Archive for March, 2013

March Madness

Friday, March 29th, 2013

I apologize for the lack of posts this month. The past 2.5 weeks have been quite busy. I celebrated St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland with Charlotte, Line and Leeor then came home to Edinburgh to greet my family who visited for a week; all the meanwhile working on two term papers, which each counted for 50% of my final grades, which were due a couple days ago. I know I know, who the heck has homework while studying abroad?

….me

St. Patrick’s day was so much fun. It was exciting to celebrate the holiday in its homeland with the Irish, though honestly I couldn’t understand a word any of them said. Even between two Danish girls, and Australian and an American, we just could not figure out what anyone was saying to us half the time. We got by on a lot of smiling and nodding. Line and Charlotte had never celebrated St. Patty’s day before since, outside of Ireland, the U.S. and Australia, it isn’t a very popular holiday. It was nice to celebrate their first, proper St. Patty’s Day with them. I would upload some pictures of the trip, but unfortunately during the festivities, I lost my camera…

I did manage to steal this picture of the Belfast city parade from Charlotte:

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St. Patty’s Day Parade

The day after I returned from Ireland, my whole family including my godmother, Joan, came to Edinburgh! It was so nice to see them. I felt pretty bad that a few of the days they were here I had to work on my term papers and a math problem set and couldn’t spend too much time with them. It was a stressful week being my family’s tour guide, working on homework, planning my April Europe trip and seeing my friends. My brother, Chris, celebrated his 24th Birthday while he was here last Friday. I took him to the student union house where all of my friends were hanging out and they sang him drinking songs and bought him some very nice whiskey. Chris absolutely loved it and had an awesome birthday in Scotland.

With my family being here, I had an excuse to do some touristy things in the city. We went to pubs, tried some nice beers, visited Roslyn Chapel, went to the Scottish National Museum and had tea time almost everyday. Roslyn Chapel was my favorite part of the week. My mother, Joan and I took the number 15 bus behind the snow-covered mountains just south of Edinburgh to the small 13th century chapel. Roslyn Chapel is the most beautiful building I’ve ever seen. It’s interior is almost completely sculpted with statues, designs, symbols and stories. While there, I met the coolest cat! his name is Sir William and he’s been hanging out in the chapel every day for nine years. We weren’t allowed to take pictures inside the chapel, but they let me take pictures with Sir William.

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It was sad seeing my parents go, but they took comfort in knowing that I will be back in only 2 months. Thinking about this makes me sad, cause I don’t want to leave in 2 months. I could spend forever in this city.

This week I finished all of my work for the rest of the semester, so now all there’s left to do it study for finals in May. The university’s final exam schedule was just released a week or so ago and it appears that my first exam is on the 11th of May and my last one is on the 21st of May. Indeed, the exam timetable at the University of Edinburgh spans an entire month! This is because there are no exams in December for fall (or semester 1) courses. All of the exams for every class for the whole year occur in May. I just can’t imagine taking a class in the fall then having to wait half a year to be tested on the material; and to add to the stress, throw in a few more courses in between to really screw ya up. I salute the full time students at this school, for that is some academic madness that I am happy to have no part of.

But there is hope for these students, for the whole month of April is set aside for self study and revision. This upcoming week will be my last week of lectures and practicals, then I start my April ‘study’ break, which means I will be traveling for 20 days starting Thursday. Lindsay, Sophie and I have booked the rest of our hostels, scheduled tours and are ready to backpack through Europe next month. We will start in Rome, then train it to Florence, Zurich, Munich, Prague, Berlin, Brussels, fly to London then finally home to Edinburgh. (See Map Below)

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The Plan

This has been a dream of mine since I was a kid and the fact that it’s finally going to happen is such an incredible feeling.

With my last exam day being the 21st, I was set to leave on the 25th of May, however, I recently received a research job to work with Dr. Esunge in the math department back at UMW this summer, and it requires me to be back on the 20th of May. It breaks my heart to do it, but I must cut my study abroad experience short by three days to make it back to Mary Washington to start my research project with the Summer Science Institute. It will be an awesome opportunity to study and practice math in a research setting… but I will be very, VERY upset to leave.


