Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Abbey Road or Abney Road?

So July 11 guys.
This is the day I was looking forward to for a WHILE.
A long while.
(Listen to this song while you read this).
This is the last day of class.
This is the day I would experience Abbey Road.
This is the day of all days (that is until the next day).
So here's how it went.
We went to Abbey Road and I was the happiest person.
And I took this picture.

And I was the happiest girl on the planet... still.
I would have spent all day there if it was possible.
Plus the weather was sent from heaven.
Prettiest day ever.
Shortly after we left Abbey Road Kasee and I headed to Baker Street.
If you know anything about anything (or really just if you know anything about London) you know that this is where the Sherlock Holmes museum is.
But if you know a little bit more than the average American, you know that the Beatles Store is here too.
And if you know like all there is to know about Baker Street, you know that there is a rock and roll store here as well..
And if you're a Baker Street-ologist you know that there is also a Baskin Robins here. Which made me even happier.
So naturally you can reasonably conclude that I went to all of these places.
Ok that's kind of a lie.
The line to get into the museum was WAY too long so we just went into the gift shop.
It had some pretty radical things that were WAY out of my price range.
It's a dang good thing I'm not a huge fan of Sherlock. Watson is more my type of guy anyway.
The rock and roll store, though. Guys. It's probably a bad thing that I went in there.
Cause even though I only bought a few little things, it added up very quickly.
Whatever. YOLO (You only London once... but probably not. I'm definitely going back).
And then there's the Beatles store.
This is a different world, entirely.
And I knew so many people that would just die in there.
Because I did.
There are signed records and all sorts of fancy stuff in there.
And there's a whole bunch of things that normal people can actually afford too.
So I bought some stuff there.
Spent a little too much money. But hey.... It's The Beatles.
So then we headed over to Baskin Robins.
Because.... well the ice cream in London is awesome, but like we were both craving our Jamoca Almond Fudge.
It's fine.
So then you guys, I went to this magical place called Primark.
It's fabulous.
The reason behind this was to buy a suitcase.
Too bad Primark has crappy luggage.
So we went down the street to this luggage store. Go figure.
Found some way cute carry on suitcases and asked how much they wanted them for.
And then quickly turned them down. 35 pounds. Yeah right.
They loved me though.
Cause I talked them down to 25 pounds.
Yeah I did that.
So we headed back to the flat to be part of the family dinner our flatmates were making.
And to be part of the talent show.
Too bad I have zero talents.
But we did an embarrassing thing that I won't disclose at this time.
And we had an awesome night. And I wanted to cry because it was all ending.
Stay tuned. We have more blog posts coming.


Monday, July 22, 2013

I'll take my time (coming home)

So remember how I told you that I was sick after I got back from Paris?
Yeeaaaahhhhhh, that was nothing.
The day after I got back from Scotland I was sick sick sick sick sicker than a dog.
While all my lovely fellow study abroaders went to Camden and bought some radical things, I stayed home in bed. And basically just puked my guts out. It was zero fun and I wanted to die.
But then, when they came home, Kasee presented me with the most beautiful sight I ever did see.
Tickets to Les Mis. For that coming Friday. The same day as Harry Potter. (that is a good blog post by the way).
I think I was healed as soon as I saw those things.
But then I remembered that I was sick and had to lay back down and stop jumping around the room.
And then I remembered that we were going to the London Eye that night.
So naturally I had to down like 4 liters of Sprite in preparation.
And I had to sleep for like 3 more hours.
And somehow I was well enough to make the trip.
It's a good thing too because holy cow is it the coolest thing I have ever experienced.
Here's a few photos for you lovelies.

Most random asians with penguins.
I was really alright with it though.
They were really nice.

The rest of that night was kind of a blur for me... kind of like these cars in this photo.

Mostly because I think I was actively dying. Seriously, I was so out of it.
I may or may not have recorded like 30 minutes worth of conversation on my phone because I'm an idiot and because I had no idea it was even being recorded. That, my friends, is how delirious I was.

