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Croatia July 29, 2012

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Broatia (aka Croatia)

Posted on July 29, 2012

Harbor in Rijeka

So it is the weekend before my two finals on Monday. Of course I am going to find as many ways to procrastinate as possible, including update my blog! But honestly, it needed to be done, because Croatia was freaking awesome.

The only downside was that Croatia was 18 hours of trains away. We left at 4 on Friday and arrived in Rijeka, a port in Croatia, around 9 the next day. After getting situated at our hostel and finding some delicious pizza, we headed to a nearby island: Krk. It was overcast and spitting rain most of the day, but we were able to chill on a beach and then find some cliffs to jump off of. The water was beautiful, warm, clear, blue, buoyant, perfect.

Krk

And here’s another one

beautiful water

After an awesome day of enjoying the island, we headed to bed fairly early. The next morning we caught a bus at 8:30 to the Plitvice Lakes National Park. For more info you can check out their wikipedia page here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plitvice_Lakes_National_Park. The main thing to know is that its a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and its covered in beautiful lakes and waterfals. The unfortunate thing was that it was raining, but it was still one of the most gorgeous places I have ever visited.

a waterfall at the Plitvice Lakes national park

And another

Plitvice Lakes

After a long day at Plitvice, we went home and revisited the pizza restaurant (it was so good!) and then passed out.

The next day, our train was scheduled to leave at noon, so we got up relatively early and went in search of a beach. We found one, but it was so windy that nobody wanted to go swimming, and we didn’t have much time anyway. We did get to have a lovely photoshoot though! It was very pretty.

beach in Rijeka

After that, we got back on the train and took another 18 hours to return to Metz. Great times right? Croatia was simply beautiful, so the best way to appreciate it is to look at the pictures (my kind of blog post haha). Enjoy!

Coming up next: Normandy, and then HOME!

Austria July 26, 2012

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Salzurg and Vienna

Posted on July 24, 2012

So I know this a bit late on the order of blogposts go- I actually got back from Croatia just this morning. But I was unable to post about Austria last week due to an MSE test on Friday. Anyways, last weekend, Akash and  I visited Austria- specifically Salzburg for the setting of the Sound of Music, and a day trip to Vienna.

Salzburg

When we arrived in Salzburg on Saturday morning, it was already overcast, dreary, and not particularly welcoming. After getting settled at our hostel we walked around town for the morning. Salzburg was very… small. It was also old- birthplace of Mozart, we saw his face pretty much everywhere. After walking around for most of the morning, we had lunch before getting on a bus for the Sound of Music tour. Regrettably, at that point it was decisively raining, so a lot of the beauty of Salzburg got somewhat lost in the rain. We hit many scenic points from the movie: the Von Trapp mansion, the lake that was supposedly behind the mansion (actually a completely different location!), many of the Do-Re-Mi points, and even drove into the lake region for some beautiful shots of Austria including the church where Maria got married in the movie. It was a great tour, just very dreary. That evening, Akash and I ended up falling asleep around 8, and didn’t even have dinner because we were so tired.

The Gazebo

The Gazebo from the Sound of Music

The next day some of our friends were headed to Vienna to see what else they could see of Austria, so we decided to tag along with them. We visited the Palace and Gardens of Vienna, went to a local amusement park, and even tried the famous Torte that Vienna is known for (very chocolaty, but with a surprising apricot flavor too). Honestly, Vienna didn’t seem to have very much to do, but I enjoyed the change in scenery, as I think Salzburg was in kind of the same situation. Oh, I had an AMAZING steak sandwich for lunch that day, so good it’s totally worth mentioning. We headed back to Salzburg late that evening, and again just crashed at the hostel.

Just some old building in Vienna

The next morning we took a trip to another local town to see Eisriesenwelt, or the largest Ice Caves in Europe, maybe the world. We took a train to the town, then a bus to the “base camp” where we bought tickets, then hiked to a cable car station, and after riding that almost straight up a mountain we hiked even more before arriving at the most of the cave. It was gorgeous, and reminiscent of being on top of Schilthorn in terms of beauty.

