Friday, April 30, 2010

Sweden Hiking and Canoe Trip

April 24

Today was such a good day! Last night I spent the night at Beth's house because she lives really close to where our ferry left from. We woke up really early and her host mom had breakfast set out for us! After a hearty meal of oatmeal and tea, we left for the bus stop. When we got to the train station, the train was delayed. I was really worried that we wouldn't make it to the port in time, but we were fine. The ferry was only about 20 minutes and then we went straight to the river. We canoe-ed (is that a word?) for a little over 2 hours. Beth and I were canoe buddies and we were the best a canoeing!! No, seriously. There were 6 of us (3 canoes) that were 20 minutes ahead of everyone else. But it was a lot of fun! So beautiful!! And Beth and I were having a great time singing songs. Well, mostly I was just being crazy and singing random songs. Haha.

Our canoe before we took off down the river!

Then we went to our hostel, which is really just a bed and breakfast. And we had a lovely lunch of beef stew and bread. It was so yummy! And it was warm--which was the important thing! I wasn't cold while I was actually canoeing but once we stopped, I got cold pretty fast. We had about an hour break before our next hiking trip, so the girls in my room and I all took a nap. I didn't fall asleep but it was nice to just rest my eyes. (haha what a mom thing to say!)

This is the outside of our hostel. It was really pretty inside too, but I forgot to take pictures!

Then we went to Nimis and went hiking. It was this really cool group of structres that someone built out of random pieces of wood. The walk down wasn't very bad. It was pretty steep, but luckily it hadn't rained in a couple days, so everything was mostly dry. After we basically walked down a mountain, we got to the 'city'. Walking in and on the structures themselves took some getting used to. But there were all of these giant rocks down there too and it was fun to jump around on them! We were on the beach, so the water was a beautiful background to these intereting structures. We ended up spending about 30 minutes walking down there, 1 1/2 hours wandering around the area/exploring and then maybe 30-45 minutes walking back to the bus. It was a lot harder to walk back up the side of the mountain than it was to walk down it!!

Me, on my way down the rickity path to the beach! Nimis was so much fun! 

We finally got back to the hostel and everyone was exhausted. I wasn't super hungry, but I think a lot of people were. Brittany, Ana, Beth and I decided to play Gin (I never go anywhere without my cards!!) until dinner was ready. When I went in the kitchen to make some tea, I heard some of the DIS interns talking about how no one actually knew how to cook the food or start the fire. So I ended up volunteering myself and I went outside to help the guys start the grill. We had legitimate charcol to work with, not the blocks like I'm used to. But in the end we made it work! I meant to just offer my assistance and then go back inside, but I ended up staying out there for over an hour and basically cooked dinner. We cooked sausages and chicken. The sausage was so good!! We were eating them right off the grill while we cooked. Never have I had a better sausage! Ah so good! The 2 other DIS kids that were out there were from SMU!! I haven't really met the other Texas kids since coming to DIS. We were talking about all of the common people that we know. It's kinda funny...meeting someone from Allen in Sweden on a hiking trip while you're studying in denmark! So random...

Ana, Beth, Me and Brittany while we were playing cards after dinner

We ate dinner and had wonderful ice cream for dessert. Then we played cards some more with a guy named Scott. Around 10 we all kinda were losing it and needed to get to bed! We came back to the room, loaded some pictures on to my computer and then got ready for bed. I came straight from school on Friday to Beth's house, so I still have my laptop with me. It was cool being able to see our pictures on a bigger screen today! I should get to bed- we have an early morning start tomorrow. As I write this, I can hear that everyone else in the room is asleep. I just wanted to get this typed out before I go to sleep. Goodnight!

April 25

Well, today marks 30 days until I come back to the states!! I'm ready to come home, but I know that I'm going to miss being in Denmark, but I'm ready to be back. Today was a good day. We had a lovely breakfast this morning and then we grabbed our lunch packs (there was a Twix bar in mine!!) and headed off to go abseiling and orienteering. My group went abseiling first. It was so much fun! There were 2 rocks that we could go off, a small one and a big one. I only did the small one because the rope hurt my hands and they started to swell. I didn't think about bringing my gloves with me, even though I had them in my backpack on the bus!! Nevertheless, I climbed up on the big rock to take pictures. It was so beautiful! I really enjoyed semi-rock climbing to get up to the top. I miss nature. It's been weird being in Denmark where everyone is outside all the time, but everything is flat!

