Roaring Along the CountrySide… to Zermatt!

After our Paris Extravaganza and a long restless night due to a girl in the group getting her passport stolen (NEVER wear back packs when transiting the Paris subway system) 3 of us got up the next morning and headed to the train station, we were off to Zermatt! Now one thing I would have never thought of but M did (Thanks!) was to do some extra research ahead of time and hire a shuttle service to pick us up and take us to the train station. It was extremely convenient and WAY cheaper than taking a taxi. It was also a large van so it would have been able to fit 5 people and all of our luggage including skiing equipment if we would have all been traveling together.

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We arrived at the train station 45 minutes early, plenty of time to find our train line, get our luggage carried over, a Starbucks latte, and to get settled in. The train came right as scheduled and I checked the track lines every few minutes because I almost missed a train in London once because it switched tracks at the last minute and I almost didn’t notice.

We boarded the train in a complete rush because although we were there very early it only stopped at the station for a few minutes and we had some serious luggage, I had my skii’s for goodness sakes! Then there was the trouble of finding our assigned seats. Again thanks to M we got such a great deal. She called the Euro Train Lines 3 different times and they ended up giving her a great price for the tickets. We were in second class and it only cost us about $130 which normally it would have been nearly $400 when traveling through the Xmas season.

Once we were settled in we were all exhausted! I think each us had only slept for about an hour the whole night. M & E fell asleep right away but I just couldn’t tear my eyes away from the scenery so I stayed up for quite some time enjoying it. The landscape was so lovely and the farmlands were a familiar welcome to my small home town back in the states.

I started filling out my Paris postcards because I send postcards from everywhere I go. I have a pen pal back in the states 😉 and I send about 16 from every country I visit. Finally my eyes started drooping and I just passed out. It was about a 5.5 hour ride from Gar de Leon (Paris Central) station to Tasch where we had a connect on the Glacier Express.

When we arrived at the station we could see a train on the other tracks and the flashing light for Zermatt. We all took off at a spring, skii’s and all. My legs and arms were burning because we had to run down through a tunnel and then up and out the other end. We reached the train just in time not knowing that there would be anohter one just an hour later. haha. It was sweat and tears that got us there but we settled in easily. We sat by a Japanese man and I told him I live in Japan. He was extremely surprised! We talked about the food and where he was from in Osaka. He gave us charms from his town. He told us he has traveled the world to go skiing and loves Zermatt very much. It just fed to our anticipation.

As our train climbed steeply up the mountain none of us slept on this ride. It was only about an hour and a half to Zermatt Central station and we were all eyes the entire ride. I actually felt like I was on the Polar Express chugging up into the hills. The tracks passed dangerously close to huge ice drop offs and it was some of the most beautiful winter landscapes I have ever seen. I felt like a little kid. I smiled so big the whole way up!

Randa was a small small small town 2 stops away from the main station and that was where we would be staying. We took the train all the way to Zermatt because we wanted to buy some groceries for dinner and we didn’t even know where to go in Randa. At the main station I was so excited. They actually had horse and buggies waiting to take people to some of the hotels. The main street of Zermatt is so quaint. It was just perfect. Everything I could have dreamed up and more. I came pretty close to just lying down right there and thanking the lord with a look of stupor on my face. It was truly gorgeous.

We bought some groceries and a week ticket to ride the train from Randa to Zermatt unlimited, that only cost about 68 Francs, not bad for a 10 day pass. Once we got to Randa we had no idea how to get to our apartment so we stopped at the first place we saw to ask. Of course everyone knows everyone so the person at that place called the woman from the place we were going to and they came down and picked us and our stuff up in a car. This we were very thankful for. The place we were staying in was quaint and perfect. It had a fire place for us to make a fire in nightly, which of course we did. It even had a loft to sleep in. LOVE.

