Fall Break: Berlin and Amsterdam!

Fall break was a whirlwind of excitement! With a few hours of sleep after our finals we woke up bright at early to take a taxi to our 3am bus to Gatwick airport. After our bus ride I took a 3 hour nap in the children’s play section of the terminal for which I got several strange stares when I woke up. We had 15 minutes between learning the gate number and the gate closing to get to the gate so it was a mad dash to find easyjet! The plane ride was easy despite our (mainly my) unjustified freak out over carry on size the flight was easy. We landed and got through customs quickly but our attempt to find the “bus” to our hostel became quite confusing. Apparently the RB14 BUS Google told me to take was actually the S-Bahn TRAIN! My broken German was able to get through to a very confused man who told us where to get off. We got to our hostel then wandered around Berlin for a few hours grabbing some real German Bratwurst before a 3 hour walking tour of the city. Now 3 hours seems like a long time to be walking around but this tour was one of the greatest things I have done since leaving for study abroad! Alex (aka Zabi) was THE GREATEST tour guide ever. He was so into absolutely everything that he told us about. Every place we went to he had a story to go along with it! We saw Brandenburg Gate, the Reichstag, the Memorial to the Murder of the Jews in Europe, the location of Hitler’s Bunker, several cathedrals, the old Luftwaffe HQ, as well as the Berlin Wall! We ended the tour on Museum Island where Alex told us a tear jerking story about the fall of the Berlin Wall. The next day we re traced our steps going to the Tier Garten, the Topography or Terror Museum, and the Stasi exhibition. Berlin was loads of fun but one of the best, and most delicious, moments was the Haagen Daas experience! We even went to Alexanderplatz and then had traditional German food for dinner!

Amsterdam was another early morning flight followed by a 3 hour tour in the pouring rain! We were absolutely SOAKED. We hung out around the city and saw some cool and weird things. The next day we met up with a friend of Devon’s for a tour of the city. We went to the I AMsterdam sign and Centraal Station. The next day it poured again as we made our way to Zaanse Schans to see the windmills. Despite the freezing rain the windmills were one of my favorite things in Amsterdam, we even got a free cheese tasting of traditional dutch cheeses! Sunday night we made our way back to London Heathrow after a long week of traveling!

 

Teir Garten was beautiful

Teir Garten was beautiful

Memorial to Mozart, Beethoven, and Mendelssohn in Tier Garten

Memorial to Mozart, Beethoven, and Mendelssohn in Tier Garten

We found a park in Tier Garten!

We found a park in Tier Garten!

Berliner Dom at Museum Island

Berliner Dom at Museum Island

Brandenburg Gate

Brandenburg Gate

The Memorial to the Murder of the Jews in Europe

The Memorial to the Murder of the Jews in Europe

The only original piece of the Berlin Wall still in its original place next to the Luftwaffe HQ and the Topography of Terror Museum

The only original piece of the Berlin Wall still in its original place next to the Luftwaffe HQ and the Topography of Terror Museum

Checkpoint Charlie was a bit underwhelming

Checkpoint Charlie was a bit underwhelming

There were several of these across from Checkpoint Charlie and I'm still not sure what they're for but they look really cool!

There were several of these across from Checkpoint Charlie and I’m still not sure what they’re for but they look really cool!

Outside of the Konzerthaus in Berlin

Outside of the Konzerthaus in Berlin

Reading German was way easier than speaking it

Reading German was way easier than speaking it

A memorial to fallen soldiers.

A memorial to fallen soldiers.

A view of Museum Island

A view of Museum Island

On a Love Lock bridge in Amsterdam

On a Love Lock bridge in Amsterdam

We met up with a friend of Devon's for a tour of Amsterdam

We met up with a friend of Devon’s for a tour of Amsterdam

I don't know, I think I pull them off

I don’t know, I think I pull them off

We underestimated how windy it would actually be at the windmills.

We underestimated how windy it would actually be at the windmills.

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To the Globe Again!

After 8 straight hours of class on Monday Devon and I went straight to the Globe to see A Midsummer Night’s Dream. It was the absolute funniest thing that I have ever seen. I’m so glad I got the chance to go see it because it closes October 12th.  There was not one moment when I wasn’t nearly falling on the floor laughing. Where Macbeth‘s main actors were quite good, absolutely everyone in A Midsummer Night’s Dream was 110% perfect in the role they played. I can’t even think of any other words to say about A Midsummer Night’s Dream other than stupendous and hilarious so there goes my career as a drama critic.

