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Dover

The three longest days of my life have been on this trip. The first one, taking the cake was when I pulled an all nighter and flew to Madrid. The second one was when I arrived at Roehampton at ten at night and didn’t get into my room until past eleven, where there was no bedding so I slept in my coat. And the third one was yesterday.

Yesterday Jessica and I took a day trip to Dover, England to see the cliffs. Our bus ticket was scheduled for 9:30am. We arrived at the station three minutes before our departure time. However, the bus was already gone. A little frustrated and tired we begrudgingly bought another ticket for a bus at 11:30. Feeling a little sick to my stomach, we waited for the bus. Once I was on the bus I took a well deserved nap only to wake up to the bus driver announcing that they were going to drop us off in Canterberry and a bus would take us to Dover. A little nervous at this announcement, we made sure there was a bus taking us back to London that night. Thankfully there was and we got to Dover around two.

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After finding a cute little cafe to eat in, we set out for a 35 minute hike up to the Dover Cliffs. The hike was steep, there were bugs everywhere and it only seemed to get hotter the higher we climbed. After what seemed like five years, we finally made it to the cliffs…only for the fog to completely set in and block out what would have been an amazing view. Disappointed by this, we explored a little, only to make it back to where the trail began, so we went back down and decided to relax on the rocky beach. However, once we were down at the beach, the fog was gone and there was a perfectly clear view. Just our luck.

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After laying on the beach for a good while we headed back into town. There was not much to do in Dover with it being such a small town and over half the shops were closed when we arrived, but it was a must see because back at home I live on Dover Fork Street and Jessica lives on Kent. Our neighborhood is made up of streets with British places such as Pembroke, Croyden and Buckingham. It was mostly a laugh to go and visit Dover since we live on those street names.

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With there being little to do, most of our day was spent sitting around either on the beach, at a park or waiting on the bus. Finally at 8:00 the bus came to take us back. I didn’t get back to my flat until 11:30pm. Completely spent after waking up at 7:30 and not returning until 11:30pm, I passed out around one. Needless to say Dover isn’t a place I would revisit again, but it is one I’m glad I got to see. As many crazy, long days that I’ve had on this trip, I’ve loved them all. They make a great story to tell and make this journey more memorable. Until next time

<3

Ps. My parents get here in 4 days, 18 hours, 4 minutes and 42 seconds! Eeep!

What Is Time?

Time is not real, so I’ve decided. It can’t be possible that my time in Europe is coming to an end. It can’t be possible that I have less than a month left in this beautiful city (four weeks and two days to be exact), not when it feels like I just arrived in my empty dorm yesterday. How in the world has almost five months passed by?!

So many things have happened on this trip. I’ve met great people, tried new food and traveled to new places and it’s hard to believe that it’s almost over. Now with my last month here I won’t have as many exciting posts about any new places, seeing as how I’ll mostly be in London. However, in nine, almost eight days my parents will be arriving and staying the last three weeks with me. It is during this time I’ll be showing them around London and taking them to all of my favorite places. Towards the end of May though, we’ll be traveling to Scotland and Ireland where we’ve got some amazing tours set up for us, allowing us to explore the best places of those countries. Some of the places they’ll go without me like Stonehenge, WB Harry Potter ect.. because I’ve already seen them, but there will be some new places we get to try together. I can’t wait to see them and show them around, but I’m also excited to go home.

With that being said it appears that my posts for this blog are now numbered. I plan to go to Madame Tussauds Wax Museum, Scotland and Ireland so there will be posts for those exciting things, but the rest is up in the air. Who knows? Maybe I’ll find more inspiration around the city and will journal about it. Until the next adventure.

<3

‘Lizzie McGuire Moment’

From Venice to Rome we took a water taxi to the airport and got on our next flight. Our hotel room was nice in Venice, but extremely warm and we couldn’t figure out how to work the AC, leaving us to the fan that only blew out warm air. This made it difficult to sleep and left me with approximately two hours of sleep, making my first day in Rome exhausting. Not to mention that our taxi driver got lost and what was supposed to be a thirty minute ride, turned into an hour and a half. The driver stopped the cab multiple times to ask for directions and each time he got angrier with the people trying to help him. Many times he turned to us and asked us as well…but in Italian, so obviously we couldn’t help. Finally after an hour and a half he finds it and was kind enough to give us some money back for the time he spent asking for directions. By the time we got out of the cab we were more than ready to just chill in our Airbnb for a little bit.

