Saturday, June 18, 2011

Day TeN (June 18)

Today is Caroline's Birthday! Whoop Whoop! Big Uno Seis! 

We started off today on a slow pace, which I like very much. We ate breakfast and then stayed in our hotel rooms for about two hours to blog and download pictures to our computer. We then went to the worlds greatest Archeological Museum. 

Along the way, we saw a peaceful protest happening along the streets of Athens. They were chanting their songs and each holding different designed flags.

When we arrived to the museum, we were given an Assignment to complete while looking around. We were told to find something that interests us and take it in 10 different angles. 

We left the museum and had some Greek food. I ordered a Greek Salad and Chicken Souvalki. It was delicious! 

We moved on to another art and photography museum down the street. It was very interesting. 

After the last museum of the day, we went to the changing of the guards at the Parliament building. The guards did not show any facial emotion, nor said anything. They would only bang their gun on the marble ground when they saw something that was wrong. 

Today was a fun day, and tomorrow we are off to Nafplio. Whoo Hoo!

Day Nine (June 17)

Unfortunately, today was the last day in the beautiful Delphi. 

We came downstairs to have our last breakfast around 8 in the morning, and I had yogurt and honey again! We brought our bags down from our rooms, and loaded the bus by 9 in the morning. Delphi was so beautiful and I didn't want to leave. We were on our way to Athens with a three hour bus ride.

When we arrived in Athens, it was nothing like Delphi. Athens was a huge, crowded, and loud city, where Delphi was a small, and quiet city. The bus pulled over and we were dropped off right by the hotel. We are staying at the Athens Center Square Hotel right in front of some markets. All the venders are yelling in Greek trying to sell their products. As we checked into the hotel, we were assigned roommates. I was paired to room with Stephanie Skolnik in room 103. She is so funny!

After unloading all of our stuff in our rooms, as a group, we went to a souvlaki and gyro restaurant right down the street from the hotel. I ordered a chicken gyro and mostly everyone else did as well. It was really good! 

We then split into groups of 6 or 7 and went with the leaders to go and photograph Athens. I was in a group with Madeline Stewart, Stephanie Skolnik, Ariel Wilks, Claire Hogan, Caroline Leggett, Demeris Burritt and the leaders were Carolynn and David. Ms Hartman and Ms Cannon went with the other group.  David and Carolynn gave our group an element to focus on when we walk around. They said to take portraits of local people either posing for you or you find a way to take their picture. Below are some of the portraits i took...

This is a picture of a guy that I saw on the street.

 This is a picture of a guy that we actually talked to and asked if we could take his picture.

 This is a picture of Stephanie Skolnik laughing at something funny. 

 This is a picture of a guy that we met on the street. He is a professional trainer.

 This is a picture of Rachel Owens modeling for the camera. 

Both groups met up about two hours later and we went to the Acropolis. It was beautiful! Inside the Acropolis, there is the Parthenon and another building that I do not know the name of. The Acropolis was up in the hills and overlooked the city of Athens. The architecture of the buildings was unbelievable. The buildings have been rebuilt many times because of their age. It was really a sight that I will never forget about. 

After the Acropolis, we went shopping for about thirty minutes around that area and then headed off for dinner at a traditional Greek Restaurant. There were Greek dancers, Greek music, and great Greek food. It was a great night.

We got back to the hotel around 10:45 and said goodbye to Ms Hartman. He had to head back to the United States because of her grandmother being sick. We each gave her a big hug and said goodnight. 

Ms. Hartman, all of us will keep you and your family in our prayers and thoughts. We love you!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Day Eight (June 16)

It is Abby's Birthday today! Whoo Hoo Big one-six!

We woke up at 9 in the morning and we ate breakfast downstairs. I had my ultimate favorite breakfast: GREEK YOGURT AND HONEY! Yummy! After our meal, we went up to the top floor of the hotel and had a quick lesson on shutter speed. Carolynn and David showed us how the speed of the shutter can completely change what the picture looks like. When you have a faster shutter speed, the objects in motion look frozen, but when you have a slower shutter the objects in motion look like they are actually moving in the photo.

After that lesson, we broke off into groups of three and went around the little village of Delphi. I bought a few things for my siblings and myself as well, and took some great pictures of the great view of the mountains. We were told to focus on a few elements of photography while shooting today: leading lines, space, worms eye point of view and birds eye point of view.

Knowing and practicing a lot more really helped me understand how to recognize the elements before you shoot the picture. We met back at the hotel to download all of our pictures so far from the trip to an external hard drive so that Carolyn and David could look at them, as well as National Geographic.