They left us bottles of wine and some candy bars which we of course scarfed down because we were starving. We decided to go to Zermatt to have dinner so we got dressed up and jumped on the train which goes through the station hourly and took it back to Zermatt Central. We found a restaurant just a few feet away from the station and decided it looked delicious so we went in and took a seat. I immediately tried the Switzerland pale ale, it was delicious. We ordered meat and potato dishes and it was just what we needed to warm our cold and stiff bodies. The more we ate, the more we drank, the more we drank, the happy we got. It was a grand night.

After dinner we walked up the street and checked out what all there was. We also did a little after hours window shopping in preparation for the shopping we would be able do throughout the week. After a couple more drinks and a lively bunch at one of the bars up the road we headed back to Randa so we could collapse into our beds. There was much to do and we needed some rest. Just wait for our next adventure!

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Newport Rhode Island in the Sweet Sweet Summertime!

When my orders officially posted after the new year, I was shockingly excited to find out that I would be heading to 3 classes before being shipped off to Japan to meet my ship. I had not anticipated going to any schools so this was great news. What’s more, is I was being sent to Newport RI for the first 2 months of summer for my first class. Are you serious? Newport during the summer is the best time of the year to be there.

As of right now Newport is where Officer Candidate School is located for the Navy and this is where I went to OCS. It was complete torture for me the first 3 months I was there and having a view the most breathtaking sunset falling behind the Clairborne Pell Bridge, was a most cruel ending to every painful day I was trapped there, which always left me very bitter. Now, I’ve been back on 3 different occasions and Newport has finally started to grow on me in a good way. I enjoy the sunset’s, and after two months of fully exploring the area, I can’t complain.

The summer arrived full of promise and did not disappoint. For the first time all of the rooms were booked on base to stay in so I was able to use government per diem and stay at the Residence Inn Marriott, which was the best idea I ever made. I loved it there!  They provided a hot and hearty breakfast every morning, small gifts for all the holidays, and dinner three times a week. And when I arrived they gave me 10 drink tickets to use at the bar which was open whenever you needed a drink. Great place to stay.

I found out very quickly that my days basking in the Newport summer sun would not come so easily and that the class that I was in was going to be very intense and hard. The first week was the worst since there was a test on Friday and the days were very long. I made friends with a guy whom had been in the navy for a very long time, was just coming off of a steam ship, and was an LDO. That was great because he was extremely smart and fun and had a family with 5 kids all girls! That was the best part. I could only imagine 5 girls in a family. I know how my two sisters and I used to act, imagine two more.

At the Marriott I met a girl working there for the summer from Russia. She was hilarious and we became fast friends. I wanted to brush up on my Russian so we talked often and soon started going out with her other friend and my friends from the class. It was a great time! I hope that one day I’ll be able to visit them in Russia.

The next few excerpts will sum up the summer time in Newport.

A & I. She’s from Russia!

Both A & M. They are great.

Different Day. Haha.

Horrible at Pool but loving life.

We went out a lot. haha.

HAWAII~!!!!

Hawaii just makes me love life, everything about being there was Boss and I am definitely going back some day. It is soo worth it and the vacation is sooo nice, especially when you totally got the hook up and you are staying with a military family.

Sooo for my spring break trip (Hiking, rock climbing, and caving) down in Tennessee I said that I was going to do a play by play of the days one at a time. I only got through day one, so this is my Hawaii adventure all together all of the days in a row. Hopefully it won’t be that long.

Day 1 Airport Day-

Well I can’t say that we did get off to a good start because when M and I were buying our tickets to Hawaii to make a long story short, we did not get the same flight and had to fly down and back separately.

But, the good thing is that both of our flights left almost at the same time and so we were able to go to the airport together and come back together which was very nice to say the least. My plane departed at 8:35am and her’s departed at 9:05am. We both had one layover and then continued on over to Hawaii.

I made a lot of friends at the airport because I am just that person. I saw a man carrying eukolale’s and convinced him to play a song even though he wasn’t going to Hawaii, I talked with a family of Germans, and I met a women named Pat who works in D.C. that was going down to Hawaii to stay at her friends condo. (VERY GOOD VACATION). My seat partner on the plane had a lap baby named Audrey and we had one seat in between us which was definitely nice and we had a lot of room, even though I could not sleep AT ALL on the way down. M arrived at Honolulu 3 hours before me and was picked up by Eryn who game her a real lai and showed her around some before it was time to come back and get me.

