Europe 2018

Hey Everyone:

I know I have been talking a lot about going to Europe and haven’t really informed you about the trip and where we are going! There’s only 54 days until we go and I am super stressed about making payments and Saving enough money for bills when I’m gone, etc! But after next week’s payday, I’ll have it paid off for the most part and I’ll be ready to go! Super excited!

So, my best friend and I are going for a month and half to Europe! We’ll be travelling all over the place! I have been waiting for my chance to go on a Europe trip FOR YEARS! My biggest regret is that I never went after high school, but then again I probably wouldn’t have a degree. So I’m going now!

We are not going with a travel group. There’s just too many places we wanted to hit and I wanted to stop and time out places on what we wanted instead. Nothing against travel groups, it’s just how we planned it!

In no particular order, this is where we’re going:

1. Germany 🇩🇪- We’re hitting three stops in this beautiful country! We have a day to go see Neanderthals in Dusseldorf, and some ancient forums. Next up will be a week in Berlin, and a week in Munich after that! We have so many museums and castles lined up! I’m so freaking excited! Germany has been fun to plan! I love history, so I’m looking forward to it! Also, Germany is actually a good place to travel cost wise too! I’m finding a lot of the museums are cheap or free even depending on what you’re seeing!

2. France 🇫🇷- There’s a lot we’re looking forward to seeing in France, and so we have 3 stops on our journey! We will be stopping in Lyon for three days! We are just going to hang out and maybe do some wine tasting (I’m not the biggest fan of wine, so a lot of people who know me are probably rolling their eyes at me right now!), and I’m excited to hit up the beaches in Nice! I’m extremely excited for Nice. It looks beautiful and also there is more archaeology there (hope my friend doesn’t mind!). If you’re wondering what’s their for archaeology- homo ergaster. Anyways, next up on the trip is Paris for a week! Of course! I’ve been wanting to go to Paris, since forever! Once again, we have a ton of museums and beautiful places lined up!

3. United Kingdom 🇬🇧- We’re only making one stop here, and of course it’s London. That’s right my UK friends! I will be there for a week! We plan on doing a day trip out to some cool sites like Stonehenge (this took a lot of convince for my friend- she will probably laugh when she reads this!), Westminster Abby, and Bathe! We also have a few stops we plan on making!

These are the big places on our trip! It’s the places we’re spending the longest amount of time at! We are also briefly spending time in a few other places too!

4. Netherlands 🇳🇱- We are spending a couple days in Amsterdam! I’m excited to just hang out and do a couple museums, but really just experience the place!

5. Italy 🇮🇹- Milan! Italy I have missed you! We’re only there for a day or so, but whatever! I’ll take it! Pizza and cappuccinos here I come!

6. Austria 🇦🇹- We have planned to stop in Salzburg for a couple days, because we both need to feel like we’re in the Sound of Music! But also, this is such a beautiful place! I’m excited to go there and relax.

7. Switzerland 🇨🇭- Zurich! I have been through Switzerland three times now and never been able to stop! It’s a beautiful place and I know we’ll need a day off of museums and travelling so Zurich is a great place to stay for a day! it is expensive, but I think the fresh air and the views are worth it to go and relax! No pressure to do anything at all!

That’s it! It’s a lot of places, but so worth it! The thing about going to Europe is that you feel like you can add a lot into your trip and you never want to stop adding places! I think we’re hitting a few key places that we both have wanted to see and I can’ t wait!

I’ll keep you posted on the trip and with a few dos and don’ts as well for travelling! Let me know if there’s anything you want me to try out!

3 Days in Florence

Hey Guys!

Hope you are doing well! I have a great travel post to take your mind off work and any bad weather!

A couple of years ago, Kathleen and I went on a trip to Italy to pursue our archaeological dreams! We worked in Pompeii, Italy during the week, but weekends were for us to explore! Our second weekend there, we decided on Florence! Best decision ever. Like I said, we would work Monday thru Friday so a lot of our travelling had to wait until after a work day! SO, really we just had an evening, Saturday, and Sunday to do all of our sight seeing! I know it’s a really short time, but try not to overbook your trip with too many museums! You probably want to see a lot, but you can always go back. It’s ok, just remember it’s your trip and take some time to relax!

