Wednesday, June 30, 2010


This is not part of the detox diet.

I just ate four.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Operation: Detox

As you might have assumed, I made it back onto American soil safely on Saturday.  If I hadn't, there would have been five hundred million angry posts here.  Unless, of course, I had been kidnapped, in which case I probably wouldn't be focused on updating my blog.  But that didn't happen, and I'm home, and I think I left my brain in Europe, which is why I haven't updated this thing.  I suppose it will arrive in a few days, along with my American sleep schedule.

Since I've been home, I've been looking at my fellow EF break-er's pictures on Facebook while I work up the energy to upload my own (they are coming onto my computer as we speak... all 960 of them), and I promise to post some here once I have the time.  Each time I look at more pictures, I miss the trip so much!  Yes, there were a lot of problems with the logistics of the trip, but the places we went and people I met were amazing, and it's hard to accept that it's over already.

The other thing I've started since being home is an all-out European detox.  Modeled after my world travel-experienced coworker and friend Amy, I need to seriously reform after these past two weeks.  Now, I know that my definition of "detox" is much different than some.  I'm not going on an all-liquid diet or only eating things that are colored green or something.  No, here's an intro to the Courtney version of detox:

Part #1: Drink lots of water

I don't know what the deal is with Europeans and water, but apparently they hate drinking it over there.  A regular bottle of water is like 3 Euros, which is nearly $4, which is so outside of my budget.  Plus, being on a bus without a "working bathroom" all day makes you really nervous as to when the next rest stop will be!  Therefore, I spent most of my trip to Europe abstaining from water, which was probably the opposite of what I should have done.  So, the first part of the European detox is lots and lots and lots of water.

Current progress status: Very good

Part #2: Get your butt back to the gym

Yes, I know that I did a decent amount of walking in Europe, but when you are sitting on a bus for eight hours at a time, you tend to feel exceedingly lazy.  This is compounded by the fact that I was consuming lots of calories via delicious European food and drink, which of course you HAVE to experience on a European adventure, right?  I couldn't help it, right??  Anyone???  Please?!?

Anyway, the point is that I've gotten really out of shape between the eating and lack of water and lack of regular exercise.  So, it's back to Gold's Gym, which I'm sure has missed me, and back to Zumba and BodyPump, which I hope have missed me, because I have missed them.  Sort of.

Current progress status: Took the first step... it only goes uphill from here!

Part #3: Stop eating junk. Especially carbs. Mostly

Ok, here's where detox really hits hard.  I ate so, so much good food in Europe, but 99% of it was bad for me.  Baguettes, cheese, pizza, pasta, chips, fries, fried food, croissants: you name it, I ate it.  By the end of the trip, I just felt gross and disgusting.  So, yesterday I went to the grocery store, and here is a piece of the line-up:


Looking at this, it looks pretty good.  I got a lot of fruit, some yogurt... let's take a closer look, shall we?

Light & Fit yogurt.  The name says it all: "light" and "fit."  Totally detox.

Apples in a bag.  They are pink lady apples, to be precise, and they are super delicious.  They are also Joe's favorite, which is why I eat them too!

Strawberries!  They were 2 cartons for $4 at the store, and these ones are incredibly sweet and delicious.  I like to mix them up with my yogurt (see above) and cry a little before I eat them for a snack.

Guacamole.  Now, this isn't as good as it could be because it's in a package, and I could easily get carried away and eat too much, but in moderation, this is completely acceptable for detox.  Besides, the avocados were hard and not good for guac.  And sometimes, I just need my guac.

Carrots.  Steal my heart.  Once upon a time about a year ago, I promised Joe's mother that I wouldn't eat baby carrots anymore because they are manufactured and unnatural and could be washed in bleach.  So, I buy a big bag of carrots, peel them, and cut a ton up for snacks.  Yesterday, I gave myself a blister doing this, but I chose not to include a picture of that, for the sake of your sanity.

Also, organic carrots taste better.  It's a fact, according to me.

Chex mix.  THIS COUNTS!  Look at the label: 60% LESS FAT than potato chips.  Sure, they aren't the best, but when I want my munchie fix, I would much rather turn to these babies (sour cream and onion, omg) than some greasy chips.

But wait a minute...


Swiss chocolate delicious candy bar, you are not part of my detox diet.  I'm sorry, it just can't happen.

But dark chocolate is good for you, right??....

And hazelnuts are good for you too, right???...

Okay, candy bar.  You can stay.  BUT ONLY IN LIMITED QUANTITIES!

And if George Darden steals you out of my desk, I'll be upset.

Now that my photos are done uploading, I will try to find some time to upload more.  There are definitely a lot of good ones, and I want to live vicariously through them again.  Please??

