SEA you later at Rhossili Bay!

After traveling around Europe, my friend and I came back to Cardiff, Wales. It was the end of spring break. I wish I traveled to more places, but I enjoyed all the places that I visited on this two week whirlwind. I look forward to coming back to some of them and to travel some more.

About a week after we came back from spring break, my study group and I had a day trip to Rhossili, which is on the southwestern tip of the Gower Peninsula in Swansea. The weather was spectacular that day. I have a lot of great pictures to share!IMG_4270

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The picture below shows the time range you have to be in crossing the rocks. If you stay after the “back” time, you could be stranded wherever you are, because waves will block the crossing path/rocks. Supposedly, Dylan Thomas, a Welsh poet, was out there once and got stranded.
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The views from climbing up were fantastic.
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After hanging out at Rhossili Bay, we made our way to Arthur’s Stone. According to legend, King Arthur once felt a “pebble” in his shoe and tossed it. This was said “pebble.”
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On our way back to the bus, we saw some horses grazing on the field. Can we ride them instead?
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Our final destination for the day (before dinner) was Three Cliffs Bay. It was a nice little area where people in the study group were able to play with a soccer ball (football), run across the sand, and fly kites. It was an idyllic setting, where you can just imagine people and kids running happily across the sand.
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This could be the background for a cool, inspirational poster or something. Okay, I’ll stop idealising now.
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Finally, we had dinner. We had it at yet another Mediterranean restaurant (after the success of the first time we went to one near Bletchley Park! See post here!), where I had lamb for the main entree and baklava for dessert. Delicious!
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That does it for this post! If you’re still around, thanks for hanging on!

It’s Finally Time for Me to Take a BuchaREST

Wow. I’m hitting all the bad puns here. Anyway, my friend’s and my last stop in our whirlwind spring break Europe tour is Bucharest, Romania. She has been looking forward to this, because she wanted to see her family. I, on the other hand, was tired and exhausted from the past two weeks, recovering from a cold and trying to keep up with constantly being on the move.

Her family was very welcoming. Hearing them speak in Romanian was beautiful. (Taking a step back for a moment here: one of the things I loved about being abroad was hearing the different accents and languages.)

Anyway, we took a plane from Budapest to Bucharest. However, we had a stopover/layover in Berlin for about two hours. Finally, we arrived in Bucharest. My friend’s grandmother picked us up from the airport, and then we made our way to a park. I wanted to appreciate it more, but it was so hot and I was so tired, so I was not enjoying it as much as I wanted to.

Her grandmother dropped off my friend at her other grandmother’s house, and then she drove me to their guest apartment, which was next door to theirs. By the time I arrived there, I had some lunch and then I just got on the couch and passed out. I was woken up later to eat dinner.

The next day, my friend, her grandmother, her other grandmother, and I went to Therme Buceresti, a thermal bathhouse, similar to a popular one in Budapest. It was nice and relaxing. It’s essentially an indoor pool, except there is no chlorine in the water. My friend and I also went into two of the saunas there: one at 45 degrees Celsius and the other one at 90 degrees Celsius. I, somehow, survived in the 90 degrees Celsius one for a while before I ran out. It was too hot for me.

We stayed at the bathhouse for about four hours, and then we made our way back to the apartment. I do not remember specific details after this, but I think that we simply ate lunch (at her grandmother’s I believe), and then we watched an orchestra concert nearby. Then, we came back home and ate a late dinner.IMG_4245

The next day, we went out with her relatives to the National Village Museum. It reminded me of St. Fagan’s in Cardiff, Wales. Then, I ate lunch with her relatives and hung around with them for the rest of the day.
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In general, I got a more personal tour of Bucharest, because my friend has relatives there. I wish I was not as exhausted as I was, but I enjoyed the hospitality that I received. I did not take a lot of pictures here, but below is, I think, a government building that we passed by while driving.
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That concludes spring break! Wow, I FINALLY finished blogging about spring break. Look out for more of my adventures that I had after spring break!

You’re Being Nothing Budapest

Get it? You’re being nothing but a pest (Budapest)? Ah, forget it.

Almost there, in terms of blogs about my spring break trip! This has been long overdue, and I sincerely apologise. Without further ado, let’s get into Budapest!

