Friday, March 09, 2007

Knowing how much France loves to take its vacations, we had a week off from school this week for “winter break”. I like to call it my vacation from my vacation. So when deciding what to do for this “winter break”, my friends Melissa and Cricket and I decided we were going to go to Brussels, in Belgium, because Cricket spent a year there to study a few years ago and she wanted to go back, and also Salzburg in Austria because that is were the movie sound of music was filmed and it is said to be one on the most beautiful countries.

Before I begin to tell you about our trip and what we saw, I feel it is necessary for you to know how different we three girls are and what a crack up we are together. I thought I was always a scatter brain and talked a lot, but these girls have me beat. Cricket is the scatter brain with all the bad luck. The series of odd events and things that happen to her are amazing. From airport baggage problems to broken hotels keys, it is almost exhausting watching her in action. She adds so much more to the trip. Then there is Melissa. She is the one who sort of directs the decisions of what we are doing next and keeps the conversations full. She doesn’t talk too much about nothing, but enough to keep us awake and laughing. I don’t really know what part I play in this but I feel that the group is not complete until we are three together. The differences in personality are so extreme that we all just tease, laugh, and think of the other two as crazy or weird. Okay, now I can start on our trip. First Brussels.

We had to fly into Belgium before we could get to Austria so we stayed one night in Brussels. We left Saturday morning the 4th of March. We all just brought our backpacks full of the things we needed instead of luggage because we didn’t want to check any bags. There is a strict regulation of the liquid on the planes so we had to be careful of the amount of shampoo, lotion, and all that stuff that we had in our backpacks. For each flight we had to take out our plastic bags consisting of the little liquid we had and show it to the checkpoint guy. It was a hassle but we saved time by not checking stuff in. However, the very first flight we take from Marseille to Brussels Cricket was stopped and brought all the way back to the checkin desk because she had brought cans of tuna, corn, and pears in her bag for the trip. Just her luck!! And that was after she had already chugged down a little boxed strawberry milk that she brought so she wouldn’t get into trouble with that. She actually ended up having to pay for her bag to be checked in because of all he food. So Melissa and I just continue smoothly through the checkpoint and walk to our gate as usual realizing things like this were going to happen for the duration of the trip. We finally get on the plane and it is only a one hour flight to Brussels so we arrived in the afternoon sometime. We found our hostel, which was nice, and went out on the town. Cricket was able to show us, with a little confusion, some buildings and places she remembered from before. The architecture is enormous and beautiful. We got to the big square in the middle of town and there is Waffles, Chocolate, Fries, and Beer as far as the eye can see!!!! I think…….no I know we over stuffed ourselves with all four elements as we walked from one waffle stand to the window with the chocolate fountain to the famous French fry stand to the beer place, and then back for another waffle. We pretty much killed ourselves from the excitement of such overwhelming quantities of Belgium goodness. We left in the morning very slowly and carefully because our bellies were still upset with us from the night before, got our last waffle and left for the airport to go to Salzburg in Austria. Of course we had to go through another baggage check before getting on the plane.

This time Cricket scarffed down her two cans of Mexican tuna, and managed to put her two cans of corn into a plastic bag so she didn’t have to check in her backpack. However she still had a bottle of medication she had been taking for her throat so she was stopped THIS time for that. She brought her prescription but she was brought aside once again for searching. Anyways we got to Salzburg and the planes are the small ones that you walk down the stairs from on the ground outside the airport you know like you see all the movie stars and presidents doing. So we waved, as if we had people to wave to, and looked around at all the beautiful mountains that surround the city of Salzburg. They were covered with snow and the sun was out so we were overexcited to be there. We found our hostile and once again went out on the town. This was by far our favorite place. The city is kept so clean and the buildings are in excellent condition despite their age. The Austrians seam to fix things before they are broken, whereas the French wait until they need to be fixed and then they still don’t fix them. The city is in a valley and in the middle is a huge hill with one of the biggest castles in Europe on it. The castle is visible from everywhere in the city. We walked around and admired all that we could see. We walked up to the castle and paid the 7 Euros to get in. The views were incredible and you can see a puppet show, a film on the castle, eat at the restaurant and all kinds of things once you are in it. The next day, we took the Sound of Music tour. The city makes tons of money from the tourists who come to see all they can that has to do with this movie. We saw all the houses they used, the fountains they ran on, and heard all the detailed stories of how the film was made. We didn’t get to run in the hills though, which is what I was hoping for but oh well. The tour guide played the soundtrack to the movie in the bus and everything. I was “lucky” enough to sit between Melissa and Cricket who just happen to know all the words to most of the songs and didn’t mind singing them aloud for the bus driver. Of course I may have snuck a few “ Do- Ray -Mi’s” in as well. When the tour was done we walked around the town some more to buy souvenirs and things like that and then we went back to our hostile. This hostel plays the Sound of Music movie every night at 8 so we watched that as well. I can never sit long enough to watch all three hours but we did see a lot of the places and buildings we visited throughout the day in it. The next day we all split up a little and did our own shopping or picture taking. That was fun. Everyone said they got a pretzel, which are really good there, and found their own spots to sit for the day or walk around and just relax in the city. There is a giant chess board with giant pieces in one of the main squares in the town and there are always old men playing it which was fun to watch. We met back at the hostile and talked about what we did that day.

The next morning we had to leave our beloved Salzburg and go back to Brussels for one night before returning back to Aix. After yet another painful run through the baggage checkpoint, we got back to Brussels. Yes and also for another overwhelming eating binge of waffles, fries, and chocolate. Only this time we had a good spaghetti dinner at a place called the cheese cake café where I had my first cocktail. That was one of our best nights talking about all the things we saw and our favorite parts of the trip. We left the next morning with memories of fat, stuffed bellies to go back to our little town of Aix-en-Provence, France…. after we had our last amazing Belgian waffle. We got off the bus, let out a few sighs, and went our ways to our temporary homes in Aix. All in all, the trip was a huge success and I had a great time with my little humorous trio. The food was great, the scenery was perfect, and I couldn’t have laughed any harder than I did. The trip in Austria wasn’t so much about the food as was Brussels. Our stomachs still make a little noise and twist whenever someone mentions waffles but Austria was by far my favorite place. I think I’ll just let the pictures speak for themselves.



1 comment:

Dave and Katy said...

Dear Shawna,

I will become hostile if you do not spell your accommodations as HOSTEL.
AAAH! I have always heard such good things about Austria. I hear that Vienna is fantastic too.
Bart Simpson:
Do, a beer, I'll have a beer,
Re, the guy who sells me beer,
Mi, the guy who drinks the beer,
Fa, the distance to my beer,
So, I think I'll have a beer,
La, la, la, la, la, la, beer,
Ti, no thanks,I'll have a beer,

Do! I am out of beer.