The next day, however, turned out to be a pretty good one.
I went to the British Library and saw some pretty radical things.
I'll tell you what they are. I'll even put little numbers by each thing to help you guys out:

  1. One of the oldest copies of Beowulf
  2. Jane Austen's stuff. Like some of her real life handwriting and writing desk.
  3. Shakespeare's first folio
  4. 2 of the 4 Magna Carta (that means I've seen 3 of the 4 - saw one in Salisbury too).
  5. And... drum roll... Original Beatles lyrics. Yes, I saw John Lennon's handwriting. Would have brought me to tears too if that room wasn't so blasted cold.
If that isn't enough, after we left the library we went to King's Cross. 
You know what that means?
Platfrom 9 3/4
I know I know. 
You're all insanely jealous. 
Just wait. You will be even more jealous later. 
This is how you must pose when you're at the platform.

Notice the scarf flying all magically in the air. 
So wonderful. 
Also, I fell in love with one of the workers there. 
His name was Alfie. 
I know. Too good. 

Later we got all cutesy on everyone and had a picnic in Hyde Park. 
Not only that, but it was by the Peter Pan statue.
Could my life get any better?! 
I don't think so. 
There's this place in London called Pret. And it is the best place on the planet, I think. 
So I had the best food with the best people in the best place on my best picnic. 
It was the best. 
And I saw Kensington Palace and I waved to Prince William and Kate. 
Which is totally a lie but they wouldn't even let us in the palace to see how the nursery was coming along. 
I only wanted to help. Gee wiz. 

Well that's all for now, folks. 
Expect a ton of posts within the next couple of days. 
Gotta get caught up. 
Which seems like it will never happen. 


Sunday, July 21, 2013

Oh William Wallace

Scotland is wonderful.
I wish this simple sentence did this place justice.
Too bad it doesn't.
I can't even express to you how great it is.

The first day was just kind of miserable because I had a bag that weighed roughly 3 million pounds.
Once we got to the hostel is was ok, though.
I never thought that a hostel could be so nice.
It was a dream.
Only 18 girls in one room is a little much.
Anyway, we got some dinner.
I tried haggis.
It weirded me out.
That texture is freaky freaky.
The night ended with some card games and I think I might have won, but also I might have lost.
I'm still a little confused about it.

I don't know if you guys know this... But I got a new house.
Call Cribs on MTV cause they're gonna need to see this place.

See that castle above my head?
That's my new house.
It comes complete with scenic views, a church on site, and some torture chambers.
So don't get on my bad side.
No, really that's Edinburgh Castle.
And I went there.
And it's really cool.
And as I was leaving, I saw a guy playing the bagpipes and I almost fainted.
It was so picturesque.
I got some good things for peeps and then I went on a ghost tour.
I was terrified.
Usually I don't get that scared of stupid things like that but like our tour guide was so good at her job.
She should get a promotion for sure.
It was scary.
And I didn't get much sleep that night.

The next day was the Stirling trip.
Holy cow is Stirling the coolest place.

Cambuskenneth Abbey is that first photo. It was cool.
Now this part is crucial friends.
See that little tower thing on the left side of the last photo?
See how far that is?
Yeah... I walked all the way to that.
All the way.
It was ridiculous.
But that's the William Wallace memorial so I think it was well worth it. WELL WORTH IT.
I may or may not have yelled "FREEEEDOM" when I got up there.

After about 500 miles and about 500 more I was the girl that walked 1000 miles.
But seriously, this is what I saw from up there.

Then I went to Stirling Bridge.
And we stormed it.
And won.

So then I hiked another million miles.
And rewarded myself with an ice cream cone when I reached the top.

The next day was good.
I got to spend it with some close family friends and I had the time of my life.
We went to St. Andrews and laughed about the different words we use the whole way there.
It was the funnest thing for me to see how their family acted.
It reminded me of my family and that made me happy but also made me miss my cuties back home.
Anyway.. I had the best time at the beach and the most famous golf course.
Plus I was in Scotland when Wimbledon was won by a Scotsman.
So that's something.
Honestly I would write more on this but I fear that I would never stop.
My stay in Scotland was the best time.
I had way too much fun.
Oh but this is important.
I went to a castle called Blackness.
Apparently they used to hold American's prisoner there.
I was a little nervous it would become my new home.
But, alas, they let me stick around.

