I finished the last of my two remaining essays tonight. I’m going to give them a read over tomorrow with ‘fresh eyes,’ but other than that, I AM DONE. Yet, I am still going to class. I’m not sure how that works, but whatever. Had my last Early Modern Europe seminar today. I still have a lecture on Friday. Also, had my last art history class today. We went to six…yes, SIX…galleries today.
Now just to pack and clean up my impossibly messy room!
See you soon, America!
So I suppose it’s “finals” time here. Although this isn’t quite the traditional end-of-the-semester I’m used to. Since I’m only here for one semester, I don’t have to take exams since exams are during a special term at the very end of the year. But I still have to write the two papers required for each class in one term as opposed to two like the year-long students. Right now I’m in the Senate House Library working on my final paper, and it’s actually freezing cold. I don’t think there have any type of heating in here. It’s problematic. I’m wearing a coat, and I’m still cold. I promised myself I wouldn’t leave, though, until my meeting with my professor at 5:30. So I will continue to sit here and develop hypothermia. I might as well be working outside. Honestly. On the bright side, I don’t think I could fall asleep in this library unlike the cozy armchairs that make nice beds in the Carpenter Reading Room back in Bostock with a nice cup of hot tea. Nope. Here in London everyone is sitting with their damn coats on and tissues, because people’s noses tend to get runny when it’s cold…inside. Seriously, London? This really isn’t helping my ongoing sarcasm that London is third-world…because it’s progressively becoming less and less sarcastic. At least this building is quite stately looking.
Senate House Library, University of London
THE FINAL TRIP POST. I just got back from Paris this past weekend. I almost like going to cities that I’ve already been to, because it really takes the pressure off of intense sightseeing and I get to just casually walk around more and see the city as a city rather than a tourist attraction. Plus the weather was not very favorable this weekend. (It rained more there than I’ve ever experience in London. It usually rains at night in London, so I don’t really encounter it that much.)
This trip for me was mostly about getting to spend time with my friends, eating French food (yum, one of my favorite cuisines), and just hanging out. I succeeded in doing all of those things. I also feel like Paris was a perfect city for this type of trip. Yes, there are so many things to do, but I love the idea of Paris in a more relaxed setting. It’s so beautiful, and you get to absorb more of that beauty when you just stroll the streets.
I’ll get to putting up pictures soon, although I don’t really have any from Paris. Well, maybe like a handful. I could cheat and use my pictures from my previous trip….but I won’t because that would be stupid.
Mark this up there with Stockholm for one of the coolest cities that I definitely need to make a return trip to. Honestly, being in Germany makes me hate 10-year-old me. WHYYYYY?! WE COULD HAVE LIVED IN GERMANY. I’m making note of this in my mental future parenting manual: NEVER listen to your ten-year-old. They do NOT know best. I suppose this goes for 14, too, since Eric also rejected this idea. But really, I’m going to argue for 12-year-old mentality.
I got there Saturday morning after pulling yet another all-nighter for travel related reasons. I pull more all-nighters for travel than I do for school. Currently the tally is: School-1, Travel -2. Well, I get there and we decided to walk around. So we make plans to go to the Reichstag and a museum. (You know, one of the 180 ones there…) Unfortunately for us, the Reichstag tours are free, but you have to book them at least three days in advance. (Hmm, sounds reminiscent of White House tours, except those are three weeks in advance.) So we decided to go to the German History Museum, because you know, being super cool people, both Lauren and I are history majors and actually thoroughly enjoy that kind of stuff. I’m also kind of burnt out on art museums. I’ve been to probably at least ten since I’ve been in Europe. No, definitely more actually. We also browsed some of the markets. (I got a pretty ring! Sadly not an engagement ring. Because as you may know, I am marriage and baby obsessed. It’s kinda getting out of control. I really want to kidnap every little baby and toddler I see. But not in a Humbert Humbert way. That’s disgusting.)
The next day we went on a seven-hour walking tour, where we basically saw every landmark in Berlin. Actually though. My feet were dying by the end of the day. Then we went to some Christmas markets. I wish we had Christmas markets in the US.
