We headed out early Friday morning from Lausanne on a 6 hour train ride to Salzburg, which half way though the ride they informed us (in german) that the back two cars that we were sitting in were having maintenance problems and they were leaving them at the next station so everyone on those cars needed to move. As we scrabbled to figure out what was going on and everyone laughing at us because we were in freak out mode, a sweet young lady with a small baby came up and told us what was going on. We got on the right car and finished the rest of the ride. Once we arrived in Salzburg, we found our hotel which was right in the middle of town. We checked in and freshened up before we went out to explore the city, grab some Döner’s, get some gifts, then head back to the hotel for a good nights sleep before our last day. We woke up the next morning and headed to our Sound of Music tour which took us around the entire city while explaining the real story of the Von Trap family and what was filmed in each place. Once that part of the tour was over, it kept going to explain where Mozart wrote his masterpieces and his favorite places to go. After our tour ended we found a quick bite to eat then went to grab our things and head the the airport. I don’t need to get into the details on the flight, just now I had a rapid heartbeat until on England soil. 🙂 The trip was a success and it was a week well spent in Europe!
We headed to Zurich from Munich on a 4 hour bus ride and it was one that you ride along thinking your in a movie,the landscape is so beautiful. We arrived in Zurich and had time to find something to eat, check times of our taxi and then find where we needed to be. Around 8 went had a personal taxi drive us 2 hours south to a town called Lausanne, where we met some of Addie’s friends that we stayed with. We got there fairly late in the evening so after a little conversation we called it a night. The next morning we got up bright and early so we could explore the city, we saw the Lausanne Museum, the Cathedral, and many open markets. After exploring we went back to have lunch with Martina, the young lady that was hosting us the the time we were there. Martina is from the U.S. and got married a year ago and they immediately moved to Switzerland, where her husband is from and they live above his parents in a smaller apartment. The three of us then took the train to tour the Chateau Chillon which was built in the 1400’s and was used also to keep people hidden in WWII. After a wonderful afternoon at the castle, we went back to the house to help get ready for dinner, they were having a big dinner for us all, Stephanie and Brady, Martina, Luca (foreign exchange student from Italy), and the director and house family for the Pepperdine study abroad program in Lausanne. It was a lovely dinner, with lots of laughter, love, and full bellies. When dinner was over Addie and tried to explain the life of an American student attending ACU, and he became fascinated with it, watching video after video of sing song. The next morning we said our thank you’s and goodbyes, then head off to Austria.
This past week I had a long travel break and I decided to go with a friend, Addie, to several different countries! We started out our trip a little scared, a lot excited, and somewhat anxious all which is to come when travel on your own for the first time. We had each printed out everything so we would have extra copies of reservations, tickets and phone numbers. We headed to London Friday morning for a class trip to the British Library and then to The National British Museum, and from there we went to Kings Cross Rail Station to get our pictures at 9 3/4 head to Hogwarts. 🙂 After we got souvenirs and all kinds of fun stuff, we head to a Bed and Breakfast in Stansted, England which was closest to the airport. The next morning we woke up at 5:30 to make it to the airport at 6! From there we went with easy to our gate and then onto our flight. If anyone knows me well enough you know that I AM NOT A GOOD FLYER! I was trying to keep myself calm and trying to not panic, however, we were flying on a german airline which only spoke german. So we are flying high in the sky and next thing I know is the plane is on it’s side going through clouds and rain! The “sweet” lady in front of me decided to inform her kids next to her at this moment, that were crying, that there was nothing they could do now, that they were in the airplane and if it crashed… it crashed and if it landed… it landed. This did not help the kids, or me. Anyways, obviously I’m alive and we made it to Hanover, Germany. We got our bag and headed to the train station to catch a train to Hildesheim and we got there just in time. Unfortunately, Addie left her backpack with all of her important things on the train. As Addie started going into a panic, I walked her to the information desk then went to find Susan (a family friend/lifesaver). Turns out she found us first and she helped translate into german what had happen, what the bag looked like, and what train it was on. 3 short hours later the backpack was back with us and we went on exploring the city with Susan. After several hours of a wonderful, insightful tour of this quant german town we headed to one of the Bratcher’s friends house for a mexican dinner night and then youth group bible study. This food and fun time was much needed after a long day of traveling. The next day we woke up and went to the Church of Christ in Hildesheim for service and then had a german potluck full of foods my mouth waters thinkings about. After the long meal, it was time for me to have a little nap before we headed off to the Maribelle Castle just outside of town. I loved winding up the mountain looking at all the colors of the trees and then reaching the castle at the top of the hill. After that we went back to the house because it was cold and we all wanted to get in our PJ’s grab some hot cocoa and snuggle up and watch a movie. Monday morning we attempted living like an actual german high school student by attending my friend Aaron’s English class for his first two hours of the day. It was quite funny, and interesting to know what they think about America, what they think about Germany and how hard English is for others. After class, we walked around a bit before heading back home for lunch, Raclette Pizza. Yum! That evening we just relaxed at the house and watched movies, facetimed family and helped Lara with homework. Then Tuesday came, we knew that we had to catch a night train that night at midnight so we slept in that morning. After we woke up, we had museli and yogurt for breakfast, then helped Lara with her homework again. Before I forget, for lunch we had Döner, which is a turkish lamb sandwich and man it is some good eatin’!!! Once Lara finished she walked with us downtown to look for gifts and postcards, and we treated her (and myself) to her favorite ice cream! When we watched Lara for Kyle and Susan and ended watching old Drake and Josh episodes! After an hour or so I put Lara to bed, read her some bible stories and told her goodbye, it’s always hard to say goodbye to that family. Later that night Kyle drove us to the train station, and made sure we got to the right place and the right time and that we were safe! A long journey was ahead of us when we got onto our train, I put my hair up and covered it with a beanie, then the face mask went on and I was out! We arrived at 7:30 in Munich and had a few hours to kill so we stopped at the starbucks in the train station for wifi and some breakfast. Addie told her family she was okay, while I found a bathroom and washed my hair in the sink. Gathering our things we went to view the historic Dachau, Concentration Camp and learn more about the history of WWII. We finished the tour with barely enough time to get to our bus that was headed for Switzerland….to be continued.