Love and attempted self-control,

Friday, June 25, 2010

At least I'm consistent

The last time I was in Heathrow I was also sprinting down the terminal trying to make my flight on time.

Note: when using phones that do not read my mind, like my Droid, turn on the sound when setting an alarm.

To Tim: I'm sorry for calling you an idiot for staying up all night before your flight. Clearly you had the right idea, unlike me.

Goodbye Europe!

Here comes the sun

Just took an awesome Beatles picture crossing Abbey Road... Will post when I land back in the States TOMORROW!

Tower Bridge from the water

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Nuit en Paris

On top of the world

La Tour Eiffel!

En Route to Paris!

This morning we woke up at the obscene hour of 4:15am in order to make our way to the train in Zurich. We had a new bus, and it only took about a half an hour. We were actually EARLY to the station! Our seats are second class on the TGV but they are still very nice (especially compared to the Metro-North). The train departed at 7:02 and we will arrive around 11:30... Much faster than the bus! It is so weird, I can barely feel the train moving even though it is high-speed.

Soon we will be in Paris!

Love from the TGV,

Monday, June 21, 2010

Gondola view of Lucerne


Coming on this trip, I didn't expect much from Switzerland, but it is so nice here. The architecture is quaint and the streets are mostly cobblestone. It is cold, but it was better sleeping in a cooler room tha our humid one in Italy.

This morning we went on a walking tour for a little while, and then I bought my favorite souvenirs to date. I can't say what they are because they are gifts! I will have to post pictures of everything when I get home. I made a sandwich from the free breakfast food, so I saved lunch money there!

Now I am on a boat on Lake Lucerne, travelling to Mount Pilatus. It is so beautiful, but it is cloudy. If I get service, I will post a picture from the top!

Love and Swiss cheese,

Sunday, June 20, 2010


It's true. I'm really staying in a jail. A renovated one, that is. Our room looks like a cell, and our door is wooden with metal locks. It is creepy at first, but it isn't so bad. Hopefully pictures tomorrow.

Lucerne is gorgeous! It is cold and drizzly, but it is very picturesque. The downside is that the food is expensive! We are thinking of just making sandwiches from the store tomorrow.

Wish me good weather tomorrow!

Love from jail,

Officially in Switzerland!

Writing on Juliet's wall in Verona


Saturday, June 19, 2010

Viva Italia!

Arrival at our hotel in Italy! We are staying in Cavallino, which is very residential and beautiful. Hotel isn't that great, and I tried to do laundry, but we have to keep our room closed up so I am afraid it won't dry by the time we leave! We ate overlooking the beach at sunset, and I got a margherita pizza. It was only seven euros for the whole pizza (which I should have shared, I didn't finish it) and three glasses of vino dolce. In every city, I like the food more and more! This one takes the cake... It's cheap AND delicious!

We spent the night hanging out on the beach. Now I can say that I went swimming in Italy at night. The water was very shallow, sow e could walk out far and still be able to stand. It was a lot warmer than the water in New England!

Today we are in Venizia for real... I can't wait to see it all!

Love and pizze Italia,

Vampires in Italy

This one's for my ladies back in the CT... We need to have a date with Jacob when I get home!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Driving Through the Alps

These mountains are completely unreal. I thought that I had seen big mountains in Colorado, but they are like hills compared to these. As we travelled on, we moved more to the bottom of the mountains, so they only grew larger and larger. I can't imagine what it would be like to live in the valley of these mountains, or even more, to live on the side of one.

As we move south, it is getting warmer and sunnier. There are many houses on the mountain with vineyards, so I know that we are moving into the wine region of Italia! We are all getting more excited (and impatient) as we go along.

Love and lots of mountains,

Second German dinner

We grabbed this plate of delicious in the middle of the bike ride. Nobody knows what exactly was in it, but I saw potatoes, onions, turkey, sausage, and some other things. I shall call this dish: "Everything."

View of city square through archway

Snapshots of Munich

Munich has probably been my favorite city so far. Even though it was raining for a good part of our time there, we had a blast. The main city "platz," or square, has amazing architecture. It is also strange to think that most of the city is rebuilt due to World War 2. I took so many pictures, and I will be uploading a bunch when I get back to the US.

We took a very wet bike tour through the city, and our local guide was so interesting. We went all around and stopped for dinner as well. Even though we were all soaked and freezing, we had a ton of fun, and I feel like I actually got to know the city well.

There will be a series of photos to come, so check them all out!

Thursday, June 17, 2010


Today it is gray and rainy just outside Munich, which is quite fitting for our morning detour. The weather mirrored the somber tone of our trip to the Dachau concentration camp memorial site. Although it certainly wasn't a joyful visit, I am glad that we got to go and experience it for ourselves.

