Last week I talked to my wonderful Advisor at Wichita State University and asked if we could move my graduation date up to next Spring. Well yes that is possible BUT with a lot and a lot of work the next 2 semesters, including summer. So I will be taking 4 Summer classes and then 6 classes in Fall, phew! I have worked my schedule out to be pretty awesome though. I start 2 classes on June 2nd, one online and then one in the classroom. These only last until the end of June so there goes 6 credits under my belt. In July I have a pre-session class which is a 2 week class for 3 credits, basically a LOT of work in 2 weeks but after that you have another 3 credits down! In August I have another pre-session class before Fall classes start, this one will be much easier because it is only 1 credit (Statistics on the computer BOOOOOOO). As far as the Fall semester goes I have 3 online, 1 online class is only the 1st 8 weeks of the semester. I have 1 class in school for the 1st 8 weeks, 1 class in school for the 2nd 8 weeks and then 1 class the whole semester. Not too bad if I do say so myself. The good thing about after this Fall semester is my Spring semester classes before graduation will be pretty easy, mostly consisting of electives. OH OH I also got an apartment lined up beginning in June!!!! Everything just falls into place when you have a little faith πŸ™‚ oh and patience lol.

The reason I decided to bump up my graduation date is because I really want to graduate in Spring, I was set to graduate Fall of 2015. I never got to walk in my High School graduation, I did not complete one of my online classes in time in order to walk. The crappy thing is that I completed my class the Friday before graduation and got my diploma the day after the ceremony. And why exactly did that conflict with me walking? Ehhh oh well. That just makes my college graduation that much more special to me! I have worked my butt off to get where I am and I am so proud to say I will be on that stage a year from now with family and friends all there to share the experience! Yes of course I will be having a huge graduation party, come on I mean how many times does a girl get to walk on stage for graduation?! HA! In my case, only once so you better believe it will be a BIG deal πŸ™‚ lol. My advisor said to me “you really want to get out of here don’t you” I responded something like “no that really is not it I just am proud to be where I am right now and me walking across that stage is just the sign that anyone can go through all the sh*t and still be up here standing”. When I started college in 2009 I had graduated High School the Spring semester before and barely got away with a 1.9 GPA. It’s not that school was hard for me, to be quite honest I just didn’t care anymore. In a school where everything was based on “cliques” and who was “best” I just never seemed to quite fit in. In a lot of ways I think the only thing that got me by were my friends and how much fun we had outside of school. Not fitting in isn’t a new thing to me, but now it’s only because I choose to stand out. Going into college the 1st couple of semesters my GPA suffered. I was battling dealing with my parents separation and then later divorce as well as a toxic relationship of my own, my brother being in and out of prison only to be locked up for good after his “luck” ran out, friends coming and going and after all of that… trying to discover myself in the world of being lost. And about 3 years ago I came upon my wonderful counselor, whom I now look to as a “father” figure in my life. When things were rough and I wasn’t sure what “stand” in life to take he was there to help guide me along my path, as well as a few others. My mom, who happened to take on this adventure with me, guided me as a best friend and a loving mother. Cynthia, a wonderful psychic, mentor, spiritual guide and so much more. Even the people who came into my life as little rays of light to help guide through the darkness, I take this time and forever more.. to thank you. Thank you for showing me the way, thank you for lending me a hand, a shoulder, a piece of your heart, thank you for always having faith in me and most of all… thank you for loving me.

Huge appreciation to the big changes in my life that have persistently taken place through out the past few years. Almost 2 years ago I set my 1st real goal, study abroad, which just so happened to be in Paris. So after a year and a half of working hard to get my grades and GPA up, I got it up past a 2.5 and was accepted in the program to study in Paris for Spring of 2014. My next goal is to graduate with a 3.0 or higher, I made this one happen and there is nothing stopping me now πŸ™‚

IMG_3178 (2)
I have had this tattoo for 2 years now. Couldn’t say it any better.