I guess this means the semester is already coming to an end!

Wednesday, March 27th, 2013

I guess this means the semester is already coming to an end!

The Light Show

Wednesday, March 27th, 2013

I forgot to post about The Light Show! This is an exhibit currently on at the Southbank Centre that has an extensive collection of art constructions that toy with the viewer’s perception through the the varying uses of light and color. It was by far one of the funnest exhibits I have been to in London so far and am writing about it for my final paper. 

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These are two of the main pieces that are in the main entrance room. 

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This one is by Anthony McCall and was Asal’s and my favorite, we must have spent 10-15 minutes in this room. There was a projection that was projecting an image of a line and a wave onto the opposite wall in a pitch black room as well as a fog machine barely on. This created the affect visible in the picture that—you could see the light in the middle of the room as a sheet of glass and it was really cool to look at from the sides, inside, or underneath in which it made you feel like you were in a tent of light. Very cool!

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These three photos are from the construction made by Carlos Cruz-Diez. Each of the rooms, as seen above, were filtered by a different color light that painted the entire room including everything within it in it’s color. You not only saw yourself painted red but your friends as well! It felt like a child’s playground..and I can assure you the children were having a blast. 

The Thoughtful Ones

Wednesday, March 27th, 2013

In Korean the term for “thoughtful” is 생각형. Literally, it means “thinking (생각: senggak) type (형: hyeong). I think it’s a rather apt way to describe someone – the type of  person who thinks a  lot.

My favorite (though I shouldn’t have any) students tend to fall into two categories – the loud goofy ones, and the thoughtful ones. The loud goofy ones are easy to like – they get up in your face and make you notice them. It’s hard NOT to make an opinion of them, and they’re easy to recognize and have spur-of-the moment conversations with. The thoughtful ones are harder to get to know.

This isn’t to say that extroverted, loud, goofy students can’t be thoughtful – far from it. It’s how students choose to interact with me that defines whether I think of them as a goofball or a thoughtful student rather than their actual critical thinking ability. I’m going to perceive a student who approaches me to crack jokes all the time differently than a student who writes me detailed letters.

The thoughtful ones are wonderful, because your relationship with them, once you get to know them, never ends. The extroverted goofy ones move on, and that’s okay. They say hello when they see you, or not, and you say hello, or not, and that’s it. The thoughtful ones come to talk to you. They write you emails, and keep in touch through facebook or other social media. Through your conversations with them they grow, and you grow, and you grow together, and there’s nothing that compares to it – not a high-five from the loudest kid in school, or an entire class jumping up and down outside your window to say HELLO-SEE ME-I’M HERE-I’M SAYING HI-HELLO – because they see you as a person, and you see them as a person, and that’s a truly wonderful thing.

That’s why, given the choice, I’ll take my class of quiet thoughtful ones. The ones that sometimes are hard to teach because they aren’t as exuberantly participatory, and you sometimes wonder if they’re listening. I’ll take them and the look in their eyes created by thinking too much too late into the night, and the chicken-scratch they developed by writing too much and too quickly in any language they could; the softer voices, and the furrowed foreheads, and the ink stains, and the slightly-slumped shoulders, and I’ll gladly talk to any of them that will let me.

"So why are you going to Poland?"

Monday, March 25th, 2013

            