Ana, me and Brittany after we went abseiling!! Notice the beautiful scenery in the background!!

After lunch, we went Orienteering. It was more like a scavenger hunt, but it was still fun. We had to climb down this hill, using a rope, and go into a cave. But the cave was on the shore and we had to climb over all of these rocks to get there. It was so beautiful! If it had been warmer outside, I would have just wanted to sunbathe on the rocks, but it was a little chilly. All in all, it was a really fun trip!!

This might have been my favorite thing that I saw in Sweden. It's a cattle guard. Hahahahaha. There were tons of these!! Apparently they use a ladder instead of what we would use in Texas. I just thought this was hilarious!

Swedish Longhorns! Moooooooooo

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


I left London on Saturday night and then I got to Santorini on Sunday. When I first got to Santorini, I thought it was absolutely beautiful and though I was exhausted because my flight there had been overnight, I really felt rejuvenated. HOWEVER that good mood ended really quickly. After I paid 20 Euro to get a cab to my hotel, I couldn't find anyone at my hotel!!!! I walked around, knocking on all of the doors for about an hour. Then the man who owned the hotel next door helped me look for someone and he was really nice about it all. But I was freaking out because the ATM at the airport had run out of money and I couldn't find one that was working near the hotel. And it looked like the building was under construction. There was no one there! Since I was there 3 days earlier than everyone else, I had to get a hotel room. But the place we were all staying at was full, so I had to book a room somewhere else on the island. Luckily, I found a hotel really close to where we stayed. But because I couldn't find anyone, I ended up walking down the beach to Stelio's Place, where we would all be staying. But the rooms there were all booked, so I just walked back to my hotel and hoped that there would be someone there. After being in Santorini for about 3 1/2 hours, I finally got into my hotel room. As it turns out, the hotel I booked a room in actually was under construction and I stayed in the hotel across the street. However, how was I supposed to know that? It was a really stressful morning. I left the airport around 7 and I got into my room at 11. I slept all afternoon and woke up at 5:00. Outside, I heard gunshots and people screaming. Of course, I was freaking out. So I just stayed locked up in my room all night. I didn't eat anything all day; it was horrible!

We sat in these chairs while we were on the beach! (Notice the black sand!!)

Stephanie and I eating our delicious lunch of tuna, bread and Greek yogurt!

The next morning I went and found an ATM that was working. Then I found a really cool 24hour bakery. The owner was behind the counter when I got there and he gave me all these free samples. I bought some food and then I went to the beach. I spent almost all day on the beach, reading Atlas Shrugged. It was a lot of fun, but I got a burn on my back. While I was laying there, I realized that there was this guy behind me watching me. I wasn't the only person on the beach- so I didn't exactly feel unsafe, but I also didn't want to roll over. It was an awkward situation. I was going to reapply sunscreen either. After about 90 minutes, he left. But was awkward.

Anu, Ana, Beth Buehler, Beth Cash, Stephanie, and myself at a restaurant in Santorini

Beth Cash, Beth Buehler, Stephanie, and myself at our favorite Santorini bar!

My third day in Santorini was boring. I woke up, got breakfast and then went back to my room. My burn was pretty bad, so I wanted to stay out of the sun. So I just sat around reading AS. I really wanted to finish the book, so it wasn't too bad. Plus, I didn't want to wander too far from my hotel room because of the sketchy Greek men. Around 3:00, 2 of my friends, Stephanie and Anu, showed up! I didn't think that they were getting in until really late that night, so it was definitely a surprise when they walked in the courtyard and called my name! We went to the grocery store about 4 km up the road and bought groceries. Then we went to the beach for a little while. We went out to dinner at the cutest Greek tapas place! It was really good food. We actually went back the next night for dinner as well! The woman who owns the restaurant is actually from Chicago. She met a boy from Santorini and they fell in love. Then they moved to the island like 5 years ago. After dinner, our friend Ana got in. It was Stephanie's birthday, so then we went out to a bar after. It was a lot of fun.