Anyone who says they aren't affected by Dachau is lying. It is impossible to see the site, read and hear the stories, and look at the memorials. We had audioguides, which were only 2.50 euros, and they were definitely essential to fully experiencing the site. You could wander around on your own and key in the area that you were at. Many of the buildings are reconstructed replicas of originals because the concentration camp was used for other purposes after its liberation. Nonetheless, the memorial does an excellent job of preserving the historical integrity of the original site (which sounds odd to say that a concentration camp had integrity) and respecting those who were tortured and executed at the camp.

Perhaps the most gut-wrenching part of the whole site is the crematorium, which was once sectioned off from the main barracks. There are graves of ashes of who knows how many people, once discarded but now memorialized outside the crematorium. Barrack X sits in the middle of the area, and it was basically intended to be a death house. There are gas chambers and ovens, and almost immediately I had to walk out. You are almost overcome by a sickening feeling, knowing and sensing what once took place in those rooms. It was important to me to go in, but it was impossible to stay very long.

We could have stayed at the site and museum for hours, but time in Munich said that we needed to leave. Its something that, like this whole trip, I will never forget, but now it is time to move onto a more joyful note. We are going on a 2.5 hour bike tour around the city, which will hopefully be a good way to see Munich in the few hours that we have here. Then it's time to experience a real German beer house and get some more German food, yum!

Love and bikes galore,

A German Meal

Bratwurst, sauerkraut, and potatoes.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The hills are alive!

We did so much in Amsterdam that there is no possible way for me to include it here. We went to the Anne Frank house, went to a (very anticlimactic) tulip museum, celebrated the Holland soccer win over Denmark, took a canal cruise, saw the Van Gogh museum, the museum of handbags, and the Rijksmuseum (spelling may be incorrect), went through the Heineken experience, and experienced the Red Light District (yes, it is everything they say it is). Plus, we ate pannenkoeken, Chinese food, and a delicious waffle cookie with icing on it, became pros at the city tram, and did a lot of walking. Somehow, I have a feeling that that doesn't even list it all.

I promise to include more descriptions and pictures when I get home, but right now we are on our way to Heidelberg, in the country of my name's origin. I fell asleep on the bus, and two hours later, I woke up to us driving through the most beautiful countryside. I wish I could adequately describe what Germany looks like, but I can't. It's something you have to experience for yourself.

Everywhere you look, there is green. I'm not saying that I haven't experienced green - Somers is pretty rural, after all - but this is different somehow. There are hills and fields everywhere, all different shades of green. As we're turning a corner, I think that it will stretch forever, hills rolling on and on, when a town appears in the middle of the valley. All of these houses in the middle of miles of countryside - at first they seem out of place, but really, they look cozy, nestled into the side of a hill.

I feel like the Sound of Music is outside my window (and yes, I know that the musical took place in Austria, not Germany). I even saw a church way up on the top of the hill, all by itself. We have an hour and a half left of driving, and I am excited to see what a German city looks like. We are starting quickly, going on a walking tour and seeing a castle. Tomorrow we are staying in Germany, traveling to Munich for one night.

Goal for Germany: eat lots of authentic German food and see EVERYTHING in just two days!

Love and weinerschnitzel,

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


When someone asked me whether I would like Dutch food, I had no idea because I didn't know what was considered "Dutch food." after two days in Amsterdam, guess what? I STILL didn't know what Dutch food was. I ate a lot of fries and sandwiches, but nothing that would really be considered different. Even the breakfasts were pretty normal (fruit, bread, some sausage and eggs). In fact, most Dutch cafes serve international food... Argentinian or Asian. I was not about to tell everyone I ate CHINESE FOOD in Amsterdam.

But then...

But then...

We found pannenkoeken.

Amy had told me about pannenkoeken before I left, so I knew that I had to seek it out. It is basically a Dutch pancake (the restaurant was called "Pancakes! Amsterdam") with whatever you want either inside or on top of it. It reminds me of a cross between a pancake, a crepe, and an omelette. If you can imagine that, its a pretty accurate description.

I got a mushroom and onion pancake (pictured above) to be adventurous. It was good, but I wish it had had some sauce. My friends got fruit pancakes - banana/chocolate and strawberry/banana/whipped cream. They were very filling and delicious.

So now I can say that I LIKE DUTCH FOOD! I've just learned to stay away from anything that is imitation-American (ie: hamburgers) because it will not be the same.

Tonight we are going to an Argentinian restaurant and I can't wait to try something new. It's our last night in the city, so we have to be adventurous!

Love and pannenkoeken,

Welcome to Amsterdam! (Delayed)

I was sending my blog posts to the wrong email server, so here is an entry from Sunday (arrival day). Now that I have figured this out, I hope to update soon!