After I was picked up we went back to her house for dinner which was very good, homemade meatballs with pasta, and we talked with her family getting to know them.

Eryn was also interning with another girl down there that didn’t really have a place to stay and she is in the forensic science program at our college so Eryn decided to let her stay with us, which was nice. Overall when we got to Eryn’s house we were utterly exhausted and decided to go to sleep shortly afterwards.

Day 2- Pearl Harbor

On Tuesday morning, Eryn and Rachel woke up early for work and M and I were both up early because its a six hour difference from the East Coast to Hawaii and we couldn’t sleep any longer, so we decided to get a head start and go over to the Arizona memorial earlier, then hit up the mini museum, the battleship Missouri, and the Aviation museum. All of these were quite interesting, and quite sad, they made me cry a little and I was fascinated by all of the history I learned there. I also bought a book at the small store at pearl harbor about the search for truth for the Captain of the U.S.S. Indianapolis. exciting!

At the aviation museum, which as it turns out, is only a few streets away from Eryn’s house which was nice because then we could just sneak off and walk over there since you aren’t allowed on base without a special pass, and then we could go back and get lunch and wait for her to get off work. We convinced one of the guides there to take us out to a back hangar where we saw an F-14!!! In case you are unaware that’s the plane that Tom Cruise flew with Goose in Top Gun, which was really exciting, and I called my dad to tell him the news. He was impressed.

Later that day we went with the girls when they got off work to Kailua beach where we relaxed and I got my first taste of clear waters. I love clear Water!

hawaii all the girlsALL OF US!!!

After that we went to a local restaurant for some Kilua pig which was way to salted and pretty bad, but O-well. Local food is local food. After that we headed home and pretty much called it a night.

Day 3- The Aquarium and Hostel

Day 3 we were up early again and we headed out as soon as we prepared our bags for a three day trip. We had previously booked a hostel for two days so that we could get a feel of the night life and this hostel was one block away from Wakiki beach and only $25 dollars a night. Sooo worth it.

We got up and left to catch the bus in the hopes that we would be able to find Wakiki beach in the morning and the aquarium later on. Well, as it turns out we got off at the wrong bus stop, the one for Ala Monoa mall, so we walked around there and found a beach right across the street and decided to hang out there for a few hours before we continued our search for downtown Wakiki.

We ended up having to change into our bathing suits in a park and and relaxed all afternoon it was a good day. After I had enough of the sun, we set out in search of the aquarium to check out the fish they have there. After talking to a helpful bus driver, we were able to find the aquarium and as it turns out it was located on the strip of Wakiki beach right by our hostel. That was good news. We went in and enjoyed the fish, I loved the Jellyfish!, and then headed back to check into our Hostel. We arrived at the street by luck and actually walked to the wrong one at first so we had to go down the street a few feet to get to the right one. After checking in we got put into an all girls dorm but when we went there every bed was taken. That was ridiculous so we went back down and asked to be put into a Co-ed dorm with less people. The man liked us, so he did as we asked and when I opened the door to the new room I got my first look at Constantine. Constantine, from Munich Germany, doing a world tour and stopped at his second stop Hawaii, to do some surfing.

Now I was loving life. After we got all of our things unpacked, we went downstairs for a BBQ with people form the hostel and then went walking along the strip of Wakiki beach which only had Designer stores that I can’t say I’ve seen in person! That was exciting and I took lots of pictures.

When we arrived back at the hostel we decided that we were exhausted and were going to bed. Constantine had three friends over that were each extremely hot in there own way and I was loving it. Let’s see, there was Sam from Germany working in Vancouver, Elyas from Germany doing a world tour as well, extremely funny, and Steven from Switzerland, a speaker of German and cute in his own way. After talking to them for five minutes they decided to go smoke out on the porch. I was so exhausted I fell asleep and didn’t wake up till the morning.

