Friday, July 24, 2009

First Day of the Tour.

Well I am in Paris!!!!...

The last couple of days I was in London I got to see a lot of stuff including Stomp the musical. It has been fun. So I met up with my group this morning. Everyone seems pretty cool. I am the only American, and I am with basically all Aussies, a few Kiwi’s (new Zealanders) and a few brits, Japanese, folks.

The first question I was asked if we really use red cups at parties? They didn’t believe it and wanted to know why.. why do we, cuz we buy them at walmart and they are good cups. The next question was are cheerleaders the popular girls in the states when they attend high school and I said yes. Apparently that is embarrassing or not so cool to be in England.

We took a ferry from dover to France. It was a long day of traveling. I met and made friends with several folks. Once here we ate and then hit a bus tour, which basically made me see everything I could hope to see…

The first bit of Paris we saw was Baslilique Cathedral where there are a ton of gypsies trying to con you by offering you these string bracelets and then holding your arm till you pay them a couple quid. You are supposed to respond No Merci and walk past but one of my new friends Sin Yo (sp?) who is Japanese, and kind of small got boxed in behind the group, he stopped and was scared and trying to be polite, so I went up grabbed him and pushed the guy out of the way, which almost got me into a scuffle. But like all good French men they backed down after cussing me. ---Mom just so you know I am being safe, I just get into protector mode for some of the girls and for Sin Yo and you would want me to help. That will be the last time that happens.

Anyways saw the Louve and the Effiel Tower, Notre Dame, etc.. tomorrow is a free day and I will get to see more of it in depth.

Love you all.

God is good.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Day 1 alone: London and trip plans

ok... so I have been in London seeing off all my friends from my trip. Jodie was the final member left and he headed out around 6sm this morning. He introduced me to a couple of guys studying at LSE and I stayed on their floor last night. I do have a my hostel booked for the next couple of nights until the 24 where I will be leaving on my trip.
I booked a trip through STA travel. It is an 8 day trip that goes to Paris, Lauterbann Switzerland, Floerence, and then Rome!! I will be traveling with a group and have the option to explore on my own or do whatever with the group. Some meals will be included, and all my accomadations have been made so it is a dummy proof trip... perfect for me.
I can't tell you how excited I am to be able to do this.

BTW. These last couple of days in London I have been to the Tate Modern Museum, the British Museum, Notting Hill the portebello Market (awesome), and Picadilly Circus (times square for London). I also was supposed to get on the London eye at night but we didn't read the military time right and missed our flight. If you ever make it to London you have to see Big Ben at night and walk along the river, it is absolutely one of the most beautiful things you can do. I happen to do that with Brophey and Jodie while we smoked a couple of cigars.
British people have been a lot nicer in London. I do hate the huge mass of people, tourists and locals that pack the streets.
My trip is winding down and just getting started all at the same time. I miss everyone so much. My mom has been calling me on skype and leaving messages with Adalynn saying "Acho I love you" and it really tugged at my heart.
Keep posting comments or writing to me on Facebook. I love hearing from you. Please drop me an email and let me know what is going on. I will try to write back.

God is Good

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Day whatever: In London

Hey everyone

I am in London. Staying in a Hostel with Slaude and Veter the techno twins... I am having a blast. Right now i am just going with the flow.. haven't booked my next move yet, but i am thinking rome and paris, but who knows where i will end up. It might depend on a deal i can get there was a deal that would send me to a greek island on the beach and maybe take a ferry to athens. This is just a quick update. More to come. Love everyone.

god is good.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Quick Recap of the last couple of days

First of all let me say something... I got really bummed out about a week ago because my mom told me that I only had like 200 dollars in my account left. This bothered me because I thought I was being cheap and also that I had several thousand to make it a couple of more weeks. But my mom or the bank messed up and gave me the wrong information. SO the trip is still on.

Warwick, Stratford
A couple of days ago we went to the Castle at Warwick and to the town of Stratford (sp?). The castle was awesome. I shot some arrows, got to see a catapult launch a bowling ball size stone, and hang out in the Gaulo's. This place also had one of the best burgers I have had since being in Europe.
Then we headed to Stratford, the birth place of Ole BIll Shakespere. It is a pretty neat town that is completely based everything on Shakespere. There is a pub there that is called the Black Swan that is no referred to as the Dirty Duck because years ago American GIs called it. I love that fact. We took a bus tour across the town and listen to the kids commentary on tape which was ridiculus, yet more my speed than the adult version. After that I was taught some tap dancing moves and tried to earn a quick pound or two, then we headed to a theater to watch Ceaser. It was pretty good, performed by brits and scots made it better somehow.
Then we headed back.

