Sunday, May 25, 2008


it is so hard to keep this updated with such limited time on the internet. We have one computer at this hotel with the SLOWEST internet connection. Real quick, I wanted to write an update. Since I last blogged we finished up in Florence, went to Venice and we are now in Milan.

Florence: The last day in Florence was so much fun. We saw a few churches in the morning, had free time in the afternoon, then went to the Uffizi gallery. During our free time we hit up the leather market. I haven't spent much this trip on souvenirs, but i may have made up for it today... I bought a really cute pink leather wallet, a leather keychain, and (the big purchase) a pair of super cute off-white heals. I bought them thinking I could possibly wear them for my wedding, but they prob wont go with a white dress. they are adorable though, and i prob just thought about the wedding thing to justify the purchase. no buyers regret there though! Yje Uffizi was wonderful; I enjoyed it so much more than last time I was there. when I was with my family, all Mitch and I wanted to do was leave and get pizza, while Brad had to ask my Dad for an english interpretation of every painting description. we wanted to kill him! i did notice that they now are in the process of having english descriptions now, too. I loved seeing Botticelli's "birth of venus" and Parmigiano's "Madonna of the Long Neck." We spent our evening wandering Florence for one last time. While natalie scarfed down 3 gelatos in an hour, I dined at a cute restaurant facing Palazzo Vecchio and ate Carbonnara, my favorite Italian dish. We crossed Ponte Vecchio (the famous bridge) ans hiked up to the Michaelangelp lookout spot. It was such a beautiful view of the city at night. I wish my camera were capable of taking better night pictures! (wow, so much for a brief update...oops)

Venice: One of the things that was most notable to me in Venice was the complete lack of cars. I loved the sound of silence in the evenings when the shops closed and all the tourists went to bed (except us, apparently). Thursday evening we had our "date night." The 6 of us girls wanted to go on a gondola, but all agreed that we needed dates, so we did just that. :) we used the candies in the lobby to choose dates. we put 6 pices in a bowl (2 each of 3 flavors) and went on the date with the person who chose the same flavor. I chose well and got to go with Torrie. This prpbably seems silly, but we had a blast. Of course I would have much rather been with Colby, but Torrie was a great substitute. We went to a candle light dinner on a small canal and then took a gondola ride on the Grand Canal. We were given 50 euro instead of the 10 we normally get for our museum choice day, so the expense seemed tiny. Oh, and we all paid for our own dates. It wouldn't have been a date otherwise. Of course that means each person's date paid for theirs too. worked out wonderfully. ;)

My other favorite parts of venice were seeing glass blowing on Murano, feeing pigeons and getting fabulous pictures in St. Marks square and going to the Peggy Guggenheim museum. I really appreciate renaissance art, but I love modern art, which is what the GUggenheim was. I got to see several Pollocks, a Mondrian, clader mobiles, and Brancussi's "bird in space." I know how much I love modern art simply because I was able to identify artists before reading the name plaques on works I have never seen. I know individual styles to the pint I can do that. I felt pretty cool, sometimes knowing more than the art history majors. (sorry, not trying to sound stuck up...)

Milan: So far we have seen the Milan Cathedral, a church by Bramante, shopped and gone to church. The Milan cathedral isone of the 4 largest cathedrals in Europe. It was really cool architecture because it was designed by a group of architects from all over europe and constructed during the transition period from late gothic to early renaissance. I loved the thought and conversations I had here contrasting our temples to all these cathedrals. I find it weird that we are there as eagar tourists, with cameras out, while people are in the middle of worshipping or confessing sins. I always notice the darkness within the buildings compared to the clean, crisp white we have, or the unadorned walls of our churches. So much emphasis is put on the art and decoration as opposed to the people and the teachings as we do. The other contracst I saw was the surrounding area of the buildings. I never metally noted how beautiful our temple grounds are compared to other places as I did today. The Milan Cathedral is surrounded by hecklers, vendors, crazies, and ritzy shopping centers. You step out of the doors and are engulfed in the hustle and bustle of the world. I love how you can be outside the temple, but within the gates, and really be "in the world but not of it." I think this is one thing I will take away from this trip and think about often.

