Italy (or 7 Days of Gelato)

The end of the semester ended with a whirlwind of essays, packing and good byes. The RAs and I attended an insanely fancy high tea with champagne and waiters who place your napkin on your lap for you. There was a lovely bbq on a rooftop and finally once all the other students went home – hide and seek in the giant empty dorm building. After all of that I headed off to a week in Italy.

I know this is a little lame but it’s my last post so I know you’ll forgive me for naming each day by the flavor of gelato I ate.

Sunday: Stracciatella

On Sunday morning Julia and I got on the plane for Naples. After a pretty easy flight we arrived in the beautiful yet slightly unsafe city of Naples.  We were pleasantly surprised by the warm temperature and after looking around a bit we got on the train to Sorrento, where our beautiful Hotel Florida was located. It took us a while to find it but while searching for it we glimpsed the sea and took a detour. The water was perfectly blue and we both were supremely happy. We didn’t do much sight seeing wise but spent the day reading near the pool. Later that evening when Julia’s friend and my friends Shelby and Erik arrived we had our first delicious Italian dinner.

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Monday: Pistachio

We got up fairly early and made our to Pompeii. The ruins were so much bigger than I pictured – it really was a city! We walked around for several hours peeking in at what was left of the old shops and villas.  My favorite was the amphitheatre and any bit of painting left on the walls. Vesuvius loomed in the background and I found it very easy to imagine that day in history. We got tired and thirsty after a while and we split up for the day. Julia and Ariel went to explore Naples and Shelby Erik and I went off to explore Sorrento. That night we met up with another friend, Danny, and ate dinner by the port. I had the best pizza I have ever had. It was covered in shrimp, mussels, clams, and octopus.

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Tuesday: Coconut

On our train to Roma we sat in one of those cars like in Harry Potter and attempted to speak to an old Italian man. I’m pretty sure I convinced him that my friends are married by accident but that is part of the fun of communicating with very few words. Rome is wonderful! I really do love ruins. The big piles of rocks are like props for my imagination. I could imagine Ceaser striding accross the forum, or a lion strutting around the colosseum after some poor gladiator. We explored the city and had a funny dinner in which our table was at a severe angle in a a sort of alley next to the restaurant. We ended the night by making a wish at the trevi fountain and eating gelato on the Spanish Steps.

Wednesday: Menta

It was a holiday so not much was open, but we did get into the Colloseum which was pretty impressive. We tried to find a concert but didn’t have any luck. We did walk around most of the city which, in my opion, is the best way to get to know any city. That evening we got dressed up and went to a fancy dinner at the resteraunt owned by family friend’s of Shelby. It was delicious and we had fun pretending to be fancy.

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Thursday: Mamis

We left Rome in the morning and got on another train to Florence. We had the best bed and breakfast with a view of the duomo and funny little trees painting on the walls and tissue paper “clouds” hanging from the ceiling. We walked around the city and saw most a lot of the sites. We walked along the river and eventually picked up some supplies for our dinner. We ate bread, salami, wine, cheese, and nutella-to-go in our funny room. It was a great feast.

Friday: Pink Grapefruit/Azteca

I made everyone get up really early because I just had to see the David. We drank excellent coffees while we waited in line to get into the art gallery. It was really impressive. I heard it was beautiful and that it seemed like he might come alive at any moment but there is really no way to describe what it is like. After we spent some time in the gallery we ate lunch at a market suggested by the woman who owned our bed and breakfast then climbed up a big hill to get a good view of the city. We walked around sort of the rest of the day just wandering and eating more really good Italian food.

Saturday: Opera Italiana

I said good-bye to Shelby and Erik as they got on a train to Germany and I got on a train to Pisa. My Hostel in Pisa was not the worst but it was pretty bad. There were a lot of creepy older people and secret fees, which I did not appreciate. I dropped my bags off and walked around Pisa until I saw the leaning tower. It was pretty weird and honestly looked pretend from a distance. As I neared it however it really is pretty impressive. I ate gelato in the shade of the tower and people watched for a while. Afterwards I walked along the river and explored the little streets. In the evening I went to a really cool farmers market in a square near my hostel and ended by trip with one last delicious pizza made by an arguing old couple. It was a lovely end to a wonderful week.