I’m starting off this blog-extravaganza with an account of this past weekend in Krakow, Poland because it’s fresh in my mind and my blog posts about these recent weeks in Italy may take up as many as five extra blog posts, so I’ll save you that torturous experience for later ;) In the meantime…to Krakow!
            The choice to go to Poland was a pretty random one. I have had about twenty people ask me why I was going to Poland and the answer is that I had originally intended to use this weekend to visit my friend Ambar who is currently studying in Spain, but tickets to Spain were either ridiculously expensive or at really difficult departure times, so I postponed that plan and tried to find something else to fill my time. It seemed like everyone in our program had already planned out their trips and I was trying to find something different than the usual American student study abroad trips of London, Paris, Madrid. Scrolling through the possible locations that RyanAir flies to, I saw Krakow, Poland. The flight was relatively cheap and the times were perfect; then I googled Krakow and saw things like (1) largest main square in all of Europe, (2) cultural capital of Poland, (3) 700 year-old salt mine with underground lakes and cathedrals, (4) Wawel Castle, (5) St. Mary’s Church, (6) Polish food, (7) an Eastern European city as close to Prague as possible and so so so much more.
            So I turned to Lily in ECCO’s library while we were studying and said: “Hey. Do you want to go to Poland?”
            Lily is pretty much game for anything and Lydia (another girl in our program) soon joined in. This past Thursday we left a very sunny and warm Bologna to the frozen tundra of Krakow. I am being only slightly dramatic.
            We got in at around six to the airport and decided to take a taxi for the thirty-minute ride into the city center because—guess what?—the currency exchange rate between the American dollar and the Polish zloty is 3 to 1. So that’s 3 zloty to 1 American dollar people. SO EVERYTHING IS CHEAP. I will keep bringing this up because the amount of things we did this weekend for so little money still amazes me.
            We got a nice welcome to Poland right away; our taxi driver’s radio started playing “Thrift Shop” and he turned it up when he heard us laugh at the strangeness of hearing the song on a Polish radio. He then asked us—in somewhat broken English—to explain the lyrics of the song because even though he knew most of the words, he didn’t actually understand what any of them meant. After this he was nice enough to try to teach us a few Polish words like “thank you,” “good morning,” and “good bye.” Polish for some reason sounds like a strange combination of German and Chinese and it was actually really difficult to repeat any of the words he tried to teach us. By the end of the taxi ride, we had asked him to repeat the pronunciation of “thank you” about seven times, which is: dziękuję, which is pronounced something along the lines of JING-KU-YAY. The only other word in Polish that I learned for the weekend was tak = yes. Other than that, there was a serious language barrier for the three days we were there. It’s a good thing that the majority of the citizens of Krakow speak English because I’m not sure how things would have turned out, otherwise.
            We got to our Best Western Hotel (which is of course extremely cheap because of the amazingness of the zloty) and got settled in. We then headed out to a restaurant that Lily had researched beforehand, which was the first indicator of a solid trip: a place called Pod Baranem, which is run by a father and son. Polish presidents, painters and poets apparently frequently come here and I think Polish mob bosses as well, since we saw an extremely well-dressed man with a cigar at a Reserved table by himself, looking broody and dangerous in the dim light. The ceiling was held up by old, dark wooden beams and dried herbs hung down to where swords and boar’s heads were mounted. Everything was dark and lit by candles, with very well-dressed folk and three American girls in jeans and over-sized North Face jackets.
            We were only in Poland until Saturday night so we didn’t hold back for dinner. Our table looked something along the lines of this:




What you see there is two steaks, a plate of duck, two types of potatoes, fancy coleslaw, some sort of beet mash-up, water, and amazing Polish beer. After that we got three desserts (one for each of us and one to share) and then we each got a shot of their homemade vodka. The total cost of this feast? Less than 25 dollars each. YOU HEARD ME. Less than 25 dollars. I still can’t get over it. It was such a neat experience, eating at such a fancy restaurant with waiters who had actually been to Waiter School and placed your napkins on your laps and put your coat on for you when you stood up. It also felt very Polish, with all the ambiance and the dim lighting and the food…it was great. We made little attempt to pronounce the things on the menu in Polish because the English translations were right there and we would have probably somehow insulted our nice Polish waiters with our terrible pronunciation of their language.
            After dinner, it was below freezing outside and we were tired, so we headed back to the hotel, slipping on the black ice all over the sidewalk as we went. Once we were in the room we watched Polish television (always entertaining—particularly the show that we named Love Lives of Krakow) and went to sleep early, ready for an early start the next morning.
           