From Vienna, my friend and I took a two hour train ride to Budapest. We came across a British man who was leading his high school (A-level) students on a trip to Budapest. He was very nice to talk to and was knowledgable about the history of Budapest. My friend mostly talked to him, because, as always, I cannot talk/am too shy about it. However, I did not mind. I liked listening to the two of them talk.

We arrived in Budapest sometime in the late afternoon. Once at the train station, we went to an ATM to withdraw Hungarian Forint. The conversion rate from US dollars to Hungarian Forint is insane. It’s approximately $1 = 278-280 Hungarian Forint (from back in April). Now, when I just did a Google search on the conversion rate, it’s $1 = 284.62 Hungarian Forint. My goodness.

We walked over to our hostel from the train station, and it was a rather interesting one. The hostel was in the same building as residential apartments, so it was not easy to find. Second, there were no locks on the doors to the rooms. Rather, each person had their own locker. I felt weirded out by this, but at least the lockers were big enough to put my backpack and belongings in. Breakfast was free, so thank goodness.

By the time we got to the apartment, it was evening already and my friend and I were both tired, so we just remained in the hostel.

The next day was a full day of exploration, and unfortunately, the only one, because our flight to Bucharest, Romania was at 6:30am the next day. After a free breakfast in the hostel, we made our way out to the city. First, we stopped at St. Stephen’s Basilica. Here’s the facade.
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I will always be in awe of every cathedral/basilica/church that I walk into. This picture cannot do it justice.
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St. Stephen’s hand(?) or a high priest’s hand was put on display in a separate room in the basilica.
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Like other cathedrals and basilicas I’ve been in, I was able to go up to the top of the basilica and get a panoramic view of Budapest. I love being able to see cities like this. It’s amazing to see all the different structures and the different cities from this perspective.
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After visiting the basilica, my friend and I made our way to the Hungarian Parliament Building. Along the way, we stopped at a souvenir store, where we both bought postcards for ourselves and friends back home. The amount of postcards I’ve collected since January is crazy, haha. But, I love postcards, because sometimes, the photographers were able to capture the place in ways that you couldn’t with your smartphone or camera.

Anyway, we made it to the Hungarian Parliament Building. I always saw pictures of this magnificent structure, so to be able to see it in person was spectacular. The architecture just blows my mind.
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Officers were performing a traditional Hungarian ceremony outside the Parliament building.
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Another angle of the Hungarian Parliament Building. It’s so stunning! I’m obsessed with the architecture and the layout of this building. It reminds me of a cathedral.
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If you walk behind the Hungarian Parliament Building and down the stairs, you will see the Danube River. After walking down the stairs and crossing the street, turn left and continue walking alongside the Danube River. There is a memorial of shoes to honour the Jews who were shot in 1944-1945 at the edge of the river and fell in.
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After the Shoes on the Danube River, my friend and I crossed a bridge and made our way up the citadel, where the fortress is. Here is a view from the beginning of hike up.
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Another view of the city from hiking up the citadel. This was a tiring hike. I thought it would never end. But, the views were worth it.
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Finally, we made it to the fortress, where we enjoyed the views and the cool breeze.
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That pretty much ends the Budapest trip! The rest of this trip consisted of us journeying back to the hostel, eating the food her aunt gave us, and preparing for our middle of the night journey to the airport. Next up: Bucharest!

Waltzing Through the Streets of Vienna

Not really. I wish I learned the Viennese waltz there. That would have been a wonderful experience.

Vienna was beautiful. I loved learning about the Habsburg royal family and their strong influence over Austria and Europe. My friend and I were there for four days and we stayed at her aunt’s apartment, which was in walking distance from the Schloss Belvedere. When we arrived in Vienna the first day, it was already late afternoon, so we just stayed in her aunt’s apartment, had dinner, and talked.