The last stop on our journey in Spain was Avila, a small city in the countryside surrounded by a wall. You can’t stay inside the walls if you are not a citizen of Avila so we stayed at the monastery right outside the wall. When we arrived at the monastery we all got settled in and then took a tour of the city before heading to dinner that evening. We had a group dinner that evening and then we went out that night for more food because of the questionable meat that they had served us that evening. We all stayed at that cafe until late that night playing card games, my family would be happy to know I am now a pro at Nerts. The next day was the festival of Saint Teresa and there was loud music and events all over the place! We woke up and went to Mass at the Cathedral which I am pretty sure the entire town was at attendance and the 2 hour long service was is Spanish. After the Mass was a small parade with life size statues being carried down the tiny streets. After the parade we all went back for lunch which we were pleased to find out was a roasted chicken. We rested that afternoon and then all got together for a devo on St. Teresa’s life, and what she has done for the village of Avila. From there we had a quick bite to eat and then we went to catch some of the fireworks to end the festival. Best firework show ever!!!! Wednesday was a chill day we all walked the wall and went around the town exploring before heading back to pack our bags to come back to Oxford. I loved our time in Spain, yes there were definitely times of frustration and anger, but there were more memories and and laughter than the negatives. I hope you all get a chance to enjoy the laid back lifestyle of the Spanish, but for now I am back in England and enjoying every minute of it! Oxford has become my home, my comfort place, and my love. I can’t bear to think that I will be leaving in 7 weeks, it brings tears to my eyes just thinking about leaving this place. I have learned to live like the English, eat like them, walk everywhere like them, and now love the culture they live in. This week we also had President Schubert and some other ACU staff members come visit and ask us questions about studying abroad. The first question was, what do you like the most about being here?
-This is such a hard question, whether it’s from the healthiness, or the transportation, the scenery or the accent. The victorian houses that are around every corner, the families taking their kids to fish in Port Meadow with the free roaming cows and horses, or the smell every morning of fresh rain just as the sun begins to peek through the clouds. While this place may seem on paper to be gloomy and dark, depressing almost, it is far from it. It has the ambiance of a romantic poet with his tongue in knots on how to described the beauty of this place. In the words of the marvelous and admirable Queen Victoria “It is impossible to imagine a prettier place”.
Madrid, definitely not one of my favorite places I have been too! This place is not as safe as the others and their isn’t a lot to do there. We went to 2 Art Museums which were amazing and that was about it. We spent one evening going out to a jazz plaza and listening to all the music outside, while sipping on coffee con leche and eating cheesecake. The last day we went to starbucks and then to the Royal Palace before we hit the road again!
The next stop on our trip was Poblet, this was a town of birds singing and vineyards. We got to Poblet and didn’t have a lot to do but eat and explore the vineyards so that’s just what we did. The next day we went to a little bit bigger town called Montblanc and explored to small city along with the market’s and bakery’s. The next morning we got our stuff together and started a 6 hour bus ride to Madrid. The time we had in Poblet was very short, but very pleasant. There isn’t a lot to there but enjoy the beauty so that is just what we did.