Plus I made it all the way back to my London flat unscathed.
Here's what I had to do:
Get on the plane to Luton
Catch the shuttle back to the train station
Catch the train back to King's Cross St Pancras
Get on the tube back to South Kensington
Walk back to the flat
Total travel time: 3.5 hours, roughly.
I have mastered London transportation.
They try to throw me for loops.
I just am too good at public transit, I guess.

Well there's Scotland for ya, my lovelies.
I'm super sick of blogging.
But I'm too behind to stop.


When I was actually in London once

So I returned from Dublin safely.
I know you were all worried.
Even though none of you knew what was happening.
Honestly, this was like 7 weeks ago.
No it was like.. 2 weeks ago. Sad.
Anyway.. we got back on Sunday night and honestly I wanted to die.
We got home so late (like 2 in the morning) and then had to unpack and go to class at 9 in the morning.
I think it's obvious that I was a zombie.
So the next day we went to the Freud Museum.
I tell you what, he is a WE-HE-HE-IRD dude.
But he did some good things for psychology so that's cool and stuff.
He did have some cool books and libraries and stuff.
Plus, the museum was in his house that he lived in for the last year of his life.
I think I may have enjoyed looking at his gardens and the house more than the stuff inside of it.
I don't care.

The next day Kasee and I ventured to the National Gallery. 
I thought this place was just another museum (I have seen way too many).
This was the best museum besides the Louvre. 
It had everything. 
Monet, Renoir, Manet, Van Gogh, Van Eyck, Holbein, just to name a few. 
Ok I saw these in person, and I think I died. 

Ok so that happened and then all we wanted was to see Les Mis in stinking London. 
So we went over to Leicester Square and did that fun stuff. 
Too bad they didn't have any tickets. 
Guess we HAVE to go into M&M World. 
It was a good day to say the least. 

The next day was way less glamourous. 
I did watch Braveheart to get in the mood for Scotland, so there's that.
Which only seemed fitting because the next day was the 4th of July. 

Now we're up to Thursday, which is the day we left for Scotland. 
The 4th of July! 
A few of us thought seriously about putting tea bags in the Thames, but we refrained. 

I'll end this post and start a new for Scotland.
Bear with me.
I've been a little busy, you know, being in Europe. 


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

P.S. I love Ireland

I went to Ireland
Seriously, Ireland is the best place I have ever been to.
Definitely in my top five favorite things about Europe.
So let me tell you all about it.

Ok. Preface:
The day before we left I was doing laundry, you know, preparing for my trip and I thought
"I have my headphones, I have macky booky (my laptop) I have 2 hours to kill, what should I do? I know! I'll watch P.S. I Love You" seriously you guys, that was my exact thought. Exact.
So I did. I watched it.
And I laughed really hard.
And I cried loudly.
Seriously I think the complete stranger in the laundry room was worried about me.
I just looked at her, tears in my eyes, pointed to my computer, and then shrugged my shoulders. She still didn't understand.
Anyway... I was preparing for how the Irishmen talk and preparing my little heart for falling in love with a handsome guy singing in a pub. Holy cow. I was convinced I would fall madly in love with one.
Like if Hilary Swank can, why can't I?
Speaking of Hilary Swank, apparently one of my professors saw her in New York and got yelled at after he tried to take a picture of her. So there's something hilarious. Use it as an anecdote if you're on a bad first date or something.

So here's how we got there, you guys are going to die.
We took the tube to Kings Cross/St. Pancras
We took a train from Kings Cross/St. Pancras to Luton Airport
We took a shuttle bus from the train station to the airport
We took a plane from Luton to Dublin
We took a bus from Dublin airport to the city center
We walked to our hostel.
Seriously who would have thought I would use public transportation so much?
But apparently public transportation is the best thing in London.
Seriously, it kind of makes your life a lot easier.