Also, I had another travel problem this trip. On my way to the airport, I was taking the Airport Express. I got VERY specific directions from the hostel. Double-decker train that comes exactly at 14 past the hour and says Airport Express on it. So at the train station, a double-decker train came at exactly 14 past the hour. (All of the other trains at the station were single-level.) I didn’t have my contacts in, so I just assumed it said Airport Express since everything else matched up. Also, it looked so much like the one I took on the way from the airport. Turns out it was not. I probably should have needed the ability to see. (This contact situation is becoming quite problematic, Mom and Dad. Like actually.) So fortunately I realize it’s the wrong train relatively soon and ask a man sitting next to me to confirm, so I get off. Outside of the train station, I decide to just get a cab to the airport, because at this point, money is not my biggest problem. Some man also apparently made the same blunder, and he offers to share his cab with me. Yes, I know this sounds like another bad decision making thing on my part. But I swear, I logically reasoned through it first. First of all, this was a legitimate cab. Secondly, I had told the cab driver I was going to the airport. So if this man was going to rape and kill me, he had to be in cahoots with the cab driver. Turns out it was a good call on my part, because not only did the man have the cab drop me off at my terminal instead of his but he also paid for the cab. I offered, but he politely declined. And I got there probably only about five to ten minutes later than if I had actually gotten on the Airport Express.
Berlin was such a cool city. There are so many museums that I would like to go back and see. Plus, there’s just SO much history. It’s also reasonably priced, especially since I had just spent my last two weekends in Scandinavia. I spent the least amount of money in Berlin than I did on any trip. This trip definitely only escalated my German obsession. I love Germany. So much.
Continuing with my forays into Scandinavia. The following weekend I went to Copenhagen, which had a lot of similar elements to Stockholm. (Hate to play favorites…but I kinda liked Stockholm better.)
So we mostly hit up a bunch of sights via a bus tour. It was convenient, since Copenhagen is a little bit spread out and cold. On the first full day we were there, we saw Tivoli Gardens, the Little Mermaid statue, Amalienborg Palace, and the Carlsberg brewery among many, many other things. But those were the main highlights. The actual Little Mermaid story is super depressing if you haven’t heard it. Hans Christian Andersen does not have the same penchant for happy endings as Disney does. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_Mermaid)
The next day we saw the Church of Our Saviour, which is this huge, beautiful church in Copenhagen with this tall golden tower, and Christiania. Christiania is actually a free town, but I’m still vague on exactly how it works.
Really, I kinda rushed through this whole Copenhagen recap, because I have a much more noteworthy story than talking about the sites that I saw. Essentially, I got pickpocketed. (One of the safest cities, my ass.) We were on our way to the airport to go back to London. We were taking the metro, because it was basically like a 15-minute metro ride. So I set down my backpack in front of me to get my wallet out to buy a metro ticket from the machine. We buy our tickets and are getting ready to head down to the platform. I reach into my coat pocket to get my metro ticket and realize that my iPhone is not in there anymore. This all transpired in a matter of a minute. I had literally just put my backpack on and walked 25 feet towards the escalator. I start to panic slightly, and I see this guy walking out of the metro station. In my head, I just KNOW that he took my phone, but not wanting to jump to conclusions that if perhaps I had moved my iPhone to my backpack when I got out my wallet, I take down my backpack and quickly check. It’s not there. He’s already out of the station at this point, and I’m absolutely livid. I hand my friend my backpack and immediately start sprinting up the stairs. When I get out of the metro station, I have to start scanning everywhere because he could have walked in any direction. I spot him, and I’m pretty sure he sees me. I start sprinting again, because he and his friend are decently ahead of me. I catch up to them in a block and as I turn the corner, his friend hands me my stuff back and mutters something foreign to me but what sounded like in an apologetic tone. I know that it wasn’t the smartest thing to do, and I know that it could have turned out poorly. But in that moment, I was running on pure adrenaline and anger. I also probably wouldn’t have done it had it not been 6 PM and in a pretty busy pedestrian area. First thing I say when I walk back down to the metro station in triumph but still pissed off as hell: “I should have fucking punched him in the face.” Good thing I didn’t, though, because I really don’t want a knife to mine.
