Monday, May 16, 2011


I wrote this post on my phone, so I am sure that there are lots of errors! It's
not very detailed either.
Italy has been amazing! We have eaten the best food, met the best people, and it's cheap. My kind of place! We started out in Monterossa, which is part of the Cinque Terre. The Cinque Terre js a 7-mile part of the Italian west coast, and is made up of 5 very small towns. We stayed in the one most North. We arrived in Monterossa around 4, and we were greeted with a beautiful view of the mediterranean sea in front of us, and mountains behind us. It was the perfect vacation spot. There were lots of Americans and visitors, but it felt authentically Italian. We walked around the town, and then went to dinner. I ordered a caprese salad and pesto pasta. Amazing! The tomatos in the salad were the best I have ever had. They were fresh and a vibrant red. The mozzerella was tender, salty, and yummy. The pasta was not overpowering with basal in the pesto, but just the right amount. We then headed out for some gelato!
The following day we hiked through the 5 towns, starting in Monterossa. The first two hikes were hard, but oh so worth it! We walked through small Italian farms on the sides of the mountains, and we had the view of the ocean the whole time. After our hike, we headed back to Monterossa. We pretty much bought out the town! Ha. I bought some wine from that region, evoo, pesto, and the cutest coffee cups! We decided to go get some wine. In Italy when you order wine, they bring you olives, potato chips, and peanuts. All very random, but delicous. We stayed and ate dinner there. We then headed back to pack up! 

We arrived in Florence the next day, and checked into our convent! Ha. We stayed in the convent, and it was so cute. The nuns were so sweet. We have enjoyed Florence! We have all bought lots of leather items, including a great purse that I am so excited about. Yesterday we went to the Academia to see Michealangelo's David. It was impressive, and he was a lot bigger than I thought he would be. We then went to the Uffuzi Gallery. We were told that it takes 2 hours to go through. It took us 20 minutes! 

We are headed to Rome later today, and we are excited. I think that the buildings we see there will mean the most to us because we can relate to the history a lot more. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Climb

Today was our last day in Switzerland so we decided that we wanted to go See a few of the mountain towns that Rick recommends. Our plan was to take the train to Lauterbrunnen, hike to Murren and walk around, take a cable car to Gimmelwald and walk around, then take a cable car to Schlithorn train station, walk back to Lauterbrunnen, and then take the train back to Interlaken. In my mind, I'm thinking that it's a lot of walking. I was reassured by our hotel people who said that the hikes were not bad. I also refused to think about it because then I wouldn't do it. If you know me at all, then you know that I am a non-hiking, non-outdoorsy, and non-strenuous activity type of person. 
We arrive in Lauterbrunnen and purchase our lunch. We follow the signs to Murren. The signs point us straight up a mountain, excuse me, an Alp. I thought to myself that maybe this was just the first little bit, it soon became obvious that my wish was not so. The entire hike was uphill. I really wish that someone could have heard the thoughts going on in my head today. It went a little something like this- "I am going to kill Rebekah and Martha for making me do this. I do NOT want to hike up an Alp. I cant do it, I think I might die. Oh crap. I'm having a panic attack, I can't breathe, Lord please help me. Kristin do not say anything out loud or you will regret it. Ok I have 2 ways to do this. The hard way, which is what I have been doing, or I can rely on the strength of my Savior. Ok Jesus, I need help. I can't do this alone, I think I might pass out. Jesus, this mountain is like my everyday life. I have to conquer my sin everday, but I can only do it through you. Please help me to be positive. I'm thankful for these girls that I am with. They don't make me feel bad for slowing them down. They are encouraging and sweet, even though they made me do this. I'm about to pass out, I can't do another step. Kristin, do not get discouraged and do not listen to Satan. Focus on Jesus. Take it one step a time." That is the whole cycle of thoughts that kept going through my head the whole time we were hiking.  Just trying to keep it real! :) Thankfully I was able to give my struggle to Jesus, and he enabled me to conquer that mountain! Towards the end, I was no longer discouraged or defeated. But I still knew that there was no way that I could do anything else today. Thankfully by this point, we were all laughing at ourselves and the never ending mountian. They were ahead of me and I yelled out, "There is no way that y'all are making me walk anymore today! As soon as we get to Murren, I  am getting on a train, cable car, or freaking milk truck and getting back to Interlaken!" They of course bust out laughing. We took our last steep hike, and thankfully hit level ground. Then it started raining. We walked quickly upwards town, and found a lovely little hotel restaurant where we ordered tea, coffee, and lots of water! We got our energy back up, and we walked around town where we were greeted with the most beautiful view of the mountains. We had reached the end-point, and every aching muscle was worth it. We were able to appreciate Gods creation in a deeper way because we had climbed the mountain. 