Horsing Around in Wales

This weekend was an absolute blast! Alison, Claire, Devon, and I went on a Delta vacation to Wales for a horseback riding trip. It started off with an adventure seeing as I got stuck on the Circle Line for a half hour  which lead Alison, Claire, and Devon to have a mini freak out and think I was going to miss the train. The train was delayed but even if it wasn’t I made it to the train on time -unfortunately so did everyone else. Despite having reserved seats we spent the first hour of the ride standing because there were so many people on the train we couldn’t even move!

Eventually we got to our seats, made it to Swansea, and got to Parks Le Breos where we had a delicious dinner ready for us. The next morning after our full Welsh breakfast we got a basic introduction to the horses then went on a several hour ride through the woods and up a large hill that gave us a view for what felt like miles. The woman in charge of teaching people to ride had no patience for people who had never been on a horse before which was a bit deterring as she muttered under her breath about a few riders but we didn’t let it spoil the fun because apparently she’s like this every year. Fern and I had a good day as she was the only behaved horse out of the whole bunch.

That night we went to the nearby town of Mumbles. Yes, Mumbles. We found an old castle, took a lot of pictures, befriended a strange ginger cat, and went to a very rocky beach.

The next morning was by far my favorite. Kelsey, who had been on this trip last year, remembered the way to Three Cliffs Bay so most of us went on a beautiful but challenging 3 hour hike to the beach, up some cliffs, and to the ruins of a castle which are now on a golf course. It was the most breathtaking sight I’ve probably ever seen so I’m glad I remembered my camera!

We returned exhausted after our hike to wait for our taxi, and just as this story starts with a mini adventure it ends with one too because the taxi was 20 minutes late. Finally when the taxi showed up we sped through the town making a 30 minute drive in about 20 minutes including a detor we took because of road closure. We got to our train only 5 minutes before it was scheduled to leave. Luckily we got there when we did because the train pulled out of Swansea station a full 3 minutes before it was due to depart! Once on the train we all sighed a breath of relief and waited to pull up in Paddington.

After spending a while trying to figure out what this said I realized it's in Welsh AND English.

After spending a while trying to figure out what this said I realized it’s in Welsh AND English.

The path to the beach.

The path to the beach.

This was the end of a path down a steep hill right onto the first hill of the beach.

This was the end of a path down a steep hill right onto the first hill of the beach.

Panoramic from the top of the beach hill.

Panoramic from the top of the beach hill.

Deltas in front of the cave.

Deltas in front of the cave.

A cliff, mostly for reference.

A cliff, mostly for reference.

Deeana, Tommy, and Jazy climbing said cliff.

Deanna, Tommy, and Jazy climbing said cliff.

Me, Alison, and Devon trying to take a picture when the wind wasn't blowing hair in our faces.

Me, Alison, and Devon trying to take a picture when the wind wasn’t blowing hair in our faces.

There were COWS on the BEACH!

There were COWS on the BEACH!

Me on the beach keeping my distance from the strange cows.

Me on the beach keeping my distance from the strange cows.

Alison climbing over the rocks on our way to the castle.

Alison climbing over the rocks on our way to the castle.

we climbed all the way from the beach front up that (steep) hill to that teeny tiny castle in the background.

It was worth it. This was the view from the castle cliff.

It was worth it. This was the view from the castle cliff.

Me on the edge of the cliff.

Me on the edge of the cliff.

Betsy the basset hound lives on the beach. When she gets bored she climbs up to the castle and digs herself a hole to relax it. True story.

Betsy the basset hound lives on the beach. When she gets bored she climbs up to the castle and digs herself a hole to relax it. True story.

Alison and I in a window of the castle

Alison and I in a window of the castle

Me being adventurous.
Me being adventurous.

I was just sitting in that window... it was terrifying.

I was just sitting in that window… it was terrifying.

Devon in front of another part of the castle ruins.

Devon in front of another part of the castle ruins.

Walking across the foot bridge back towards where we started.

Walking across the foot bridge back towards where we started.