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You Say “Goodbye” and I Say “Hello” June 25, 2012

Posted by kmorrisey3 in Travel Log.
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Much has happened since my last blog post. I said goodbye to traveling, and hello to England. The sentiments of Oxford Group 3 were downcast, at best, at the realization of the end of travel, but I was excited. No doubt I’ll miss the exhilaration and fast pace of constant travel, but I am beyond ready to slow down and unpack in my dormitory at Oxford. (Not to mention finally wash my clothes in an actual washing machine). Let’s review my final weeks abroad and my first in England.

Brugge, Brussels, Ghent, Belgium

We arrived in the land of waffles, chocolate, and beer (aka Belgium) late at night on June 15. The ten long bus ride from Luzern made my bed in our hotel in Ghent even more inviting-not that I slept in it too much anyway. In true Group 3 fashion, most of that first night was spent exploring our new city, taking pictures, and visiting local pubs. We made sure to be back with enough time to get an almost healthy amount of sleep before our trip the next day to Brugge. (here’s aother photo of the absolutely BREATHTAKING sunset I lost sleep over in Luzern-definitely worth it)

Sunrise- Luzern, Switzerland

I know I’ve said this multiple times about many cities but….I think Brugge is my favorite city!! We took a bike tour led by one of our group leaders, Derek, to see the city and the countryside. What a sight we must have been, all ~35 of us riding through the cobblestoned streets in such a long line! Brugge had a simple beauty to it; the city was incredibly quaint and traditional, and the countryside looked like it belonged in a scene from Pride & Prejudice (all my Jane Austen fans out there know what I’m talking about). My favorite spot was a rolling hillside with antiquated windmill perched atop it, seen here:

Brugge, Belgium

We also spent a day in both Brussels and Ghent, which were much less quaint and cultured as Brugge. Brussels and Ghent were fairly large and modern. We visited some museums and cathedrals, but it was the food that stole the show in these cities. I had my best meal at a local eatery in Ghent: a steaming bowl of mussels. Cooked in white wine, the mussels were perfect! I split a dish with my friend Melissa, but even with two mouths we barely made a dent in the huge bowl of delicious seafood.

Ghent, Belgium

My banana nut waffle, apparently a Belgium classic, from Brussels was another trip favorite. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to eat a Belgium waffle in America again-they simply don’t compare to the original!

Brussels, Belgium

Paris, France

Il n’y a que deux endroits au monde où l’on puisse vivre heureux:  chez soi et à Paris”

(There are only two places in the world where we can live happy:  at home and in Paris.)

-Ernest Hemingway

 I’m not sure if Hemingway has ever been more wrong. I hate to say it as much as I hate that it’s true, but I simply did not like Paris. Paris, to my dismay, was nothing like I imagined. Instead of romantic images of streets lined with charming cafes and bright lights, I saw graffiti-covered concrete buildings and dirty alleyways. Perhaps my expectations were too high, or my mood was hampered by my final exams looming ahead, but regardless, I couldn’t get over the fact that my perfect idea of Paris wasn’t fulfilled. My experience at The Louvre contributed to this pessimistic sentiment. The Louvre, like I expected and was warned of, was incredibly crowded. It was even more crowded than The Sistine Chapel-I didn’t think that was possible! It was a bit comical to see the crowd surrounding the Mona Lisa. After seeing so much art throughout my travels, I wasn’t impressed by the renowned portrait. However, I visited the Eiffel Tower my final night in Paris, and was AMAZED. The view of the Eiffel Tower sparkling at night was one of the best sights I saw throughout my travels. With the drizzle of the rain that night, the Eiffel Tower almost appeared as it was a diamond, glistening and sparkling in the dark. The graffiti-covered concrete buildings and dirty alleyways will soon be forgotten, but I will never forget the instant the thousands of lights illuminated the Tower. Maybe Hemingway was right after all.

Eiffel Tower- Paris, France

Oxford, England

I’m finally all settled in my little dorm here in Gloucester House at Worcester College (it’s actually a lot larger than the apartment I’ll be living in at Tech!). I can’t wait to get started with my classes and meet everyone in the other travel groups! I’ll be traveling to Barcelona, Spain next weekend, but for the time being I’ll be exploring the campus of Worcester College, my new home for the next 6 weeks.

Goodbye traveling, Hello Oxford!

Kelliann Morrisey

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