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Rome’s Airbnb was beautiful, but was confusing as to who the host was. It turns out that the flat we stayed in is owned by a couple, but they rented it out to this girl who was living there. We had no idea we would be rooming with someone yet again. Except, we weren’t really rooming with her because to be rooming with someone you have to have a room. We had a couch…that the two of us shared. Mind you it was an L shaped couch so we fit comfortably for the most part, but still we didn’t have a room. We booked for a room and got a couch.

Anyways, after we unpacked we went out to explore. With only two hours of sleep and not eating anything, I figured lunch would help. I was wrong, eating food only made me feel worse. So after lunch we decided to call it quits for the day and return to the flat to do some laundry. I did laundry while Jessica took a nap and while waiting for laundry I read Harry Potter. But eventually, exhaustion took over and I passed out. When I woke up I still felt sick, so we went to the grocery store to get some food and stomach remedies. Needless to say that was an early night.

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Our next day in Rome was better. We met the girl living in the flat and she was lovely and ate breakfast with us. When we were done with breakfast we went down to the Colosseum and got tickets for it and the Roman Forum. The Forum was huge and beautiful; we easily spent a few hours there. After the forum we got another hop on hop off bus tour and went to the Trevi Fountain (aka the Lizzie McGuire fountain). Here I got to have my Lizzie McGuire moment and tossed a coin into the fountain, only it didn’t exactly go into the water. I’m almost positive it got stuck on one of the stone carvings.

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Shortly after the Trevi Fountain and a few more stops on the bus tour we headed back for the day, where the girl we stayed with was getting ready for her dinner party. She was thoughtful and invited us to it and even gave us her room for the night so they wouldn’t bother us. However, exhaustion took over and we politely declined and passed out in her bedroom, not to mention that we don’t understand a word in Italian.

The next and last day in Rome was more chill and we spent our day in the Vatican, exploring and learning about history and art. It was a nice way to end our time in Rome and move onto to the next city. The next stop is…Naples!

Barceloneta

We had another early flight for Barcelona, but at least we had four to five hours of sleep under our belt. When we landed it took us a while to find our flat, but once we did we were relieved to see that there was an elevator to take us to the fifth floor. What we didn’t find out until later that night was we were sharing the AirBnB with three other families. That was interesting, seeing as how we were spoiled in Madrid and had the flat to ourselves, minus the host. We hardly saw our host for Barcelona, but it didn’t really matter because we were typically out all day.

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The first day we met up with some of Jessica’s friends and got lunch. They showed us around their favorite parts of central Barcelona and we had a great time, despite being exhausted. Later that night we found the best place for sangria. Although the gelato was not as great as the one in Spain, we kept up the tradition of having it at least once a day (please stop judging me). After gelato we went back to the flat, only to find that once again the door was hard to unlock, so of course we struggled with that for about five minutes. See? I told you this would be a reoccurring theme. Once we finally got in we hit the hay.

After a good night’s rest, I was ready to take Barcelona by stride. We went on a hop on-hop off bus tour that took us to Barceloneta Beach. It was absolutely cold, but still breathtaking. After that we got back on the bus and saw the Segrada Familia. By now we were pretty tired, spending most of the day out so we got tapas and Sangria then called it a night.

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The next day was our last full day in Barcelona, so naturally we decided to go to Park Güell and hike. But, before we went to the park we went to St. Joseph’s Market. They mostly had fresh fruits, vegetables and meat, but we found some fruit popsicles that were amazing! We didn’t stay too long in the market, because we wanted to have enough time at the park. Getting to the park was a hike itself, but we wanted the best view of the city so we continued to hike throughout the park, which was on a hill that gradually got steeper. But, nonetheless we made it to the top and got some breathtaking pictures. I wish you guys could see how beautiful these places were in real life. My phone nor any camera could do it justice.

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When we were done with the park we headed back into the city to get some dinner then back to our flat for an early night in so we could be as rested as possible to catch our flight. Our time in Spain had come to an end and it was onto a new country, Venice, Italy. Or so we thought it would be Venice…

Hola Amigos!