The next day was when the adventure started. Her aunt walked us around the general area, which included the city centre, city hall, some other government buildings (sorry, I can’t remember now :/), cathedrals (one of them being St. Stephen’s), and the Viennese Opera House. IMG_3995

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You can actually ride on these horse carriages, but as you can imagine, they’re expensive.
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After having some dessert and drinks at a cafe in the streets, we all went our separate ways. Her aunt had to pick up her son from his friend’s house, my friend went to the House of Music (Haus der Musik), and I went to watch a Viennese opera at the opera house. I had to be there an hour early to get standing tickets (which were only 3-4 euros) and to reserve my standing seat by tying my sweater at the posts that were there. The opera singers were incredible. The opera, itself, did not have a plot that I could follow along well.
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After the opera, as I was making my way back to my friend’s aunt’s apartment, I stopped by this church (which, I, unfortunately, can’t remember the name of. I almost typed Frederiks Kirke, but that’s Copenhagen…). Ah, after a Google search of “churches in vienna” -smacks forehead-, it’s Karlskirche. I can’t believe I forgot the name of it already. It’s been so long. :/ At some cathedrals and churches I’ve been to in Europe, you were able to go up to the dome and out and see a 360 view of the city. For this particular church, you were able to do that, but it was disappointing, because it was indoor and I did not see the outside. Seeing the paintings under the dome were incredible, but there was a lot of construction, so all I saw was scaffolding. This is also not ideal for people afraid of heights, because you would take a lift (elevator) up, and then walk up the stairs, which is scary, because the railings aren’t thick and stable. It’s essentially walking up the scaffolding. Not worth it to go up, in my opinion, unless they remove all of the scaffolding.
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The next day, my friend and I explored Schloss Schönbrunn. WOW. It was incredible to walk around the palace, especially the Great Gallery, which is reminiscent of the Hall of Mirrors in the Palace of Versailles. Unfortunately, I could not take any pictures inside the palace, but walking around the palace grounds was just as wonderful as walking inside.
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After touring Schloss Schönbrunn, my friend and I made our way back to the general city area (Schloss Schönbrunn was about 30-40 minutes outside the city centre? Can’t remember…), and from there, my friend and I went our separate ways again. My next stop was the Sisi Museum. Oh my goodness. The amount of kitchen utensils, cutlery, plates, bowls, etc. was beyond me. I’ve never seen that many utensils in my life! Also, the amount of gold and silver that I saw was incredible. In addition to this part of the museum, I was able to tour the Imperial Apartments as well. Learning about Empress Elisabeth was kind of sad, because she was not prepared to live in a royal setting. She was used to all of the informality but was forced into a marriage she did not want and a lifestyle that she was not used to.

After touring the Sisi Museum, I decided to explore the city centre and enjoy seeing all the shops and cafes. I stopped by the Hofburg Cafe and had this delicious cake. I think it was tiramisu flavoured? IMG_4115

After having that cake, I walked around some more and I found myself going into some shops, one of them being Longchamp. I knew that my sister wanted a Longchamp Le Pliage tote (the large one) and since she graduated from university this year, I decided to buy one for her. In Europe, it’s cheaper to buy European brands (obviously) because there are no additional shipping/export fees. In addition to this, I was also able to fill out the VAT refund form and got back some more money, so it was a great deal overall.

While walking back to my friend’s aunt’s apartment, I passed by a field of tulips, which looked beautiful in the sun. In Amsterdam, my friend wanted to go to the tulip fields, but they were about an hour away and we had limited time in Amsterdam, so we did not go. I made sure to take a picture of them, because they were stunning.
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Once everyone was back at the apartment, we went out to dinner at a nearby restaurant. I ordered the schnitzel and a beer. Delicious! I somehow managed to finish everything, haha, because both the potatoes and schnitzel were good. One of my goals of this European trip was to try foods that countries were known for. Got that down for Austria.
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On the last day, before our train to Budapest, I unexpectedly visited the Hundertwasser Village. I’ve never heard of it, but when I saw pictures of the colourful buildings, I knew I had to go. Walking in that area brought me back to when my family and I were in Barcelona. I went to the art museum that was there, and it was interesting. I liked how it showcased the artwork of this unknown artist and his ideas about sustainability.
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Afterwards, my friend’s aunt picked me up and drove me back to the Schloss Belvedere, the palace near her apartment. Here, I was really excited about it, because I wanted to see the art gallery there, especially since Gustav Klimt’s The Kiss was on display there. I was not able to take a picture of the actual artwork, but in a room over from where it was, they displayed a copy of it where you can take a picture of it.