The next day we got up early and went to the local courthouse to watch a trial. No trial was going on but there were a bunch of arreignments so we got to see all those proceedings. 4 dwis, a couple of pot possesions. One guy and his buddy were arrested because he was drunk and had picked up a plank of wood and was swinging it about while his friend tipped over trash bins in a bit of sport on top of cars, which caused damage. The judge was like "Well tipping over bins I understand is all in good fun, but it is a terrible inconvenice to the owner of the car that gets scratched." Oh and the case of the homeless man who stole a beer from a shop that cost 3.50 and told the store owner he wasn't going to pay for it and to call the cops because he wanted to be arrested. Yeah, very unusal case.
After that it was a mission to get ready for High Table that nite. High Table is a ceremony that is done for graduates. They basically drink on the grass, eat a fine dinner at the head table with wine, and then move to the dessert room for some Port. Needless to say I had a couple and gave a toast/speech to the entire college eating in the dining hall(never before done). It was funny enough, and I still have people come up to me telling me they enjoyed it.
Today was a relaxed day, final day, no class. We went to some shops, I bought a bow tie, then most of the crew went to see Harry Potter. They said it was the worst thing in the world to watch it with the Brits because they talked through the entire thing. But they enjoyed the film. I stayed back, packed, took a nap and started looking at some of my options for the coming weeks.
Tomorrow I shall head to London. I think I am going to Rome on Monday. I haven't booked anything yet and will just have to do what I always do.

I don't know if I can say enough about the people I am with. I have gotten close to most of them and truley believe I have made some lifelong friendships. That is a good thing cause I hate most of my "friends" back in the states. Haha, They know who they are and that it is mostly a joke.

I miss everyone, Little A more than anyone else.

Lots of Love
God is Good.


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Day 17: Munich and Oxford

So I decided to go to Munich because I didn't purchase any of my tickets ahead of time to go other places because I heard it was so cheap to get around of here. Turns out if you book everything last minute it adds up. Anyway I didn't make it to Spain for the running of the Bulls, which was a good thing because some people died and my mom and grandmother would have worried themselves to death.
The group I went to Munich has the self titled nickname the "wolf pack." Inspired from the movie the Hangover, could it be another member, we are now a pack of 6. This includes Brophey, Jody, Colin, Megan, and Tommy. So the we headed off, and after a few delays and having the German customs officials drill us on why we wanted to tour their country and spend money there, we got to our hotel and imeadiately left for Olympic Park. (Let me say that I am glad I went with these people because they had a bunch of ideas of stuff to do that I would never have thought of, my idea of traveling is walking around and trying to find random stuff to do which never works out quite right.)
Olympic Park was pretty cool, the stadium from a distance looks like a bunch of trash bags , but once we got up in the Olympic tower it looked awesome. The tower was amazing. You could stand outside where the wind was whipping and see the whole city.
We then went to the BMW musesm which was right next to it, and looked at a bunch of cars, motorcycles, and other cool stuff.
I forgot to mention, that when we went up into the tower, we noticed that the Olympic Stadium was packed, but we couldn't tell what was going on. I mention this because after we left the musem the stadium let out and the train station was packed full of over 35,000 Jehovah's witnesses who were there for a convention. Needless to say when we got on a train, it broke because so many people got on. The JW's would be a constant prescence throughout the weekend.
I did my best to try to communicate with the germans in German. I have lost a lot of what I learned in school, but was able to commuincate very small things and ask questions. I was also able to read and understand most of the signs, however my vocabulary is not very extensive. This made me really what to relearn the language as well as learn others.
That night we went to the largest BierGarten in Munich that can hold over 8000 people, the HeirschGarten (sp?). This is where you order a beer and they bring it to you in a liter mug. AWESOME. We order some dish that the waiter recommended and it was good. Then our group got seperated on the way home, it was impossible to find a bathroom in the train stations, Megan and I hoped over escaltors until we found one. The other group had a similar experience and lost a member as well. When we got back, I went to search for him after he didn't make it back, he was well traveled and I wasn't that worried but others were, so I went to a couple of trian stations, didn't find him until I got back to the hotel and he was already in bed. In Bed by 2am I woke up at 8 and was ready to get moving. Some of the others weren't ready so we left them with the knowledge we would be back at lunch. Munich's main area was beautiful. We saw Alt Petere which is a tower, the Rathaus which is a government building that looks awesome, and all kinds of Germans dressed in traditional gear.
As we came out of the subway into the main area we hear Tears in Heaven being sung in English. Then its Raining Men. Yep you guessed it, it was Gay Pride weekend in Germany too. And the Germans aren't ashamed to be full out. There were drag queens, guys running around in briefs and sailor hats,chaps, women dressed as men,leather outfits, colors, glitter, and make up galor. Nat would have had a ball. Haha....
The Germans as a whole are very nice, and like to talk to americans. We walked around the market place where I tried on Liederhosen but could buy it because it was 499 euro or 600ish american. probably more. We head back to pick up the other members of the pack and only one is there, the other went off on walkabout by himself. So we went and toured the city without him.
We went to Dachau which is the first concentration camp. Pretty awful stuff went on there. This musem is very good, has a lot of information, and kept some of the things intact. It was a little bigger than old main and old main lawn but not much more and it housed over 60,000 jews there.
Then we all went to the Haufbrauhaus which is a big brewery/tavern type place. It can hold over 4500 people it in a once. Has traditional German band playing, the huge beers and items on the menu like crakling pig knuckle, suckling pig, calf's heart. MMMhh. Then we took advantage of the free entertainment with the gays and called it a night. On the way home we had a homeless man bothering us, but Megan had some quick thinking and said "here's your stop, Bye!" and he said oh and ran off the train, spun around looking at the train station, and as the doors closed came up to the windowed and pointed smiling like "aha you got me" and wave goodbye. Right after that we were laughing, an american woman scolded us for being too American and loud. Oh well. can't hide what we are all the time.
Then we returned to Oxford.