Loading and organizing takes a lot of work, so we needed to eat. We went in two separate grouped to two different restaurants because half wanted to go one place, and the other half wanted to go another. We ate at Agora Café and celebrated Abby’s Birthday with come delicious chocolate lava cake!

We then went to the oracle of Delphi and saw where everything was actually back in the day. It was very neat to see how they could find parts of it and still put it together to make the pictures and sculptures. It was a nice experience to see, and I really enjoyed the photography opportunities.

We then ate dinner at some Greek restaurant on the way back to our hotel, and I ordered Dolamades. Yumm!

We then finished our day off with a Happy Birthday TOGA Themed Party for Abby. It was so fun! We had chocolate cake and watched our Scavenger Hunt videos and pictures. After that, we watched Mama Mia until we reached the scratched part of the disc, then we had to stop…darn!

This is a picture of (left to right, top to bottom) Erin Kreindler, Rachel Owens, Claire Hogan, Madeline Stewart, Stephanie Skolnik, Ariel Wilkes, Callie Phillips, Ellie Hopper, Holly Hepper, Me, Abby Waring, Demeris Burritt, and Caroline Leggett at Abby's 16th TOGA Birthday Party.

This is a picture of (left to right) Erin Kreindler, Holly Hepper, Rachel Owens, Claire Hogan, Madeline Stewart, Me, Abby Waring, Stephanie Skolnik, Demeris Burritt, Ariel Wilkes, Caroline Leggett, Callie Phillips, and Ellie Hopper at Abby's 16th TOGA Birthday Party.

This is a picture of (left to right) Callie Phillips and Holly Hepper at Abby's 16th TOGA Birthday Party.

 This is a picture of (left to right) Callie Phillips, Holly Hepper and Erin Kreinder at Abby's 16th TOGA Birthday Party.

This is a picture of Abby Waring blowing out her birthday candles.

This is another picture of Abby Waring blowing out her birthday candles.

 This is a picture of (left to right) Callie Phillips, Holly Hepper, Erin Kreindler (top) and Caroline Leggett at Abby's 16th TOGA Birthday Party. 

 This is a picture of (left to right) Callie Phillips, Holly Hepper and Erin Kreinder at Abby's 16th TOGA Birthday Party. 

 This is a picture of (left to right) Madeline Stewart, Holly Hepper and Claire Hogan at Abby's 16th TOGA Birthday Party. 

 This is a picture of (left to right) Rachel Owens and I at Abby's 16th TOGA Birthday Party. 

 This is a picture of (left to right) Madeline Stewart and Claire Hogan at Abby's 16th TOGA Birthday Party. 

This is a picture of (left to right) Madeline Stewart and Erin Kreindler at Abby's 16th TOGA Birthday Party. 

 This is a picture of (left to right) Erin Kreindler, Holly Hepper and Madeline Stewart at Abby's 16th TOGA Birthday Party. 

 This is a picture of (left to right) Abby Waring, Callie Phillips, Holly Hepper and Ellie Hopper at Abby's 16th TOGA Birthday Party. 


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Day SeVen (June 15)

Today was another travel day, to Greece.

We got four hours of sleep at most last night because we had to be on the bus by 4:45 this morning to get to the airport on time for our flight to Athens. We had a nice and safe drive and flight from Florence to the Rome airport, then from Rome to Athens.

The drive was 3 hours to the airport, and the flight was an hour and 30 minutes. The bus drive from the airport to the hotel was another 3 hours. It was a quick travel day, not like the beginning of our trip.

We are now at our hotel and about to go and eat our first actual Greek dinner. I am so excited! 


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Day Six (June 14)

Uno – due – tre – cuatro – CINQUE TERRA.

We woke up at 7:00 in the morning, and were on our way to Cinque Terra riding in a private bus. With a towel over my head, I slept the whole two hour bus ride to the train station. Once we got to the train station, we rode 18 minutes to Cinque Terra. 

Cinque Terra is an area on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea filled with cute little shops, restaurants and a beautiful beach. Before we had the opportunity to get right to the beach, we had to hike there. The whole group went on a two and a half hour hike up and downhill. 

The first part of the hike was the hardest. When we began our walking and most of it was up a lot of very steep and long steps. As we cleared the stairs, we rested at a small lemonade stand and took a breather. It was a short rest, and then we went back and hit the trails again. The trail was long, but totally worth it. The view was amazing and the feeling after a great work out i felt great. 