Milan is known more for its shopping than for its art, so of course we hit up some shops. I made a few great purchases at mango and H & M (first experience at H &M...wonderful). I got a blue and white striped dress, a white top, and a gray linen skirt. The skirt was a must, at 14 €, and will be a good change from the one sunday outfit I brought.

We were planning on going out to see DaVinci's Last Supper today, but won't be doing that anymore. When MJ checked for reservations in December, they were gone. He told us we could go out in small group and try and get in with other reserved groups. Some tried that and after waiting for several hours learned how impossible it is to get in. The extra seats even have to be taken online and those are booked out several weeks as well. Its a let down, but I will survive.

So, basically I am loving this trip. Heading home will be a bittersweet thing as I leave places I love, but return to things and people I love as well. But, I guess I still have a few weeks so shouldn't think about the end yet. Buena Sera! pictures will come later

What I have learned about packing for 6 weeks in Europe

1. With so much traveling from city to city and so many stairs to go up and down, packing light is a must!

2. Because I didn't pay attention to 1 at first, I now have to send a package home. I packed at our weight limit, without thinking that I would be buying things. What was I thinking, me, in Europe without shopping. silly me!

3. 6 weeks is a long time to go without a washing machine. I have gotten pretty good at hand washing, wearing clothes MULTIPLE times without washing, and learning to mix whites and darks in laundramats to save money.

4. packing more underwear than the suggested 4-5 pairs is so worth it. I laugh when my roommates have to go commando or blow dry a pair while they are wearing then because they don't have any clean, dry ones. Honestly, how much space does a pair of underwear take up.

5. 5 pairs of shoes is not necessary. Yes, I will be sending some shoes home.

6. Some things were so worth bringing even though others say they aren't. i.e.; my own pillow. europe hotel pillows are not real pillows. i think i get some of the best sleep because i have a decent pillow.

7. expandable packs on suitcases are lifesavers

8. travel size anything does not last 6 weeks...duh.

9. keep a change of clothes and tooth brush with you on flights, because the airline may just lose your bag. (3 more flights to go...)

Friday, May 23, 2008

Picture Updates

I haven't had much time on the internet lately so I haven't been able to post pictures. I don't fell like writing much now anyway, so I will just do pictures. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so I guess not writing is completely justified. :) (Oh, I am retarded and accidentally deleted a weeks worth of pictures. I reformatted my memory card so it would take higer quality pictures and all the pictures were deleted. I had several already uploaded, but lost many. Luckily I can get a lot of them from other people later.)


Katie and Rachelle on top of Capri, looking over Italy

On the Island tour! Check out the bright blue water!

Blurry photo from theBlue Grotto It was so amazing!

One of the many LONG train rides. Usually our trains were nicer than this.

Illegal photo of the David, the most beautiful sculpture EVER.

VIVOLI'S gelato! MMM, this one was for Dad! :)

The six girls on Ponte Vecchio. Me, Torrie, Rachelle, Jackie, Noelle and Natalie.

Pictures from Venice will come later. Yes, still behind. We have been in Venice for 3 days and leave tomorrow morning for Milan.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


I have been in florence for 3 days now and, surprise, I love it! sadly it has been raining the majority of the time and I had a sick day, but I haven't let that slow me down too much. I guess the biggest news that I can report on is that I slipped and made my first semi big pirchase. We were at the leather market today and I found the cutest cream colored shoes! i tried them on just for the heck of it, of course with no intention of purchasing them, but they were so cute!! I got them. But I have done so good with purchases at the other places, so it was easy to justify, and even moreso because I may use them as wedding shoes. I guess the real problem is transporting them around. my suitcase cant go over 20 kg, but it is already 21.5. i think my carryon will be super heavy. so worth it though! things us girls do.

I have already been to florence once before, so mot much of it is new. I lvoed going back to see the David. I dont understandhow such a beautful thing can come from a chunk of rock. Seeing the bones and vein of his hands blew me away, even though I had already seen it before. I thnk one of my favorite museum places ever is the hallway with michaelangelos slaves leading up to the david. I love sseeing his method and learning about his belief that soul are captured in the stone adn it is his duty as a sculptor to set them free. Then at the end of the hallway is the beautiful 18 foot tall David. Amazement! We also saw the Duomo and of course went to Vivoli's, the famous gelato place. I still like Giolittis better, but enjoyed Vivolis. Yes Dad, I ate one for you! Hopefully we will return tonight after the Uffizi!