What we did today is so significant and I can relate it back to my life so well. Life is about climbing a mountain, but the only way to get to the top is through Jesus. What a cool thing to be able to experience in Switzerland. I can't look to the future and get discouraged. When I looked up the path and saw that there was no end in sight, I would start to panic. We can't look ahead and make decisions based on what we see or don't see. Jesus knows what is ahead, and He is the only one who can guide you.

We are so thankful for our time in Switzerland. Being here has given us time to process our stops in the busy cities of London and Paris! It has been peaceful and very relaxing. Tomorrow morning we head to the Cinque Terre in Italy. We are staying there 2 nights, then 2 nights in Florence, and 4 nights in Rome. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


I am re-reading my posts for the first time and want to apologize for all of the misspelled/misused words! I am usually on a time crunch because we have to buy Internet time over here. I am usually trying to fly through the blog, and never have time to read over my posts. Just want to explain why there are errors all the time! :)


For when two or three come together in my name, there am I with them." This morning I was reading Matthew, and this was one of the verses that I read. This is a very common verse that I think we all quote at somepoint in our lives. Last night the 3 of us were talking about this verse, and it was perfect that I read it this morning. While being on this trip with my friends, I have felt the presence of the Lord at every turn. He has kept us safe, but he has also revealed himself to me in ways that I don't think about while at home.
While seperated from my "normal life," I have had plenty of thinking time! This trip has given me time to reflect on different things in my life. Rebekah was talking about this with us, and she gave a good example. She said that she was laying in bed the other night, and usually she would have the TV on, facebook up, checking twitter on her phone, etc but that night she couldn't. She was on her own, with God. She was able to verablize what I had been thinking. This trip has given all of us quality time with not only each other, but with Christ.
While being surrounded by different cultures, different scenes, and beauty all around us, it gives me cause to fall on my knees in worship. Our normal life is so busy, and full of things that don't really matter. Time flies by, and it is hard to take a breath away from all of the busyness. While being here in Europe, I have had to put my faith and trust in God in many ways. I am always thankful for my friends, but this trip has led me to be thankful in a different way.
We have observed several different types of people at the places we have been at, and there is always at least one person we see that is traveling alone. Can you imagine? Backpacking through Europe by yourself? I surely cannot. I love being able to share this experience with another person. These people that travel alone often strike up converstation with random people and become friends with everyone. That is great, and I am not saying it's bad. But for me, I think it would be very shallow and very depressing. While with my friends, we have been able to discuss things that are on our hearts. We encourage each other, we hold each other accountable, and most of all we base our friendship on Christ.
While I was taking a nap, Rebekah and Martha met 3 people who were all traveling alone and had met yesterday. Rebekah and Martha said that it was fun talking to them, but for the entire hour not one word of Christ came out of the conversation. When I think about all of the conversations that the three of us have had while on this trip, I am grateful for Christian friends! Almost all of our conversations lead back to the Lord. How fortunate we are! I know that my friends will understand what I am thinking. I know that they understand that I sin, they sin, and we all sin. They get me. I cannot imagine not being with at least one person who understands me.
I am awed by the beauty of friendship that Christ has bestowed on me and my friends. I am very blessed and am thankful that He chose to give me these girls (plus many others at home)!
I know this post has been very long, and I hope that I am making some sense out of it all. To end on a good note, I wanted to share with you a few more funny stories from the trip!