As I am reading this I can't help but think that I am not really capturing how awesome this trip is and all the fun stuff that I am doing. There has been so much it is easy to forget, I am trying to keep up but who knows.

Side note: Exchange rates are not good with the American dollar. Plus it is easy to not really know how much you are spending because it all looks like monopoly money and if somethings says it is just 5 pounds or euro you have to convert it to being more like 10 or 8 amercian. With this being said, I shouldn't have just come over here with out making travel arrangements in advance because it would have been loads cheaper to plan it out ahead of time. That is my advice to future travelers. Pick your spots and book them, there is a big difference in a ticket for 40euro and a 128euro, especially with the conversion.

James, I hope you had a good birthday. I toasted you a couple of times. I purchased your shirt.
God is Good!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Day 12: Oxford

Oxford!!! Oxford appears to be a bit bigger than Cambridge, a bit faster, and has a bit more people. At least where we are located, I don't think we ever really got out of the Cambridge College area. My room is bigger, but doesn't have a view. The fridge is not in my room it is downstairs and shared by everyone in the building. The toilet and Showers are outside of the building around the corner, similar to a gas station entrance. At least in my building. Their are alot more British Students hanging around, and we have assigned hosts that are supposed to answer our questions. Oh and their is a pub under one of the dorms. They have alloted times for us to walk on the forbidden grass, and I think we can play croquet out there too. Yesterday, we got here, did a small walking tour, went to the Bear, the Eagle, and the Turf pubs and then got settled. I then went to Sainbury which is the local grocery store, bought peanut butter, and honey, so I didn't have to use the fridge, and chips and granola bars. Then I went to rest my eyes and woke up this morning. 10 hours of sleep was needed.
Today had class, got internet, and booked a flight to Munich for this weekend. My german is terrible and will be displayed, but I can still read it for the most part so that should be helpful. Flight leaves at 8:10 we have to leave at 1 or 2... I love traveling.

Side note: Most people distinguish themselves into tourist and travelers. Tourist tend to eat american food over here, and travelers eat the local stuff. Well I have been over here for like two weeks and the local food is crap and doens't have flavor and can add up. So sorry, I guess I am a tourist.

God is Good!

I miss everyone, except Nat, Luke, and James, who I hate.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Day 10: Tea and Punting

I got back from my trip and was tired so I slept. Then on Monday I went to class, and then we headed out to Ely to see Oliver Cromwells home and The Stain Glass museum, in a cathedral. All of that was cool, but we also found a tavern with cheap beer and food. SO we stayed back and partied and ate probably spending more money than we would have.
Today we had class in the morning, then we went off to this famous Apple Orchard for tea and scones. It was a delicious snack. Of course we decided to walk back and it starts to rain and rain and rain. I had brought a rain coat but one of the girls didn't and was wearing a white shirt, so I had to give her my coat. We walked a mile in the rain. Some of us guys rain through the field, I was chased by some cows (I got some video).
We get back into town, rain stops, and we go Punting. Punting is a type of boating, where you have a punter who uses a long stick to push the boat along. Sounds easy but it can be difficult. I have to say I captained my boat and we were the fastest and the most in control. Then I grabbed a pint and headed home to dry out.
We will be moving to Oxford tomorrow. Cambridge has been a wonderful place. I recommend it. BTW..I don't think I will be able to go to Spain this weekend for the Bulls. My Ireland trip cost a little bit more than I thought, plus to get to Spain and back is like over 600 american dollars plus there are no places to stay in like the tri county area if they had counties. So I am going to work out some day trips around England. It just recently hit me how long I am staying here. So my plans are changing a little bit, based on funds.
Also a side note to all of you who want to hear a bunch of crazy stories. Be patient, they will come.

God is Good.