Sunday, June 13th:

Two flights
One broken seat back
One in-flight movie
Lots and lots of turbulence
Slight envy of first class
A salmon-cream cheese roll
A new stamp in my passport from customs
An overpriced, bitter grande coffee from Starbucks
Five hours waiting in the airport
Unreliable email
One bus ride
One cozy hotel room for three
And a hot shower
= my European experience thus far.

Despite the setbacks, the flight and all of its logistics ran pretty smoothly. Our tour guide is laid back and the group of ten that had to wait in the airport for hours has bonded a bit. We are all having trouble keeping our eyes open, but the promise of the Red Light District later is making us stay
up! Plus, we NEED some food... And we need our tour guide to show us where that is!

Email is unreliable, but lets hope that I can send another update tomorrow!

Love and jetlag,

Friday, June 11, 2010

European Vaca and the Worst Packer Ever...

... = me.  Ask any of my friends, family, neighbors, RA's, other drivers on the highway... I simply cannot control how much stuff I bring with me on a trip.  When I moved into my dorm freshman year, I was thoroughly embarrassed because the entire bed of my father's truck was completely filled.  I will only say that the amount of stuff has increased year by year, and it took four hours, three hefty men, two very generous friends who got caught in the middle, and frantic little me to get all of my stuff packed and home for the summer.  Oh yeah, and we not only filled the truck (again)... we filled an entire car, too.

I'm a little obscene.  Sorry.

And ONE time, we packed the truck so full that a bag flew off the back.  But that's another story for another time.

Anyway, this whole over-packing obsession is not very conducive to taking a two-week tour through Europe.  This is because the definition of a tour is that you move around a lot, and your suitcase can't be seven thousand pounds, or else you wouldn't be able to carry it, and it would break the bus.  And then everyone would be mad at you, plus you wouldn't get to see all of the cities on your tour, and you would be unpopular and untraveled and out of three grand.  So I'm planning on avoiding that scenario.

[Side note: It's just such a coincidence that I started this new blog two days before going on a life-experience trip around Europe.  Just look at how all that timing worked out!  I'm so lucky.  And sarcastic.]

So what am I supposed to do when I have to pack clothes for fifteen days, seven cities, several different climates, lots of rain, lots of walking, and plenty of nighttime fun?  Well, I brought in the big guns.

I brought in my mother for backup.

You see, because if I am the most indecisive, least patient, and least efficient packer on the face of the earth, my mother is probably the most decisive, patient, and efficient packer.  Maybe those genes skip a generation.  So luckily, she helped me decide what was an acceptable versus obscene amount of clothes to take, and then she generously packed everything for me.  All in all, so far, it looks a little like this:

And this would be with only my clothing and shoes.  Yeah, we'll see how this turns out tomorrow.

In regards to that little vacation thing that I am going on tomorrow (tomorrow??  What??  I just fainted), I'm going in a big circle around Western Europe, and here's the map below:

As you can see, my flight tomorrow will be landing in Amsterdam (well, London, technically, then Amsterdam) for our first stop!  I'm not sure how my super-inferior-to-Droid phone will fare with picture updating, but I'll try my best.

Coming up next time... the end of the packing saga, a short trip to the Bronx, the excitement of airports, (hopefully) uneventful customs inspections, and THE BEGINNING OF A ROMP THROUGH EUROPE!!!

Love and too many pairs of shoes,

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

New blog, new journey

Hi, my name is Courtney, and this is my new blog.  Yes, I had an old blog, but we'll get to that in a minute.

As I begin the summer before my senior year of college, I feel an overwhelming need to share my excitement/nerves/frustrations/stress/anticipation of starting this last undergraduate journey.  Aren't you the lucky ones?

I won't say this is a "bucket list," but it is a chronicle.  A "chronicle of a graduation foretold," that is, which is a subtitle inspired by the novel Chronicle of a Death Foretold, which I actually really did not enjoy.  Don't tell the author, please.  His book was about a violent death and I really hope that you wouldn't all wish that upon me, would you?

And actually, this graduation really isn't "foretold," seeing as it hasn't happened and there is no guarantee that I actually will graduate, but I think that it's safe to assume.  I hope.  Please.

I probably just jinxed myself.  Okay, I'm ending this blog.  Just kidding.

Oh yeah, I said that this was a new blog, didn't I?  My old blog was the "Undergrad Gourmet" (yes, that would be me), and it started because of a college blogging class.  I got an A minus.  I'm a little bitter.  But it was a great experience, and I realized that I love blogging, especially food blogging.  And I'd hate to lose all of the yummy-tastic posts from my food blog, so I may repost them here from time to time.

Welcome to me, and thanks for accompanying me on my final year journey!