Eisriesenwelt

The Ice Caves were a totally unique experience. The tour used authentic gas lamps, so no electric light was allowed in the caves. Unfortunately, that also meant no pictures, but I was able to sneak a few bad ones. As we hiked up into the cave, our guide would continually light a strip of magnesium for even better light, and tell us the history of the cave. The tour included 702 steps up I think (no I didn’t count, but I that’s what I remember from the guide) and we saw several awesome ice structures. About an hour and a half later we emerged into the sunlight, headed down the mountain, and returned to Salzburg.

kind of a bad picture

After we got back, we still had a couple of hours to kill, so we made our way to the Salzburg edition of Augustiner Brau! Akash and I both had a liter of delicious beer, half of a roasted chicken, and some fries. Oh my gosh it was delightful. After that we packed up, headed out, and got back on the train to Metz.

Austria was really beautiful, but I think Akash and I both realized the value of traveling in a slightly larger group. We were both often too ambivalent as far as what to do or where to go, so it helps when we are with other people who have a good idea of what they want to do. After the Sound of Music tour, both of us were pretty happy with our trip to Austria, so the rest of the time we kinda just wandered around and saw what there was to see.

In other news, it is now dead week here at GTL. All of my tests have been taken, which means this week will be spent studying, getting my things somewhat in order, and finally seeing the freakin’ Dark Knight Rises. I am so pumped for this movie. But really, 4 more days of class and 3 finals separate me from August 3rd, when I return to America and real life. Ugh. I’m really starting to get a bit exhausted here, but I think it totally beats Housing training and working (no beef with General Mills, but gallivanting across Europe is totally more awesome haha).

I’m glad that I will be seeing all of you soon! Stay posted for my experience in Croatia, and then probably a trip to Normandy after finals.

PS GOOD NEWS! I got an A in MSE, and no longer have to take the final! woo!!

Prague July 25, 2012

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Strasbourg and Prague

Posted on July 13, 2012

So I have been putting off writing this blog post for a while. I’m not entirely sure why though… Prague was great. I think I am starting to get lazy, because I haven’t had morning classes all week. All of this free time means I haven’t done anything productive this whole week! Except a test of course.

Anyways… On July 4th, GTL decided it would be good for us to have a field trip to Strasbourg, the location of the European parliament. I opted for the first group, whose itinerary was just hang out in Strasbourg before seeing the parliament in action. The other group went to a concentration camp nearby, but having already been to Dachau, I wanted to just enjoy Strasbourg.

A pretty shot walking through the streets of Strasbourg

Unfortunately, there is not much to do in Strasbourg. We walked around a bit, went to Petite France (still don’t know why it is called that), got some food, and went shopping. Admittedly, that was kinda fun, and I almost got a sweater vest and a dress vest. Unfortunately, neither fit the greatest, and I started to feel pretty sick that day (update- I’m all better now, but I actually went to the doctor that Friday for meds). After ditzing around for a couple of hours, we went to the European parliament. It was decently cool, but to be honest I wasn’t paying any attention- I was more focused on trying to breathe and trying not to cough. We got home around 10, so celebrations for the Fourth of July just didn’t happen that evening.

View from the Charles Bridge

This last weekend I visited Prague! Again there was a bit of a change in the group dynamic as Nathan had already been, and Akash spent the weekend in Paris. I traveled to Prague with Kristen and Melanie, and we met Gus and Kate there. To be honest, I didn’t have any expectations for Prague, and I didn’t really know what the weekend had in store. After a delicious (and cheap!) dinner of pizza at a local restaurant, we decided to try out the “largest club in Central Europe,” Karlovy Lazne. On the way we stopped at an open restaurant near the river and sat with some German guys, and ended up talking with them for 2 hours. By the time we tried to go to the club, we were a bit tired, and decided to go the next night when we could get a discount while on a pub crawl. It was great sitting and talking to the German’s though- they were very funny and great at English too!

The Lennon Wall

The next morning we went on a walking tour of Prague, and our American tour guide was surprisingly knowledgeable about Prague’s history and the different buildings we got to see. Afterwards we stopped at a phenomenal vegetarian restaurant, and then headed towards the Prague Castle. On the way, we stopped at the Lennon wall, and wall that has been the home to positive and uplifting graffiti since western music was banned in Prague during the communistic regime.  The wall started when someone spray painted Lennon’s face, and since then, it has been covered.