Also, don’t let the picture below fool you. It was actually really sunny the day I went. This was taken on my way back from the Viennese Opera on my first full day.
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Apologies for the sun glare. At least it was sunny outside. But, seeing this painting in person was INCREDIBLE. I loved being able to see the gold of this painting and the sparkles and shine. Definitely worth seeing.
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I found it rather interesting that there was this fake snowman outside. Haha.
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Whew! That ends this post about Vienna. After this city, my friend and I hopped on a train and rode it for two hours to Budapest, Hungary. Stay tuned for that post!

Hwyl fawr am nawr, Caerdydd!

Hello! I do apologise for the really slow updates on my travels. I have a draft saved for my Vienna trip, but before I continue with that, I want to quickly say that I will be leaving Cardiff in a couple of hours from now. 😦 This has been a wonderful experience, and I am sad that it is coming to close. However, I am grateful for being a part of this, especially for all of the adventures, for all of the people that I met, and for this newfound freedom of learning who I am.

Being in a country without your family and immediate friends is hard. I know that I had a hard time adjusting to the new lifestyle in Cardiff for the first couple of weeks. I also did not know most people in my study group that well, so I felt left out and weird. However, as time went out, we went on more trips together, and I began to adjust myself to and enjoy the constant social interaction of being with my study group. I also became closer to one of my flatmates and her friend (also from America), who became great people to talk to and have fun with. I will miss these group bonds when I go back to university in America in the fall semester, but I am glad that I have these bonds.

Until next time Cardiff (and UK and Europe in general). I hope to come back soon. IMG_5687

The Hills Are Alive in Salzburg

First, before I get into my adventures in Salzburg, I just want to apologize for the lack of updates on this blog. I take full responsibility for my laziness and for occupying myself with other things. I will finish writing about my spring break adventure before this semester ends. I leave Cardiff officially on 10 June, so I hope to have 80% of my travels this semester documented by then. Without further ado, here is the post about Salzburg.

So, after the Pergamon Museum in Berlin, my friend and I got on a train to the airpot (Berlin Schonfeld) to take a flight to Salzburg, Austria! I’ve been really excited for this, because I love The Sound of Music, and I’ve always wanted to come to Salzburg! However, I was really disappointed when my friend decided that we were going to cut off a day from out of our stay, because her aunt in Vienna, the next city we were going to travel to, wanted us to come a day earlier. I reluctantly agreed. Honestly, there was no point in me trying to change her mind.

Anyway, we arrived in Salzburg from Berlin at around 8:30/9pm. From the airport, we took a bus to our hostel, Meininger Hotel Salzburg City Center. It was honestly the nicest hostel I stayed at this entire spring break. So, we booked a 9-person room. When we walked into our room, it ended up being a 4-person room…hey, I wasn’t complaining. I was actually really happy about that. I was confused at first, but then I was ecstatic about it. About 10 minutes after we got settled into the room, two more people came in to settle into the other two beds. It was wonderful being able to talk to these two people. I mainly listened, like I always do, but we literally talked about anything and everything. It was great.

The next day, after having breakfast in the hostel, my friend and I made our way to the two places that we wanted to go to. Well, the places that I mainly wanted to go to, because my friend was just anxious in getting to Vienna and did not really want to stick around Salzburg for that much longer. First, we went to Mirabell Gardens. We did not go inside the palace, but wandering around the gardens was great, especially on the beautiful day. IMG_3909

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I was pretty excited about approaching this staircase, because this is the same staircase that was shown in The Sound of Music, when Julie Andrews sang with the kids “Do Re Mi”.
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From there, we made our way to Hellbrunn Palace, where we both went our separate ways and wandered about it ourselves. The first place I ran to was the pavilion that was used in The Sound of Music, where Liesl  sings “Sixteen Going on Seventeen”. I believe this is where Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer sang “Something Good” towards the end of the movie.
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I honestly wish I had more time to explore Salzburg, but after Hellbrunn Palace, we went to the train station to catch a train to Vienna. Salzburg, I will be back one day to explore your rich history.

BERlin Got Me All Bundled Up!

Haha, not really. But, it was rather cold in Berlin. We flew from Copenhagen to Berlin and arrived at Sunflower Hostel at midnight. Luckily, we had booked a two bed room rather than an eight or ten person room, so we did not have to worry about disturbing others.