First off I’d like to apologize for not posting in ages. It’s been about three weeks since I’ve last written or posted anything due to traveling for 19 days during Easter Holiday, but now that I’m back it’s time to get you all caught up. I’ll start by saying that this trip was a lifetime experience that I do not regret, even with all the ups and downs. Our trip got off to a rough start simply because we had to catch a taxi at two in the morning to get our early flight. But, because our taxi was so early Jessica and I pulled an all-nighter and didn’t sleep until we landed in Madrid, Spain that afternoon. Madrid was a nice start to our trip because there wasn’t a lot to see on our list so it was very relaxing. As nervous as I was about trying to speak Spanish in Madrid, little did I know that Spain was the last place we would be before returning to London where I could somewhat understand the language. For some reason I didn’t anticipate how much of a struggle the language barrier would be, but we’ll get to that later. Anyways, back to Madrid! Madrid was lovely for many reasons, but the number one reason was because it was warm.

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Seeing and feeling the sun in Madrid was great and refreshing. We even went out one day and took pictures at the Temple de Debod. It’s a beautiful place and I recommend going. You get an amazing view of the city near the temple and there’s some people selling gorgeous jewelry. Another great thing about Madrid was we went to Park Del Retiro and paid to go out on the pond and row a boat for only 6 euros! You’ll be surprised (I was amazed) that we didn’t fall in.

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But even though the temple was beautiful and the boat ride was lovely, I’d say the best thing about Madrid was this little gelato shop right across from our Airbnb. We went there at least two times a day once we discovered it. No shame. But hey! We the flat was on the fifth floor, so we definitely worked it off by the time we got back.

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Our flight was nice and we were hosted by a lovely family with a baby. We had our own little room and when I mean little, you couldn’t stand up straight without hitting your head on the attic style ceiling. The good thing about this Airbnb was that we didn’t have to share a bed. The bad thing about this flat was that it was on the fifth floor and we had a difficult time unlocking the door. You’ll soon find out that this is a reoccurring theme throughout our trip. Anyways, as calming and beautiful as Madrid was, we were more than ready to leave by the fourth day. Our next stop was to Barcelona!

Timeflies

As the term is wrapping up and I’m getting ready for Spring Break, there hasn’t been a ton of exciting outings. My friends and I are all working on our final projects and papers, trying to get them done before we leave for a month of traveling for Easter Break. Going into Central London isn’t as exciting as it used to be because it’s becoming normal, but my friend pointed out that, that itself is exciting and she’s right. This crazy, beautiful city has become my home away from home.

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I absolutely have no idea what I’m going to do when I get home. It will be weird not being able to catch a train into Central or go to Camden whenever I want. I know I will miss seeing Big Ben and the London Eye. And, as hectic as it is living with thirty other people, I know I’ll go home and miss the constant noise.

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As hard as it was to adjust being here, I think it’ll be even harder coming back. Not even before I get back in KC, one of the two of my summer school classes will have started. I’ll have to go back to my job that I’ve been away from for five months and with the grocery store under remodel, everything will be completely different. I know it’ll be hard to adjust to at first, but a huge part of me is excited to go home and see all my friends and family. Leaving this journey will be a catch twenty-two, and part of me is ready and the other part wants to stay here forever. But, I guess that’s the norm for traveling. Overall I have been extremely blessed to have the experiences I’ve had here and I’m so thankful to everyone who has supported me along the way. Anyways, back to my Greek Lit homework it is! Until next time.

<3

A Weekend in Sheffield

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Warning: This blog post contains loads of sick panoramas and a bit of fangirling
There are only a handful of reasons I occasionally break my motto “I’m not up unless the sun is”. I’m talking, like an infant’s hand-handful. One of these exceptions is traveling. This past Saturday, after about three or four hours of sleep, due to my excitement and my flatmates’ Bop-ing, Lori and I headed off to Victoria Coach Station to catch the National Express to Sheffield. Sheffield is near the center of Great Britain, and about the three-hour bus ride north from London.

