Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Hello everyone! I'm still alive! Hahaha... I returned to Harlaxton Manor on Monday night after six beautiful days of travel through Europe. I meant to post an update earlier, but things have been so incredibly busy here that I haven't had a chance!
To those of you who hoped I'd:
- learn about myself: I did.
- learn about Europe: I did.
- have a beer on them: Oh boy, did I ever...
- have an absolutely fabulous birthday: I did!
- take a lot of pictures: *scoff* Of course! I'm a scrapbooker!
- get a chance to relax: Yes. Yesyesyesyesyes.
- have a generally amazing experience: Oui.
Here's a little synopsis -- you can expect full posts on each of my stops ... at some point!
Day 1: Left Grantham, via train, for London. Had some time, so I visited the London Eye - the largest "ferris wheel" in the world! Caught the Eurostar "Chunnel" train (it goes under the English Channel! -- the Tunnel under the Channel, or Chunnel). Arrived in Brussels - reserved my space on the night train and left for...
Day 2: Berlin! Spent time wandering around, caught up with a free walking tour (which was awesome!) and spent the rest of the day with some people I met on the tour - shopping, dinner, and museums! Caught the night train to...
Day 3: Munich! Again wandered around and caught up with another free walking tour (same company, also amazing!). It was pretty windy there that day, but my tough Wisconsin skin handled it well! Because it was Munich (the home of Oktoberfest, right?) I visited the largest Beer Hall in the city for dinner. Ended up sitting with some American servicemen (medical workers and an engineer) and had a very German evening! Got back to the train station and caught the night train to... It snowed while I was there!
Day 4: Vienna! Very cold, windy and rainy -- the rain was actually running horizontally through the city! Due to my exploits in Munich, Vienna was definitely a slow, relaxed, quiet day! I wandered around the city center, bought some shoes (woo hoo!), toured some of the beautiful churches, found the "Beautiful Blue" Danube and a Swarovski crystal shop. Decided I was a little tired of the night trains, so I jumped on the Internet and made a hotel reservation for one night in Paris (so I skipped Zurich). Caught the night train to...
Day 5: Paris! You know, I've never really had any sort of dying desire to go to Paris - but that all changed when I visited. I saw the Eiffel tower, had the opportunity to catch up with another one of that same company's free walking tours, saw the Louvre, Notre Dame, the Arc de Triumph, the Moulin Rouge (and much much more!) - and even picked up a little French! I didn't go into any of the museums because of the time limitations I had (thus ensuring that I'd have to go back some day!) but it was still an amazing city. And the crowning glory was staying up late enough (I was exhausted at this point in the trip, by the way) to see the Eiffel Tower twinkle. At night for about 10 minutes every hour they set off this light show on the tower itself. I really expected it to be like the type of big round bulbs going off in patterns (like you'd see outside a Football/Baseball stadium or something) but it was completely different -- I literally gasped when it started. It's thousands (maybe millions?) of tiny little flash bulbs (like a camera flash, I guess) going off seemingly randomly all over the entire structure - I now understand why they sell little miniatures of the tower all covered in glitter! I spent the night there...
Day 6: Slept in! Used the morning to walk around a bit, get breakfast and a croissant, and caught my Eurostar Chunnel train back to London at noon. From London I hit the rails back up to Grantham just in time for dinner -- then went to sleep!
The entire trip was mind blowing -- I barely had any down time, and I was constantly taking notes in my little journal in the hopes that I wouldn't forget anything! I still haven't had a chance to sit down and process everything, or add captions to photos - but I promise they'll be up soon!
Once again -- thanks to everyone who helped make that trip possible - Thank You, Cheers, Merci, and Danke Shoen! I really don't think words can describe how much it meant, and what a life-changing experience that trip was for me. It was the perfect way to put my semester abroad into a greater context and spend some time learning about Europe, world culture, and myself. Truly, from the bottom of my heart -- thank you all! And I love you! Auf Wiedersehen!
Posted by Christine Zani at 5:34 AM