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I am now on the plane about one hour out of JFK.  I’m sad to say this is my last post but not so sad to be home with family and friends. I want to thank you so much for following along on my adventures!

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Last Weeks in London (Oxford & Edinburgh)

I’m sorry I’m a few days late with this post but my days here have been filled with papers, exams, travel and last minute things. I can’t believe I have four days left, its one of those weeks were time flys by and you barely notice. Before I start telling you about the lovely things I’ve been up to I feel it is only right to briefly address the events at the beginning of last week. The students I live with in my building are from all over the country and some are international students but most of us go to Boston University. As the news spread a sort of silence came over the building as everyone desperately watched the news and frantically tried to contact everyone they knew. I won’t say much but I did want to mention my love for the city I have lived in for the past few years. Boston has been on my mind over the past few weeks and it feels important for me to say that before I get on with telling you about the lovely things I have been lucky enough to do.

I’ve been writing a lot of papers this week which is pretty boring, but in-between that I went on a day trip to Oxford. Oxford is a quaint town with lots of schools and museums. We spent a little time exploring some strange dusty museums full of compasses and globes. My favorite museum was the Pitts River Museum which was a funky old museum filled to the brim with old stuff, from a giant totem poll to swords to miniature ships. We also wandered down a random alley and luckily found the hidden Turf Tavern which has had many famous visitors including Bill Clinton and legend has it Shakespeare.

This weekend I finally made it up to Edinburgh! I’ve been wanting to visit the city all semester and it was the perfect weekend. We tried to save money by taking the 8 hour bus ride overnight, which was maybe not the best idea as none of us slept very much. Luckily the sun was shining and the weather was pretty warm when we arrived. The first thing we did was climb to the top of Arthur’s Seat which is an old dormant volcano. It was actually a bit of a challenging hike but we also took the hardest way up. It was worth it,the view from the top was spectacular. You could see the whole city out to the sea.

Later on Saturday, we stumbled upon a complicated ceremony going on with lots of soldiers and bagpipes. There was no lack of bagpipes in Edinburg, the sound seemed to follow us everywhere. It set a nice mood for the trip. We had some really awesome pulled pork for lunch and spent the rest of the afternoon exploring shops and little free museums. That evening we decided to go on a haunted ghost tour of the city’s vaults. It was really and truly a very scary experience. In the old days of Edinburgh, the vaults underneath the city were filled with brothels, taverns, murders and basically everything bad. The tour took us down into the dark, cold, and damp vaults. Our tour guide (who had a superb accent) told us the history of the vaults and Edinburgh then  began telling us stories about people who had been affected by the ghosts on her tours. It was all in good fun though and I surprisingly learned quite a lot. Afterwards we went to a pub called The Last Drop, where people used to go for their last drink before being executed int he square.

On Sunday we had breakfast at the cafe where J.K. Rowling wrote the first Harry Potter book. It was super cute and had the best carrot cake. I could imagine her sitting in the corner creating the stories I have read over and over. After that, we visited the National Museum of Scotland – which was the best museum I’ve been to in a long time. I continued to learn a lot about the history of Scotland but also about dinosaurs and the telegraph and Aboriginal customs. After lunch we went to the Scotch Whiskey Experience. We learned all about how whiskey is made and then learned how to taste whiskey and about what kind of scotch is made it what areas of Scotland.

It was a wonderful weekend and the bus back to London was not too bad. I’m almost done with my class work and I am enjoying the beautiful spring weather. I have a few very busy days left in London and then I off to Italy. I will update you when I get back to the states after my Italy adventure!

The Globe, Brighton, and Picnics

Spring has finally made it to London! Sunday was absolutely gorgeous. It was around 60 degrees with a nice breeze and sunshine. I’ve definitely learned to appreciate the sunshine during my time here. A few friends and I made up some jam sandwiches,  ham sandwiches  biscuits, and other snacks and took a blanket out to Hyde Park. A particularly cute puppy joined us and stole a jam sandwich. We kicked around a soccer ball and just enjoyed the weather.