Unfortunately the Prague castle was closed, but we spent some time at the nearby monastery’s brewery before heading back for our pub crawl. It was fun up until Kate’s ankle started killing her, and she and Gus actually ended up at the hospital. Good news was that A) there was nothing wrong and B) the x-rays and wraps and such only cost around $30! Prague is super cheap. I also had burritos that night, so I was very happy.

View from the Astronomical Tower

The next day we walked around and got some delicious bagel sandwiches before heading home. There wasn’t much else to do- we went back to the old square and got some souvenirs, but we were all pretty tired. All in all, despite a seemingly uneventful trip, Prague was a lot of fun. I’m glad I took a trip to somewhere not in Western Europe. I’m headed to Salzburg, Austria tonight, and Croatia next weekend! So keep a look out. Thanks for reading!

Interlaken July 24, 2012

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Interlaken and the Alps

Posted on July 10, 2012

I know it just seems like I keep saying everything is beautiful and such, but I honestly could not believe the scenery we found in Switzerland. Check this out:

Just a quick shot of Switzerland on our way to Canyoning

We arrived in Interlaken Friday night for a change, as it was only 6 hours away. I had been very eagerly anticipating this trip all summer, so I took some initiative this weekend and planned out what we were doing, including canyoning Saturday morning and a visit to Schilthorn, one of the mountains in the Swiss Alps. We went to bed early Friday night because the canyoning started at 8am, and we didn’t want to be too tired.

Two cuties in canyoning gear

Canyoning was so much fun!! It started with a 50m rappel down a cliff face, which was not a real rappel because they essentially just lowered us down. I had a ball just bouncing down, but Kate lost her footing once and Akash somehow ended up upside-down? No one was hurt, but it was hilarious. Then we hiked through the canyon for roughly 2 hours with several jumps into ice-cold pools, a couple of slides down rocks, and even a brief zipline before dropping into another pool. We had wetsuits so no one got hypothermia, but it felt really good in the 87 degree weather.  Afterwards we had complimentary drinks and sandwiches, and basked in the sun while enjoying the awesome scenery before heading back.

Just a little tired from canyoning

After getting back from canyoning, we realized we had more time in the day to go to the top of Schilthorn! So we got on a bus, took a train to another station, then took a bus to a cable car, and four cable cars later, we were 10,000 ft up in the Swiss Alps. It was magnificent- you seriously have to see my facebook album.

On top of the world

On top of Schilthorn is a rotating restaurant, and they also shot scenes from the James Bond film “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” so we got to see a lot of that paraphernalia. On the way down it started to get windy and rainy, so it was a bit more scary in those cable cars, but we made it back alright, and I enjoyed some Hofbrau Weissbeer at the hostel before going to bed.

The next morning it was overcast and windy, and our train was scheduled to leave at 2, so we wandered around the town of Interlaken and got some souvenir’s before  going to Hooter’s. You read me right haha, Hooter’s. All of us have been longing for a bit of home, so when we realized that there was a Hooter’s in Interlaken, it was almost a unanimous decision to visit there. Unfortunately, the wing’s just weren’t quite what we were expecting, but it was good to have almost-American food before heading back.

Sorry for the late posting by the way! This past week has been packed with 2 tests, a field trip, and some homework, all accompanied by a very sick Tyler. I had to go to the Doctor and get some antibiotics, but that didn’t stop my traveling! Look for a post about Prague later this week. Thanks for all who are still reading these!

Italy July 20, 2012

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5 day weekend: Italy

Posted on June 29, 2012

 

So after some of the most stressful and exhausting traveling experiences I’ve ever had, Italy was very scenic, very beautiful, and very hot. But I guess we were pretty used to it, coming from Atlanta and all.

pretty cool, isn’t it?