            On Friday we decided to do something that most people tend to avoid: we decided to go to the concentration camps of Auschwitz-Birkenau. Oświęcim is the Polish name for the city that played host to one of the most atrocious Nazi concentration camps in the history of World War II and it’s only about an hour and a half away from Krakow by train. Lydia really wanted to take a guided tour of the camps, but Lily and I preferred the solo route, so while Lydia was being picked up by a bus filled with wonderful British tourists at our hotel, Lily and I decided to brave the Polish train system. Surprisingly, despite our lack of Polish and the train station employee’s lack of English, we made it on our ridiculously old train to Oświęcim with no problems. Once we reached the dismally grim train station, we managed to navigate the local bus system to reach the outside of the city where the camps were without paying for bus tickets (where are the bus kiosks?!).
            Walking up to the camps was a really surreal experience, particularly because the modern city of Oświęcim has expanded so that the camps are no longer isolated and surrounded by miles of fields. Instead, there is a large parking lot in front of the museum that is packed with tour buses and SUV’s and high school classes on their rather grim field trips. Across the street is a strip mall, with restaurants and a hotel; although I don’t know who would ever want to stay in a hotel across the road from one of the most notorious concentration camps ever. Once you squeeze past the tour buses, you enter a very stark information center/museum where there are multiple guides waiting there to demand if you’d like a tour. Lily and I walked past these guys and went to the book store, where we both bought cheap guidebooks that actually had a predetermined tour planned out within it, complete with a map and a room-by-room explanation in all of the major buildings you could look into.
            Without paying for a guide, entrance into Auschwitz and Birkenau is completely free, so we just walked out of the doors of the information center and…we were walking towards the camps. The path was a sort of muddy cobblestone, made even more difficult by the fact that snow was drifting down from an entirely grey sky, so that puddles formed in the ruts of the walkway. Again, I can’t emphasize enough how unreal it felt. I’ve been reading about Auschwitz since I was little; I’ve always been interested in World War II and the history books are splattered with stories about Nazi cruelty and the plight of the millions of Jews and minorities that suffered in Auschwitz. But it’s especially weird to stand under that iron gate with the words, ARBEIT MACHT FREI—work will set you free.



            We walked through multiple buildings that used to be used as barracks, prison cells, administrative buildings, etc. It’s amazing how quiet it is. While just a few minutes before we had been accosted by the sounds of the street and cars zipping by and the advertisements of guides, trying to rope you into their tour group…within the camp it was quiet. It was just all so orderly, with the dark brick buildings in a perfectly organized grid pattern. So thought-out and precise. It still didn’t hit me, even when we went in and looked at the displays and the old artifacts. The museum/memorial portion of the camp did its job well: with each room, you were hit with more and more information, like a relentless slew of statistics and letters and pictures. With so much information being thrown at you all at once it was hard sometimes to really absorb it, which was a blessing in a way. But there were a few rough parts. A few? More like the entire experience. But some moments were worse than others.
            There was the room that had a wall filled with hair. Women’s hair, which was used to make rope and cloth for the army. The mug shots of the children. The Death Block. The thousands upon thousands of pictures that lined the walls of men and women staring straight ahead in their stripes. Some had no expression, some were angry, some confused. The worst ones were the eyes open wide in fear. Or maybe it was the eyes of the older men, whose faces showed grim resignation. As if they already knew.
            There's just something about the place that makes you want to say “I’m sorry.” We would walk from block 6 to block 7 and the snow would fall quietly on the muddy walkways and I just kept saying the words over and over again in my head: “I'm sorry.” I mean, what else can you say? You see thousands upon thousands of pictures and below them there’s a birth-date and a death-date and its just not. fair. There was one mug shot of a little girl who was eleven; you could see her eyes welling up with tears and I just wanted to reach into the photograph and pull her out. Pull her out and away from all of this. Her picture should’ve been hung up on the walls of her great-granddaughters house, not the walls of Auschwitz. And that Death Wall. And then the shoes.
            The room with the shoes is where I lost it. I think I had been numb to a lot of it until that moment. Lily had kept a steady mumbling of the statistics as we walked through, reading off the information and saying, “Oh God. Look. Look.” But it just did. not. hit me. And I don’t know why. But then there was that room with the shoes. There were children’s shoes and men’s nice leather oxfords and colorful, strappy sandals and high heels. You would think that because they were old shoes, they’d feel like they belonged to some distant era that couldn’t affect you, but some of the shoes looked like the ones that people would wear around campus. Those could’ve been my shoes. And there were just so many of them, immortalized on either side of you behind glass panes, and it just felt like they were closing in on me in that narrow, long room and my chest felt like it was constricting. I had to stand and look out the windows for a few minutes because I couldn't stop shaking and I was trying not to cry too loudly.
            And I’m just so so sorry. I don't know what else to say. I'm sorry that this happened. I'm sorry that the owners of those shoes never got to put them back on. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'm sorry.
            It became real after that, walking beside the barracks or seeing the gallows or worse, walking inside the crematorium. Think about that. Walking inside the crematorium. About seventy years ago, the people who walked inside that structure never walked out. I walked by the ovens and the one window and there was barely any light and the chimney…I could hear lily trying to breathe normally beside me because how can you breathe normally in a place like that, where people suffocated on smoke and gas and flame?

