Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Important Note

Hey everyone!  Sorry, but this blog has been giving me a lot of problems when trying to post pictures and things (I've tried to do my Barcelona one 3 times and won't let me for some reason), so I've decided to switch blog addresses.  You can find my new blog here :

I like the set up of this one a lot better, and am thinking I may continue the blog even when I'm back home in the states if it all works out well.  We'll see.  Just letting you all know!


Friday, April 9, 2010


Ciao!  I'm back from Spring Break and had a splendid time.  First stop on out ten days off was Florence, Italy.  I definitely loved Florence and plan on going back so I can do a Vespa tour through the Tuscan countryside.  We didn't have time to do that this time, but it just means we'll have to go back!  Florence is a beautiful city and once thing that dominates is the gorgeous Duomo.  We arrived on Palm Sunday, so it was very busy around the Duomo, but unfortunately we couldn't go inside that day.  So, we decided to wander, explore the city, and determine just who had the best gelato in Florence.  

We soon found ourselves in a main square, right near the Accademia and Uffizi Galleries.  Unfortunately, we couldn't get tickets to see Michaelangelo's David, but it was okay, since they had a big copy just outside the museum for everyone to see!

We did go into the Uffizi Gallery, which was amazing! I love Botticelli, so to be able to see The Birth of Venus up close and personal was very cool.  There were also a ton of portraits and paintings I've seen in my school books when we're learning about the Renaissance.  It was awesome to be able to make the connections!

After the Uffizi, we explored some more and went over to the Ponte Vecchio, Florence's famous bridge, lined on either side by extremely expensive jewelry stores.  

As you can see from the pictures below, we had beautiful weather in Florence, and I definitely want to go back and explore that countryside!

Here are my two room mates and me, throwing up Flat 2 pride!  We had a great time traveling together, and get along really well.  Even when we were exhausted form planes and trains and less-than-exceptional hostels, we were still laughing with each other.  It's nice to travel with people like that!

We had dinner at a lovely little place near the Uffizi, and let me tell you, real Italian food is so much better than American-Italian food.  It was so good!  We had bruschetta, mozzarella, wine, pastas, and gelato.  Delicious!

The next day, we headed to the Duomo, and after standing in line for a very long time, we were finally allowed to go in and begin our ascent to the top.  Look how beautiful the inside of the Dome is!

Here's the group - only half way there!

The long and steep climb to the top of the Duomo was definitely worth it - just look at these views!

Unfortunately, because we were there during Holy Week, many sights were closed, like The Pitti Palace, which was once home to the Medici rulers of Florence.  However, we did get to go and relax on the slopes in front of the Palace and get some sun.  I did get a little burnt!

Tuesday we left Florence, and headed to Pisa, as our flight was leaving from there.  Of course, we had to get the typical tourist photos - too bad I'm too short!

Italy is definitely an amazing place, and I wish we had spent more time in Florence in order to really experience all it has to offer.  But, I know I'll be going back someday, so I'll just have to be patient.  Next stop - Barcelona!

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Adventures Continue...

I am so, so sorry I haven't updated in a long time.  It's just that so far, I haven't done too much different from last semester.  We've gone to Stonehenge and Salisbury, went to a Rugby and a football match, and are now in the thick of doing papers and attempting to get all our work done on time.  Of course, there have been a few different events so far this semester.  One, was my birthday!  Turning 21 in England probably wasn't as climactic as it would have been in the states, and because it was only 2 weeks into the new semester, I wasn't sure how many people would come out to celebrate.  I was pleasantly surprised however, even my flat mates threw me a nice dinner and when a lot of people showed up to celebrate that weekend.  It was a great start to the new semester!

I have also been to Bristol with my Shakespeare class to see a performance of A Midsummer Night's Dream, which was absolutely amazing.  It is a very funny play, but the performance was hysterical and I'm so glad we went.  We are also seeing Julius Caesar, The Tempest, Romeo and Juliet, and Antony and Cleopatra at different points throughout the semester.  So excited!