We arrived at Cinque Terra and waited for the rest of the group to come down the step hills of the Mediterranean. We had about two hours in the village to get something to eat, and then either shop or go to the beach. I chose to shop with Claire Hogan and Ellie Hopper. We went to the little souvenir stores and also took pictures of people at the beach. 

This is a picture of a paddle boat in the Mediterranean Sea.

This is a picture of the rocks in the Mediterranean Sea.

 This is a picture of a line of rocks in the Mediterranean Sea.

After about two hours in Cinque Terra, we headed back to the train station and got on the bus back to the hotel. Once again, I slept all the way back. 

As we arrived in Florence, we went to the hotel and Massimo showed us his photos and book that he created. His work was amazing. He went to a monastery to photograph the lives and culture of the Italian monks. It was neat to see other monks, because my uncle is one up in Boston. He is not an Italian monk, but Greek Orthodox. The Italian monastery was more strict in allowing the monks to have any communication with the outside world, but did allow once a week opportunities. It Boston, my uncle is able to talk to anyone at any time. We are allowed to go see him, and we do every year for about four days. 

After seeing his amazing works, we headed out for our last Italian dinner and then off for our last GELATO as well. 

We are heading off to Greece tomorrow and I am so excited! Opa!

Day Five (June 13)

Today, we traveled to Rome and stayed there for the entire day.

At around 5:00 in the morning, Madeline Stewart, Erin Kreindler, Rachel Owens, and I woke up. We had to be downstairs at 5:45, ready to leave to go to the train station. Everyone was downstairs before 7, so we headed to the bust stop to wait for our ride to the Florence Train Station. When we got to the station, we stopped for a quick pastry and coffee at a tiny café. We grabbed our food and boarded the train on cart number ten, once again. The train ride was two hours long to the beautiful city of Rome. The time went by fast because I sat next to Claire Hogan, Rachel Owens, Ms Cannon and Ms Hartman. It was a fun ride as we got to listen to all of the interesting and funny stories told by Ms Hartman, Claire or Rachel.

We arrived in Rome and stopped off at another cute little pastry café called Paraná Caffé, where we ordered chocolate croissants, tea and coffees. It was amazing! We finished up our sweets and headed on to actually see the famous Coliseum. I was blown away. I have been studying about the Coliseum for about two years, so when you actually get to see what you have been studying, it is mind-blowing.

This is a picture of the cafe that we ate at before the coliseum. 

This is a picture of Claire Hogan drinking her coffee at the Parana Cafe.

As we walked up to the beautiful Coliseum, I could not believe it. It was just so neat to tie in what you already know about the area and photograph it. Knowing about the history helps in the understanding of how amazing these places actually are. We went in through the main entrance as a group to go see the insides of the arena. When I first walked in, I immediately noticed the brickwork and how worn away it is. When I photographed this fantastic piece of history, my reoccurring element was the age in the stone and brickwork. It was very nice to be able to see the Coliseum because it was incredible.

These pictures were taken at the Coliseum.

After that adventure, we headed on over to the Forum. It was just an old plaza area where there used to be shops, areas to relax, etc. Today, the Forum is just pieces of columns, walls, statues, and floors spread all over a significantly sized area. We stayed there for about an hour and we were off to lunch.

These pictures were taken at the Forum.

This is a picture of Madeline Stewart and Rachel Owens.
Massimo, one of the National Geographic Leaders tried to skip lunch and wanted to go right on to the Trevi Fountain, but all of us girls insisted on eating before. And that’s what we did.

We stopped off at a buffet type restaurant where we got some VEGETABLES! Since I have been in Italy, all I have eaten is pasta, bread, pizza, sandwiches, and carbohydrates, but to see the option of vegetables was like water in a desert.

After finishing our lunch, we stopped off to exchange our American dollars for Euros. It took about one hour and thirty minutes just to convert our money, and some of the girls were not even able to because their debit cards did not work on the ATM machines.

We got our money situation cleared up, so we went on to the Trevi Fountain. When I saw this amazing fountain, I though of the Lizzie McGuire Movie and how Hillary Duff meets Paolo in that area. Getting to see this was an experience of a lifetime, just like the whole trip in general. When I think about how we have learned and seen these places from pictures, I don’t realize how fascinating they are until I actually go and see it. This was one of those instances.

We finished up at the Trevi Fountain and went shopping in the local markets. I bought a few things for my family and myself as well.

The Pantheon and the Spanish Steps were the conclusion to our day in Rome. I had a great time and wouldn’t have traded it for anything, even though our feet were really sore. It was worth every bit of it.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Day FouR (June 12)

Today was an adventure, but not like every other day.