            I think it’s a place you have to go to. I think that it’s awful and disturbing and disgusting. But if you can do it, you should see it. You have to because if you don’t, those people won't be remembered and they have to be. If you don’t see it you won't actually feel the atrocities and most of all, you won't see those pictures of people who resisted, who fought back, who offered their lives up in exchange for others. Because those are the stories that make Auschwitz seem not as grim, if that's even possible. Those are the stories that you cling to, knowing that the other ones will destroy you if that’s all that was left. On the train returning to Krakow and the evening that followed, we came back to that always, like drowning people desperately clinging to life vests. The idea that people fought back and resisted made us feel better after a long day in the snow under barbed wire. That, and about an hour and a half of Polish television under blankets with bars of chocolate.

            After we had recovered that evening, we walked into the Kazimierz Jewish district and found a little hipster burger bar where we indulged our American cravings of cheeseburgers and potato wedges and milkshakes and smoothies. A big glass of hot milk and honey also warmed us up, as the cold seemed to have settled into our bones the moment we had walked through the gate of Auschwitz. We stayed there for hours talking and laughing and exchanging stories of home before walking back in the snow.
            The next morning we woke up early and explored Krakow in blinding sunshine and freezing cold. At around 10 am the market began to open up in the main square, which was wonderful. We basically ate our way through the day, starting with this weird, smoked cheese and then moving onto peirogi’s and kielbasa and more bagels and cupcakes (WE FOUND CUPCAKES). We walked around the area of the Main Square, going into St. Mary’s Church which was spectacular. Unlike Italian churches, which encourage tourism, St. Mary’s had a lot of signs that said “NO VISITING. PRAYER ONLY.” We dutifully ignored these signs and went to sit in the pews to respectfully admire the expansive Church from there, but unfortunately Mass started at that exact moment and when the bells and the incense came out along with the Eucharist, we realized we couldn’t afford to spend an entire hour in Polish Church, so we made the quickest escape possible and continued our exploration of the square.






            The market was just so much fun, with the music, the friendly people, the pottery and the beautiful Polish craftsmanship of painted wood. Afterwards we went up to Wawel castle, which offered a beautiful view of the city, and we also saw a Leonardo da Vinci painting! Up close and personal. All very cool and all under the brilliant sunshine and the blinding white of the snow. It was also marvelous because as blondes, we blended in as native Polish girls! People actually asked us for directions! We were so excited to blend in.
            We later explored the Jewish quarter some more and ate these weird, long pizza/sandwich hybrids called zapiekankathat were delicious but also made a mess as we tried to eat them outside. We ended up dropping food all over the ground and were attacked by pigeons who were trying to pick up the scraps. After a successful stop inside a little shop that sold jewelry made out of old watch pieces, we made our way to the airport where we got on our plane back to Bologna. It was nice to be back in my apartment, cuddled in bed with hot tea and the Polish bagels that I had packed along for the trip.