This was our hotel, Stelio's Place

The next day we all went to the beach. Early that morning, the other 2 girls arrived. Beth and Beth had been with me in London and they were the ones I was supposed to travel to Italy with. We all hung out at the beach for the day. Of course, we went out after dinner again.

View of the other islands from Santorini

The following day, we went to Fira. That is the port city of the island. It wasn't bad, but it also wasn't as beautiful as I thought it was going to be. But there was a lot more stuff to do there than on the side of the island that we were staying on. But it was still a fun experience. I think I just expected to see more color on the buildings. We went to the top of the hill where most of the pictures are taken from and looked down on the scenery. Then we compared what we saw to the postcards and photos for sale. They just photo-shopped the pictures!!!! I was in shock. I don't know why they couldn't just paint the actual buildings themselves!!

View of Fira, the port city on the island

I took the ferry on Friday afternoon to Athens. We thought it was supposed to be about 6 hours, but the ferry ended up taking 8! When we finally got to the hotel, we were just so exhausted that we went to sleep. Then we woke up and explored Athens for a couple hours before taking the metro back to the airport. Athens was such a dirty city!! I mean, yeah it was cool to see really old ruins, but everything was covered in graffiti!! It was neat seeing the city, but I honestly don't know if I will go back. I think my favorite thing about Athens was the donut that I bought right outside the metro. It was the biggest donut I'd ever seen and it was covered in cinnamon sugar--all for 50 Euro cents!!

View of Athens

Me, in front of some old tower. :)

Overall, I was glad that I had the chance to go to Greece, but I'm not sure if I will spend the money to go back any time soon.


Big Ben in the background!

I loved London so much! I know that a lot of people don't like it because it is so crowded, but I really don't think it was bad. When you get out of the city and into the suburbs, it's a lot nicer. I mean, yeah there are places that are not so great, but Westminster, where my room was on my last night in London, is a really nice area!

I saw this while we were walking around in London! I just thought that it was funny, so I took a picture. :)

We saw all of the London classics. But I think my favorite thing that we did while there was going to St. Paul's. We were there the week before Easter, so one night we went to an Easter service. It was all just music, but it was amazing. I've been to a bunch if churches and cathedrals while being over in Europe, but I haven't actually worshiped in any of them. I light a candle while I was in Notre Dame, but that's about it. There are churches everywhere in Denmark, but the Danes aren't very religious. (though most will tell you they are Christians....)

This was a garden near Buckingham Palace. It was beautiful!

I'm not one of those people who can spend all of my time with 1 other person and not get tired of them (except a few close friends and my family). Unfortunately, the girl I was with in Dublin and London was not one of the few. That was a huge stress factor for me and I should've known better than to think it would be ok. Luckily there was another person that I traveled with in London, but I felt bad for her. There was a lot of tension. I'm also not one to hide my feelings--I can, but I don't like to. Therefore, it was fairly obvious that I was tired and annoyed.

We saw these guards walking on the road, and we followed them because we weren't sure if it was part of the changing of the guard. It was the changing of the guard for the Calvary and not the palace, but it was still fun, nonetheless!!

Even though there was unnecessary drama on our trip i still had a great time! I saw King's Cross Station and though I was by myself, I found another tourist there and got my picture taken. I also went to Baker Street and intended on going to the Sherlock Holmes museum, but there was a massive tourist group waiting to get in, so I just walked around the area instead. It was so pretty while I was there!!! Then I hopped back on the tube and went to Hyde Park (my hotel was right by there) for a little while. I think my favorite thing about London was the parks. I fell in love with them. I don't take the time to appreciate the parks and gardens back home. I really should...especially by Trinity because there are a lot of them.

This is in front of the National Gallery right before these creepy men wanted to take a picture with me. Absolutely not!