Once we arrived at our hostel - which was pretty nice I might add - we got settled and headed over to the pub just across the sketchy alley from us.
The Arlington Pub.
I experienced heaven on earth when I tried their chicken sandwich.
Honestly, I want to go back just for that.
Then (here's the kicker) a guy got up on the little stage and started singing.
Ok this would be good by itself because he's Irish, singing in a pub. But it gets better.
He started singing "Galway Girl"
I almost fainted. I was in love.
Ok you may need to think back on the last time you saw P.S. I Love You.
Are you thinking back on it?
Ok so there's this part where Gerry (Gerard Butler) is singing in the pub and he spots Holly (Hilary Skank.. I mean Swank) in his jacket he had previously given to her. You know this part? Ok now try to remember the song he was singing.. Got it? If you don't. Youtube it. It's awesome. Yeah... that's the one this guy was singing. I was experiencing this in real life.
You can be jealous. But don't hate me too much.

After about 50 million more wonderful songs and a few hours had passed we went outside to get some fresh air and happened upon a little diner that seemed like they might have some delicious shakes.
Well... it did and so I bought one.
It was wonderful.
I would say it was a good night in Dublin.

The next day was just as good.
We went to this place called Carroll's where I bought some souvenirs and whatnot.
After which we headed to St. Patrick's Cathedral.
Ever wonder where St. Patricks Day comes from?
Well there you have it.
I think.
On our walk back from the cathedral Kasee and I spotted an Abercrombie & Fitch.
We walked in and there he was, standing in all his glory, a very attractive Abercrombie model.
You better believe I got a picture with him and it was free so that rocks and I think it's my best souvenir of this trip so far.
Then... we thought it would be fun to walk to the coast.
This is something I don't recommend.
Because the walk is a very deceiving one.
You think you're close to the ocean and then... BAM! You're nowhere near it.
Frustrating to say the least.
Plus while we were walking we were right smack in the middle of a torrential downpour.
With no cover in sight, we kind of just awkwardly stood there and let the rain drench us.
I was unhappy with being cold and wet but most of the peeps that were with me were fine with it.
Who are these people? This is something I ask myself often.
You better believe I went back to the hostel, got some sleep, changed my wet clothing and then pub crawled baby!
It's still fun even if you don't drink.. I promise.
That is definitely something I will remember for the rest of my life.
Real Irish music being played in a REAL Irish pub.
Ahhhhh. It doesn't get much better than that. Unless you're sitting behind a man who is just sloshed trying to keep the beat of a song and can't quite get there. That makes it a lot more fun.
Needless to say, I went to bed extremely happy that night.

The next morning was my favorite. By far.
This is the morning we went on the Wild Wicklow tour.
Ok. The countryside in Ireland? Yeah.. it's better than any picture could show you.
Pictures do this place no justice. You just have to go to know what I'm talking about.
We went to Dun Laoghaire (pronounced dun leery) and that's where we experienced the seaside.
And Seaside by the Kooks was stuck in my head.
Its so pretty.
Then we travelled up into the mountains and I honestly have never seen anything so green in my entire life.
No wonder they call it the Emerald Isle.
I saw where Braveheart was filmed. Which totally upset me because William Wallace was a Scot, it took place in Scotland, and should have been filmed there. Not in Ireland. But it was cool nonetheless.
Then I saw the P.S. I Love You bridge. Pretty rad considering Gerard Butler once stood where I stood.
Holy cow.
Then I saw where Vikings is filmed, which is cool.
And mostly I'll just show you some pics of it cause they'll be better than me telling you what happened.

Yes, we all got matching sweaters.
It's cute and touristy.
It's fine.

Love you guys


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Home is wherever I'm with you..... NOT

There's this song by a wonderful band that has a line that states:
"Home is wherever I'm with you."
I find this false.
Maybe because I'm not in love, and maybe because I've been homesick lately.
I won't lie to you guys, being this far away from home is horrendously hard.
To add insult to serious injury, I can't even call my mom up any time I want and complain to her.
This is true for a couple reasons.