I know this is hard to do, so try thinking of it as this: there are two kinds of places you visit. Some cities are experience cities, and some are heavy sightseeing places. The experience places are very much like visiting Florence. It’s walking around, looking at a couple sights, but more so just experiencing the city and the people in the city! It’s going for wine and doing some fine dining, walking around the city looking at beautiful artworks, etc. Other cities are like Rome (which I will talk about in another post)! It’s more sightseeing and touring around! These kinds of places you load up with tours and museums. Remember two things when you visit these places: don’t overbook like I said before, and really research museums as well! Only go to museums you want to visit- don’t go because you have to go or everyone else is. I promise you will have a much better time. Definitely do your research!

Anyways, back to Florence! This is how our weekend went!

Evening #1:

We didn’t have time to go and see anything, because it was so late, so we went for a night walk instead and checked into our Air bnb. Our place was so adorable. It was like real city living in a big city, where we had to walk up six flights of stairs and everything in an apartment is tiny? I LOVED it! You could look out the window into a small courtyard or see your neighbors in the apartments across from you. I recommend going for a walk around. We went to a chip place and ate (seriously go to the chip restaurants- aka fries with very good dips). We walked by some pretty great places- such as the duomo, saw some modern artwork, and learned a valuable lesson: in Italy everything closes around 10:00! Yes they eat supper late, but that’s it! No friday night parties, etc! They days they stay out late are Sundays- so weird right?

Florence is full of art- from ancient Roman art to modern! If you walk around, you’ll see lots of beautiful modern graffiti! It’s so amazing to see how art has changed from ancient to modern times!The blocks are very cool too. They’re so narrow and lovely ranging from old to new!

Day #2:

We woke up and went for a morning walk to eat our way through gelato- I had chocolate with chili flakes! I was in heaven! It was cold, hot, like eating cinnamon gum or something! It wasn’t overfly spicy and the chocolate was amazing!

Anyways, we met up with some of our roommates on the Ponte Vecchio bridge! It’s a famous, medieval bridge with tons of shops built on it! Most of them are jewelry stores, and there’s tons of like gelato places and little tourist shops around the area. So hang out! Do some shopping and please drinks all the wine and eat all the pizza!

The only other site we did that day, was walk through the Uffizi Gallery! This is a massive art museum- I’m not joking, it’s huge. Expect to take a least half a day to walk through it. So there’s two things I recommend- buy tickets in advance if you can, and bring proof that you’re a student if you are one. So for the tickets, it’s better to buy them in advance because you will be standing in a long line if not. It doesn’t have to be crazy in advance, you could do it before you leave or you could do it the day before in your hotel. But it reserves your spot for you. Also, if you are an archaeologist or an architect, you get a discount to any museum in Italy, so BRING PROOF. If you’re a student you get a discount- so again bring proof! You can get international student ids from here: https://isiccanada.ca/ . If you don’t live in Canada, no sweat, I think you can just look up international student card and it will come up for your country. My British friends- I’m so sorry about Brexit, but you can do the same and get a discount! So these two things could help you out to reserve a spot and get a discount! Do this for ANY country! There are some sights you HAVE to book in advance, like the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam.

The Uffizi Gallery is awesome, but a ton of art work. They have a few major pieces that you might recognize such as, The Birth of Venus, Botticelli. This is their most famous piece and it is very cool to see! The other Botticelli artwork I actually love way more than The Birth of Venus, but still very cool to say that I’ve seen that! Another piece, called Madonna with a long neck by Parmigianino- you will be able to say you have seen hundreds of Madonna and child artwork and Saint Peter the Baptist. It is cool to see how the style has changed over time! There’s also artwork like Judith Beheading Holoferines by Artemisia Gentileschi ( I remember thinking this was gruesome when I saw it- I wasn’t expecting that!), and Annunciation with Saint margaret and Saint Ansanus by Simone Martini and Lippo Memmi- this was taken out of a chapel. Very cool.