Ciao! Remember to comment if you are reading this. I wanna know who is following! :)

Saturday, May 17, 2008


I loved Sorrento! It is on the bay of Naples and had wonderful weather while we were there. Several of us commented that it was the "relaxing" part of the trip...our only art history part of this three day segment was going to Pompeii for half a day. We spent a lot of time laying out reading by the pool. Of course we got out to see the town, but there was a lot of relaxing. The last day there, we took a boat out to Capri, an island just off the coast. We hiked to the top with the group to see Tiberius' Villa (the hike was more for the view though) and then were set free to roam.

Rachelle and I have deemed each other "adventure buddies." It seems we are always the two wanting to explore and see more. Well just minutes after being released, we found a trail and ran through it. Quite adventurous. The group that we hang out with was kind enough to wait. We thought they would have left like everyone usually does when we go explore.

We headed down the hill and prepared to go see the Blue Grotto. This was the main thing I saw in our prep class that made me so excited to come. I had told my family and Colby about it because I was so excited! Well, some girls from the group told us the place to get a boat to it. We got our tickets and drove around the island. It was beautiful! But, when we got to the Blue Grotto, the guide pointed to it and told us what it was then drove past! We were so confused. Turns out every other boat from that company stops, and we didnt know that so didnt check the schedule! Oops. Well rachelle and I were determined, so we found another boat that would take us directly there. It ended up costing an extra €10, but was so worth it. It was beautiful! Time is up! I still need to post pictures! ciao!

Called to Serve

I have been without the internet for 3 days! We are now in Florence and I found an internet cafe so I can update this. Because I didn't have the internet, i missed the email telling me that Mitch was opening his mission call!! But, I called Dad last night to talk, and he was dying to tell me. I wouldn't let him, because I wanted to hear from Mitch, and I think it killed him. The way he was acting, I was thinking it was either Italy or a place I am going to. Well, when Dad three way called Mitch (because he didn't have the patience for me to hang up and call on my own), Mitch first told me he was going to Oklahoma. I wasnt sure how to respond becuase it wasn't what I had expected from Dad's comments. He then told me he was going to PARIS, FRANCE! He reports on September 24. I am so excited for him! He has already emailed me asking me to get him some tshirts and scope out the good eating places. haha. funny kid.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


I am absolutely loving Italy despite a few bumps in the road. Of course there was the luggage episode, and then there was the separation from the group, yesterday. It was kinda a bummer, but everything turned out fine. We were in a church designed by Borromini. After we were lectured about it, we were given time to look around. Most of the group just stayed in the main chapel, and a few went out to the courtyard. I went with Rachelle and Amanda and found a spiral staircase that went up and down. I figured it would be blocked off, but wandered up anyways. The top was blocked by a gate, but going down led to an open basement area. It was probably once filled with dead bodies. Kinda creepy. Anyways, it was really intriguing. In my opinion, we were doing what good art history students would do...explore instead of sit in the chapel on a bench. We were only down there for a few minutes, but when we came up, the group was gone. Later we found out that the professor checked the courtyard before leaving and didn't see anyone so figured we were all there. He had no idea about this cool basement area. Anyways, once we realized they were gone, we started to look for them. When we couldn't see them, we pulled out a map to see where they would prob head next. Of course MJ had changed his plans, so we didn't get back to the group until they came back to the apartments. But, we went and explored a few churches on our own that were on the list and they didn't see. It was kinda fun to go see this stuff without a time schedule and a huge group. The sad part is that while Rachelle pulled out her map, she thinks she set her camera down on the steps outside the church. When she went to pick it up, it was gone. We looked around for about 20 minutes, but remained empty handed. Very sad.
After exploring some other churches, we ended up going back to the apartments. The others showed up about 20 minutes later. They said we really didn't miss much. Personally, I think we saw better things than the group did. I think it was worth being lost just to see that basement. Too bad MJ and the other girls didn't notice we were gone when they hurried to jump on a bus. Oh well.
Today is our last day in Rome and we head to Sorrento tomorrow. I am so excited for that. I have heard the pizza is phenomenal, because that is where it all began. I will let you know. :) CIAO!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Things I have learned so far in Europe

