Category Archives: Vacations/Trips

Portugal

Portugal was great. It was cool to go back to Lisbon and be able to show people around. I knew the city really well — much better than I had thought — and was able to drag Mom, Dad, and Lauren all over town for the best and biggest sites.

We weren’t in Lisbon the whole time, we took a few day trips south to the Algarve, north to Coimbra, and nearby to Sintra. I’d been to all those places before, but in the short time we were there, we were able to do somethings that were new even for me.

We also had delicious pastry and octopus and caldo verde soup, among other things.

And here’s some pictures of it:

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Wonderful places

I’ve been running around Europe the past few days and it’s been truly spectacular. Already been to 3 different countries (I was actually in all three in one very long day) and they’ve been great. I think my favorite may have been the Greek Island of Santorini. We were staying in a beautiful little hostel–basically a 4 person hotel room at a hostel price–just 200 feet or so from a black sand beach. Not to brag, but it was gorgeous and relaxing and none of the four of us (I’m traveling with 3 friends from London) are quite sure why we left. We also took a night ferry so we’re pretty tired/cracked out.

Greek food is amazing. The sunset in Oia is beautiful. It looks like scenes from Mamma Mia/Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. Probably because Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants was actually filmed there.

I’ll post pictures eventually…probably not till I’m back with real computer access, but in the mean time, I’m safe, having fun, loving Europe, and enjoying the sun.

Pictures, as promised

What have I been up to? Lots of fun things. I went to Norway for a weekend, though I guess I already said that. That was pretty cool (literally…things were frozen and there was snow everywhere). It was so cold and thus so off season that since lots of things were closed, I spent lots of time in the train station or in random shopping malls to escape the mall. Lots of aimless wandering, but fun.

I’ve been doing lots of errands which is actually more fun than it sounds. Yesterday I walked 6 miles or so while running errands. I was looking for a new messenger bag and wallet to replace the ones that had been stole and it took me hours to find anything acceptable. I got a bunch of other stuff done and in the process I was able to explore some new areas of town, like Soho which is filled with adorable local boutiques.

Then today I went on more errands, kind of a continuation of yesterday and I explored a new area of Covent Garden (another shopping district…it’s kind of a theme in London) and the Seven Dials which 200 years ago was a terrible part of town but now is really nice with more cute boutiques. There was a store called American Classics, ironically filled with British people and absurdly priced cowboy-esque clothing.

And today I also went on a tour of the Olympic site in London. While we didn’t actually get to see that much/go inside anything, it was pretty cool because I got to see some new parts of London and learn more about the 2012 Olympics. These games are going to be pretty green…a lot of things are made out of recyclable material and after the games most of the stadiums are going to come down and be reused in other parts of the country. It’s also regenerating one of the poorest areas of London and making excessive use of public transport. Pretty cool. Those pictures will come later though.

And finally, the promised pictures:

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Back

Popped over to Norway for the weekend with one of my friends from QM. We just got back a half hour ago or so and I’m tired and while my brain tells me it’s 2:36 am, my body has no clue what time it is (daylight savings time + time zone changes + sleeping on the floor can do that to you).

Norway was awesome. Really cold though. The water was frozen and there was snow every where. Also, all the Norwegians had skis and just brought them on the T-banen (tube/metro/subway) with them. We tried to see the fjords, but with everything frozen, the ferries weren’t really working (except for one to Copenhagen).

I probably didn’t pack enough warm clothes for Norway but I was fine after I triple layered my shirts, double layered my socks, and used my spare pair of socks as mittens (I only had one glove with me for some reason). After that, plus a scarf and a hat, it was quite toasty. Plus my friend and I were quite good at finding warm places to hang out (like train stations or malls).

Norway or Oslo at least is also super expensive. By super expensive I mean most meals cost $30 at least. No joke. I even saw some restaurants with appetizers for that much. But my friend (Corinne) and I were able to beat that system. Instead of spending $30 a meal, we went to a grocery store and spent about $30 total for all our meals for 3 days. Go us.

Anyway, it’s late and I need to sleep since I have a 9 am tomorrow. I’ll post pictures later. I’ve been saying that for ages, but I will.

What a crazy week

The short: last weekend I was in Germany. Back in time for a 9 am Tuesday and to hang out with some QM friends. Wednesday, a friend from high school arrives and we run around the city for a few days (and see two awesome show: Clybourne Park and Jersey Boys)…then the bad part. Was supposed to fly to Geneva, complications and couldn’t get to the airport in time. I’m in London for the weekend, but having fun so far, just hanging out with friends, using up my TravelCard and seeing diff parts of the City that I hadn’t visited before.

Will update more and post photos too soon.

PS: Germany has a store with just gummies (and tons of free samples).