I went to church yesterday morning to see what the service would be like. I figured since I grew up in the Episcopal church (aka the church of England) I should see what it’s like at one in England. I was the only person at the service. It was me and two priests in a pretty large church. This might be obvious but it was super awkward to have an almost personal mass. The building was beautiful though and the stained glass was some of the best I’ve ever seen.

On Saturday I went on a day trip to Brighton, a seaside town about two hours outside of London. Unfortunately is was pouring rain in the cute seaside town. The pier was really pretty and the doughnuts were pretty awesome. We took a tour of the Pavilion, which was a crazy palace sort of place where King George the IV lived for awhile. The decorations were insanely ornate and there were plenty of dragons involved. After trying the famous fish and chips we wandered around the vintage shops in The Lanes and tried to keep out of the rain. Despite the weather it was a good trip.

This week I had a lovely surprise, my friend Shelby visited London with her friend Erik. It was great to see them and to show them where I’ve been living for the past four months. We had dinner at a pub and toured the Globe Theatre the next day. We wandered around the Southbank a bit and made a great dinner. I am looking forward to meeting up with them in Italy in two weeks.

I am off to work on some papers and do some last minute exploring!

Jumping Off of Cliffs in Wales

This weekend I got on a train to Pembrokeshire Wales for an adventure weekend. I visited the Preseli Venture Eco Lodge in Wales for a much needed few days of fresh air and new things. A group of ten BU students took the train from Paddington station on Friday afternoon with our backpacks stuffed with warm clothes and towels. The locals on the train seemed to be a little confused as to what a bunch of american students were doing on a train in the middle of no where in Wales. We got to the lodge really late and had a few sandwiches and went to bed pretty early so we would be ready for the next day.

Saturday morning we go up bright and early and ate breakfast in the bar/cafe area and then got ready for our first activity – Coasteering. (Coasteering is the jumping off cliffs part) It took us tons of time to get ready because we had to put on several layers of wet suit, a helmet, gloves, shoes, and a life jacket. We drove a few minutes to a beach and then pretty much started wading in right away. We were in the Irish Sea and it was around 40 degrees. After we started swimming and climbing it wasn’t too cold though. We swam a little and climbed up some rocks a little and finally got to our first jump. It wasn’t too high and was actually really fun. The fact that we worked up to the biggest one made it better. I did freak out a little on that one but I am really glad that I finally jumped. The instructors were super nice and were telling us fun facts about the wildlife as we went along. We ate some seaweed that tasted like peper and smelled some flowers that smelled just exactly like coconut.  It felt so nice to be swimming in the water and the smells of the seaweed and ocean reminded me of Westhampton.

We had a hearty lunch of soup and homemade bread after our morning of swimming around and jumping off cliffs. In the afternoon we did the whole ordeal of dressing up in wetsuits again and went kayaking. We explored caves and had splashing contests and enjoyed the beautiful sunshine. I can’t even believe how beautiful a day it was, we were extremely lucky. We ended a wonderful day with a bonfire and some makeshift s’mores (we used digestives instead of graham crackers). The stars were really bright and we even sang along to a few songs with the guitar they keep at the lodge. I slept very well that evening.

On Sunday morning we had another lovely breakfast and went on a seven mile hike. It was really a hike – not a long walk. There were big hills to climb up, but the view from the tops of those hills (cliffs) were really breathtaking. We stayed along the coast for almost the whole way and the blue water with the sun shining was, as I said beautiful.  We came across a lot of sheep a long the way and some horses and cows. There were a lot of really adorable lambs running around. After living in a big city and working in a theatre (dark by nature) it was really refreshing to be in such a gorgeous part of the world and breathing in the fresh air.

Our trip back was almost 8 hours on two different trains and bus but we all took naps, ate chocolate bars and read on the way back. Going back to work today was a little hard but I can now say I’ve jumped off a cliff in Wales.