1. No ice cream in the world compares to Giolittis Gelato.
2. Married men enjoy flirting with American girls...holding their hands, offering to take them to dinner, and even home...and then go home to their wives. No big.
3. European buildings you see in text books are MUCH larger than you ever could imagine they would be
4. Fake Prada bags are fire resistant. We have been showed several times. Oh wait, it is becuase "they are real Prada." uh-huh
5. You can get free food by flirting, even in Italy
6. Everyone smokes, not many wear deoderant
7. The exchange rate sucks. No arguement. Even the vendors tell us that.
8. Jogging to St. Peters at night is the best run ever. Come on, not many can say, "I am gonna go for a run around St. Peters. Wanna come?"
9. The metro/bus plan is a wonderous idea.
10. You must take your own groceries out of the basket at the checkout stand.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

The past days have gone by so quickly and have been full of adventures! I saw the Vatican. Words can't even describe how I felt in there. It was so much different than I ever expected it would be. Before going in, we were told of how Michaelangelo only painted a few things, (I think 4) yet the paintings of the Sistine chapel are phenomenal. In 7th grade, Mr. Papciak had a class project where we taped a piece of paper under our desk. We layed on the ground for a while and drew a picture while under our desks. For part of it he had us draw for 3 minutes straight without taking our hands down. I remember how tired my arms were. I kept thinking about that experience while I was in the Sistine chapel and tried to think of how Michaelangelo felt up on 50 ft scaffolding, painting while on his back, with paint dripping into his face. I don't think I could ever have the patience (let alone skill) to create such a masterpiece.

Rachelle pointed this out, and I thought it was a great thought. At the front of the chapel, under the famous ceiling and below the Last Judgement painting , a cross with Christ on it is displayed. It is dwarfed by the majestic paintings yet really stood out to me. Rachelle shared how it reminded her of how all the weight of the world is on Christ's shoulders, yet he remains firm. I wonder if it was planned to appear that way, with the history of the world above, all appearing to rest on Christ and his atonement. It really moved me. I enjoyed being in the room and thinking about my own beliefs of gratefulness for the gospel.

Later that day we went to the Borghese gallery. We had to reserve our own tickets, as it wasn't part of the planned study abroad part. The gallery was a private collection of Borghese, the brother in law to Napoleon Bonaparte. Bernini, a great sculptor, was his hired artist and several of his works were displayed in the gallery. I was taken away by the stories of the sculptures and the sculptures themselves. One in particular was "Pluto and Porsephina" It shows Pluto abducting Porsephina. What amazed me was the intricate detail of the work. The depiction of his hand grabbing her leg was unbelievale. His fingers were indented into her leg, making the marble appear to be fleshy. It was incredible. I just stared at it for a few minutes. I really wish I had my camera, but we couldn't take anything in with us. Becuase it is a private gallery, tickets must be reserved. They let each group in for 2 hours and then get everyone out before letting the others in. It has been my favorite museum, by far.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Rome keeps getting better! We visited St. Peters today. The thing was MASSIVE. I kept finding myself wondering how much time the building took to make. Of course there are several famous things in there, but there are so many ornate statures, wall designs, wood/marble wood and paintings that no one speaks of. It was incredible. Besides thinking of all the time and effort put into it, I kept thinking of how they were able to create such lasting beauty with little technology. It continues to amaze me.

We visited several other places today, including Piazza Navona. I loved this because it was what I had pictured Italy to be like. There were cute little windows with potted plants and vines coming out of them. So picturesque. Later we saw a few Carravagio paintings and the Church of S. Ignazio di Loyola. The ceiling was painted such that it went up super high and didn't have a ceiling. pretty sweet. We ended up at the Pantheon, again eating Giolitti. Yes, that makes 4 out of 4 days. We are going for 9 out of 9.

We are headed to Pro Jo's brother in laws restruant for dinner. Dinner is normally 70 euros a plate, but we get a sweet discount. It must be good food. For now, ciao!!

I'm getting MARRIED!!