Day 4- Diamond Head

Again we were up early, but this time it was planned. We woke up and got our book bags ready then set off to climb to the top of Diamond Head the huge volcano they had as a headquarters for the Navy in WWII. We set off from the hostel and ended up hiking all the way to the top from there which was quite a long walk and by the time I got to the top of it, for only a dollar, I was breathing heavy and sweating profusely. The view from the top was absolutely magnificent. We loved it and you could see the coral reef in the ocean. Soo worth it.

After hiking and taking a bus we came back to Wakiki and decided to hit up this beach today. One thing I can say about Wakiki beach is that its absolutely positively jam packed with people. I was loving it that day, but to be honest that would not be a top pick for me everyday of the week.

We arrived back at our hostel and there was another edition in the night an Australian boy named James, again extremely hot, and he was still there and he wanted to come down to the beach with us so I happily obliged him by saying of course.

We went down there and took boggy boards then swam out hoping to catch a good wave. M is deathly afraid of sharks and it was hard trying to get her into the water which is funny but we did and she freaked out the whole time which made it even funnier. We all laughed alot, well minus M.

What I didn’t realize is that as soon as  you walk into the water two feet you hit reef and it is extremely hurtful to your body. I didn’t like that too much so I had to swim out really far so that I didn’t hit the reef in such shallow water. After we swam out for awhile, we came back and laid out on th beach trading stories and enjoying the sun. I was really really liking James. haha. If I ever head over to Australia for a visit, I’m definitely planning on hitting him up.

Then, I remember I had brought a pair of my swim goggles so I decided to head out and see what I could find in the sea. As soon as I headed out just a little I could already see fish and it was very exciting. After swimming out even more I saw a family of Angel fish and started freaking out. James was laughing and I showed him the fish with my goggles. I was loving it. Then when I least expected it, I somehow caught a wave body surfing style, and I lost my goggles in an instant. I was very sad. After a few more hours I opted to go back around 1:40 so I could watch game four of the Stanley cup finals. James came with me and he was actually catching a flight to Canada that night so we only had a few more hours together.

hawaii jamesAUSTRALIAN JAMES AND I.

We watched the game then headed up for showers. M came back and got ready as well since we were meeting up with Eryn and Rachel for dinner. We said our goodbyes with James and then he headed out and so did we to meet up with them.

M had found this really great looking restaurant that was located in the bottom of a hotel, and it was a fancy place with a huge aquarium in the center of it so that while you were eating you could watch huge fish and stingray’s swim around while we ate. When we arrived we were informed that they were only serving the buffet and it was 40 dollars. We decided to live it up and get it and it was one of the best buffet’s I’ve had in my life. We even got to see a show when a scuba diver jumped in to feed the fish. He was loving it and we enjoyed the whole show. After dinner we walked down the strip again and stopped for a drink then Eryn and Rachel headed home.

When we arrived back at the hostel M decided it was time for her to go to bed and so she fell asleep quickly and I went and got some beer and came back to have a few drinks before sleeping. Constantine was there and he asked me if I wanted to go down to the beach and hang out with his friends. I totally did and told him I would go. I was totally crushing on Sam and so we walked down and I talked with all of them, showed them how to give someone goosebumps and we just hung out. Sam was catching a flight back to Vancouver the next day and that was sad, but he had to go so we enjoyed the time we had and then that was it. A very good two days in a row with very good looking boys. I was extatic. You don’t come by that in my small town. haha.

Hawaii SamSam and I!

Day 5-Snorkeling

We rose early again, packed all of our things and then headed back to the Ala Moana mall to meet up with Eryn. It was kind of hard since the mall is huge but I said nothing and waited for her to find us. Then we headed over to Hanuma Bay for some serious snorkeling which I was sooo excited for. On the way we stopped at this scenic view of big rock craters that were quite awesome, and Eryn told me that they had shot a scene from Lost here. That was quite exciting. We got tons of pictures then went over to Hanuma Bay which was right up the road. After watching a video and getting our snorkel gear we were our to sea and we used the budee system, a fail safe way to stay which a budde by means of popping your head out of the water and screaming budee at the top of your lunges until you get a response.

