For the last part of I was on a three week trip to explore France and Italy. I started my journey in Paris. It was gorgeous, French bread is delicious and the people are generally unhelpful. I saw the Eiffel Tower, the Pantheon, Versailles and the Louvre. The Mona Lisa isn’t all that impressive in person. I also don’t know how court ladies didn’t break their ankles with their heels on the cobblestones at Versailles.
Nice was my second stop. It is absolutely gorgeous and has my favorite kind of beaches. Sandless ! They also have one of the finest examples of Russian Cathedral Architecture outside of Russia (and I’m not touching that with a 10 foot pole).
From there it was Menton/Monte Carlo for Easter. It was again gorgeous and I enjoyed relaxing on the beach by my hotel.
Trip Planning is a lot of work! Not only have a planned a three week tour through France and Italy visiting places like Paris, Milan, Florence, and Rome, but I also planned a mini break that will take me through Edinburgh, Brussels, Bruges, and the Picardy/Chamagne Region of France. On top of that travel plans to get me to my internship and back to the States adds up to one girl who is now the master of Skyscanner and RailEurope. I am excited as I can be to set out tomorrow for the first leg of my tour in Paris. Who knows what I will see, do, and pick up along the way, but I am ready to find out. It will also be exciting to celebrate Easter in Monaco though I will miss my family.
I am taking an Archeology of Wales class and for my mid-term project we were to write a brochure in a ruin in Wales. I decided to do Tintern Abbey and because it is so close to Swansea I traveled and took some of my own photos to use for my project. Monmouthshire is a gorgeous area and traveling along the Wye river was almost like being back at my own personal bank of the Monocacy. It was a surreal experience to wander in the shadows of the Abbey and the area is so serene. Despite the train catastrophes that I experience before and after my journey to the Abbey it was great to see it. It was almost whymiscal to sit in the Abbey’s shade and eat some freshly churned ice-cream at the little tea house that is adjacent to it. I definitely can see why Tennyson set his “Tears, Idle Tears” poem there. On a practical note I am finding that pre-planning is not always effective in Wales
Last week I went to Bath with a student organization and saw both the American Museum ( a wee bit disappointing and primarily full of chairs) and the Roman Baths. It was a great experience eve if a bit cold. I even broke the no touching rule and as it turns out the water that flows into the main bath is actually tepid even after all this time. You could also drink some of the purified water which with it’s high sulfur content was not my favorite. The sauna suite smelled just like our sauna’s today. I finished off the day with a 5 PM “Lunch Special” at a cute little cafe called the White Horse or something to that effect. It had a very eclectic, gentleman’s club vibe. Click on the link below for pictures!
For those of you that care these gentlemen have done a great job showing what the Swansea Valley and the University of Swansea is like.
I went back to London for the day, (both ways for 10 pounds which is about $20 in total and 10 hours of my time) to visit one of my friends from my uni back home and to explore the sites a little bit more. I left Swansea on Thursday evening, crashed at Desiree’s place in East London for the evening, and then set about exploring bright and early the next day. This started with a 3 hour tour of the Tower of London (pics are below, none of the jewels though. It isn’t allowed) From this I learned that cobblestones are not my friends, crows are kind of mean, and that the queen’s royal body guards’ outfits look quite similar to the docens’ outfits. It was incredibly interesting to see all of the jewels and even to just walk the path that so many historic people have also tread. Did you know that there is a super special spoon used for British Coronations to hold the anointing oil? I didn’t. I also took part in this cute little thing they had going at mid-day for the kids, as it is the UK’s half-term so the students had the week off, about the war of the roses. I spent most of this day with some pretty fearsome nausea so I took the early afternoon hours a little slower and found a cute little cafe, the name of which escapes me but it is literally right outside the entrance of the New Scotland Yard office in Westminster, to eat some lunch and calm my tummy. After I was feeling better I took to Bond Street to see if I could soak up any of the fashion week prettiness that the high street could provide. In the end I got a couple of free samples, spent a little bit of cash on some makeup ($30 USD for what is normally, and I checked first, roughly $200 worth), and realized after walking behind a woman who could only be a model that I was in no way suited for that kind of lifestyle. I also learned that even the police in London don’t always know where they are going as I got 6 different sets of directions from how to get to Bond Street from the same street as that cafe. I am not quite cut out for a city as big as London, Baltimore is good for me. I also saw the most UK of cars.
My last little bit of travel before heading over to my uni in Swansea was a visit of London. I stayed in the Kensington and Chelsea borough and found it to be quite nice. My hotel was right by the Earl’s Court underground (i.e. Tube) station so I utilized that to do some exploring. I did quite well other than a minor mishap at the London Bridge station, which locals have since confirmed is a confusing place, so I am quite proud of myself. I also learned that UGGs scream tourist and I kept getting accosted by save the children groups and the British Red Cross. Like Oslo I didn’t get to see everything that I wanted because of the limited hours, but I am a 5 quid(i.e. British Pound (that’s something like $9 USD)), 4 hour bus ride back. I saw some of the big tourist things, some of which were not very impressing, but that may be on account of the time of year I went and the limited services available. None-the-less below are some picture that I took of my various happenings (including some pics from in Westminster Abbey that I took before I was informed that there was to be no photography allowed).