Terry is in London/Easter in Paris

This week has been so crazy and so wonderful! Last Tuesday, my mom arrived in London and we spent our first night watching, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime in the West End. We both loved it and I have decided it is my new favorite play. The storytelling was amazing and they used the technology really tastefully. The next evening, we went out to Jamie Oliver’s restaurant, Union Jack’s, and walked along the south bank and saw the lights on the river. To round out (pun intended) our London experience we convinced ourselves to go up in the London Eye. We are both afraid of heights so the prospect of riding in a giant ferris wheel was not too appealing but we finally did it and the view really was amazing – plus we got over a fear (a little anyway). We saw Moby Dick at the Arcola that evening and hummed sea shanties the whole tube ride home.

We woke up super early the next day and made our way to Kings Cross Station to catch our train to Paris! The whole think was a blur since it was 5am but once we got to Paris we checked into our funky hotel (our room had no blankets) and went to walk along the river and look at Notre Dame. It was a beautiful sunny day – which feels more special when you live in a really cloudy place. We had a nice lunch at a small restaurant (where everyone was speaking french) and then found the famous Berthillon ice cream shop. It really was the best ice cream I’ve ever had. One of our favorite spots we found that day was the Shakespeare and Co. Bookstore which was full of neat old books hidden in nooks and crannies. We had a rest at our hotel and then went to the Montparnasse tower and took the elevator up to the top. The view was amazing, we saw the sunset and stayed until the lights went on in the Eiffel Tower. We had an amazing dinner at a Bistro near our hotel and fell asleep.

The next day we went to Versailles and spent most of the day there. We toured the palace and then wandered around in the gardens and even took a petit train our to Marie Antoinette’s little farm. Everything was gorgeous of course and unimaginably huge. Who knew someone needed so many chandeliers? The palace was impressive but I think walking around in the gardens was my favorite. Towards the end of the day there was a music and water show at the fountains, we were pretty sure it was going to be cheesy but it wasn’t at all. There were tons of fountains and there was different classical music playing at each one. It was beautiful. After Versailles we walked around under the Eiffel tower and then went back to the hotel for some pizza in our room.

On Easter we went to Sacre Coeur for the Easter Mass with my friend Stephen and his parents. Even though it was a little confusing because it was in Latin and French and I’m not catholic, it was still really cool to experience and whenever I didn’t know what was going on there was the beautiful church to look at. We had a nice Easter lunch of lamb and then went to the Louvre. I was so impressed and could have spent days wandering around. We skipped the Mona Lisa but saw some Vermeer and one of my favorites – the Cupid and Psyche statue (Canova). We ended our Easter Sunday with a boat tour down the Seine and saw many of the beautiful buildings we didn’t quite make it to on this trip. We also got some Chinese food but in our defense there wasn’t much open and it was actually super good.

Since today is Easter Monday it was almost like a ghost town in our area so we walked around the left bank and did some last minute shopping before taking the train back to London. We had fish and chips (and sticky toffee pudding) at my favorite pub and checked my mom into her new hotel. Sadly tomorrow is her last day but we have had an amazing time in both London and Paris. I’ll leave my plans for next weekend a surprise but I will tell you all about it on Sunday.

Harry Potter Studios, Elsewhereland, and the Chocolate Festival

Today I visited the Harry Potter Warner Brother Studio Tour – it is one of my favorite things I’ve done in London so far. It reminded me of dressing up for the midnight release parties at the old book store and of listening to my mom read me and my sister the books when we were younger. I don’t mean to be too sentimental but I do love Harry Potter and that theme song always reminds me of all of those things. It was really fascinating to see the sets, the wigs, the costumes, and I especially enjoyed the special effects displays. They had certain areas set up so that it looked like how it looked when they filmed but then also certain things would be automated, like Mrs. Weasely’s knitting or the potions. It was so easy to imagine yourself in Harry’s world when walking down the diagon alley set and looking in all the shop windows. The detail is absolutely amazing.  I splurged and got myself an extremely expensive chocolate frog but it was massive and I got the Salazar Slythern card.

This week was not especially exciting at work except I did get to see a play in dutch on Saturday night. It was called Elsewhereland  and there were supertitles so the english audience could understand what was going on. The Dutch was really interesting to listen to, it reminded me of german a little bit. The story was about Turkish immigrants living in Amsterdam, which was so cool because I came to the play knowing nothing about the topic. Reed and I did the “get out” (also known as “strike” or clean up and put stuff away) and got ice cream after. Cadbury Cream Eggs are my absolute favorite holiday candy. Ever. They have Cadbury Egg McFlurries and the McDonalds here so I had to try it – it was as awesome as expected.

