Private-schooled student starts San Diego State University with an interest in Nursing. Soon this ambition quickly changes to Journalism Media Studies as a result of the perfect transfer of college courses into the program. ”That’s quite a different direction,” some would say. However, what seemed as an unlikely fit became the perfect entrance into a career in Social Media Marketing exploring the need for health in American society.
Using social media, Kellen has had numerous professional experiences in health related industries beginning with Active Network. The skills developed from this position paved the way for an internship with the authors of the newly released book “Women I Want to Grow Old With”. Currently, Kellen is the Social Media Marketing Director for a health insurance agent at Steve Grady Insurance Services.
If you are seeking an experienced professional in the field of Social Media Marketing, add Kellen to your team!
Tuesday June 26 we were greeted with the morning heat which made are travels much more tiring and exhausting. It was 90 degrees as the sun’s rays overtook our skin while we waited in line to enter the Vatican. Because of the conservative dress code, we wore long black skirts, tank tops, and draped our long scarves around our shoulders like shawls. However, once inside the heat was overbearing. We slowly unveiled our shoulders since covering them was just trapping more heat inside. It was like the Vatican was a sauna filled with people and heat trapped in one area. The statues and museums inside, however, we’re breath taking. There were ancient mummies, marble statues, broken pieces of history, and murals everywhere. The history and art was incredible and it made me think about how human hands had created such exquisite and extravagant pieces that have lasted so long over time. Today we are lucky if art or a novel is admired for a year or two.
Upon entering the Sistine Chapel, I stared up at the beautiful ceiling taking in all of Michael Angelos masterpiece. We struggled to find a seat and just sat in amazement looking at all the figures that seemed so real. It was stunning.
We left the Vatican, stopped by St. Peter’s Basilica, but the heat from waiting in line was too much to bear. We decided to have lunch instead where we feasted on an assortment I breads, spinach and ricotta gnocchi, and caprese salad. It was fresh, delightful, and put us right to sleep when we returned home.
We finished our last night in Rome with another fantastic meal of breads, lasagna, and some gelato. The gelato shop we went to is the oldest gelato shop in Rome that has been around since the 18th century. There were so many people inside waiting to take in the history and refreshing taste of the night time treat. Overall, Rome was a wonderful success and I would be delighted to go again and tour St. Peter’s Basilica. Just remember to bring very light weight clothing for the heat!
Sunday June 24 we began our travels to Rome. It was a ten hour train ride with three trains again. We spent the day sleeping, watching videos on our phones, and waiting to arrive in the city. When we did arrive, we were welcomed with a 90 degree heat at 8 pm and a room with no air conditioning. All I wanted was some ice, but again it’s not common to have ice anywhere in Europe which made this desire unrealistic.
Our hostel was more of an apartment called the Secret Gardens that was off of Manzoni close to the metro. It had 4 beds in our room and a beautiful terrace on the roof where breakfast was served every morning.
After unloading our luggage, we took a walk around the city in search of the Spanish Steps. On our walk, we were greeted by streets filled with Italians screaming with joy of their win against London in the Euro Cup. I have never seen such pride for one’s country for a sporting event like that.
As we continued our walk, we finally found the steps which were lined with kids and tourists sitting and drinking wine. We took the bus home and waited for our next day of explorations.
Monday June 25 we traveled everywhere in Rome. We started the morning at the Colesseo which was absolutely amazing! It was huge and the pictures do not do it’s architecture justice. We took pictures with “roman soldiers” who then tried to charge us five euros for taking pictures with them when they originated the photography session. We denied and just continued our journeys towards the Circus Maximo and the Arco de ———- . The fountains and buildings were old but a stunning piece of history. They have not been modernized and the streets seem to have not been repaved. After walking for what seemed like forever, we arrived at the Pantheon. It was located in an area with small restaurants and a fountain where we could finally fill our water bottles for our parched mouths.
Continuing our journey, we next stopped at the Trevi Fountain where I tossed the coin over my left shoulder as I made a wish. It was the best feeling in the world to be there and experience the water splashing onto my feet on the hot summer day and consuming the breath taking structure. It was a place filled with people, pictures, and many wishes.
Our next stop was the Spanish Steps and lunch at a quaint restaurant where I devoured spaghetti carbonara. It was the most delicious meal I have eaten this entire trip. The sauce was light but flavorful and the bread was thin and fresh with many herbs inside. It was the perfect meal to end a perfect day.
Needless to say, we were exhausted and napped for hours only to wake up and drink on the terrace, miss the pub crawl, and eat more pizza! We were so surprised there were such few places open around midnight since Barcelona was thriving at night. However, the pizza and gelato did the trick. My pizza was covered in prosciutto, mozzarella, onion, and basil. It was mouth watering. We also ordered a pizza with stringed potatoes on it that looked like hash browns on bread. It had a light flavor and was simple.