In Paris, we ate crepes with nutella quite a few times. A crepe is basically a very thin pancake, and we ususally had ours filled with nutella. Nutella is best described as a "chocolate peanut butter." Well we were sitting at a crepe making place, and Rebekah comments, "He just put white Nutella on the pan." Martha then proceeds to look at her like she is crazy and say, "That is one of the dumber things that you have ever said!" It was hysterial. The man had been putting crepe batter on the pan to make a crepe! Rebekah did not understand how a crepe was made, and thought that you could have a "white nutella." Which you cannot. That girl makes me laugh!

I can't remember when this happened, but I think it was in London. We had just arrived, and we were confused on how the currency thing worked. We were at our first store, and the man gave Rebekah her total and then asked her for the money. Well Rebekah proceeds to hold her hand out (that was filled with money) and says, "Take however much you need becuase I don't know how to do this." Thankfully the person did not take not take all of her money, but took the appropriate amount. Martha and I of course freak out and yell at her for doing this. Rule No. 1 is that you do not do that!!!!

When we arrived in Interlaken, French was still filling our minds. While on the train and walking through town we would still say "Merci", "Bonjour", etc. Well Rebekah says "Por Favor! Oh I didn't even get to use that one while we were in France." We of course look at her and bust out laughing. Por Favor is Spanish!

We were talking to the lady at the hotel this morning trying to figure out a good trail that we could walk on. She shows us on a map, and tell us to stop in Neuhause which to me sounds like "My house." I thought oh wow, her parents must own a cafe over there. Thankfully I did not say this outloud becuase she was just saying the name of the town. Yes Dutch is hard to translate!

We have had a wonderful day of hiking and walking around town. Interlaken is beautiful, and we are so glad that we get to rest and relax here. We are taking a day trip up to the mountains tomorrow.

Monday, May 9, 2011

A Whole New World...

..literally. We just arrived in Interlaken, Switz. and it is AMAZING. We arrived and it was like a breath of fresh air. No one was trying to rush us/run us down, we looked lost (obviously) and 3 Swiss locals asked us if we needed help. We were shocked. It is absoultely beautiful. Our room looks out over the Jungfrau Mountains, and we have our own private balcony. Big Bertha (that was one of our roomates in Paris, yes we gave her that name, no it was not her real one. but it was appropriate) is no where near us, and we have no worries of having any other roomates!
The train ride here was gorgeous. We traveled through both French and Swiss countryside. We are so happy that we are spending the next 3 nights in this beautiful place, and we plan to relax and chill out! I will update soon!!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Recap 2!

We have safely arrived in Paris! First, I will fill you in our last afternoon in London.

After trecking through the cold and rainy weather in the morning, we decided to head back to our hotel. We did some laundry and laid around. It is so fun being together again, and we often act like little girls! We stayed in bed for a while and just talked, talked, and talked. Martha commented that, "Clearly, I am made to live in America" when we realized that our apartment in Rome has no airconditioning. That girl just cracks me up. After resting a bit, we headed out to explore Victoria. We walked along back streets and soaked in the London culture. We had tea and cinnamon croissants at a local cafe, and hung out with our good friend Rick Steves. Rick Steves has been invaluable this trip. He has given us tons of advice through his book Europe 2011. We planned out where we wanted to head out the rest of the trip. We decided to cut our days in Paris and Interlaken short, and spend a few more days in the Tuscany part of Italy! After tea, we had dinner at this great little Pub. It was much better than the day before. We then went and saw Wicked. It was just as wonderful in London as it was in New York. They spoke in Bristish accents which was really cool. I will admit that I got goosebumps and cried during several of the songs.

The next day, we took the EuroStar to Paris. We were expecting to be under water for almost the whole time, but it was actually only about 20 minutes. We sped through the French countryside and it was unbelievable. Thankfully we talked with a girl from Germany who sat beside us on the train. She had lived in Paris for 6 months and gave us some great tips. She told us which train to take to our hostel, and we are glad she did becuase I don't think we would have made it here. The metro system here is terrible! We arrived at our hostel. It is a little different than where we stayed in London. We are sharing a 5-bunk bedroom, so we have roommates. We were quite delerious yesterday, and just thought the whole situation was hysterical. Thankfully I think this is the worst place that we will stay in.