One of my favorite things I did this week was play soccer on the quad of a local university late at night. It was muddy and a little drizzly but it was so fun to run around and kick the ball with some friends. It was also probably good that I got some exercise because I also went to a chocolate festival on the Southbank. I had a hot chocolate with chili which was so yummy. That’s how the Mayans ate chocolate.

This week was great but mama bear lands on Tuesday! I am so excited for her to see London and for our adventure to Paris. Let us know if you have any tips for Paris!

Stonehenge, Soda Bread, and Tosca

This week I  went to the Royal Opera House. I saw Tosca (for the third time) and it was so beautiful. I love going to the opera because I love the music and the costumes and the melodrama. I was sitting super far away from the stage but I could hear the music perfectly. It was also fun to dress up and pretend I was as fancy as all of the rich people in their crazy big jewelry and furs.

I haven’t done anything too exciting at work this week but we did hang lights for a modern dance show. I saw the show on Friday and it was pretty cool. There were two girls who were trying to stay awake like little girls at a sleepover. There was aslo the “piano man” who took the front cover off the piano and played it like a guitar and hit it like a drum. It was pretty fun and only a little strange. They also started rehearsals for their Chekov piece that will open in a few weeks.

This weekend I celebrated St. Patrick’s Day on Saturday by making my friend Julia’s great grandmother’s soda bread recipe (which of course was delicious).  The feast also included porridge with raisins, beans on toast, green eggs and ham, orange slices and plenty of tea and coffee. If there’s one thing we’re good at, it’s making a giant feast. I also went to an Irish pub which was loud and crowded and really fun.

Today I visited Stonehenge. I have to admit that I am super nerdy and thought it was awesome. (I even watched a documentary) It was snowing big huge giant snow flakes and it looked absolutely magical. I love the fact that no one really knows what it was used for or really how they got those huge rocks to that field or how they got them up into that position. Afterwards we went to the town of Salisbury which was super cute. The cathedral was magnificent and there was organ music playing while we explored and admired the stained glass.

I can’t believe its the 18th of March already and that this is my tenth post! I have already seen so many wonderful things and I still have more weeks to come.

 

Platform 9 3/4, Mummies, and Fruit Tarts

This week I visited five museums. I am a little museum-ed out actually but I saw some amazing things. On Friday I went with my literature class to the British Library an the British Museum with an excellent walking tour in-between given my my professor. That morning I saw Jane Austen’s writing desk, Shakespeare’s first folio, the magna carta, the roseta stone, and  a ton of mummies. To make the day even nerdier I went to platform 9 3/4 to have my picture taken with the famous luggage cart. It isn’t actually in the location of where platforms 9 and 10 are because you need an actual train ticket to get to that location. It was still really fun and of course there was a gift shop.

The third museum was the Hackney Museum, which is near the area where the theatre I work at is in. It was interesting since I didn’t know anything about the area. It’s been a place for refugees for a long time and it used to be very rural. The museum was really interactive and had an extremely old saxon boat which was pretty neat. I also stopped in at a Primark which was close by and got some super good deals (I got a t-shirt for work for only 2 pounds) Speaking of work, this week I hung up a neon sign. While I wish I was doing less construction type work it’s kind of fun that I get to do random and different things every day.

I was “on-call” this weekend which meant I had to stay around the area with an emergency phone in case something happened. I really can’t complain because its the only weekend I have to do it the whole semester. I used it as an opportunity to go back to The Victoria and Albert Museum and the Natural History Museum (museums 4 and 5). I think I’ve seen almost every room in both museums.  I also tried two awesome Italian restaurants in the area. I had the best pizza at a place around the corner that I’ve been meaning to go to the whole semester. I even had a girly night – it was British themed because we watched Bridget Jones’ Diary and ate cadbury ice cream. Finally today I met up with my friend Molly, who I haven’t seen in a while, and made beautiful and delectable fruit tarts with her. It was a lovely way to spend a Sunday afternoon. Happy British Mother’s day!