            It was such an amazing weekend. Lydia and Lily made great travel partners and we did so much for so little money in so little time. It was really neat going to a place that is so different from the rest of Europe; there’s a very distinct culture in Poland and it was wonderful going to a place that a lot of people don’t think of. Auschwitz was difficult, but so incredibly worth it. And Krakow was such an interesting city and I know that we barely scraped the surface of everything it had to offer. I’m really hoping to go back someday and I can’t help but smile every time I think about our weekend—it was probably one of my favorite weekends of my semester thus far.
            I’ll be updating all of you on daily life in Bologna in the next few days before my next adventures. Up next on my schedule is a program trip to southern Italy (home, here I come!) and Greece (yeee!). If you read all the way through this post, you are a champion and I love you. Keep an eye out for another update! More soon to follow.

A dopo ragazzi!

Danielle





© Copyright Danielle DeSimone. 2013.

Dublin

Sunday, March 24th, 2013

Last week, I went to Dublin for St. Patrick’s Day weekend.  I went with my regular group of friends from Spain and our friend Justin from Korea.  Our flight was early Friday morning, so I stayed up the whole night Thursday, until we caught a bus to the airport and finally arrived in the city.  We started by visiting Trinity College and getting some breakfast.  Afterwards we took a bus to our hotel, about 45 minutes outside the city, where we finally got to get some rest.  Afterwards we explored the small town of Leixlip where our hotel was and had dinner, and then headed back into the city.  We walked around Temple Bar, which is a very popular area and home to a number of really good pubs and bars in the center of the city.  On Saturday, we got a chance to explore more of the city.  Dublin is surprisingly small, but also a pretty classic European city, with most buildings no taller than 3 to 4 stories, and many older, classical looking cathedrals, temples, and government building from hundreds of years ago.  Another nice part of the city is where the River Liffey runs through the center of Dublin, and many bridges are built across, making for a number of nice views.  We went into a pub and watched a 6 nations rugby match, and afterwards walked through St. Stevens Green, Grafton Street, and eventually made our way back to Temple Bar for a few drinks.

On St. Patrick’s Day itself, we woke up early to prepare for the parade, only to find it snowing quite heavily.  Luckily, it did not last too long and we eventually made our way back to the city with a good view.  The streets were lined with people, wearing all kinds of green and St. Patrick’s Day clothing.  The parade was pretty cool, with a whole bunch of unique floats, and a surprising amount of American involvement, including some New York firefighters, police volunteers, and a lot of university and high school marching bands.  After the parade, things got pretty crazy, but was a lot of fun.  We headed back to the Temple Bar area and went inside a few pubs throughout the day, in between all the festivities going on in the streets, and finished the night in one of the local clubs.  On Monday, we headed back to the city for the last time, where we visited the Dublin Castle and got a tour of the Guinness Factory.  The factory is a huge complex, and we got to see the whole process of how the beer is made, sample some of it, see some of the history of Guinness, and how Guinness is doing today.  At the end of the tour, at the very top of complex is the Gravity Bar.  Here we got 1 free pint and some amazing views with an entire 360 degree view of Dublin from one of its highest points.

This week was much less exciting.  We headed to the airport after touring the factory, and finally got back home very late Monday night.  The rest of the week I took it easy as I recovered from not getting enough sleep and I have been fighting another cough for the past couple of days.  It was a regular week of classes, and on Friday night, I met up with some of my group members and we went to a pub around the corner to celebrate finishing our long project.

 

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Can’t Wait For My Parent’s to Get Here!

Sunday, March 24th, 2013

My wonderful parents will be here in two short weeks that I’m sure will feel like a thousand years with the papers I have to write! I can NOT wait to see them and show them everything that I have learned about London. When they visit we are going to spend a few days here in London and also a couple of days in Rome. I was just researching to see which of my favorite artist, Carvaggio’s, paintings I’ll be able to see while there and if any were close to where we were staying. I literally started to cry with happiness. 