This trip saw a small change in the group dynamic, as Kate went to visit her family and Nathan headed over to Budapest and Prague. Akash, Gus and I ended up traveling with the wolfpack- 8 assorted girls and another dude named Cory. It was nice to see a change of pace, but it also meant dealing with a larger group. I knew starting the weekend that our trip to Rome was going to be awful- we had about 4 different trains, but the highlight of the trip was a six hour layover from midnight to 6am in Basel. I powered through most of the night, but started to doze on the cold train station floor towards the end. Even so, we still didn’t arrive in Rome until 1, but made it to the Colosseum right as the sun was hitting it at a nice angle. Gosh, it was massive, and hard to comprehend how old it was. I noticed a lot of holes in the structure, and later found out that they were a result of looting- people stole the metal out right out of the structure. I got a little bit lost/couldn’t find the group and ended up missing the Palantine Hill and Roman Forum, but I was able to walk around and see some cats and more ruins. It turns out that Cleopatra brought cats to Rome as a gift for the Caesar, but he was actually allergic and tried to kill them all. Of course that didn’t happen, so there were cats all over- they were pretty tame too. After visiting the ruins, we got all dressed up and went to the Opera for a showing of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Although they sang in English, it was very difficult to understand, and we left after the second act because we were hungry and tired. After some food, we went back to our hostel and passed out.

St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican City

The next morning we got up fairly early and got on another bus tour and headed towards the Vatican City. We stopped at St. Peter’s Basilica, which was really cool, and then headed over to the Sistine Chapel, which was amazing. After that we had some of the most authentic Italian food I’ve ever had. He brought us different appetizers, several different pasta dishes, some Italian desserts, and some lemoncello for us to try! It was so delicious. After we were stuffed we headed back on the bus and continued on our tour of Rome, stopping at the Pantheon and the Trevi Fountain. I threw two coins in the fountain and made a wish, but apparently I could have thrown 1 in to come back to Rome, 3 to get married, and 4 for a divorce! Back at the hostel we were all pretty tired and headed to bed for relatively uneventful evening.

Cinque Terra!

The next morning we got on the train and arrived in Cinque Terra, a region of 5 coastal cities along the cliff-lined Mediterranean. This place was beautiful. I don’t know how else to describe it: pure blue waters, colorful buildings, and mountains and cliffs meeting the ocean for one of the most scenic places I’ve ever been. Regularly, this is a great destination for hikers as the traverse the Italian coast from one city to the next, but because of landslides in the past year, two of the coastal trails were closed. We only ended up hiking between two cities, but it was 2 hours of intense, steep hiking. It was AWESOME.

I swear it’s not from a postcard

After we arrived at the final city, we swam around in the beautiful water, and I actually jumped off a cliff! Hopefully a friend will upload pictures later, but it was so much fun and so beautiful. You could see so far underwater! We then took a train back and got dinner at another town, and then headed to sleep.

The next morning we got on a train and headed to Florence, where we were greeted by the lovely Grace Lewis, who is doing the Architecture study abroad program in Greece and Italy. We stood in line for about 20 minutes before giving up on trying to see the sculpture David, and then got some delicious pasta and headed to- you’ll never guess- the Hard Rock Cafe to watch the Italy-England soccer game. We had delicious mac and cheese and apple cobbler, and then watched some fireworks in honor of St. Giovanni. Italy ended up winning the game after PK’s, so everyone was  in a good mood when we headed to sleep.

View from the Duomo

Our train the next morning was scheduled for 12:55, so we got up early to get some  sight seeing in before leaving Florence. We were able to climb the Duomo early without having to wait in any lines, and that was extraordinary- the artwork on the underside was incredible, and we were able to see ALL of Florence from the top. After heading down, we got some delicious food while others shopped in the leather market. Once we caught our train, we ended up having to switch trains because the  Italian trains were on strike. After switching trains, we found out we had to get off and ride a bus around a rockslide in Switzerland. We arrived to our connecting city late, and ended up having to spend ANOTHER night in a train station. At this point, you think I would be used to it, but I had developed a dry cough that just wouldn’t go away, and even after taking Nyquil I just couldn’t sleep. It was awful. We got back to Metz around 9:30, just in time to miss my two morning classes, so yeah, it was a pretty bad experience. Luckily, the views from the train in Switzerland were gorgeous!

Oh hey Switzerland, see you in a week!

I’m headed to Interlaken today actually for some canyoning and mountain climbing- I’m so stoked (regardless of how worried my mom might be)! Hope everything is going well for everyone back home. Ciao!

Munich July 13, 2012

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A Steindorf visits the homeland: Munchen, Deutschland!

Posted on June 20, 2012

People.

Germany is awesome.

This is me freaking out because Germany is awesome.