The first full day consisted of us going to some of the most touristy spots in Berlin. First, here’s the Berliner Dom (Berlin Cathedral). Cathedrals never cease to amaze me, especially European cathedrals. 

Inside the Berliner Dom, you could climb up to the top of the cathedral and get a 360-degree view of Berlin. Here’s one of the views from the top, which overlooks the Neuse and Pergamon museums.
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The Brandenburg Gate was beautiful to see.
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The next day, we walked over to the East Side Gallery of the Berlin Wall, which was less than ten minutes away from the Sunflower Hostel. I loved seeing all of the different colours on the wall.
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This one was particularly funny, but true.
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After over an hour of trying to find a working train (the S-bahn closest to us was not working for some reason), we made it to the Pergamon Museum. The Ishtar Gate was the first thing that I saw, and my mouth just dropped open. Despite the scaffolding, it was beautiful and incredible to see in person.
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Below is the Market Gate of Miletus, which, if you walk through the Ishtar Gate, you will see it. Unfortunately, the room with the Pergamon Altar was closed, due to the renovations that the museum is doing, so I was not able to see it.
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I definitely want to come back to Berlin, because two days was not enough. Hopefully, I can come back within the next five years, so that the room with the Pergamon Altar will be on view again.

Left My DenMARK in Copenhagen

Wow, I attempted a bad pun in the title. Haha, I could not help it, sorry, readers! Anyway, I really enjoyed Copenhagen. After a night in Hamburg, Germany, my friend and I made our way to Copenhagen! This is one of my favorite cities. I will definitely come back one day. I recommend you going there, if you have not been already. I will warn you though; it is an expensive city.

So, main fact about this city is that there are a lot of bicycles, and I do mean a lot. If you don’t believe me, look at the bike racks outside of the train station. 

My friend and I stayed at the Copenhagen Downtown Hostel for three days and two nights. It is only about a couple minutes walk away from the city centre. They also have FREE dinner every night at 6:30pm! However, you have to get there by 6pm, for there are limited seats. After our first night (we didn’t do much; we arrived at dinner time, got our dinner, and went straight to bed. I was also still sick at this point.), we took advantage of the BEAUTIFUL weather outside the next day (it was sunny and gorgeous) by walking all over town. We had brunch at Café Diamanten, a cafe a few minutes walk away from the hostel, where I got this Danish platter. I did not know what I was eating half the time, but it was delicious.  

After brunch, my friend and I decided to divide and conquer. We split and went our own separate ways to have our own adventures in Copenhagen. So, being the tourist that I am, I immediately went to Nyhavn. This is my favorite spot in Copenhagen. 🙂 

Next, Amalienborg Palace! I did not go inside the museum there, but I simply walked around the palace grounds and observed the guards that were doing their jobs. Note of warning: do not attempt to get close to them/in their way. They WILL push you/shove you. I did not do this, but my tour guide the next day told us this. So beware. I also came too late for the changing of the guards (happens everyday at 12pm, beginning at 11:30am at Rosenborg Castle), but I did not mind. It was a beautiful day to simple walk about the palace grounds. 

Going further down the palace grounds is Frederiks Kirke (Marble Church). I always love going inside churches, basilicas, and cathedrals in Europe, because the architecture never disappoints.  

The Little Mermaid Statue: apparently, it is the second most disappointing tourist attraction in the world, haha. With all jokes aside, this statue was create from Hans Christian Andersen’s story The Little Mermaid. Unlike the Disney version, Andersen’s original version is a rather tragic one.  
I can’t get enough of Nyhavn, so I went back, haha. 

I ended up having dinner at a Scottish pub along Nyhavn. Luckily, my cold has been getting better, so I was able to eat. 🙂 I had the Danish pork stew, and it was delicious! It had potatoes, beets, pork, and an egg on top. I was not able to finish everything, because it was so filling. 