There are four key locations all within 20 minutes walk (a couple less than 5 minutes walk) from out hotel housing between 2 and 6 of his paintings each. I can not believe it. Last Spring Break I made Savannah take a road trip with me to Connecticut just to see one of the only one of his paintings that is in the states and in a few weeks I will be surrounded by them. Especially his most famous one, David with the Head of Goliath. I thought I may never get to see it or atleast not until much later in my life. This is the last painting he ever painted. He was on the run because he was accused of murder (of which he was guilty of) and he painted this as a means of pleading for his life. The head of goliath being held by David is actually a self portrait of Caravaggio himself. Sadly, by the time the painting was received, Caravaggio had already died. It is an absolutely amazing, breathtaking painting that is surrounded by so much history and drama and emotion. I just can.not.wait.to.see.it. I will be a complete and utter mess…the Italians will think I am a crazy American. here’s a picture of it for reference:

A Cold Day in Greenwich

Sunday, March 24th, 2013

Yesterday I took a boat tour to nearby Greenwich with the Social Programme. It was a very cold day for having just had the first official day of Spring a few days ago! It was actually snowing pretty hard all day long..but the trip was not canceled! We met at the Tower Hill tube station in order to get on the bus at the dock there. The boat was luckily all enclosed and carried us down the Thames for about 30 minutes until we got to Greenwich. And the boat had a bar inside so we could get coffee or Cadbury hot chocolate! Life Saver!!

When we got to Greenwich we walked all the way up the hill to the infamous Observatory. Where evidently all of time starts. Sir Christopher Wren (Also responsible for the architectural design of St. Pauls) spent the majority of his life figuring out how to create a clock that was not affected by temperature and pressure so that it would keep time correctly no matter where in the world it was. Thanks to this along with some complicated maritime clock science that the tour guide tried to explain to us..time was officially universal and it changed travel on the sea for all of time!

This is the spot at the Observatory where you place yourself right inbetween the right and left hemisphere!image

This is the view from atop the Observatory! You can tell how cold it looks! Brr!! I’ll have to go back in May!

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When we walked back down the hill we got to briefly check out the National Maritime Museum as well as walk over to the Royal Navel Hospital and College, home of the Painted Hall and Chapel.

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And although these buildings were absolutely beautiful what was truely amazing about them is where they stand. It used to be the exact place of the Greenwich Palace, not only where Henry VIII was born but where he got married to two of his wives. It was also one of his favorite residences and the green area seen here in front:

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well…that is where Henry VIII held his jousting tournaments and where he was allegedly injured. WOW! 

It was a really fun day but horribly cold so I can’t wait to go back in May when it’s warmer. 

This weekend and days leading up to Good Friday will breeze by…

Saturday, March 23rd, 2013




















This weekend and days leading up to Good Friday will breeze by and I will go back to blogging about my adventures! I have two major assignments due Thursday, and then that afternoon I am hopping on a train with hot cross buns and Ben’s Cookies in hand to see the Jones’ for the Easter Holiday. Then, Andrew is coming..which means food..lot’s of food! SO FOOD POSTS..my favorite. THEN WE ARE GOING TO BARCELONA (my pale bosy will finally see the sun…as I write this whilst snow is falling) And then I will explore explore explore more of LONDON!!

So if you can just hold out one more week, I will be back with some awfully big adventures, Manda style. 

This weekend and days leading up to Good Friday will breeze by…

Saturday, March 23rd, 2013




















This weekend and days leading up to Good Friday will breeze by and I will go back to blogging about my adventures! I have two major assignments due Thursday, and then that afternoon I am hopping on a train with hot cross buns and Ben’s Cookies in hand to see the Jones’ for the Easter Holiday. Then, Andrew is coming..which means food..lot’s of food! SO FOOD POSTS..my favorite. THEN WE ARE GOING TO BARCELONA (my pale bosy will finally see the sun…as I write this whilst snow is falling) And then I will explore explore explore more of LONDON!!

So if you can just hold out one more week, I will be back with some awfully big adventures, Manda style.