I suppose you want a few more details about it than that, but seriously. I took 200+ photos (enough to make two separate albums on facebook), brought back two steins, found a street of my last name (almost), and just had a wonderful time eating delicious food and enjoying it all with my friends. Seriously, go to Germany.

I must admit, our trip didn’t initially begin as awesomely as I thought. Our train was scheduled to leave at 10:30, so I figured I would try to find a Mexican place that Michael Preus suggested for me in Metz. Unfortunately, the map I had led me to… nowhere. We ended up getting fast food in order to get on our train, but alas, our train didn’t end up leaving until around midnight because the engine was broken! They had to bring another German engine (because it was a deutsche bahn train) in order to get us going. Combined on top of a stranger in our cabin and sleeping in seats, it wasn’t the most comfortable of nights. Shout out to the Wolfpack (minus Hope) for awful train rides together!

Once we arrived and dropped our bags off at our hostel, we made the trip to nearby Dachau, a German Concentration Camp from World War 2. That was a very humbling and sobering experience for me. The only thing I can liken Dachau to was visiting Hiroshima in Japan two summers ago. Despite the atrocities that occurred, the place was beautiful. It was very hard to imagine what had been happening just 70 years ago on the exact same ground I was standing on. We spent roughly 2 or 3 hours just wandering, absorbing, and reflecting.

words don’t do it justice

After Dachau, we made our way back to Munich and the Glockenspiel! As we were walking through the square, I literally could not stop beaming. The smells, the people, the sights, it all made me so excited! I think it all resonated with my likes so well- I’m not surprised at all at my German descent, I guess. We went to the Hofbrauhaus! We got delicious beer, awesome pretzels, sausages with mustard and saurkraut, and listened to the band play German songs. It was SO great.

After Hofbrauhaus we tried a Mexican place, but wouldn’t you know, Europeans don’t know how to do American Mexican food. Massive bummer- the cheese dip was cold! What the heck! Anyways, we went back and dropped Nathan and Kristen off at the hostel because they weren’t feeling well, and then went to Augustiner for dinner. Again, the food was delicious! Hard pretzels in cheese, half of a chicken, and fries combined with delicious beer and great friends made an excellent night.

The pretzels from Hofbrauhaus. SO GOOD.

The next morning we went and visited the Deutsches Museum- essentially a 6  story Science Museum. Of course, a group of Georgia Tech students had a blast wandering around for 2.5 hours looking at cool sciency things, and then freaking out at the cool sciency things we could buy at the gift shop. They had great plane exhibits and pretty neat laser/hologram exhibits as well, but I was bummed that the hydraulic engineering and bridge construction exhibits were under reconstruction. After a yummy lunch of pizza at an interesting little restaurant, we wandered over to the Olympiapark, and checked out a BMW showroom. The BMW showroom was especially neat because we had a nice person demonstrate the awesome features of the new z4, like how the hard-top roof of the convertible folds back and such. Yeah, so what, we are a pretty nerdy bunch.

So pretty!

That evening Germany was playing Denmark in the Eurocup! So we got back on the metro and headed to the Englisher Gardens to enjoy dinner by the Chinese Tower and watch the game. It was PACKED. But it was also delicious- I had some schweineschnitzel and fries and tried the radler, a refreshing combination of beer and lemonade. All in all, a great night, and a great trip.

I know Munich will be hard to top, but this afternoon I’m headed out for Rome! Our 5 day weekend beings tomorrow, so we are taking a 6:45 train and getting to Rome tomorrow, followed by Cinque Terra and Florence. It’s definitely going to be a busy weekend, but I’m sure it’s going to be great. If you have any suggestions for places to visit, let me know! And thanks for reading :)

Field Trip 1: Lorraine Memorial Cemetery and Hackenberg July 11, 2012

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Posted on June 18, 2012

I just got back from Munich, so look for a post soon about how awesome Deutschland is! Before getting to that however, I wanted to briefly fill you in on the field trip I went on last Wednesday. We were able to visit the Lorraine Memorial Cemetery, followed by the largest fort on the Maginot Line, the Hackenberg Fortress.

The Lorraine Cemetery has the graves of 10,489 bodies, about 40% of the bodies recovered near Lorraine- the other 60% were repatriated. Of those 10,489, 151 were unknown soldiers. There were also 4 Medal of Honor recipients, and several women buried there as well. It was a very powerful experience; we were able to just walk around and pay our respects in our own way.