I think this trip has just made me realize that there is so much of my own country that I don't know about and haven't seen. I've only been to the west coast once. There is a lot of Texas that I haven't seen too!! I just really love traveling to new places now. Before this semester, I hasn't really traveled on my own and I wasn't comfortable with mass transportation. But now I feel like I'm ready to take on the world!

In the gardens again near Buckingham Palace.

Back to London-- Harrod's was an intense experience! I got completely distracted in the jewelry and food sections and didn't get to the rest of the store, but I'm sure it was just as beautiful and expensive!! The building itself was gorgeous too. I'm glad I got to see it. We got lunch there one day and then we went to a park to eat it. It was cold, rainy and windy but I still enjoyed it!

Buckingham Palace!!

We also went to Notting Hill one day. It was a really pretty area. I'm sure the houses are worth a lot of money though. The Portobello Markets are over there (I think...I can't quite remember which one it was. We went to a couple markets) and they had some pretty cool stuff! There were these 2 fantastic men walking around joking about these fake diamond door knobs and about how they would make fabulous cuff links. Hahaha they were priceless. I wanted to take them home with me!!

View of London from the Millennium Bridge. This is my attempt at an artistic shot!

We also went to a farmer's market while we were there. I got a bacon and egg bap (apparently a British classic). IT WAS DELICIOUS! I should have taken a picture of it. One of my friends and I were trying to figure out what we were going to order, but we didn't know what a bap was. The minute we asked the woman behind the counter, she told us that if we wanted to experience an actual British meal, we should order one. Haha so I did. 

Shakespeare's Globe Theatre

While I was in London, I could definitely see myself living there. But now that my time here is ending, I've realized how much I would miss my friends and family if I lived abroad. But who knows what the future holds....

This was some graffiti that I saw outside on a wall in Notting Hill

Another shot of London from the Millennium Bridge

London Tower Bridge

View of London from the Tower Bridge

Platform 9 3/4!!!!!! :)

Friday, April 23, 2010

Sweden 2.0, Brownies & Teach for America

This weekend I am going to Sweden with DIS to go hiking and canoeing. I AM REALLY EXCITED! :D I paid for this trip back at the beginning of the semester, so I am glad that I am finally getting to go. We leave really early tomorrow morning from downtown Copenhagen. Luckily, one of my friends going on the trip lives 15 minutes from the port where our ferry is leaving. So I am just going to spend the night at her house and then go meet the group there instead. I'll get an extra hour or so of sleep that way! And we're going to make her host family dinner. I think we are making hamburgers, which is cool, but that's what I ate last night for dinner! Haha.

Yesterday my class was canceled, so I just chilled at home all day. And I made my host family brownies. They devoured them when they got home! But I have to admit, they were some pretty fabulous brownies! I'll have to double the recipe next time I make them. It is really funny watching them eat new things. They are so skeptical at first and then they end up loving it! I am going to make them potato salad when it gets warmer out. For a country that basically lives on potatoes, I find it hard to believe that they haven't had it before!

I've been dealing with apartment stuff for next year a lot recently. Its a little stressful, but only because my roommates and I aren't in the same country, so we can't just sit down and talk about all of it for an hour. I am really excited to move in though! Talking about all of this stuff for next year is making me a little homesick. Maybe not homesick, but I'm getting close to being ready to go home. I think if I was taking easy classes (which I should have done!!) then I wouldn't want to leave as much as I do. But I'd rather be traveling around with my parents than sitting in a library writing a paper about Spain's approach to universal jurisdiction. UGH! But, I am glad (somewhat) that I am in this International Law class. It has just helped me realize that I don't want to go into law. If I could go to a school taught by Dr. Burke (my business law professor at Trinity) then I would sign up today. But unfortunately that isn't what law school is. I had convinced myself that I needed to go into law in order to help the unfortunate masses. But there are a lot of ways to do that. I am actually looking into doing Teach for America after graduation. Ever since I was little, I've always thought that I would end up being a teacher. Some of my favorite people in the world have been my past teachers and they have had an enormous impact on my life. It's a really competitive program, but I am going to try and get a teaching spot. I know that it would be a fantastic experience!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Oh my Guinness!!