When we woke up at around eight in the morning, we had another simple breakfast including toast, jelly and a choice of a beverage. As we travel through parts of Italy, we have to move hotels along the way. We moved from our first one, Hotel Esperanza to Hotel Cordova in another part of Florence (Firenze). After loading, our group gathered our cameras and headed to a famous gelato area where we saw how it was mad and some of the secret ingredients that they used. We were able to try some of the gelato, and I ordered the famous Crème de Grom and Chocolate. It was delicious!

This is a picture of the gelateria where we tried some very tasty flavors. 

After we finished eating the amazing gelato, we headed over to the area with the Cathedral and the Dome, also known as the Common Place. We had a National Geographic On-Assignment Project where we were told to go and capture many different angles of the famous buildings around the area. We stayed there for about twenty or thirty minutes, and then we headed over to catch a bus to somewhere very fascinating. 

This is a picture of one of the unique angles that I captures during my On-Assignment. 

This is another picture of one of the unique angles that I captures during my On-Assignment.

This is a picture of the GIANT Cathedral located in the Common Place.

Massimo, another National Geographic leader took us to an amazing place, an Olive Oil Producing Area. It was so neat to see all of the Olive Trees and Grape Vines as well. Not only did they make olive oil and wine, but also honey and spiced bell peppers. Yum!

To get to the large area of land, we had to walk up a road that was about a 45-minute walk. It was a workout! When we reached number thirteen on the road signs, we were there. The smell that came from the area was unbelievable, the gardening was fantastic, and the hills and mountains were a sight to see. We met the owner of the olive oil production and he told us a little about what he does and what it takes to maintain good products to use for the oils and wines. 

After hearing about all of the interesting things that he had to say about the vineyards and trees, we had an opportunity to taste the oil, but not the wine. It was so good! I have never had such goof of olive oil in my entire life. We got to try the olive oil with many different kinds of little appetizers, including bread with tomato, bread with peppers, bread with just olive oil, and bred with salami and ham. 

We ended the day with great Italian food, what a great way to end! 

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Day ThReE (June 11)

I finally walked the streets of Florence (Firenze) for the first time in my life! It honestly was nothing like I pictures it, but better!

When we woke up, we came downstairs and had a simple breakfast of just bread and jelly/butter. It was a very nice way to start off the day. After we all completed breakfast, we stayed in the eating area and had orientation with the National Geographic leaders, David and Carolyn. They went over the rules, guidelines, and some elements that we need to keep in mind when we are shooting. 

We left the hotel and walked down many streets to the common area. The huge chapel was located in this area, along with other amazing elements as well. The first activity of the day was a Scavenger Hunt. David and Carolyn put us into groups and had us complete a list of photos and videos that we needed to get. I was grouped with Claire Hogan and Demeris Burritt. I had a great time with them. We went all over the common area in search of every key thing on the list of "Photography To-Dos". We were able to complete almost everything on the list, but some things were not possible to accomplish. 

This is a picture of one of the elements on the Scavenger Hunt list: make a human pyramid in front of a famous building. (I am on the top, Demeris Burritt is on the left, and Claire Hogan is on the right.)

This is a picture of one of the elements on the Scavenger Hunt list: "I can't believe we can all fit!"

This is a picture of one of the elements on the Scavenger Hunt list: take a picture of your reflection in something other than a mirror.

After the time was up for the Scavenger Hunt, we met back in the common area and headed off to an amazing Italian Lunch. We ate at Pizzeria Huti, and I ordered Spaghetti with garlic, oil and crushed spicy red pepper. It was so good! I actually got to taste real spaghetti! For dessert, we had a honey coated waffle with nutella on top. Delicioso!

We then headed off to the museum where we saw the famous statue of David. I never knew that it was actually that big. I always thought that it was smaller and life-size, but it measured out to be seventeen feet tall. I was able to see all types of sculptures, paintings and many other types of art in that museum. It was an amazing experience to be able to see something like that. Caroline Leggett didn't fall asleep or anything at the museum.

This is a picture of Caroline Leggett on the benches in the museum with the statue of David. 

We finished our day off with an Italian Cooking Class. We made Spinach Ravioli, Chicken with tomato sauce and sauteed onions, grilled vegetables, and for dessert, Tiramisu. We made everything from scratch all in two hours. Everything was delicious! I love Italy!

This is a picture of the Spinach Ravioli that we made. 

 This is a picture of the Tomato Sauce Chicken with sauteed onions that we made.

This is a picture of the Grilled Vegetables that we made.

This is a picture of the Tiramisu that we made.

Here are some pictures from walking around the common area...

This is a picture of Ellie Hopper.