Beautiful

Afterwards we had lunch at an authentic French restaurant, and then visited the Hackenberg Fortress. It was cold, damp, dark, and really cool to walk around and see remnants from wars past. I don’t really have much else to say about Hackenberg, other than that it was hard to imagine actually living, working, and fighting in a fortress like that.

One of the exhibits in the Hackenberg Fortress

Again, see my pictures on facebook for a better story of the field trip. Now to edit the ones from this weekend!

Paris! July 10, 2012

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Paris: a picturesque place for a relaxed weekend

Posted on June 14, 2012 at http://tinysteinygoestofrance.wordpress.com

As I’m sure you have seen on facebook so far, I couldn’t stop taking pictures this weekend. Paris was just so gorgeous. Just feast your eyes on this picture:

The Eiffel Tower

So pretty!

Yep, looks like we were photoshopped, but no, we were actually there. Be jealous. So Friday we got into to Paris around 10, and after checking into our hostel we went to find our friend Ralf’s show. For those of you who don’t know, Ralf Popescu is a seriously talented and impressive electronic producer, so much so that he has been signed by AM Only (aka on the same level as Skrillex). He was playing a show at Le Red Light, so we were able to meet up with him and other friends from the Barcelona program. It was so much fun, and great to see him.

The next morning we started off with some fresh fruit at a market, and then breakfasted on the lawn near the Eiffel Tower. It was so gorgeous, and of course we had fun taking pictures. Then we headed off to Louvre to try and meet up with other friends. However, we soon realized that saying, “Let’s meet at the Louvre” was about as descriptive as “Let’s meet at Georgia Tech,” and we actually didn’t get to see them. Instead we got lunch, then headed to Notre Dame followed by the Arc de Triomphe. We had a DELICIOUS dinner at a place called the Bellagio, and then headed back to our hotel (there was a little mix up that had us walking 20 minutes across town to a different hotel, but at that point we were just tired and ended up going to sleep).

The next morning we visited Versailles. We ended up not touring the Chateau because of a massive line, but instead toured the gardens, which was quite fun despite how overcast it was. We were greeted by several baby swans, ducks, and surprisingly affectionate fish at the lake, and then headed home. I think this was a very relaxed weekend, and we needed it; with all the traveling we have been doing, we are getting really tired. Case in point, I think I turned my alarm off in my sleep this morning, and woke up at 8:05 (made it to my 8:15 class by 8:17, I was pretty proud of myself).

Cloudy, but pretty

Barcelona! June 27, 2012

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Sagrada Familia

A very impressive example of Gaudi’s work

This was originally posted around June 7, 2012 at http://tinysteinygoestofrance.wordpress.com

Oh hey, I’m back from Barcelona!

So Spain in general, and Southern France, for that matter, was gorgeous. Absolutely beautiful. Please check my photos out on facebook- I didn’t load them all because I took so many but really it was awesome. We got to Barcelona around noon on Saturday, and met up with our friend Corrigan who is studying abroad there this summer. He took us to his apartment, and we proceeded to devour some Chinese food before heading off to the Sagrada Familia, as shown above.

The Sagrada Familia was started in 1882, but taken over by Gaudi in 1883. Now you can see his unique style in almost every aspect of the church. There are snails, lizards, a nativity scene, and fruit all over the place, and it is just huge. It’s actually not set to be done until around 2030, but already it is quite impressive, as you can see in the above photo.

After a long day of sightseeing we tried our luck at Corrigan’s favorite sangria place, only to find out they were out. So we wandered and found some tapas, which were tasty, but not at all filling. Then we went out and experienced the Barcelona night life. That evening was highlighted when I tried to jump over a shoulder-high pole. Lucky for me, my body cleared the pole, but the somewhat-baggy jeans did not. My jeans (and boxers!) were ripped completely through and we had to go back to change. The rest of the night was very fun, but was super late- I guess that explains why they have to take naps during the day!

Sunday we walked around Barcelona and went to several museums. The Picasso museum was completely packed because apparently that day it was free to get in, but we did go to another one of Gaudi’s works- La Pedrera. It was very cool- again, be sure to check out the pictures. We didn’t do much that day, but we had some awesome dinner at the place we tried yesterday.