Sea Shanties, Brick Lane, and Ireland

This week I started my internship at the Arcola theatre in East London. Due to some confusion I am currently doing a lof building work instead of stage management work. For example, I spent last week building shelves and hanging pipes to make a storage space for the theatre’s lighting and sound equipment. I have to say I am pretty proud of myself for doing the following things 1) drilling into concrete and 2) smashing some old windows with a sledge hammer (for recycling purposes not for being a delinquent). I was too afraid to cut the steel so poor Reed (my friend who is also interning there) had to do all of that. The theatre is really cool and works very hard to be green. It is inside an old paint factory and apparently famous painters bought their paint there. Soon the play version of Moby Dick will be opening (hence the Sea Shanties). I’ve been listening to the sailors rehearse their sea shanties while I work on the store room. I love the book and whales so I am pretty excited.

To celebrate the first week of internships I went to Brick Lane with two friends for a celebratory dinner of Indian Food. I van’t believe it’s taken me this long to have Indian food in London. On Brick Lane there are tons and tons of Indian restaurants and people yell at you as you walk down to the street to convince you that they have the best food and the best deal –  “we’ll give you free naan and a bottle of wine” and ‘”oh their portions are too small and their drinks taste like water”. We finally found a good place after little exploring and negotiating.  We had four courses of delicious indian food and a bottle of wine for only 12 pounds each. I had chicken that had a honey, coconut, almond sauce that was extremely sweet but tasty. It was a really fun way to end the week.

This weekend I visited Ireland for the first time! I have to say that I love it. My impressions of Ireland before this weekend were from reading books, plays, poetry and from stories that my dad has told me so it was lovely to actually see some of it . I got up at five in the morning on Saturday and made my way to Luton airport and took my first Ryan Air flight to the Knock. Ryan Air was just at sketchy as I expected but it got me there. If you don’t know where that is here is a map. Jess and Seamus, very good family friends that we originally met through the bookstore, picked me up at the airport. They were visiting family in the area and were kind enough to be my lovely hosts. They really spoiled me and I am so lucky to have had them show me around.

We went to Foxford and met a bunch of the family members and saw the little town. I was surprised at how mountainous it is there. It wasn’t like the rockies or anything but there were mountains. I was very pleased to see many sheep and ponies dotting the hills as we drove around. Farm animals can be pretty exciting when you live in a city. We drove to Westport, a really cute town close by, for lunch and a nice walk. In the town there was a beautiful view of the Croagh Patrick (a mountain and pilgrimage site). That evening we went to Mount Falcon for Seamus’ father’s birthday dinner. Mount Falcon is a beautiful old house (more like a mansion) that serves amazing food. The whole family (a nice big family and me) jumped on a bus and went to the restaurant/hotel. I had duck and hake with potatoes and a big ravioli that was filled with crab. Most of the food was local and all of it was very good. It was a proper family event with lots of laughing and teasing and  eating of food. We visited a favorite pub after dinner and it was cozy and seemed much more authentic then the touristy one’s I’ve been to in London. I still was too chicken to try a Guinness but I will get around to it before I leave.

This morning we slept in and then went for a walk down by the river. It was at this point I realized how much I miss walking around in nature when I’ve been in a city for awhile. The air was crisp and smelled so good and spring flowers like daffodils were blooming. The town has a wool mill that is still in operation. We ate breakfast in the cafe at the mill and looked at all of the really nice blankets and sweaters. After lunch we went for a drive and saw some of the most gorgeous views of lakes and mountains. I also pet a donkey and a pony with hair so long it fell in it’s eyes. It was really a perfect Sunday and the sun even came out. It was so nice to feel the sun on my face, especially since it’s cloudy here so often. The treck back wasn’t too bad and I feel refreshed and ready for the week. It was so nice to see some friends from home, meet some very kind people and experience a new country.