  1. Time difference. I have to wait until like.... midnight London time.
  2. I can't make international phone calls on my weak little iPhone 4.
This homesickness was made worse when I came back from Paris. 
I was sick as a dog and wanted to die a little. 
My head felt like it was going to explode and my body was just an achey mess. 
No friends to bring me warm Starbucks beverages, no mom to give me meds, no sister to whine at. 
Just other students trying to have a good time and not worry about me being sick. 
Which is a lie, because I'm here with the best people who constantly asked me if I needed anything. 
I love these people so much. 
They helped me get better quicker. 
Anyway, Tuesday June 25 was my worst day to date. 
I stayed in bed all day and honestly thought that London would be my downfall, or Paris rather as I got sick whilst in Paris. Stupid Paris. (Notice the "whilst" I'm turning European).
Wednesday was a change of scenery for me, for sure. 
I did laundry, made myself a delicious lunch, watched some movies, and enjoyed feeling better. 
Later that night I went to my last Shakespeare play at the Globe which is the saddest thing ever.
I love it there. 
It reminds me of summer so much that whenever we go to a play there I never want it to end. 
Being outside in the perfect London weather, watching Shakespeare plays and remembering how much I love it here and why I'm majoring in English. Ahhh... so perfect.
This play was probably my favorite of the lot. The Tempest
Plus it helped that a few famous people were in it. 
Anyone know who Colin Morgan is?
Yeah I didn't either until a few girls in my group were seriously fan-girling over him like 12 year olds! 
It was refreshing, almost.
After that we just headed back to the flat, t-shirts and postcards in tow, ready to pack for the next day. 
Thursday we went to Stratford. 
Holy cow you guys. This place is the prettiest little town I ever did see. 
Reminded me a lot of Stars Hollow. Those of you who are familiar should get this reference and understand where I'm coming from and maybe be a little jealous.
On the way we stopped at Warwick Castle. 
I saw the most majestic bald eagle on the planet and then wondered why England had America's national bird on display. Whatever. America rocks. 
I also climbed like 530 steps.... how ridiculous. 
It was made even harder because I was holding about the largest Diet Coke in one hand and then there's the Canon. I love it, but man you wouldn't believe how much that thing gets in the way. 
And I'm pretty sure I stepped right into a Jane Austen novel.
There was the cutest little boathouse and river with swans swimming around. Then there were humans taking naps under trees, reading their books and whatnot. Probably being in love with each other. Ugh. I'm over it. 
And then there's a giant trebuchet. It was pretty radical but weirdly placed. 
Ok... that's enough of Warwick. I have pics I'll show you.
And maybe when I get home, you can ask me about it if you really care that much.. 

Happy 4th guys!  

So we headed over to Stratford and I stayed in the cutest B&B you've ever laid eyes on. 
It was called The Virginia Lodge. I highly recommend it, if you happen to be in Stratford at some point.
They didn't have a book to sign or anything or I would have written "I sat and am forever at work here" (if you don't get that reference, you need to watch Gilmore Girls).
Shortly after arriving at our B&B we went out to dinner at this pub called The Garrick. 

You better believe I ordered nachos. 
I haven't had mexican food in weeks and I'm having withdrawals. 
Their nachos were decent.. not nearly as good as I would make though.
Then I ordered a delightful dessert. It was called Jamaican Ginger Cheesecake. I almost died when I tried it. Best dessert on earth I think. I need to find the recipe and make it. 
We then headed over to the Swan theater to watch Titus Andronicus.
That play is scary and disturbing, and I think it says something about me that I laughed at a lot of it.
When the play finished we went to a famous pub called The Dirty Duck but their blasted hot drink machine was broken so we peaced out of there so fast and headed to a cute little cafe called Cafe Rouge.
Kasee quickly fell in love with the man working there and the hot chocolate he made was delightful so I was kind of in love with him too. 
I went to sleep in the best bed of my European trip so far. Queen to myself and it was so comfy. Too bad I only got to sleep in it for one night. HUGE BUMMER.
I woke up to the best breakfast of my life.
Had some toast with black current jam. Mmmmmmmmm. Yum.
And then we walked through the cutest little neighborhoods to find Anne Hathaway's house. 
It was cute, but cost way too much money to walk through. 13 pounds? YEAH RIGHT.
So we just walked around Stratford for the rest of the day. 
Well... we finished the walk quickly after we began it. That town is not very big at all. 
Then we took a boat tour and our guide was hilarious. I loved him. 
I saw Shakespeare's grave you guys. 
It's not as cool as you think it would be. 
Ok, no, it's cool. I thought it would be much more elaborate. It's just a stone in the cathedral.
The cathedral is called Trinity by the way. It's pretty famous, I guess. 