Dublin was my first stop for travel break and I absolutely loved it!! It was actually the first place that I wanted to go when I came abroad. When we first got to Ireland, I was stressing out because I couldn't find the girl who I was supposed to stay with for the night. Luckily I was traveling with 2 other girls, so I went to their hostel with them and got a room for the night. Unfortunately, that just means I had to pay for 2 rooms for 1 night. Which was annoying, but I'm glad I didn't have to sleep on the streets.

We saw a majority of Dublin attractions the first day-- including the Paris, Texas restaurant above!!! It was completely random and I had to take a picture! We did a hop on/hop off bus, so we could take it around the city to the different sites. I went to the Guinness Factory museum that day as well. It was a lot of fun! We learned how to pour our own pint! It is a 2 step process, apparently. And I have a little certificate saying that I passed. Hahaha. But then they didn't take our ticket, so then we went up to the bar at the top of the building and got another pint of Guinness! (1 pint was included with the cost of the admissions ticket) The Sky Bar (as it's called) is really beautiful! The walls are made of glass, and they are labeled with the locations of Dublin attractions. It's a really neat idea. 

On my second day in Dublin, I went on a tour into the countryside. It was really nice seeing the rest of Ireland. I don't exactly remember where we went, but we saw a couple towns and also where they filmed Braveheart. Even though it was set in Scotland, it was filmed almost completely in Ireland. Strange...but we saw where they did it!

It rained almost the entire time we were on our tour of the Irish countryside, but I didn't mind it at all. I felt like I got the real experience! Below is a picture of one of the oldest churches in Ireland that still has a roof. There are ruins in a lot of places, but they are sans a roof.

Below is a picture of some sort of castle in Ireland. I forget what it's name is, or which super famous aristocrat lived there, but the coolest part are the barns. They took them and turned them into a shopping center and (I think) a hotel. It was pretty neat to see.

We also did some shopping in Dublin. There were some pretty cute shops that I wish they would bring over to the states! Honestly, I think we were in Dublin for too much time. I got a little bored with it towards the end. It might have been because I was with just one other person--it might have been better if I was traveling with more people.

This is pub was nothing special--I just thought it was cool because of the name. We saw it when walking back to our hostel from the Guinness Factory. 

This super cute bakery was a place that we ate one day for lunch. I the food wasn't anything special--I just really liked the name of it! It was absolutely adorable and probably sat about 20-25 people inside. If I was to open a bakery, I would want one that was a bit like this one.

I took a bunch of pictures of these Georgian Doors in Dublin. The door above it one of the most photographed doors in Dublin. These row houses used to house politicians and other rich Dublin residents, but now they are now owned mainly by investment companies. I wish I could have taken more pictures while I was there, but it rained a lot and it was hard. I really loved being in Dublin though!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Parlez vous francais?

Before I can blog about my 2 week travel break in Europe, I have a lot of catching up to do! My week in France back at the beginning of March was absolutely wonderful!!! That trip really helped me to realize how much I love baking and pastries. Oh man! Such a wonderful time! We were in Verdun and saw the battlefields from WW1 and went to the Verdun museum. That really was interesting. It was sad how completely devastated the fields were from all of the bombshells.

Then we went to Reims. While we were there we went to a champagne cave and had a champagne tasting. It was a lot of fun and I bought a bottle of champagne. I'm not sure how exactly I'm going to get it back to the states with me, but I have it nonetheless. We also saw Notre Dame de Reims while we were there, which looks almost exactly like the Notre Dame in Paris.

We spent the majority of the week in Paris, which is such a fun city!! My friends and I hit pretty much all of the major tourist spots while we were there. I think my favorite thing though while we were there was the food. One night we took a dinner cruise around the city and that was pretty awesome too. They served us phenomenal food while we were in France. I'm glad too--because I could have never afforded the food that we ate! I also liked the Sacre Coeur. That might have been my favorite church that we saw. It sits on top of a hill and looks down on all of Paris. There was also a market there where I bought a painting of the Eiffel Tower.

On the trip I also got to know a couple girls in my class pretty well. I like my other friends here, but it's nice to have a different group of friends to hang out with.