That afternoon we headed towards the historical part of Paris. We went to Notre Dame, which is beautiful. The architecture is amazing! We walked around the Latin Quarter, and then saw St. Chapelle. We rode the metro to the Eiffel Tower area, and spent some time walking down Rue Cler. Rue Cler is a wonderful little street North of the Eiffel Tower. It is filled with market shops and lots of cafe's. We sat down at a cafe and ordered some wine and food. We then stopped for a delicious pastry, and took a River Cruise. We decided to see how busy the Eiffel Tower was, and the line wasn't long at all. We got there at the perfect time, around 9:30pm. It was still light outside while we were up the Eiffel Tower, but when we came back down it was dark. We were able to see it all lit up, and were entertained by the dancing lights! We really felt like we were in Paris!

Yesterday we went to the Lourve and the Orsay Museum. The Orsay was great becuase they had a ton of Monet paintings, and he is my favorite. We decided we wanted to get out of the touristy part, so we headed east. We walked, and walked, and walked! We ended up in the Bastille area, and loved every minute. We sat at a cafe and ordered a bottle of delicous French wine, and ordered a cheese platter. We watched people go by and out our snack. We then walked some more, and walked by a delicous looking chocolate shop. We had to stop in! I bought the most delicous Chocolate Gnache and a Cafe Au Lait! Yum! We tried to rent some bikes, but it really wasn't worked out for us. We then walked back to the city around Notre Dame where we sat by the Seine. We bought some bread, hummus, wine, and water for dinner and spent about 3 hours down by the river. It was declious, cheap, and relaxing! This was my absoulte favorite day in Paris!

Today we went to see Versaille. We are idiots and purchased a 2-day museum pass that expired yesterday, so we had no ticket into the actual building. We walked around the outside and viewed the gardens which are incredible. It was very pretty, and a lot bigger than I was expecting. This is where Marie Antoinette lived and where the Treaty of Versaille was signed which ended World War I. It is so cool to see all of this places that have impacted history. Parisians are extremely laid back, and the thing-to-do is to sit at a sidewalk cafe, face the street, and stay there for hours with wine, cheese, and bread. We are total Paris people! Ha.

On a side note, it is so wonderful to actually experience Europe. If you know me at all, then you know that I love to read. Well many books that I read are based in Europe or the characters travel there Well I was reading a book yesterday, and they visited London in the book. It was so fun to be able to know and visualize what they were talkign about!

Tomorrow we are headed for Switzerland. It is a 6 hour train ride, so we have a long day tomorrow.

Paris is wonderful, but it is very toursity. Thankfully we have not had to stand in many lines, but I do not like all of the tourists!

I want to leave you with a couple funny stories. They might not be funny to you, but they were pretty hysterical to us!

While we were at communion at Westminster Abbey, we were of course really nervous. We had never been to an Episcopalian communion service and we had no idea what do to. Well to recieve the bread and wine, you have to stand in a semi-circle and the priest gives it to you. Well I am of course the first one who is in line. I didn't really know how to take it, and thankfully the 2 priests sort of demonstrated for us. Well when priest number 1 fed the bread to priest number 2, priest number 1 ate it like a dog out of the other priests hand. Of course I start freaking out thinking this is how you do it. I was like no way, I will put it in my mouth myself. So I take the bread, and then the priest gives me a sip of wine which was pretty awkward. So after it is all done, we leave the Abbey feeling pretty reverent and relaxed. That afternoon we start talking about communion. Little did we all know, but we were all thinking the same thing! We were all so scared, and they looked to me to know how to do it. After it was all said and done, it was an awesome and hysterical experience. They took the bread from the priest, and then the priest gave them a sip of wine. I am pretty sure we were supposed to take the goblet ourselves. Ha. So funny.

Yesterday we were trying to rent bikes to ride around Paris. They have a machine that takes your debit card information incase a bike doesn't come back. Well Rebekah put her card in there, and it wouldn't come out for like 5 minutes. We were FREAKING out!!!! Thankfully it did come out! Sadly, we couldn't get any of the machines to work. We are dumb Americans. Ha.