Wien & Praha (Vienna and Prague)

I’ve finally been out of the UK! I just returned from my spring break adventures to Vienna and Prague. Last week started with a whirlwind of writing papers and doing presentations and taking tests.  As a treat for finishing finals a bunch of my friends and I went to Fleet Street and made our own meat pie (minus any suspicious ingredients). On Wednesday morning Jen and I left the Crofton at 4:00am and took the night bus to Heathrow airport. Our first destination was Vienna and we were lucky enough to have booked a flight on British Airways so it was really nice (plus we got breakfast). Veronika (my old and very good friend from a high school summer exchange) was nice enough to pick us up at the airport and drive us back to her home in Baden. We settled in and caught up with her father Herbert. We had a big and delicious lunch of soup with beans and sausage and Palatschinken (thin pancakes like crepes that you put nutella or jam in) It was snowing pretty hard so we walked around Baden a little and came home to watch movies and eat chocolate. Veronika also made us a Sacher Torte, which is a famous chocolate cake from Vienna with apricot jam. It was so nice to be welcomed by the Webers and to catch up with them. They are really a very kind family and I miss them already.

The next day we got up early and took the train into the city. It was pretty cold, but we were so lucky because the sun was shining. We walked around the center of the city and saw the major sites, St. Stephen’s Cathedral, The State Opera House, Parliament, and many other gorgeous buildings. It was the third time that I’ve been to the city but I was still amazed by all of the beautiful buildings. We had schnitzel for lunch which was soo yummy. Jen learned how to say “I love schnitzel” in german. We looked for a t-shirt that said it but had no luck. It was very cold so after lunch we went to the Albertina museum and saw an exhibit of Max Ernst which was pretty odd (surrealism) and some Matisse and Picasso. To complete our day of doing Viennese things we warmed up in Cafe Central. Vienna is famous for it’s coffee houses and this one is absolutely spectacular. We had coffee and hot chocolate and apple strudel while listening to a live pianist in a beautiful old building. It was a perfect was to end our day. We relaxed at Veronika’s house that evening since we had to get up really early the next day.

The next day we got up super early and took the train into Vienna where we then caught a bus to Prague. I slept for most of the ride but as we got closer to Prague the scenery was really beautiful. It was already snowing so the fields were almost the same color as the sky which created a kind of optical illusion. We somehow found our hotel when we got to the city. It was a really cool but disorienting experience because Czech is really a challenging language. The letters are different and the sounds are hard to pronounce. The public transportation was pretty easy to use though, which is a plus.  After settling in at our fairly nice (for 11 euros a night) hotel we went out to explore the city. We saw an old bell tower and tried to get a general feel for the city before settling in at a restaurant for some typical Czech food. We had beer and roast pork with cabbage and potato dumplings. Now is a good time to mention that I didn’t eat any vegetables that weren’t pickled in the last five days. We continued our exploration after lunch and made our way to the old town. We saw a lot of beautiful old buildings but I’m not sure I can tell you the names of all of them. We found a mall with 200 shops in it and explored for a while. We went to the grocery store and got a bunch of snacks and supplies to have a girls night at the hotel. We ate bread and cheese and chocolate and wine (all czech) and painted our nails and did facials.

We got up early and ate a breakfast of cheese and bread and salami (sound familiar) at the hotel (for free!) and headed out to the Charles Bridge. Even though it was heavily snowing we walked across the bridge. This part of Prague was quaint and really beautiful and more what I had expected. We ate Trdelnik, a Czech pastry that is dough wrapped around a hot round piece of metal and after its been cooked filled with – you guessed it- nutella. We made our way up a very slippery hill to the Prague Castle (hrad). It was really interesting and had a lot cool things inside like suits of armor and portraits. I learned a lot about the history of the Czech Republic, which I honestly didn’t know too much about. There was also a breathtaking view from the top of the hill. After the castle we saw St. Vitus cathedral which was my favorite building we saw in Prague. Even though the snow caused my feet to freeze I think it made the cathedral even more stunning. We had some Italian food for a late lunch which was awesome (the pasta was homemade), then went back for a nap. We explored the old town a little more in the evening and got more snacks since it was a little too cold to be out for too long.

Today I spent most of the day traveling from Prague to Cologne (a city I still can’t pronounce) and then from Cologne to London. It was an amazing trip despite the snow and sometimes being lost, in fact those two things made it more memorable. Even though I had so much fun it is nice to be back at my temporary home in South Kensington especially since I start my internship tomorrow. More on that next week!

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