Namaste
Kels

Spring, Sprang and Sprung

Oh April how I love thee! Just another update blog for all you blog readers. Happy Monday! Hope everyone had a lovely weekend πŸ™‚ I left off sometime last weekend so not much “fun” has gone on the past week but some of my regulars look forward to being up to date in the life of Kelsey. <<< Totally kidding although I know some of you really do enjoy reading my blogs!

Last week was an easier week like I had stated previously in my blog. Only 4 classes, 2 ended up being canceled and this girl missed out on the other 2 classes. Now before you jump to conclusions about me "skipping" I actually was sick all last week. I caught what I call Spring Fever. I typically get it every year around this time, the normal head cold due to the season changes. I was actually on bed rest Tuesday-Friday but am finally feeling 100% again! So during this downtime I tried doing some work and then relaxed and slept quite a bit. Speaking of work…

I actually thought something was wrong with my computer so I was checking it out mid-week and decided to “refresh” it thinking it was like any other refresh and would just check for bugs and fix it or REFRESH. Well not quite what happened. Ended up losing all of my Programs on my computer, sheesh! Extremely thankful I did not lose any files or pictures, at least not that I noticed. So I have spent the last few days trying to upload everything again, update, figure out and so forth. Man I am sooo not computer savvy. Actually could not do any work this weekend because of the malfunctions, even lost Microsoft Office.. smhhh. But I will say I was quite stressed yesterday about all of this. Having had so much down time from being sick and on bed rest but being “helpless” in some aspects I was fit to be tied! Today has been a fresh slate and I discovered Google docs, thanks to a lovely friend here. I actually cannot believe I did not think about that sooner, probably because I was not open to seeing that possibility having been so worked up. I tried to download Office a couple times yesterday. I bought the US version but I cannot download that in France. Well there is not a French version offered online so instead of going through the trouble of figuring all that shenanigans out here in Paris I am going with Google docs for the time being πŸ™‚ Thankful for the solution and now I am getting caught up on my work! Minus the little break I have taken to write for my favorite peeps πŸ˜‰

Saturday I started feeling about 75% better so I had to get out of my dorm. I went to eat lunch and stopped by Starbucks, shocker, to get my Iced tea! I was Skyping my mom when someone interrupted to ask “what part of the states are you from?”. This is a frequent question you might get asked here being an American. Seeing as how we are minorities over here I always jump on asking the same question when I hear an American accent. Funny thing is, I never thought I had an accent ha! Well we got to talking and then actually ended up walking around Paris the rest of the day. What better way to meet people than 5000 miles away from home!? I actually had a really nice time, having came to the recent conclusion I spend too much time alone. lol Weird right? Visited Notre Dame and the Locks of Love bridge, it was closed so I could not walk inside but I took some pretty neat pictures.

photo 3 (2)
The beautiful Notre Dame

photo 1 (2)
Locks of Love bridge with Notre Dame in the background

photo 2 (2)
Look at all that ❀

Sightseeing in Paris is never ending! I am always discovering something new and exciting in this beautiful city. I think a lot of other people are as well because I can officially say it is prime Tourism time here! The weekends have now become chaos in the metro and there are lines for most everything. The City of Love you have done it again with your charm πŸ˜‰ I actually never realized how many movies even talk about Paris or are even filmed in Paris. I saw the movie 3 Days to Kill yesterday and all of it was filmed here. I recognized almost everything in that movie. The coolest part was when Ethan, the dad, picked up his daughter from school he was actually picking her up from where I live!

cite
CitΓ© Internationale Universitaire de Paris

Until we meet again. Off to finish some reports and projects this week and continue preparing for Break in 2 weeks. My mom will be here EEEEKKKKKKK! She is joining me in Paris and then we are off to Italy πŸ™‚ I am so excited to see her!!

mom1
We look nothing alike πŸ˜‰

*Ciao*
Kels