I bought 5 pounds worth of chocolate. Oops. 
And I saw an actor from Titus and I felt like an idiot... but I just kind of stared at him. He was freaked out I think. 
You better believe I ate another slice of that cheesecake and it was just as good as the first time.
But the day isn't over cause I went to another play. 
This time it was As You Like It
To be honest, the only thing I even noticed about this play was that all of the men were very handsome. With the exception of the old ones. Cause they were old. 
And I wanted to rush the stage, but then I thought that it might be frowned upon. 
We didn't leave Stratford until 11:00 p.m. and didn't get back to London until about 2:00 a.m. 
Which sucked cause we would be leaving for Dublin that next morning. 
OOOOOO more on that next post. 
This is way too long already. 
Enjoy those photos and this one... it's the view from my room. Cute huh?

Ok. Go do something with your life. 
Quit reading this. 


Tuesday, July 2, 2013

How's Paris?

Ok friends. You'll need to bear with me.. I'm blogging from my phone.
Really that's all Paris deserves.
We left on Friday the 21st and I will be honest, I was expecting the most magical beautiful place on the planet.
A place where it's easy to fall in love and everyone is kind and wonderful.
A place where you can eat crepes to your heart's content and sit in cafes until they close.
But, alas, that is NOT how ole Paris is (say that in a French accent. It sounds better).
So.. We left on Friday the 21st and took the Eurostar. That's the train that goes under the channel in case you didn't know.
And, in case you were wondering, it's not nearly as cool as it sounds. It's just a train. And it's dark majority of the time.
Annnnyyyyyywayyyy. My first moments in Paris should have prepared me for the next 2 days.
We sat in the station for roughly 17 billion hours and I was CONVINCED that Nate (one of the professors) had been taken.
I wasn't prepared for what was coming.
Let me just say that the metro is the filthiest thing I have ever seen.
There is pee everywhere you look and it smells SOOO bad. Yuck-o!
Then we got lost on the way to the hotel.
And then I was hoping we were lost because our hotel was the sketchiest thing on this earth.
Well the neighborhood was scarier than ish, the hotel itself was nice.
We went immediately to the Louvre and that was absolutely amazing and unreal.
I saw the Mona Lisa and it is indeed small and beautiful but I still don't understand all the hype.
I saw my favorite painting of all time and almost started crying out of sheer happiness.
And guys, I saw some Monet.
Dinner was pretty great
And I went to the love lock bridge. Locked my love in Paris. Too bad I don't even have a love.
The next day was the mother of all days.
This day included: Jardin du Luxembourg, Musee d'Orsay, Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, and probably other stuff I can't remember.
Except I didn't go to Musee d'Orsay cause there wasn't time.
Which is really really sad.
I had some crepes, got creeped out by men peeing on the road, saw some pretty stained glass, and pushed the limit by going to the tippy top of the Eiffel Tower.
The next day we went to Versailles and I asked a random stranger if he would drive us around the gardens in a golf cart and it was awkward but awesome cause he agreed and was at our beck and call.
I got some delightful macaroons and they were delicious with the exception of the rose petal one... but when in Paris, right?
All in all, though, I found that I can tolerate Paris. Kind of. There were components of it that made it a pretty ok trip... But....
That place is nasty.
I have never been so excited to get back to our flat in London and climb 17 flights of stairs.
It was a wonderful feeling knowing where I was going and how to get there. Just marvelous.
I miss home a lot though. And I miss my car.
Because I found out that I walked probably a grand total of about 17000 miles which would be made easier with Ross around.
Anyway, here's some pictures of my Parisian adventures.

Love you guys.