The rooftop of La Pedrera

Monday we tried the Barcelona beach! Unfortunately, it was windy, overcast, and not very warm, so we only stayed for about thirty minutes. But we then tried some seafood paella before hopping on a bus tour to catch the rest of the city. We stopped at Parc Guell, another work of Gaudi’s, as well as the FC Barcelona stadium and several other stops along the way. Really there is only one way to describe Barcelona: beautiful.

View from Parc Guell

Gorgeous, isn’t it?

Coming up next: Paris! and then Munich, an Italy trip, and Interlaken :)

Keep in touch!

Koebenhavn with a side of Hamburg June 20, 2012

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I love this picture- Lakeside in Christiania

Originally published on June 1, 2012, at http://tinysteinygoestofrance.wordpress.com Enjoy!

I intended to write this Tuesday (when I returned from my weekend trip). This didn’t happen because I arrived at 6:15am after “sleeping” on a “sleeper car.” That exhaustion combined with Thermo homework killed that idea. I intended to write this yesterday, when I had free time. Free time which quickly disappeared to groceries, Transport homework, and the like. So now that I have my homework done and got some good sleep, here is a recount of my last weekend! Sorry for the delay everybody

OK. Copenhagen. Wasn’t too sure what to expect, but it definitely exceeded those expectations. It began with a rocky start though. Our already late train (11:25pm Friday) got delayed until midnight, so we decided to spend some time downtown beforehand. After eating delicious Kebab Serpenois, we spent some time at a bar. However, I was in an odd mood- I think I was missing people back home, so I ended up taking a walk alone for a bit. The sleeper car was awful (tall person problems) coupled with awful dreams, but after breakfast at our layover in Hamburg, we got back onto the train which drove directly into a boat! A massive boat! We were ferried across to Denmark, where we continued on to Copenhagen. Oh, and at some point Friday night/Saturday morning, my glasses decided to break again, and without my glue, I ended up wearing contacts for the rest of the trip. Luckily sunglasses were definitely needed!

We were greeted at the station by Erin Walsh, a friend of Nathan’s, who took us onto a local train to her apartment. We dropped off our stuff, and then set out downtown- but not after walking past the LARGEST MALL IN SCANDINAVIA. Yep. It was massive. Downtown was very neat- a lot like other European towns with quaint storefronts, cool food stands, lots of pretty and old things, and good music. For dinner I had an enormous open-faced sandwich, and then we headed back. That evening we went out again with some of Erin’s friends to all of their favorite locations, and got to experience the local nightlife. It was a blast!

The next morning after a yummy breakfast of cinnamon pancakes, eggs, and bacon, we went to other various parts of Copenhagen. It was really pretty- be sure to check out my facebook album for some great pictures- and perfect weather. Then, we visited a commune called Christiania which was definitely outside of my comfort zone, but had some pretty views and awesome music as well. Then we made our way to a local amusement park called Tivoli, with several more sights and experiences, and we rode a roller coaster (we got there late, so ended up not buying a full pass).

After a dinner of noodles and ice cream, we went back to Erin’s apartment with the intention of briefly napping, but ended up sleeping until the next day. We tried to go to Field’s (the shopping mall) before our train, but it was closed for a European bank holiday! So frustrating. We were able to try some Danish hot dogs though, and then got back on the train.

Our layover in Hamburg this time was for 4 hours, so this time we were able to go wander around! We found a local pride festival, so it was basically a regular street fair at home, except it was German. SO GOOD. I got to eat traditional bratwurst, some German chips and beer, and the German take on a burrito (not bad, but interesting). Then, back on the train, we met a French man named Frederick, and played cards with him until passing out. And, like I said, we arrived at 6:15 Tuesday morning, with classes at 8.

Again, I’m finding that what I enjoy most about traveling is just wandering around and experiencing the city. I am not the biggest history buff, and if you start rattling facts off about an old castle, it will most likely go in one ear and out the other, while I just look, smell, feel, and just experience the castle for myself. I love going to the local places for food and drinks, and either meeting new friends, or spending time with my own friends. They’re pretty great. Also, Akash and I have discovered we are awesome at spades, which makes the trains enjoyable too.

Be sure to check the photos out on facebook! Miss everyone

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