Last week, we I went with a few of my friends to see a Bristol City Football match against the Doncaster Rovers.  Bristol City lost 5-2, but it was an exciting game with lots of goals and lots of bad calls by the referee!  The crowd started to get a bit rowdy, but that only added to atmosphere and made it a really fun day.

This past weekend was really fun, because two of my friends and I went on an adventure to Glastonbury, about 2 hours away from Bath by bus.  There, they have a Tor, a tall tower on the top of hill, as well as the remains of a ruined Abbey were it is rumored King Arthur is buried.  It was a really fun day and I'm sure we'll be making random trips again.

We are off to Oxford this weekend for our week-long residential.  And then, straight after we get back, I'm off with four friends to Florence and Barcelona for spring break.  I'll definitely have more to post then!  

Here are some pictures from my second semester in Bath!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Back in Bath!

My second semester has begun! Wow, it's almost impossible to believe that I've spent four months in Bath already, and that I'm halfway done with my time here. I could stay forever! Winter break was very relaxing and something I definitely needed, though. It was wonderful to go home and see my family and friends, and also to be in a truly familiar place for once in a long time. I got to celebrate Christmas again, despite it being the beginning of January, and it was great to see the tree up and decorated and listen to Christmas tunes! Mimi, PopPop, James and the boys came up to Dad's house to celebrate with us. It was a lot of fun! I also got to go down to Florida to visit with Nana and Daddy Tom, as well as spend some quality time with Mom and Nicholas. It was a vacation within a vacation! Getting to see my friends was also a highlight, and I was lucky enough to get out to Franklin and Marshall for a weekend to visit. Even though I miss everyone tremendously, I'm very happy to be back in Bath - I missed it! I'm so lucky to be able to study here for a year...

I'm taking three classes this semester, as well as an internship. My classes are:

1. Tudor and Stuart England - probably my favorite topic to study, ever. This is going to be a blast.

2. Mythologising Shakespeare - where we take Shakespeare's plays and looks at the myths and legends he uses within them. Some of what we will be reading include The Tempest, The Taming of the Shrew, Antony and Cleopatra, Hamlet, and Julius Caesar. We will also being see FIVE plays performed, including The Tempest and A Midsummer Night's Dream. So Excited!!

3. Irish Nationalisms - A look at the history of Ireland and Northern Ireland and their many attempts to become independent nations. We get to go on a weekend trip to Dublin in May for the trip.

My internship is at the American Museum of Bath, which looks at the cultural history of the America from discovery to the Civil War. It will be very interesting to look at it from a British perspective! I'll be doing different things, including learning about curating and giving tours. Should be fun!

So far, the new students seem really cool, although it's weird to be the de facto leader of everyone, since I already know where everything is. Everyone will get comfortable soon enough, I'm sure.
I also really like my new house. I live now in the center of Bath, right near the Abbey, in a flat with two other girls, Hannah and Sarah. We have our own kitchen, bathrooms, and I have my own bedroom as well. I love it!

We have a trip to Stonehenge, LacockBut, it will be nice to see all that again - hopefully it won't be raining this time! Other than that, there isn't much to report so far. Classes start next week, so I'll be able to let you know how those go then. Until then, cheers!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Brussels and Bruges

Our last stop on our European adventure was Belgium. We spent one day in Brussels, the capital of Europe, and a day in Bruges, now one of my favorite cities. Brussels was interesting. It had an old downtown center with cobblestone streets, and all surrounding it was a bustling metropolis. This is the main shopping street, and below it, the same street further down.

One of the main sights in Brussels is Mannekin Pis, a statue of a little boy no more than two feet tall. It's quite funny to think that this is the most famous statue is Belgium!

In Old Town, near Mannekin Pis is the main square, with gorgeous buildings and lots of chocolate shops. If there is one thing you have to get while in Belgium, it's chocolate!