The first time that we tried to get off the metro was so funny. In London, the doors open automatically. They do not open automatically in Paris. The metro came to a stop and Rebekah stood at the door. Well she waits for a few seconds and then literally starts freaking out saying, "Ah! Ah! Ah!" She then thought that she needed to get to the other side of the train, so she turns around and starts asking people to move. I was cracking up and then Martha calmly hits the exit button and the doors open. I am sure that we provided tons of information for the locals on the metro!

While in Paris, we have tried to fit in as much as we can. Not really working out for us. While buying tickets at St. Chapelle, the ticket lady said "Merci!" and I responded with "Beaucoup!" I of course thought I was so smart and French, but I thought that I might have gotten it wrong. Which I did. I am pretty sure that "Beaucoup" is not a response, but goes along with "merci". While we were at a restaurant, Rebekah wanted to thank the waiter, so she said "merci!", but it sounded exactly like "mercy!". Ha. We are such southeners! We all had a good laugh with our pronunciations.

Hope you can laugh with us! :)

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Recap 1

Whew! We finally made it to London, and we are having a fantastic time. I will start from the very beginning of our trip! (As I post this, it is 1:25pm London time and 7:25am USA time)

On Monday, we all met at the Jackson Airport at 10:30. After saying goodbye to our parents and Amy, we thought that we were headed out of town. Wrong! We went to our gate, and we saw that our flight had been pushed back 2 hours. We went to go find a Delta worker, and we became friends with LaToya. She informed us that there would be no flight to Memphis that day due to a mechanical issue on the plane. The best that she could do would be to put us on an American Airlines 6:20pm flight to Dallas and a 9:55 plane to London. We decided to stay in the airport in case another flight became available. Well lo and behold, the 6:20 flight was cancelled. They put us on a 7:25pm flight to Dallas with hopes that we would make our 9:55pm flight to London. Well after sitting on the plane for 30 minutes outside of the Dallas terminal, we missed our flight that night. They put us up in a Super 8 motel. It was disgusting, and I will forever hate American Airlines after all of this! We slept for 3 hours, and then headed back to the airport. After changing planes in Chicago we were finally London bound! The silver lining in all of this is two-fold: 1) we each were given 4 drink vouchers for the plane ride back; 2) we have not suffered from jet lag becuase we arrived at night in London! LaToya (our friend at Delta) emailed me to inform me that Delta would like to extend our trip by 1 day, since we missed a whole day due to their error. Yay! We are now flying back on the 20th, instead of the 19th.

When we arrived in London, it was 11:45pm. Instead of trying to figure out the bus/tube late at night, we decided to catch a taxi from the airport to our hotel. On our way to the hotel, a police escort passed by us. We like to think that we were in the presence of royalty!! :) About 30 minutes and 60 pounds later, we arrived at our hotel! It is so charming. We are staying in a section of London called Victoria. Our hotel is so cute, it is part of a white building and it has a black door and red flowers in the window flower pot. The owners are Indian, and they are very nice. We all slept great, and were ready to explore London the next day!

On Wednesday, we started our day by purchasing Oyster Cards which get us onto the Tube. We headed to St. Paul's Cathedral in East London. After that, we walked to the Tower of London. It was not at all what we expected. It was more of a castle, than an acutal tower. In the past, many executions (including Anne Boleyn) were held here. In the TofL, the crown jewels are kept! It was so much fun looking at them, and they are beautiful. We then hopped on a river cruise and headed west on the Thames River. We got off at Westminster Pier and walked across Westminster Pier. We were greeted with a jaw-dropping view of Big Ben and Parliament. After taking about a million pictures, we headed to Westminster Abbey. The line to go inside was extremely long, so we viewed it from the outside. The church was so beautiful. They still had press stands and other things set up from the wedding! We ate lunch at a pub not far from the Abbey. English food has not impressed me so far! From there we headed to Trafalgar Square where we went inside the National Gallery. Trafalgar Square reminds me of Columbus Circle in New York. We then walked to Picadilly Circus and Leicester Square. It really reminded me Times Square. It was dirty and had many different kinds of people. While here, we purchased tickets to go see Wicked!!! We then walked to Covent Garden, which we all thought was a real garden. We were slightly confused when we never came across a garden! It is just another section of London. We headed North of Covent Garden, and we really enjoyed that. We got away from the hustle and bustle, and saw a more residential area. It was very calm and peaceful. We then went to Regents Park. We loved that!! We found out later that this is where the majority of 101 Dalmations was filmed. We walked around and relaxed. We had sat down under a tree to rest for a few mintues, and when we got up Marthas' head hit a branch and broke the branch! It may not be funny to you, but it was hysterical at the time. Ha. We then headed back to our hotel to change for the night. We ate dinner at Wagamama's Noodle Place and it was delicious. We walked around Jubilee Park which is near the London Eye, Parliament, and Big Ben. To see all of those sights at night was great. We headed back to our hotel for the night!