Well, I know this is old news, but I wanted to document it on my blog. Colby proposed to me the day before I left Utah!! Of course I said yes. We are getting married in the San Diego Temple on August 15. He took me to Thanksgiving Point to the tulip festival (we had our first date at thanksgiving point). I was a little suspicious that he might propose because we already had a temple date at the time and had already picked out a ring. We chose to do a custom ring though, and were told that it wouldn't be done before I left for Europe. I really wanted to be engaged before I left, but realized that may not happen. Once at the tulip festival, Colby actually told me that one of the reasons he wanted to take me to the festival was to apologize for not being able to get a ring. I was really bummed at this point, but still excited to finally be done with finals and have a few hours alone with Colby. We walked through the gardens and talked about everything. We ended up at the back side of the area at a gazebo-like thing that was beautiful. Several little children were there playing with the moms, who were taking pictures. Colby and I sat down to watch them for a bit. Several minutes passed and all of a suddent the area cleared out of people. I walked over to the gazeboto look at it and Colby followed. We stood there for a minute or so. Colby took my camera and set it on a ledge, then took me to the center of the "gazebo" and started to dance with me. It made my heart melt. I love dancing while he makes the music. So cute!! He started telling me how much he loves me...etc... (I will spare you the sappy stuff). He was so adorable. I began to wonder if he was going to propose, but wasn't sure, becuase he often talks to me telling me he loves me. He took my hands and pointed out that they were clammy. haha. maybe so ;) I was kinda flustered and not sure what to do, so I turned to pick up my camera. As I was stepping away, he pulled me back in and said he had one more thing to tell me. At that moment he got down on his knee, pulled a ring in a ring box out of his sock and asked, "Katie, will you marry me?" I quickly said yes and reached down to hug him. He got up and swung me around. He hadn't heard my response becuase I said it so quickly, so asked for my answer. I told him yes again. I was so happy! I love Colby so much and look forward to our lives together. After he proposed, we went back to walking through the gardens. I kept trying to sneak looks at my beautiful ring and Colby finally told me we should just find a spot to sit down and look at it. He was wanting to stare as well...He told me that he looked at it at least every hour after he got it. Sidenote: The ring he proposed with isn't actually my ring, because it wasn't done being made. He got the diamond that will be set in my ring and had it set in a simple loaner setting. I love this one though! We will see if I end up getting my real one when I get back.

Basically, I love Colby and can't wait to marry him. He really is a great guy and sometimes I wonder if I really deserve him. I am in Europe now for 7 weeks and it is difficult to not be with him. I actually haven't really even been with him since being engaged. I can't wait to get home to see him.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Today we spent our group time at two wonderful museums in Rome, the National Museum and the Capitoline Museum. Some of the well known things there were the Discuss thrower, the huge head of Constantine and the Capitoline Wolf (with Romulus and Remus). Us girls were so exhausted (obviously we don't get enough sleep) so we got food and fell asleep on some grass in middle of a group of street intersections. People passing by probably thought we were homeless or something. None of us have any idea how long we slept. We woke up when the shadows from the trees moved to where they were covering us, becuase we woke up from being cold. We headed back toward the coloseum and played frisbee with some guys on the way over. Of course, we finished our touring up with Giolitti gelato. day 3 of 3.

The head and hand of Constantine. These are parts of a statue that once was about 30 feet tall.

Handstands after our nap.

Back at the Coloseum...jumping for joy!! :)

Tuesday, May 6, 2008


We have been in Rome for a day and a half. I have wanted to come here for awhile and have absolutely loved it!! I love that you can just be strolling along the street and turn to see some famous building or monument. When we arrived, Professor Johnson took us out to gelato at an amazing place. We passed the Spanish steps and the Trevi Fountain on our way to the gelato place. One of the things I was most excited to see was the Trevi Fountain. It was magnificent! We went back later and saw it at night and it was a whole other experience. We left Trevi and went to Giolitti, the best gelato place in the world! I got strawberry, raspberry and lemon flavors. Amazing! We began walking while eating our gelato and as we turned the corner to walk into a piazza, we saw the Pantheon. I didn't expect that at all. Honestly, it was breath taking. It was nothing like I had imagined; much larger than I expected. It was so neat to stand looking at this great building while eating gelato. I can't wait to go back in a few days. I love being here in Rome.
Trevi Fountain
Throwing coins into the Trevi Fountain. This is suppose to guarentee a return trip to Rome.
(Torrie, Noelle, Natalie, me, Jackie)
Today I woke up at 5:40, thinking it was 6:40, becuase I forgot to change my clock from Greece. Ugh. I was ready by 8 (i thought) and wondering why my roommate was still asleep. I asked someone else what time it was and found out it was 7. I went back to sleep for an hour. It was marvelous. We went as a group to the Coloseum and Forum. I was so neat to learn about all of this stuff while standing there. I constantly imagine what it would have been like to live so long ago. After we were finished with the group, we strolled along the streets and found a great sandwich shop. I got a ham, mozeralla, and basil sandwich. MMMM.... Italian food is delectable. We were so exhausted from walking around so much (and staying up late talking to Colby and accidentally waking up early) that we just wandered from place to place and sat and stared at the beautiful things. We went back to the Pantheon and took a bus to St. Peters. Tomorrow we will visit a few museums. It is just never ending excitement. I will post pictures soon.
Roman Forum