And then, just a ten minute walk away, is the business district. What a difference! However, Brussels makes it work. We weren't able to visit the EU Buildings, but there is always next time!

Our next stop was Bruges, a small town that is just overflowing with character and charm. It was absolutely picturesque, and despite the freezing weather, Sarah and I really enjoyed just wandering around and exploring.
Chocolate is a big thing in Belgium, and it was cool to see all the little creations they made. Even little creatures and chocolate make-up! So cute.
Bruges is a city of bikes, and as you can see can get rather congested. But, it just adds to the charm, and everyone was very friendly and laid back. No one was in a rush to go anywhere, despite the cold.

As you can see, Bruges is absolutely beautiful, and it is a place I want to go back to in the spring or summer.

This statue is one of the few of Michaelangelo's found outside Italy. In Bruges of all places!

Belgium was a fantastic stop and I'm so glad we got to spend two days there, no matter how quickly it went. I was very happy to be heading back to London, however. Just one more stop until we go to go home!! Here is Sarah checking our flight status at the airport in Belgium. We got there so early, we were the only ones in the terminal!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Venice, Italy

The next stop on our European tour was Venice, where we arrived on Boxing Day. Venice is unlike any city I've ever been to, it almost didn't seem real! The canals and boats and everything were very beautiful, as were many of the buildings that we saw. We rest the first day we were there,, except for a bit of exploration. It's very easy to get lost in Venice! But, luckily our senses of direction got us through.

This is a shot of the Grand Canal from the Rialto Bridge in central Venice. It was very cold on the canals, but also very picturesque. You can also see some gondolas. Sarah and I decided not to do a gondola ride because 1. It was freezing and 2. it was over 80 euros!! Way too expensive for two students.
San Marco Square is one of the Must-Sees of Venice. There you can find the Basilica and the Doge's Palace (see below). We didn't go into the palace until the last day we were ther, but we did explore the outside early in our trip. Isn't is unbelievable?
One day we were there, we went to see the Jewish Ghetto. It was amazing to think that thousands of Jews lived in two tiny squares, cut off from the rest of Venice for many, many years. Now, there are only a few Jewish families still living in this section of city, but it was very interesting to go into the synagogues which were used in secret centuries ago. We even saw one just as it was in the 1500's! I've seen plenty of churches in my travels, but not many synagogues, so it was really cool to experience.

Being December, it was very cold and cloudy in Venice, but we did have one sunny day!

We took a day to visit some of the islands, and took a Vaporetto boat out to them. It was a lot cheaper than a gondola, but we got the same views!
Our first stop was Murano, home of the famous Murano Glass. We got to see a glass blowing demonstration as well, which was definitely a highlight of the trip. It's amazing how they can get the glass to form so many different shapes. Even life size insects!!
After Murano, we took another Vaporetto boat line to Burano, home of the famous Burano Lace. I absolutely loved the houses there! Everyone was a different color. I imagine that in the summer, it would be very bright and cheery.

On our last day in Venice, we headed back down to San Marco Square to go into the Basilica and into the Doge's Palace. As you can see from the picture below, Venice was having a bit of a flooding problem. They put out these boards for people to walk on, but luckily the water wasn't that high.
The Doge's Palace was a definite highlight. It was so cool to learn about the government of Venice and see where Casanova was held. He was actually a pretty awesome dude. He was held there because he was "disturbing the peace" but befriended one of the guards and was able to to get a knife from him. From there, he carved a hole in the ceiling of his cell, climbed out and hid in the rafters. He couldn't get out because the doors had been locked from the outside. So, the next morning, he waited for the guards to open the doors to the palace, and he burst out as soon as they were unlocked. He literally walked out the front door!

Below is the Golden Staircase, isn't is beautiful?

To be completely honest, Venice was not my favorite place I have visited. It was no where close to being as nice as Salzburg, I have a feeling I may like other Italian cities more. But I'm very glad I went (especially before it sinks). Belgium next!!