We started off today with communion at Westminster Abbey. It was byfar one of the neatest things that I have ever done in my life. We entered through the entrance that they used for the Royal Wedding which was awesome. We saw the place where Kate and William were married, and we also saw her boquet! It was a beautiful church. They led us past all of that, to a smaller chapel to have communion. The chapel was completely made of stonework, and it was gorgeous. The service was very reverent, and it was a great way to start off the day. We then went to buy our EuroStar tickets for tomorrow so that we can go to Paris! It started raining, and that was no fun. We bought some lunch things at a small market and we carried those to Buckingham Palace. We were there to watch the changing of the guards, but they cancelled it due to the rain. We stood under a tree outside of the Palace and ate our lunch. So fun! We were soaked and freezing, so we headed back to the hotel from there.

Yesterday the weather was beautiful! Even thought it was chilly and windy, the sun was shining all day. Today has been a little different. It is freezing and wet. We are happy that we had least one beautiful day in London! I have felt this surreal feeling the whole time that we have been here because I do not feel like we are in another country! They all speak English and we can easily get around. There has been no "culture shock" yet. London reminds me a little bit of Chicago, but on a larger and grander scale. It is a city enriched in history, yet modern at the same time. It is very clean, and people seem to take pride in their city.

We have had a great time, and we can't believe that we have only been out of the country for 2 days. It seems like it has bee weeks! I am so blessed to be able to be on this trip, and it has been worth every penny spent. Tonight we are going to see Wicked, and I can't wait. Martha and I have seen it on Broadway, but Bekah hasn't seen it yet. She knows all of the songs because I sing/play them all the time!

We are headed to Paris in the morning, and I will update you as soon as possible! Thank you for praying for our traveling and safety. Please continue to pray that the Lord would put His angels above us! I have a cold, so I hope that goes away quickly. We can all praise God because my back has done great this trip!!! It has only bothered me a little bit, and I am in the least amount of pain that I have had in months. God is good!!!

(sorry for any typo's or incorrect grammar...i'm not editing this bec
Kristin Anne Stentiford

Monday, May 2, 2011

Please Pray

Please pray for safe travels to, during, and from Europe! With Bin Laden being killed, we have to be extra cautious while we are in Europe. My dad (and I am sure Bekah and Martha's dad) has given me a long talk about making sure that "my head is on a swivel" while I am over there! By nature, I am a very aware/cautious person. We know that we need to locate US Embassy or Consulate in every city that we go to. We are not going to let fear stop our trip! I am praying, and I know that others are praying, that Jesus puts angels over us to guide us and watch over us on our trip.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

It's finally here!!!

We leave tomorrow for our long-awaited trip! We are so excited to begin our journey, and I am not quite sure how I am going to be able to sleep tonight. For those of you who do not know my friends who I am going with, I have put a picture of the three of us below.

We are a bit sweaty due to it being football season and living in the south. These lovely ladies and I will be conquering Europe together, but we will miss Amy (pictured below)!

Since Amy wants to go with us, she fashioned a "Flat Amy" doll. If you are familiar with "Flat Stanley," then this is what she basically made for herself. She has requested that we take a picture with her in every city, so we will do just that. She is coming to send us off at the airport tomorrow morning, and I am so glad that she will be there.

Our plane departs at 12:04pm, and we fly to Memphis. From Memphis we head to Detroit. From Detroit we head to LONDON baby! Woohoo! As soon as I am able, I will get to a computer and blog about our trip so far.

Next time I type, I will be typing from a computer in London! :)