After the walking and food, we slept wonderfully that evening.
On Friday June 22, we began our journey from Barcelona to Nice. If you are intending to listen to a good story, this is not one of those. We arrived at the station at 8 am and hauled our luggage onto the first of three trains. After 6 hours and the first two trains completed, the third was delayed. We filled our time at the station roaming around, grabbing a bite to eat, and preparing for our final departure. As we went to board the train, we were informed that we needed a ticket reservation which we were unaware of since the ticket man in Barcelona said that we did not need them for this train. We jumped on the train with the manager and he allowed us to buy tickets on the train. Of course he did not mention the cost until after we were on the train. He tried to sell them to us for 15 €uro each and then claimed he had made an error and the actual cost is 20€ each! I started crying and he made us a deal for 10€ each. After that catastrophe, the train ride only got worse. Our attempt at finding open seats resulted in a failure as one woman yelled at us in French and then in English telling us that the train was completely booked, we were in her seats, and we should have reserved them in advance. Again, I started to cry since she humiliated us on the train, I had slept 2 hours in 2 days, and the train we were on had no seats and no AC. You would think that after this disaster we would catch a break. But no, instead someone decided to jump in front of the train, which is apparently common in Europe. This suicidal attempt caused the train to be stopped for two hours resulting in an 8 hour train ride. The one good part of the train ride was meeting an older English couple from Sari who felt so bad for us they bought us a “goody bag” of beer and Pringles. It was the kindest gesture we had received that whole day.
In the end, we arrived in Nice at 10 pm Friday night resulting in 12 hours of travel time. It was the longest and worst day I had experienced in a while and I wanted nothing more than to sleep. Fortunately, our hostel in Nice upgraded us to a two person suite with our own bathroom. It was the best way to end our horrific day. That night I slept better than any other night.
Thursday June 21st was our last full day in Barcelona. We started the day with a classic hostel meal consisting of cereal and toast. After, we hopped on the metro towards the train station to book our tickets to Nice for Friday. We waited 3 hours at the train station that day to simply reserve a ticket for a high speed train to Nice that would take roughly 10 hours. The news of this long day of traveling ahead of us was devastating to say the least.
We finished our last day in Barcelona with a slice of pizza on a baguette on the streets of Las Ramblas along with a scoop of Nutella gelato that tasted exactly like Nutella. The exquisiteness of the gelato was magnificent and something I hope to have again in Italy.
To complete our evening, we walked along Las Ramblas and the Barcelona harbor to the beaches. Once we reached the beach, we had a casual dinner outside as we consumed the warm weather, the glowing sunset, and the crisp taste of a Cesar salad after a long day. While walking back to the hostel, we said adios to Barcelona a we were sipping Sangria on the terrace mingling with the other travelers from London, New York, India, Australia, and California. It was a trip and a country I’ll never forget filled with bustling streets, beautiful beaches, and rowdy bars on every corner. Needless to say, I was anxious to move on to my next adventure in Nice.
Today I began my journey through Barcelona with a croissant and cocoalatte (chocolate milk). We then bought our first metro pass and decided to get on without any understanding of the transportation system. We took a guess and luck was by our side as we exited the metro in order to enter La Sagrada Familia. La Sagrada Familia was an amazing piece of architecture built by the famous Antoni Gaudi. He is a well known architect in Spain who is known for creating masterpieces without any blueprints. After walking around the neighborhood, we walked back onto the metro and headed towards the Castilla de Montjuic. We thought we would be going to see this beautiful castle on the hill, and little did we know that this “castle” was an execution fortress used by the government throughout the 18th century. Getting to this castle was the biggest journey of all. We decided to be cost efficient and hike instead of taking the 14€ gondola ride. That hike was a tedious 45 minute uphill battle against the 85 degree heat in the scorching sun. We took numerous breaks and made it to the top only to encounter the vast view of the blue Barcelona harbor. It was an exhilarating sight and we treated ourselves to a bottle of water at the peak of the mountain. In Barcelona, no one uses reusable bottles and instead they simply purchase bottles of water when necessary. At 1-2€ a bottle, it seems like a misuse of money to me, but I guess it is a part of their accustomed culture.
That evening we went to dinner at a local restaurant on Las Ramblas. Another rule of thumb when traveling is knowing that it is rude to share a meal in other cultures and just forget the concept of taking home leftovers. We were denied at a place because we wanted to share a pizza instead of paying 10€ each for our own. We finally found an oriental restaurant with the same menu as all of the others that was willing to let us share the three tapas and pizza. Our tapas included chorizo, spicy potatoes, and fried potato dumplings (my personal favorite). Overall, we had a delectable meal after an exhausting day of excursions.