I am desperately in need of an essay break, so I decided that I should probably post some long overdue travel updates. Due to my immense laziness, I will not be posting pictures in these. Those will be soon to come as I have no actually uploaded them to my computer. (I’m really busy, okay?)
So let’s start with Stockholm, otherwise known as the mostbeautifulcityintheworld. But actually. Everything about Stockholm is beautiful. Some places have beautiful architecture, others stunning landscapes, and others gorgeous people. Stockholm actually has all of those. EVERYTHING about it is picturesque. The downsides of Stockholm? It’s absolutely freezing. But then again, that’s probably my own fault for going to Scandinavia in November. (Just a reminder: I actually went to Stockholm 11/11-11/13.) Also, everything in Stockholm is exorbitantly priced. It was my most expensive excursion. But in the end, it was completely worth it.
We arrived late Friday, so we really didn’t get to do much sightseeing. We did go to the IceBar. Yes, there is one in London. And Barcelona. And probably many other cities, but we thought it was be slightly more novel to go to almost the original one. (The first one is actually located like an hour or so outside Stockholm in the world’s first Ice Hotel.) In conclusion, the IceBar was cold…too cold to spend extended period of time in. The drinks were good and in comparison to everywhere else in Stockholm actually not that unreasonably priced.
The next day we went on a boat tour, which took us around a bunch of archipelagos. Did you know that Sweden has about 30,000 archipelagos? That’s about five to six times the amount that Greece has. Fun fact we learned on the tour. Then, we went to the National Museum, which is an art museum. There was a Russian exhibit. They also have several Rembrandt pieces. It seemed just a little bit ironic to me that the Swedish National Museum was showcasing Russian and Flemish art. They also had a design section, which was essentially an Ikea store. We went to a club that night. Strangely enough, minus the fact that EVERYONE was unbelievably good looking and spoke Swedish, Swedish clubs seem much more reminiscent of going out at Duke than in London. The way people dressed, the music (yesss, Avicii and Swedish House Mafia), people’s actions, and the way that everyone seemed to know each other and were college-aged…all much more Duke-esque than the clubs in London. On the final day, we just got to walk around a bit and absorb how pretty the city was.
Onto food. Swedish food is amazing. But expensive. In particular, Swedish cinnamon rolls and anything seafood and also Swedish meatballs. All delicious.
I definitely would like to go back again, because I feel like there is SO much to see that I didn’t nearly get to see enough in that weekend I was there. Preferably when I have more money to spend than a poor college kid’s backpacking adventure.
So I think I just booked the last trip I’m going on for the rest of the semester. My itinerary for the rest of the term:
Paris (hey, Deanna!): 12/2-12/5
Look at all the blog entries you guys have to look forward to! Or else this is probably going to devolve into yet another tumblr dedicated to Ryan Gosling. But seriously.
I bet most people didn’t know this. (I didn’t until I had the realization while iChatting with with one of my friends from school, when I corrected him about what time it was here.) But Daylight Savings Time takes place a week earlier here than in the US, so for one week it’ll only be a four-hour difference between the east coast and London and five hours for Central Time zone. This is kind of a disappointing that I completely missed this time change. I love ‘fall back’ in November.
But seriously, Mom? I know you follow me on tumblr.
On a London AND Ides of March related note, for the BFI London Film Festival last week, Ides of March had its UK premiere. We might have attempted to stalk George Clooney in Leicester Square. Sadly, Ryan Gosling was not in London.
We (finally) decided to take advantage of the fact that we were in London and venture around the city. So in the past couple days we went to Greenwich (not Village), explored Shoreditch, ate amazing things at Broadway Market (pictures later probably…those will have to be stolen from my friend), and attempted to board the Hogwarts Express. Oh, when I told everyone that I was going to UCL…that was a lie. Clearly, I attend Hogwarts. This past year I’ve stood in two days at once and two hemispheres at once. Not sure what’s cooler. There was also a small-scale Duke reunion in London…nothing, of course, like Barcelona.