I was loving the snorkeling, M was afraid as usual but she still went out which was good. At one point, I was swimming along a ledge of reef when it dropped off and as it dropped down I was swimming across and almost collided with a sea turtle. WOW! That was an awesome sight to see. It was huge and M, Eryn, and I followed its progress for a good while. We were loving it.

We saw beautiful schools of fish and all kinds of awesome things. soo worth it. After coming back to relax on the towels a chicken and a rooster were running around on the beach. SAY what!?! A chicken and a rooster which we obviously had to get pictures with them so I ran around trying to get in the pictures but they kept running away. Finally I gave up and laid down on my towel. Then, these two Chinese girls came running up to us screaming and I jumped up. As it turns out, chicken laid an egg on the beach!! We all started screaming and taking pictures  and it was extremely funny and quite hilarious.

hawaii eggChicken Laid and egg, on the BEACH!

After snorkeling we went back to Eryn’s, got ready and then went to a hotel for some appetizers and drinks although we were really going because we heard a thing on the radio that said 60’s and 70’s music and we wanted to dance it up. When we arrived we realized that we were the youngest people in the whole place and that was awesome so we danced it up anyway with all the older guys and gals. It was great fun and there were quite a few Japanese people there that were funny as well. After that we went to a Hawaiian style diner for dinner and then to a frozen yogurt place for some frozen yogurt. That was the end of our 5th night.

Day 6- STOMP Market and Luau

In the morning we went over to the stadium where the pro bowl is played every year because 3 days every week, they set up shops around the stadium making one big giant flea market. Here we bought all of the things for friends and family and enjoyed our morning bartering for good deals.

After we went back for lunch, watch part of game six of the stanley cup finals, then headed out to Paradise Cove for our scheduled luau. Now this was great fun. They had all kinds of events before dinner which we attended and these included learning out ot hula dance, watching a guy climb a tree, watching hula girls dance, and watching the roasted pig be carried away so they could prepare it for dinner. The dinner was huge and very good and we got a little toasty this night with all of the drink tickets we somehow got ahold of from some people who didn’t want them. After dinner there was a huge show, a beautiful sunset, and gorgeous dancer’s. They even had fire dancers!

Hawaii luau drinking drinkSelf Explanatory.

Day 7- Surfing Lessons

For four hours on Sunday I battled with my inability to surf and to this day right now I still huge welts on my arms and legs from the surfboard rubbing on my body. We had a 45 minute lesson over at Hickam airforce base, then we headed out on a small boat with the two instructors to give it a spin. Well I did stand up a few times but I failed miserably more times then I succeeded and I wiped out big time. It really sucked having that rope attached to your foot because when I fell off the board I didn’t want to be pulled along with the board and die because I couldn’t get air. Overall I still would have done it knowing what would happened, but I probably won’t be trying that again anytime soon.

On the plus side, I finally used the surfer shirt I bought during senior week in 2005. I just wish it had long sleeves so then my arms wouldn’t have so many chafe marks.

surfing on landPre Surfing, looking like  pro… on land.

After the surf lessons and too many wipeouts to count, we headed back to Eryn’s to get ready for a Sushi dinner with her family. It was soooooooo soooooo soooooo good I loved every second of that and we just ate it all up. At the end Eryn’s family had to pay and definitely didn’t want them to so we tried to give them money but they refused and there was nothing we could do. We then headed home for our last night at Eryn’s house as tomorrow evening we would be catching a plane home.

Day 7- Kayaking, Japanese Temple, The return trip

In the morning with got a ride with Eryn and Rachel to work and while they went in on the job, we went to the hickam beach near where our surf lessons were and we laid out in the early morning, then we went and rented some kayak’s for 5 dollars and hour. Totally worth it. We paddled out and around and it was very enjoyable. We took pictures with the waterproof camera and M ruined her phone by bringing it out and getting it in salt water. It was a terrible idea but hey, I can’t be responsible for it. haha.