I went to Barcelona with a open mind and a full belly! We arrived in the middle of the afternoon on Monday afternoon and we went to explore the plaza and get souvenirs. That evening we had a 3 course dinner with the group…it was AMAZING and also lasted 3 hours! After dinner a few of us walked down to the beach to enjoy the water and the sand. We started the next day with going on a Fat Tire Bike Tour which is a group bike tour all around the city over 5 miles. It was amazing, literally one of the best things I have done since being abroad. There were lots of stops and it wasn’t hard to bike at all since we were in a big group. Paris, London, Barcelona, and Berlin all had Fat Tire Bike Tours so please sign up for one…or all! After the tour we went to grab some lunch then head down to the beach to relax the rest of the afternoon. Once we finished up at the beach we washed up for dinner and then called it a night because we were getting tired. Wednesday we started the day early and going on a tour of Sagrda Famalia, which is literally life changing. After that we had lunch then continued to Gaudi Park for a couple hours before heading back to the hotel for a Siesta then dinner. Continuing on the week we went to the farmer’s market then some got their ears pierced. We wrapped up the day my going into St. Mary’s Cathedral before going to dinner and packing up for the next town. Before we left Barcelona we stopped at the Futbol stadium and other scenic areas before hitting the road. I have to say before I go to the next town that Girona and Barcelona were definitely my favorite places in Spain, the others were just as exciting, but if deciding on were to go please look into those places first! 🙂
Girona, what a beautiful place you should all put down to visit! This average Catalan village was the perfect place to start our journey in Spain. We arrived on a sunny Saturday afternoon right in the middle of Siesta so it was like a ghost town. As soon as we got checked into our apartments we all walked around to see the city before it came back alive after Siesta. Girona being only an hour or two from Barcelona is becoming more touristy as the years go by. When Siesta happens which is normally from 1-4 in the entire country, little tables come appear in front of stores selling small souvenirs and sale items when their main shop is closed. After walking around for about 30 minutes in my heavy English attire I made it a mission to find some Spanish clothes! A friend and I spent the entire afternoon searching and bargaining with people for shorts, and skirts, t-shirts and blouses. Once the hours had passed we made our way back to the apartment to find others to have dinner with. We meet up with a couple others and found some awesomely cheap Chinese food and called it a night after grabbing a scoop of Gelato. The next morning found some breakfast and went to explore the wall the covered the edge of the city. We enjoyed a quick meal of Tapes and went on to explore, we found modern art gallery which is were the ballet shoes with knives attached to them were found. Here is the linked for the film they showed along with the art. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VEJjkDbJ_Rc, please watch it! We then went to have a Siesta, might as well if the town is shut down! After that we found a good dinner and enjoyed each others company until lights out. Our final day in Girona we had a tour of the city taking us to the Cathedral, the Baths, and along the main road. This was the last thing we did before we loaded our things on the coach to head to Barcelona, but we grabbed some Empindas to go! 🙂 Adios
I decided at the last minute to go to Bath again with Taylor to see some of the Lipscomb student on Monday. We wanted to get away for a little bit, but I apparently am just in a hot mess wherever I go. We got there on Monday afternoon and explored the town some more meeting some funny asian people making a movie, they asked us to join, but only a few did. It was quite a new experience for us all 🙂 We then headed to shop around in which I found a vintage music store, and art supply shop! Poppyseed Chicken! That was our dinner, and let me just pause for a moment of silence for it’s awesomeness!
Okay, after dinner we played some Bananagrams which was so great to feel like I was back at home playing with my family. Overall, it was good to get away, but I am afraid there won’t be another chance to do it again.
This weekend in the Isle of Wight was definitely the best so far, whether it was the cool ocean breeze or the beauty of the scenery it was a trip to smile upon. Our weekend started out with waking up at 6:00 to catch a bus ride to Southhampton and take a ferry to Cowes on the Isle. I honestly can’t say a lot about the trip because I was out cold. Once we arrived at our youth hostel and put our stuff away in our rooms we went to find lunch at the Duke of York and I am happy to say that I had a lovely meal of a bacon cheeseburger and chips. After lunch we all met up and went down to The Needles which is a beach, carnival area that you can relax and have fun at…we succeed in the fun! 🙂 We then had dinner which was Toad in the Hole (2 sausages in a pancake ball) at the hostel dining hall. Exploring the dock was the next thing on our agenda and that didn’t last long after the game of pretend to push Emily into the Megaladon infested waters. I definitely wanted some sleep after that, but I had to read for my C.S. Lewis class. In the morning we had breakfast at a bread shop and I had the usual Pain au Chocolat and white latte. Continuing on, we head to Carisobrooke Castle which is were King Charles I was imprisoned for high treason and stayed there for 10 months then he was executed. I had lunch at the tea room at the castle, which was some delicious macaroni and cheese! From there we went to the Osbourne house which was the summer house for Queen Victoria and Albert and their 9 children. Coming from a person that is absolutely in awe of Victoria and Albert it was life changing. On January 22, 1901 Victoria passed away at Osbourne in her room with family and loved ones. This was the conclusion of our weekend and I was more than pleased with the trip! I hope everything is well over the pond, Cheers.