Sunday, December 30, 2012

2.5 months later...

I admit it, I can be a terrible blogger. I find that I get too caught up with too many things at one time and  lose track of too many things. New Years is coming up and yes, it will be one of many resolutions for 2013. 
So where have I been in the absence of 74 days? What have I been doing? 
Let me mention some names: Berlin, Meißen, London, Wrocław and now I'm back in Fredericia/Herslev/Kolding (Denmark). These are the places I have visited since October 15, 2012. 76 days ago. I know I have still got about 7 months left in Europe (though approximately 3-4 weeks I'll be in hiatus in the US) but I feel already so blessed to have seen so many different and interesting areas. 
I suppose it only makes sense to describe my trip chronologically then.


November 2012

"The greatest cultural extravaganza that one could imagine."
(David Bowie, on 1970s Berlin)

I only spent two days in Berlin, and most of the time I felt lost. In comparison to Leipzig, it's much bigger, with many more people. The city is very spread out and very often seems like a hodgepodge of culture, art, fashion and well, history as well. I suppose that this is it's appeal, and I very much enjoyed the eccentricity  though I am looking forward to going back again when it's warmer (it was much to grey during the first week of November). Also, kneipes (pub-like areas) are experienced better in the sun and warmth. 
I travelled with a group of 13 Erasmus friends, who are from all over Europe. We are all studying at University of Leipzig and so often travel together. As it was my first time in Berlin, I wanted to see the most important sights and figured I would come back to visit the museums, galleries and other cultural institutions.
Checkpoint Charlie
Unter den Linden is a boulevard filled with numerous historic buildings which of course we took the time to see. Brandenburger Tor along with Alexanderplatz was another area obvious to visit. You can see other things worthy of seeing here. I'll most likely be reusing this later. Throughout the day, we walked around all of Berlin, the premise being to go to the Jewish museum, which was only supposed to be a informational point. After some miscommunication a group of 7 of us ended up across the city at the National Jewish Museum which, though not inteded was still an interesting sight.  On Saturday night we went out to a club which was in an abandoned church (I believe) and even though it was a week after Halloween, Berlin was still celebrating. It was great fun, consisted of three or four different rooms with different types of music. No wonder so many clubs are open until late morning. On Sunday morning a good friend of mine Camilla took us to the weekly weekend outdoor flea market which was huge and filled many goodies. And without a doubt, we saw the wall! 
Brandenburger Tor!
Oh Berlin, we'll be back!


November 2012

Known for it's porcelain, I travelled to this small destination on a day trip with the student group WILMA and with another friend of mine.  We were there for a few hours, did a quick stadtrundgang (city tour), went to the museum, had some coffee and went around the castle. After that, it was getting a bit chilly so after a walk we got some mulled wine :) 

"Der dumme Junge von Meißen" (The dumb youth from  Meißen)

Goethe lived here...for a night

 London and Cambridge (!)

November 2012
London called and I flew over from Leipzig. A friend of mine invited me to come with her as she wanted to visit her sister who lives outside of London. We went for three days, one afternoon was spent in Bedford, Sunday in London, Monday in Cambridge and on Tuesday morning we were on our way back 'home'. 
Westminster Abbey
As I originally come from New York City, it was wonderful to go back to the quick-paced, robustness of a major metropolitan area. Though I really enjoy living in a smaller city like Leipzig, there is something exceptional about the rush I encounter or encountered in London. I really loved how spread out it was and how separated certain parts of the city were. Joanna and I walked all days and still only saw the most important things. Again, like in Berlin, we weren't able to go to any museums or galleries because we only had a few hours just to explore. But we did it anyway and felt like I had really seen so much. We were extremely lucky with the weather Sunday morning, blue skies and only some wind until noon. The rain didn't come down until about 7 in the evening which seems like a success to me, considering what I was imagining. My impressions of London? I loved it. It's a huge city but it's much cleaner than NYC. I wasn't too fond of the prices (so I suppose it was good we were only there for a day) and there were tons of foreigners. I giggled a bit at the English accent though secretly envying it. I loved all the little shops I kept finding when we got out of the center and yes, I hate the tube. Perhaps it's my claustrophobia but it was incredibly crowded, insanely small and just too round for my taste. But on the other hand, it was very easy to go around and super quick. And it's always better to look at the positives.  

The London Eye 

Of course
Big Ben

And we had to go to Notting Hill
Across from Buckingham Palace

On Monday we headed out to Cambridge, an hour away from Bedford. Though before we did, Joanna and I made a quick pit stop at Primark, a smaller version of Forever 21. The weather was grey and somewhat rainy. Our trip over to Cambridge took a bit longer than expected. Many of the little rivers in small towns had flooded, blocking roads which meant that it took longer for cars to get through traffic. When we arrived in Cambridge, we walked over to the main campus of the university and then proceeded to get lunch. After recharging with a cappuccino, we set out for the city centre. As we had no city map with us we relied on street signs and directions, which made adventuring much more spontaneous. We saw all the colleges of the university and walked down all the little alleys on the way. Joanna and I also did some more shopping and I acquired a beautiful Cambridge satchel.

King's College


December 2012

 Wrocław, my most spontaneous trip thus far. I decided to go the day before, once someone had dropped out. It was also just for a weekend and for 40 Euros, including train fare and hostel, I couldn't pass it up. Another reason was that I had actually never been to Wrocław and it would be really nice to be in a country where I am fluent in the language. 
Like with every trip, there was lots of walking and exploring of the city. Of course it had to be on a weekend where it was approximately -5 degrees Celsius during the day. As the city was a former part of Germany, traditions like the Weihnachtsmarkt (Christmas markets) still remain, and so we explored them as well. Our of 19 students, there were 4 of us that were native Polish speakers and we wanted to have people learn about Polish culture, food and traditions. We first took them to a Pierogarnia which is a restaurant that primarily serves pierogies, Polish-style dumplings. I of course got my favorite, potato, cheese and onion. They weren't as great as my grandmothers but it was definitely delicious. After that there was more walking around the city centre and basking in the lights.  


View from the University tower 
One of 212 dwarves around the city!

Fredericia/Herslev/Kolding (Denmark)

December 2012 - January 2013

I am currently back in Denmark, visiting my boyfriend and his family. They live in Herslev but we are often alternating between Fredericia and Kolding. On details about my stay and experiencing my first Danish Christmas, see my next post :) 

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