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We arrived just after noon, and spent the next few hours wandering aimlessly throughout the city center. I fell in love with the Peace Garden, a courtyard of beautiful colors and fountains. It reminded me of home and the fountains in Crown Center. Sheffield is very much a bustling city, without the suffocation and exhaustion. As much as I love living in London, it isn’t until I leave the city that I realize how much I needed a city-break.
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We walked through the museum’s Winter Garden before heading back to the hotel to rest and re-energize for the evening.

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The entire reason I booked the trip to Sheffield in the first place was to see a play. Now, you might be thinking, ‘Jess, really? You’re leaving London, one of the entertainment capitals of the world, to go see a play.” Hell yeah I did. It was an impulse decision of sorts, as I only found out about the show, The Nap, a few days before. The Nap is a ‘comedy thriller’ about snooker, which, for my fellow Americans, is similar to pool. The Nap isn’t a show I would normally be drawn to, and despite not getting all of the jokes, due to my lack of knowledge on UK culture, I really enjoyed the production. The reason I booked the tickets was to see one man in particular: Jack O’Connell.

IMG_3630 *Shoutout to Chummy for this hysterical picture of the final bow

Jack is a relatively new face in American film, with his ‘breakout’ being the 2014 film Unbroken. As someone who has been impacted profoundly by the story of Louis Zamperini and Jack’s portrayal, I was excited to find out one of my new favorite actors was performing on stage.
Although it doesn’t happen too often, getting to experience new things is exciting and inspiring, for me personally. I was so incredibly happy this weekend in Sheffield, whether that was because of the presence of the Sun or managing to meet my favorite actor, or a concoction of other variables. I am looking forward eagerly to the next few weeks as I’m rounding out the term and getting to go on more adventures.

Thank you so much for reading, and I can’t wait to share it all with you!
Xx Jessica

Bath & Stonehenge

My day at bath started at 5:15 when I had to wake up and get ready in order to catch the bus by 8:15. But, despite my attempts of waking up early, we almost missed our coach. Luckily, everything worked out and we got to Stonehenge.

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Even though it was absolutely freezing and super windy it was really cool to be able to see Stonehenge. The fam-bam had fun taking pictures as we walked along one of the paths so we could see it from every angle. Our time at Stonehenge was short and after we were done looking at it we went back to the coach to get on the bus and go to Bath.

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Bath was beautiful and once we found out the ticket price to get into the actual Roman Baths, we quickly purchased them. It was cool to see the baths and learn a little about them. We finished the bath houses in about an hour and then went on the hunt to find a much deserved lunch. We were told to go to Crystal Palace, but unfortunately it was too busy. So by fate we stumbled into Hands Georgian Tearooms.

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We were drawn in by the beautiful piano playing and the quaint restaurant. I ordered the delicious steak pie with chips and the beautiful chocolate delight sundae that Holden helped me eat. We didn’t get back to our flats until around 8:30-9. Overall Bath was a success and to anyone who travels to England I recommend you going just for the experience.

As the term wraps up I’ll be getting ready for the Harry Potter Warner Brothers Studio Tour as well as spring break. It’s crazy to think that I’m in week nine out of twelve weeks of classes, I’ll have exams and then I’ll be done with modules. After I’m done with modules I’ll have approximately two months to travel. My parents are visiting mid-May and I plan to take them to all of my favorite places. I’m shocked to see my time slipping through my fingers, but at the same time I’m making the most of it as well. I’m hoping to remain consistent with my posts until my time is over, but no promises. Anyways, until next time.

<3

Wanderlust

It’s 7:18pm on Sunday and it’s the first time since Friday morning that I’ve been back in my bed. This weekend has been long and busy, but in the best way possible, because it’s been filled with laughter, new adventures and friends. As you probably know it was my best friend’s birthday on Friday, so after I finished class I went over to her place and we had a good ole’ fashioned movie night with pizza and tons of junk food. The next day got a little more exciting though. We met up with one of my friends from class and went to Portobello Road Market!

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Portobello Market is like a huge thrift store, just outside. This market was beautiful and colorful and made for many cool pictures. The food there was amazing and kept us there longer than we anticipated. However, after a bunch of pictures, a bit of thrifting and eating we made our way to Central London.