Sunday, May 4, 2008


So I have been in Athens for two days and I am loving it! Each day has been full of adventures and touring. Each morning we wake up and have planned activities until early afternoon when we are set loose to do wahtever we want. We spent the first day on the Acropolis seeing buildings from the 5th c. BC such as the Parthenon and Erechtheum. (picture jumping at the Parthenon)It was so neat to be up there and imagine what life was like in Athens during the time these buildings were used. We walked over to Zeus' Temple after the acropolis and hung out under the trees just talking. We thought it was pretty cool to just be hanging out at Zeus' temple.(picture at Zeus Temple. Look close...I'm standing at the bottom) Not many our age can say that. :) After the touring we headed back to the Acropolis and looked at all the shops. I bought a really cute pair of earning for 5 euro. Of course I bartered it down successfully from 7. I also had my first gyro today (sandwich type thing with meat, tomatoes, onion and sauce). The food has all been excellent. We came home and heard that my suitcase has finally been found and was in the Athens airport. Because American Airlines lost it, but doesn't fly to Athens, they sent it on an Olympic flight. Since Olympic was not responsible for it, they said I needed to go get it instead of them bringing it to me. Torrie and I left Saturday morning at 6 AM to get it. It was a 3 hour trip there and back...quite an adventure alone on the metro) but so worth it! I had never been so happy to see my suitcase in my life. When I got home, I opened it up and went through it just so i could see what I had even packed. It had been 4 days without it.
My suitcase!!
We met up with the group at the national archeological museum and were there for several hours. It was really neat to see so many things that I have studied from textbooks about right in front of me. A lot of the statues were so much larger than I had thought. It was also so mice to be with other people who are interested in this type of stuff. We would just sit and stare at objects and discuss them. Kinda nerdy, but I loved it. After the museum several of us headed to the coast to hang out at the beach. It was so fun. Most of the girls just layed out, but I was determined to get in! I talked Noelle and Torrie into jumping in with me. The water was freezing, but I'm glad I got in. No regrets this trip!

Exploring the tidal pools

Noelle, Me and Torrie after braving the cold waters!

As I went to bed last night I was excited to set my travel alarm clock. Torrie and I have are sick of converting time on our phones (becuase it hasn't reset since Chicago and won't...) to set our alarm. With our luck though it stopped working in the middle of the night, so we were wakened by Brianna, who knocks on doors 30 minutes before we need to leave. I somehow was able to shower and get ready for church in 30 minutes. The group got on the metro and went to church at the Athens branch. I always love going to church in other countries and seeing how the gospel has touched the members' lives. After church Noelle, Torrie, Natalie, Jackie and I wandered around Athens. We saw the olympic stadium, spent awhile in the National Gardens writing in our journals snd wandering, and watched the changing of the gaurds. We spoke with one of the army guys there who repositioned the guards and straightened their skirts. It was fun becuase he said he had once served as one of the gaurds( they stand motionless for hours gaurding the tomb of the unknown soldier) and we were able to see that they really do have personalities. He was hilarious! We are back at the hotel for a bit and then will head back to the church to go sing with the missionaries at a town square.

We found an air vent while wandering through athens. We couldn't pass up the Marilyn Monroe picture.

All in all it has been a great stay in Athens. Tomorrow we head to Rome!!