At lunch we then got a ride to the bus stop and we caught a bus to a japanese temple that was filmed on lost season one as the engagement place of the two Japanese characters. I can’t remember there names.

We walked to it and it was extremely breathtaking and there was a huge budda in the temple. There were large amounts of coy under the bridges and the birds would eat the fish food right from your hands. I was loving every second of that trip. After a few hours at the temple we headed back to the bus stop and started getting frustrated because the bus was not coming. Needless to say, I started freaking out and we ended up getting a bus back to the other side of the island and Eryn and her mom picked us up at Aloha tower. We went back to the house, got our things together, ate a quick dinner of slow cooked beans her mother had made, and then we headed out to the airport.

At the airport I practically ran through customs and to the gate where my plane was leaving from and that was scary but I made it. I got on the plane sat next to my seat partner J who had been in Hawaii for a magic tornument and then we took off shortly after. Once in the air I decided to sleep through the night and thank God I did.

Day 8- Homebound

After arriving in the place that I had a layover I ate some food, and prepared for the next flight. I boarded that second plane, fell asleep instantly and when I arrived back in my city, I got off the plane and walked out the door. My dad was right there waiting, so I got my luggage and headed home. I was back in my small town hours away from Hawaii in just over a day and a half. My trip was at an end, but the memories and friends I met along the way made for extrememly enjoyable experience.

Aloha From Hawaii, Mahalo!

I just can’t keep ahold of reality this week at all! Things have been flying by so quickly and I am having the time of my life. From climbing to the top of an inactive volcano to extremeley (and I mean extremely) hot surfer Austrilans who are absolutely stunning, I don’t even know where to begin.

Words can not descibe all of the things I have experienced and all of the new foods that I have tasted. I really wish I could lend everyone my eyes so you can see what I see. Right now our days have been jam packed.

Since I have arrived to Oahu on Monday from the East Coast (Hawaii is 6 hours behind NY eastern standarad time) I haven’t been able to keep up but I’ve been doing my best. This trip has covered A long list of Firsts in many different areas for me. First snorkeling experience, first hike to the top of a volcano, first hostel, first sea turtle up close and personal, first kalua pig, first luau, and first surfing lesson. I’m just a complete virgin when it comes to Hawaii and its all for the better.

I actually went to a place where they shot scenes from the movie lost (I stop watching that show after season 2 but its still very cool) and I’ve taken at least 400 pictures in the past five days. There hasn’t even been that much time for drinking because we do stuff from morning till night and I’m so exhausted that I just have to go to bed and then I wake up really early and the cycle begins again.

This morning we went to the STOMP which is essentially a huge flea market at the Hawaii football stadium (where the pro bowl is played) and we went around barting for different things. I’m good at that so I got some great deals and I am happy with my buys.

Yesterday we were at Hanamu Bay snorkeling and almost ran smack dab into a sea turtle. I was swimming along the reef and came over the ledge of it just as the sea turtle was swimming up and over the ledge and we almost collided! I screamed and then my friends and I swam along with it for a good while. I also saw many big, small, colorful, and large groups of fish throughout the day there.

Tonight will be my first luau and tomorrow my first swim lesson. I can’t wait for these two things. I also have to tell you all about Constinine (our German roomate surfer), James (an Australian (HOTT!), Sam (German working in Canada (HUGE CRUSH!)), Stephen (Switzerland), and Elyas (German (VERY FUNNY!)).

There just so much to say and not enough words in the day.

Also, next post, along with the hot boys will be about Pearl Harbour and the Navy since I have the pleasure of staying on the naval base here with my friend Eryn whom I  cannot thank enough for this GREAT experience.

Many pictures will be posted.

Right now, it is 2pm and the Pens game is starting (GAME 5) so I must go! Hope they win!! Byes.

Confessions of a Writer<3