Page 5 of ilchicag Travel Blog Posts


Europe » Italy » Lazio » Rome December 31st 2007

Like I said yesterday, I'm beginning to feel more at ease here. And I say 'at ease' for lack of a better phrase because I never feel uneasy per se here... it's just an adjustment, even for a few days' time. The constant sightseeing, not knowing anyone here but Keith, being outside for long periods of time in the relative cold—it has all made me feel constantly on the go and just like an uber-tourist. I feel like all I do all day long is look at things and marvel. And I'm starting to feel like I could soon be burned out... and it's only been 3 days! What I need is to invest my whole self more in this culture... not just my eyes. Or at least take breaks between sightseeing ventures, give myself some ... read more
Rome is beautiful
Pantheon Dome and Occulus
Fountain in front of the Pantheon

Europe » Italy » Lazio » Rome December 30th 2007

One of the many problems I have with traveling is finding authentic local life. I think that a lot of it is due to the limited time I spend traveling, but right now the it seems it's mostly in part due to the language barrier that makes me constantly feel like an outsider. I now have newfound respect to people back in America that can't speak English fluently. Today after visiting the Vatican, we crossed back into Italy (which is really just as simple as crossing the street, well, actually it's easier than that because crossing the street in Italy can be quite traumatic) and went past Castel Sant'Angelo and into the streets of Rome. I was starving, having only eaten a granola bar and a cup of coffee while standing in line for the Vatican ... read more
My favorite angel on the Ponte Sant'Angelo
Bernini at night
Angel with the Cross

Europe » Vatican City » Vatican City December 30th 2007

Ciao! I am really loving Italy. It's such an adventure everywhere we go. Especially trying to upload photos in an internet cafe. So far I haven't found one that has worked for me which is kind of disheartening, but I'll live. Today has been long, but quite wonderful. We woke up at 5:45 in order to get to the Vatican early enough without a long wait. Standing in line was something in itself. When we got off the metro at our stop, some people literally started running to the Vatican. It was 7:30, an hour and 45 minutes before it even opened! But I should have figured, it was free entrance today into the Musei Vaticano... also the reason why we were going today as well. But we got there and were pretty close to the ... read more
The imposing basilica
Gallery of Maps
Nothing but paint

Europe » Italy » Lazio » Rome December 29th 2007

After a decent and much needed night's rest we were up and about for our first full day of Rome. And by full day I mean sightseeing and walking around Rome until we were tired and wanted a nap. We'd be outside until about 3:30PM when we'd return to the hostel for a siesta. At first I felt like taking a nap midday while I was in a city like Rome was a waste of my short amount of time here, but I justified it in two ways: 1) we are in the Mediterranean area where, by my standards at least, it is perfectly acceptable to take midday naps. At least this is what my younger sisters studying Spanish have informed me. And 2) sightseeing is just plain exhausting. Had it been warmer I out I ... read more
Half of the Colosseum interior
View of the Arc di Constantine from the Colosseo
Solemn walls of the inside of the Colosseo

Europe » Italy » Lazio » Rome December 28th 2007

Wow! I'm in Rome! It's been a looong day though. I'm so exhausted. I barely slept on the plane for some reason, despite being still so tired from not sleeping for the last few days. When we finally got to Munich, we walked past first class and next time... that's the ticket. I didn't get much sleep at the airport in Munich either though, mainly because of a high school group that was shouting all over the empty terminal. You would think that they'd be tired too, but they kept imbibing in the free Lufthansa coffee so there was no chance of me getting some shut-eye before takeoff to Rome. But that didn't matter because upon arrival Rome, I was so excited to finally get to my destination that nothing could faze me. On the whole ... read more
Colosseo
Colosseo
Fontana di Trevi

North America » Canada » Ontario » Atikokan » Quetico Provincial Park August 11th 2007

I'm heading back to civilization in an hour! It's about 10:15 and we are heading back to our pickup point at 11:00-11:30 or so. We have a 1:00 pickup scheduled, and as much as I have enjoyed this trip, I can't wait to get back. The only thing I'm not looking forward to is the last portage back up to the parking lot from Pickerel Lake. It's amazing how much I think I've grown in during this trip. I feel like I did often push myself and did things that I may not have done if I were on a regular hike through the woods. But now I know I can do it, and that's an awesome feeling to have after a trip like this. It's very empowering. It is also nice to look back and ... read more
Hauling the canoe back up the last portage
When the vacation is almost over, rest is needed
See you later, and thanks Quetico!

North America » Canada » Ontario » Atikokan » Quetico Provincial Park August 10th 2007

Woke up today in a whirlwind and only had time to down a cold cup of instant coffee before we were on the lake trying to beat the rain (which we didn't) and the wind (which we didn't) as we made our way back to the Quetico Park entrance. Yep, we're on our way back home. In the rain. The rain did eventually ease up right around the time that we were shooting some rapids (which was real thrilling, actually) so all looked good... UNTIL we hit the Deux Rivieres. At first it felt like we were in Egypt, canoeing through papyrus plants on the Nile, but then it was like we were in Vietnam—we had to get out of the canoe and trudge through the mud while someone strung the canoe down the leech infested ... read more
Paddling through Egypt?
Hannah posing
Looking good


We took a day trip to Chatterton Falls today from our campsite at Blueberry Island. I won't lie, the Falls were a little disappointing. I guess I have in it my head that waterfalls or something described as falls are a bit more intense. Chatterton Falls are pretty awesome, just in a less obvious ways. They were rushing and very beautiful, but you had to walk a way in order to see the whole falls. They were almost tiered... when you first got to the Falls, there was a medium sized waterfall. After docking, you walk up alongside the water and see a few more falls. When you walk a little bit more up, you see more, and so on and so on. Which was nice in a way because it really promoted a day of ... read more
Though not large, Chatterton is still quite powerful
Everybody paddling to Chatterton
Another view of the paddlers


Oh! My! Gosh! There were killer flies today... swarms over every part of everywhere we went and every part of our body. There were so many of these little biting flies I was close to tears several times during the day. It felt like an epidemic, an apocolypse almost. At times, it felt like a sci-fi movie where something so trivial and harmless in the everyday sense as flies could be so life threatening. There weren't that many when I woke up. In fact, the morning was fairly nice. I missed the mist on the water early in the morning, but getting to sleep in was much needed. After having a delicious breakfast of oatmeal and instant coffee, Hannah, my dad, and I did some fishing and then realized that Blueberry Island was vacated. We were ... read more
Hannah and me ready to set out and fish
Dad and one of his catches
Hannah and Mom hiding in the tent


There are some things in life where the harder something is, the better you feel about it in the end. It's the feeling of accomplishment, the rush of trying something new, or knowing that you went outside your comfort zone that does it for you. After finishing a rocky, mile-plus long portage twice over--once with an 80-pound pack and then my own personal pack--I coudn't help but feel very good about myself despite how much I hated it while doing trying to climp up a rock with the food pack on my back. I wouldn't necessarily want to do it again right then; nevertheless, it seemed like something I could be proud of, knowing that I pushed myself on only the second day of our trip. It really got me thinking "what couldn't I do" if ... read more
Shooting the "rapids"
Dad looking out at Lake Olifant before we head into the rough
Abby and Hannah cooking up some food




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