If you’re finding you’re not really into artwork that much, but still want to see something but be there for less time, than go to the Accademia Gallery. This is where the statue of David is! I did not go so I have less information about this museum! My roommates and I split up at this point, some of us went to a different museum and the rest wanted to see artwork! The Bargello is where more of Michelangelo’s artwork is kept. If you are like me and want to spend the last day elsewhere, and still want to see some artwork, don’t fret! The fake statue of David is beside the Uffizi Gallery and in front of Palazzo Vecchio. I can now say I went all the way to Florence to see Fake David.

The rest of this evening was spent walking around, eating amazing food, and drinking tons of wine. Seriously amazing! There are tons of cool little shops you can go through and then some brand name, and expensive stores. I found a guy outside the cathedral who was painting with watercolors and bought a mini painting of the cathedral. It was beautiful and I lost it! This was my biggest heartbreak, I believe.

When you’re walking around, everything is close together, so you should see all the big sites! I think one other thing to note is the Florence Cathedral from the 1200s. It’s a medieval building that is basically in the center of Florence. Connected is a bapistery and further down and inside the Santa Croce is Michelangelo and Galileo’s tombs which I will be going back to, to see! Seriously. RESEARCH. I missed this little bit of info when I was deciding what to do and so regret not seeing the tombs while i was there! Oh well, looks like I’ll be heading back! There’s also some crazy fountains to see- like the Fountain of Neptune (Poseidon for the Greeks) and there is also a really cool library by the duomo! Also they have a Lindor chocolate store around the duomo (sorry, duomo is Italian for church if you’re like what the heck is she talking about) so walk around and find it and eat/ buy ALL the chocolate! No regrets!

Day #3: The Last Day

Like I said earlier, we separated from our friends, because I didn’t want to see more artwork. I would have, but on our walk by the river, we saw the Galileo museum and IT WAS A MUST SEE! This museum is cheap to go see and well setup. It’s not really busy because I feel like people overlook it to go see artwork. I don’t think I would have known about it if we hadn’t walked by it! It has all of Galileo’s works and inventions. There’s some other inventions by other scientists, but it’s heavily Galileo! Once again, it’s so cool to see how science has changed throughout time too! Here I thought I was in a heavy art area, but there was also a little touch of science to explore as well! The museum has different areas of science, because sometimes scientists didn’t stick to one area like they do now! There is a ton of space research, some biology. Galielo researched about speed, velocity and could be considered an engineer for some of his different designs and tests, as well as a physicist, and philosopher! If you go there, you can see his fingers in a glass jar and some teeth.

I think after this, we just went for some Eggs Florentine (one girl had wanted to come to Florence to eat eggs Florentine, which is not a thing and is actually hard to find where they make this- who knew?!), and we took the train back home!

So I hope this helps you decide what to see and how to spend your time when you travel! Travelling is something I’m very passionate about, so share your experiences with me and give me some suggestions on what I should see!

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Living in Italy

Hey Readers!

So we know in our other posts we briefly mention our month away living in another country, but today we wanted to talk more about that and what we did there, and all that jazz!

Kathleen and I decided last year that we wanted to get more working experience with our anthropology degree. We emailed professors trying to find sites in Canada that were more affordable and really could not find anything that interested us. We heard from one professor that she was taking anthropology majors to Italy to get some cultural anthropology experience, and we attended that meeting, but the professor was super boring and Kathleen was road tripping (see other article!) around that time so it wouldn’t have worked out. I had even debated going myself feeling desperate for any sort of experience, but then Kathleen mentioned  looking up archaeological sites online that seemed to be promising! After finding a reliable website, we decided on Pompeii at the scavi (ruins)!

Our month was one of the best things that ever happened to me! We lived with an Italian family and had lots of parties with them, and got to know them really well regardless of the language barrier. We lived with 5 other people in a basement suite and although we could drive each other crazy, we did everything together and had a lot of fun getting to know people around the world. One time we were grocery shopping and we would say something with our Canadian accent and they would say the same word with their British, Scottish, and American accents and we would stop and be like “Wait, how did you just say that” then get in debates about who was wrong. We travelled around Italy together on weekends, and worked together during the week. We had family meals every night and we all knew when to hang out by ourselves so to not drive everyone crazy!