 

A full month

As of today, I’ve officially been in London a full month and I love it.

This week has been very sports heavy (for me anyway) since I went to two sporting events in one week. Wednesday I went to a football game with a bunch of other QM study abroad students. Fulham vs Newcastle, Fulham won.

And today I went to QM’s Super Bowl Party. It was fun, but it helped me to realize how little I care about football. The most disappointing thing: BBC One/Sports did not play any of the commercials.

Yesterday I left the city for the first time and went on a field trip up to Oxford. We saw a lot of the Harry Potter sites, ate delicious cookies, and walked around the city at least 12 times. I was able to visit one of my friends from Lisbon while I was there too.

Then today I went to the Chinese New Year celebrations with a few friends. There were so many people in Trafalgar Square that you couldn’t actually see anything. The area was probably as packed as Times Square on New Years Eve.

On the way to the Tate Modern for the Seven Sisters tea, I bought a Red Nose Day pen and a Doctor Who calendar. This month’s picture is of Winston Churchhill making a peace sign with Daleks in the background.

The tea was in a room with an amazing view of the Thames and we ended downstairs in the café where we had mini sandwiches, tea, and scones.

All in all, a good week.

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So close

I’m in Canada right now (or more exactly preentrance to the US space) so I’m about 3 hours from the US and 6 or 7 hours from home, hopefully.

And then tomorrow’s Christmas eve and I get to see everybody.

CAN NOT WAIT.

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Almost…

The Azores have been great. The time went by so quickly, though I’ll update about that later.

Right now, I’m sitting in an airport (perhaps the smallest international airport in the world) waiting for my flight. I only have 3 flights and 24 hours until I’m home. CAN NOT WAIT.

The flights aren’t even that long…I just have crazy layovers (10 hours in one city, 4 hours in another). But those are good times to sleep, finish my anthro paper (oops), and readjust myself to American life.

Yep. I’m almost there.

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Quick study break…

Progress. I’m making progress, very slowly but surely. I spent today adding citations and editing my first draft of my anthro paper. Never again will I write something first and add citations later. I’ve learned my lesson — this is a major pain, especially since I have 12 sources I’m using, 90(ish) pages of notes, and (a goal of) 25 pages of text. Too much.

But I’m making my way through. I’m still on the first draft because last week I was focusing on my final exam for anthro (worth 40%, was 10 pages long including a 2 page works cited). This paper, though it’s 25 pages and has been the dark cloud hanging over this class/my academic life here, is only worth maybe 20%.

Fortunately, my weekend has not *just* been work. Yesterday, I went to Sintra, which is a town 30 minutes from Lisbon by train that used to be the “playground of the rich.” I had been there once at the very beginning of the semester (actually, on my birthday) with all of CIEE, but I hadn’t gotten to see the things I wanted to. Yesterday, I went with a friend who also wanted to get some last minute culture in and we saw both a multi-colored place and a Medieval Moorish castle. All in all, it was a pretty sweet day. I took lots of pictures of course, but I haven’t uploaded them yet.

I did a tiny bit of work and then went to a movie with some friends and we have *officially* made plans to see Tangled on Thursday when it comes out here. If it’s already out in the US and you’ve seen it, don’t spoil it. Actually, I’m seeing it in Portuguese so that might help.

Speaking of Portuguese…on Friday I saw one of my cousins from the Azores. She was in Lisbon for work and we had lunch together. It was nice to see her, a good lunch, etc. I also unfortunately had 3 class on Friday. In my language class, we literally spent the entire two hours reading, going over, talking about, and writing responses to a text (in Portuguese) about tardiness. To say the class as a whole sometimes has a problem with tardiness would be an understatement. I, of course, am perfect (no really…I haven’t even missed a class yet).

And for dinner 11 of us went to an all you can eat sushi place, which was surprisingly good.

That was my weekend backwards. And now I should get back to work because I have lots to do still.

PS: according to my TeuxDeux list, I have to start packing tomorrow. Tomorrow! So soon and so many other things to do!

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Harry Potter tonight

I’m going to the midnight showing tonight of Harry Potter 7, Part 1 with 12 out of the 16 people in my program. I’m not really into the HP phenomenom at all, but I’m pretty stoked for this. Also, a major plus: the cinema we’re going to is literally right down the street from where I live. WIN.

Other good things in life:

  • Midterms are over (graças a deus)
  • I had lots of fun in Coimbra this weekend (will post pictures soon)
  • I got a ton of mail this week (thanks Meme, Grampy, Mom, Dad, and Maggie)
  • We’re going on a field trip to Evora this weekend
  • The weather here is beautiful — the low tonight is 55 F and it was probably 70F earlier today.

 

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