The next day, my friend and I went on a free walking tour of Copenhagen…in the rain…and cold…sigh. It was annoying, but we walked to some places that I was not able to go to the day before. Below is a not-so good picture of the Christiansborg Palace. Sorry, this was the only picture I took of it, due to the rain. This is apparently the third Christiansborg Palace, because the previous two were burned in a fire. If you come to Copenhagen and go on a walking tour, you will hear a LOT about fires burning down the city. The whole city is a fire hazard. Not really, obviously, but fires happen a lot.
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Ignore the construction in the background, but at Nyhavn, there is a huge anchor. It is a World War II memorial to commemorate the Danish officers and sailors who served in the Navy, merchant fleet, or Allied Forces and sacrificed their lives. I forgot to take a picture of it when I was walking around Nyhavn myself, but here it is.
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That wraps it up for Copenhagen. Also, important to note, even though Denmark is in the European Union, their currency is the Danish Krone. So, for me, 1 USD = 6.54 Danish Krone. If you are planning on traveling to Copenhagen or anywhere in Denmark, make sure you know the currency exchange between your country’s currency and the Danish Krone.

Next post will be about Berlin, so stay tuned!

Easter Weekend in the Netherlands

This year, my Easter weekend was spent in the Netherlands with my friend. After our whirlwind trip around West and North Wales, we began our two week whirlwind adventure around Northern and Eastern Europe in the Netherlands. First stop: Amsterdam. We arrived in th airport at around 9:30am, but we did not reach outside until a little after 10. After figuring out what we wanted to do, we made our way to the Rijksmuseum. Realizing that we should eat, we ate at a nearby cafe. At this point, we have both been up for more than 24 hours and had not eaten anything since dinner, because we had to take a 2:30am bus to Bristol airport (meaning no sleep/little naps on the bus ride) and then our flight for Amsterdam left at 7am. Also, Amsterdam is an hour ahead of the U.K., so we had to add an additional hour. Don’t you love travel time and time difference between different places? 😐

Anyway, the first thing I noticed outside of the Rijksmuseum are these huge letters that spell out “I am Amsterdam”. I was amused with them and found these to be interesting. It was annoying that there was a lot of people on them though. However, the inner tourist in me could not help but get a picture with them. 
    

 Finally, Rijksmuseum. I was looking forward to seeing Rembrandt’s Nightwatch because I remembered studying this artwork in my AP art history class back in high school. It was a lot bigger than I imagined. :O I was also excited to see Vermeer’s artwork. In general, I love visiting these classic museums, because it brings me back to my AP art history days. It also reminds me one of the reasons why I wanted to travel Europe: to admire the culture, artwork, and architecture of Europe.  
  

When you think Amsterdam, do you automatically think of canals? Well, here’s one of them. 
 

Note to anyone who is planning on traveling around Europe and staying in hostels: book early! My friend and I waited until around two to three weeks before our trip to book hostels. Luckily, we had our plane tickets and rail passes figured out a month before, but not the hostels. So, when we were looking at hostels in Amsterdam, they were all way too expensive. We ended up booking a hostel at a city an hour away called Apeldoorn. It worked out, because it was on the train trail from Amsterdam to Copenhagen, so it was on the way. We did not really explore Apeldoorn all that much, but my favorite part about Apeldoorn was this gorgeous river. We sat here for about half an hour before we got on the train to our next destination: Hamburg.  

Whew, finally got this post up! I apologize for not being on top of this. Next post will be about Copenhagen, because we only stayed in Hamburg for a night and did not do much. Until then. 

The Week-Long Whirlwind Trip Around West and North Wales Highlights

Hi there! My apologies for not updating in a while. I’ve been busy catching up with coursework that was due before the three week long spring holiday! Glad that my coursework is done with. So, it is currently week two of this three week long break, in which my friend, Maria, and I are doing our own personal travels around Europe, but for the first week (March 19-25), the Colgate study group and I made our way around a couple of places in west and north Wales. A lot of outdoor activities were done, which were fun and the views were amazing. If you ever get the chance, definitely come and visit some of these places! Wales is one of a kind.

Here are some pictures from the trip. Get ready for a long post…

March 19: Carreg Cennen Castle and National Wool Museum

See, once you’re in the UK, you can’t just visit one castle, haha. It was fun running about the ruins. There was also a cave under the castle that we were able to explore. How cool! The scenery from up there was breathtaking as well.  
The National Wool Museum was pretty cool. We were able to see the different steps of making wool. The machinery was huge and they looked pretty dangerous to use. Well, they are pretty dangerous, as many injuries occurred, before health and safety laws were put into place. I ended up buying two wool scarves: one for me and one for my sister. I am currently wearing mine while traveling around Europe. 🙂


March 20: Coasteering and Exploring St. David’s

The study group and I went to Whitesands Beach in St. David’s. It was nice being able to walk around and hike the trails. Wherever you stood, you always got a good view. It was beautiful, despite the wind and no sun. 