The work we did in Pompeii was also very cool. We had a very strict supervisor, but I felt like I learned a lot. Our artifacts came from a bathhouse within the scavi, and for the first few days of the trip, we would wash the pottery and let it dry. We would have to weigh it, date it, mark it down with a number and try to figure out what kind of a vessel it was. Was it used for cooking, transporting oils… the list goes way, way on! Also, we would have to weigh it, describe it in Italian, and then they would get photographed and drawn later. The pottery was very cool and some pieces could be put together to make up a whole side of a pot!

I like to think I’m pretty used to travelling to new places, however, I didn’t really expect to experience so much culture shock in that month! Something so simple as finding taco seasoning became a guessing game, and the people who ran our dig worked on Italy time (aka being late means nothing). It was super interesting to compare what was expected of us in Canada, versus expected in Italy. Italians have an interesting nightlife, where all the stores and shops stay open until midnight or 1 am on Friday. Saturday, and Sunday. People dress up and spend most of the night hanging out with their friends, dancing, playing.and of course, trying to get the attention of the opposite sex. Plazas and town squares really facilitate these interactions, and its something I miss a lot about Italy! There is no designated meeting place in Canada. Young people meet in coffee shops or bars,which in themselves facilitate interesting interactions, they are just not as universal.  

Definitely a key component of this experience was knowing when to take alone time. It’s important to remember that we all need some time to ourselves! In the house we all took alone time after our day of work, sat on the couch if we wanted and cooked meals together if we wanted. If you suffer from FOMO (fear of missing out) as I do, it can be EXTRA hard to find the time you need for yourself, since there is always something going on! As long as you recognize that the party is not going to take off without you, you might be able to charge your batteries a bit! Cook some meals with your friends after and you’ll jump right back into the fun!

– Erin and Kathleen or Kathleen and Erin

Villa Pollio, Sorrento, Italy

Hey Readers!

So one fun fact about Kathleen and I is that we lived in Pompeii, Italy for the month of July doing archaeological work at the ancient ruins. In Pompeii, we shared a basement suite with five other people who also worked at the site with us. We had weekends off, so on those weekends we would jam pack them with trips around Italy, such as Milan, Venice, Rome, Florence- basically the works. Our first weekend we were supposed to go to Milan and Venice, however, when we got to the train station I found that my Eurorail was missing. I felt so guilty, and was so disappointed that we had to miss Milan, but in the end it was worth it. I did find my Eurorail later, but in the end we realized it was so much better that we ended up staying back! We became excellent friends with our roommates and ended up spending the weekend getting to know them. We went out to the beaches and went for drinks. The one day we were there, one of the girls who had already been to Italy took us on a day trip to Sorrento, and it turned out to be one of the highlights of our trips.

If you are in Naples, it is an easy train ride from there to Sorrento. It’s about an hour and a bit to get there on that train, but it is worth it. This post is dedicated to our swim at Villa Pollio. It is a collapsed, ancient, roman villa that has been filled in with ocean water. It is the most amazing swim ever. To get from the train station to the Villa, we walked for about an hour. You could probably take cab and hire someone to take you up and show you where to go if the hour walk is not ideal, but definitely research how to get there.

The swim and the walk up was beautiful and well worth it. It looked like something out of Pinterest (I will be pinning the pictures). In the rock there was a massive crack in the wall where water and light come in and fill up the villa, so you could swim through into the ocean. The waters were a little rough for me that day, so I swam back and just floated in that swimming area. It was extremely relaxing and soothing. Pack lightly as there is only rocks to store your stuff on, and do not expect to be able to read or be on your phone lots. The area is all rock, so there is no beach to sit and read and tan on. Personally, I preferred to stay floating in the interior area, because there were no waves and large rocks in the middle to stand on if you wanted to sit in the water. My friends swam out, though, and were able to swim around close to the exterior of the villa and around in the ocean.

I highly recommend checking out Villa Pollio in Sorrento. It was one of the best parts of the trip and also a happy mistake. I am very thankful that I lost my Eurorail for only that weekend so that I could explore cities closer to Pompeii.

– Erin

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View on the climb up!
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The view on the walk!
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The First Views When Getting to The Villa!