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Central London never ceases to amaze me with its beauty and hustle and bustle. Despite it always being crowded and chaotic, it’s still one of my favorite areas in London. I never get tired of seeing Big Ben or the London Eye. As mentioned before this part of London is the most familiar and it’s where I feel most at “home.” Anyways, after a good hour of hanging around the London Eye we departed with our friend and headed into China Town.

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China Town is definitely one of my favorite parts of London too. It’s beautifully cultured, festive and it lights up the whole area. On Valentines Day in Trafalgar they’re celebrating the Chinese New Year, so I can’t wait to spend my day there and see what that’s like. As someone who was born in China, but then adopted as a baby and has lived  her whole life in the states, it’s really interesting to see Chinese culture. From what I’ve seen and experienced from Chinese New Years, they’re very lively, colorful and optimistic. But, besides having cool celebrations they have the best food. As you can imagine there were many places to get Chinese food and the delicious smells made you never want to leave. Unfortunately, we didn’t stop and get food there (I will next time though). We were on a mission to find Hummus Bros.

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Jessica and I had it on our first trip to London. It was our first dinner in the city as well and we wanted to take a trip down memory lane and try it again. Like the last time it was very delicious. I highly recommend it to anyone, especially my vegetarian and vegan friends.

However, after dinner we stopped at a book store and got a few treasures then headed back to campus. Despite the long day we had we planned for another one the next day. Today we went back to Camden Town.

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Like always Camden Town is fun to see. There are so many cool booths with everything from clothes to crafts and of course food. I lucked out today and found a super cute backpack that was reasonably priced. After looking around for a bit we headed over to Covent Gardens and had a late lunch/early dinner at this nice Mexican restaurant, Cafe Pacifico. The food was delicious and exactly what we needed. After we ate we browsed around for a bit before going home.

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Even though these past few days have been long and busy they’ve been extremely fun and a perfect way to celebrate Chummy’s birthday. I can’t wait to take my parents to all of these places when they visit. But anyways, now that I’ve talked your ear off I should probably start being more productive and work on my homework. Until next time though.

<3

 

Keep Dancing Like We’re 22

I finally had my first London night life experience last night and early into this morning! We went out for my best friend and mine’s birthday. Mine was the 28th and her’s is Feburary 5th. After doing some minimal research and word on the street my friends and I decided to go to Pryzm. But before we went to Pryzm we got dinner at King’s Head Pub. Although the it was a tad bit pricey, the food was worth it. They give you so much! I got the traditional English fish and chips and mushy peas and it was delicious!

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The pub had a nice cozy feel to it with warm, soft lighting not to mention it was nice and toasty in there, but it was definitely preferred than the cold weather. After dinner we went to Kingston for some gelato at Cream’s. I got chocolate hazelnut and Nutella and peanut butter. It was absolutely delicious, but I couldn’t finish it all, luckily my friends all pitched in and helped.

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And finally after Cream’s we hit the club! Now Przym is definitely different than clubbing in the states. To start with we had to show them our ID twice and then they took our picture before sending us through security, like proper airport security where you put all your belongings in a bowl and then walk through. If you set off the alarm, they pat you down.

After we got through security they had us sign up to get more info and with that we got free entry for next time and a free shot! Now the thing about Pryzm is it doesn’t open until ten and some rooms don’t open until a certain time. Przym also has a cover charge of 9 pounds and if you bring a coat you have to check it for another 2 pounds, so 11 pounds total, not to mention the drinks that are 6+ and up. So if you’re going to Pryzm come prepared!

But the thing that makes Przym so cool is that it seems like it’s in an old time theatre, so there are four different rooms you can go to. There’s the main lounge room where you can get drinks and then there’s my favorite room; Disco. All of the rooms have the sickest lighting and there’s a couple bars in each room. After about midnight the place starts to get packed. Many people were celebrating their birthday and I’m not gonna lie. I felt a little old there because a lot of the people were celebrating their 18th or 19th birthday, while I was celebrating my 22nd, but I have to remember their 18th is our 21st so in the end it makes sense.

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After many good laughs, memorable pictures, crazy inside jokes and some awesome dance moves we headed back home for the night and got back near two. Overall it was a successful night and I’m glad I got to celebrate it with Team Badass! (: But until next time.

<3