Coasteering! I was afraid of doing this at first, because it involved jumping off cliffs into the cold, salty ocean water. However, I knew that I had to do it, because when will be the next time that I get to jump off cliffs? Despite my hands freezing and getting salt water in my mouth, it was so much fun. Towards the end of coasteering, the sun came out and it was gorgeous to look at. 

After coasteering, we had the rest of the day to explore St. David’s. I was able to quickly visit St. David’s Cathedral (because they were preparing for evening song) and then I grabbed dinner with the study group at the pub there. 


  
March 21: Steam a Engine Train Ride to Devil’s Falls in Aberystwyth

Who doesn’t love a good train ride, especially if it’s run by a steam engine? It was awesome to see how trains used to be powered and be able to take one. Loved seeing Devil’s Falls, even though the walk/hike was scary at times. 
Really scary steps on the way down 

Happy birthday, Max and Q! However, for dinner, Q didn’t join us, so most of the study group and I celebrated Max’s birthday at an Italian restaurant.   
March 22: Centre for Alternative Technology and Snowdonia

It was interesting to walk around this place. To see innovation in design and architecture, as well as incorporation of sustainability was incredible.  
Finally, we made our way up the mountains (not too far up though) and into Snowdonia. The hostel had no phone service or WiFi, so it was nice to be away from technology for a day (even though I used my phone to take pictures). The views from the hike around Miner’s Trail were stunning. I just wanted to sit there all day and contemplate life.  

March 23: National Slate Museum, Hiking in Cwm Idwal, and Caernarfon

The National Slate Museum was pretty cool to see. It is located in one of the slate quarries that used to be in operation before. I loved the slate demonstration, where a guy showed us how slate is cut.  
Next, we hiked around a different part of Snowdonia called Cwm Idwal for about an hour. This time, we saw Darwin’s rocks/stones, where Darwin supposedly sat. Again, the scenery was amazing.  

Finally, we made our way to Caernarfon. While two girls and I were walking around, we saw a Celtic cross up on a hill from afar and wondered how to get up there. After asking for some directions, we made our way up there. The hike up was worth it, because the overall view of the town was amazing. It was a rather small, quaint town, so we were pretty much able to see all of it from up the hill.

March 24: Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch, Burial Mound, Caernarfon Castle, Bodnant Gardens, and Conwy

Say that town name ten times fast, haha. I actually practiced how to say it the day before, and I got the hang of it, but I still say it very slowly. Anyway, we just came there solely to take a picture of us with the sign, because it is obnoxiously long. 
Next, we went to a burial mound. To think of how burial places have changed over the years and how it varies depending on where you lived is interesting. I remember taking a course in my high school about death and dying (it was a fascinating course!) and I did not know there were so many subtle and not so subtle differences in burial processes.   
Another castle conquered. Caernarfon Castle was fun to run around. I loved the views I had from standing on the towers, though not as great as the hill where the Celtic cross was. 

I did not know what to expect of Bodnant Gardens, but the flowers and nature there were beautiful. I can only imagine how beautiful it will be in the spring.

March 25: Conwy Castle and Pontcysyllte Aqueduct

Last day before we headed back to Cardiff. First, we conquered Conwy Castle. It looked bigger than Caernarfon Castle, but it didn’t feel any bigger when we were running about it. It was still cool to see this castle.

Finally, we made our way to Pontcysyllte Aqueduct. I, was already freaking out about my two week personal spring break trip with my friend (our flight was at 7am the next day, and the only good timed s available was at 2:20am…) because this will be my first trip in Europe without my family, so I did not enjoy seeing this as much. However, I did like seeing the boats there.

That ends this post! Hopefully when I’m back in Cardiff, I will break my two week whirlwind trip around Europe into several posts. In the mean time, I’m still on the move, as I have about a week left. I’m actually looking forward to being back in Cardiff and not have to move after a day or two, because that is what I have been doing for the past two weeks. I need to be back in my tiny room in Cardiff. However, I am enjoying seeing the different sights throughout Europe, and I am excited to share my experience with you all.