So it’s been a long while. Sorry about that. Although, I’m sure you’ve all found a range of other articles and books to satisfy your weekly reading quota. Life abroad has been good, I’ve been out and about, bumming around more than actually studying. Something that hopefully won’t come back to bite me. I’ve got three papers due on the 28th, so I’m pacing myself well enough to have them done so I can go to London for a few last days before I head home.
Speaking of home, I leave Norwich in 2 weeks! I am really excited to get back to Canada, and all the things I love. Norwich has been good, but I’m more appreciative of my country now than when I left. I can’t wait to get off the plane, hug my boyfriend, and then head straight to Tim Horton’s for a cup of crappy coffee and a honey cruller. High aspirations, I know. I heard something about Starbucks doing a smores frappe? Not here they’re not. I’ll have to make a stop there too.
In the meanwhile, I’ve been in Europe! Berlin, Prague, Vienna, and Munich made appearances on the itinerary, and it was really good to see some new cultures. Travelling to somewhere where I don’t speak the language was terrifying, as it’s hard enough to get accustomed to British culture where they j-walk everywhere, and you have to learn that ‘y’alright’ isn’t a question. Now try ordering something in German, which you don’t speak very well, and go back to crossing streets at the corner. So yes, culture shock was a thing.
I think it hit me harder than I expected, as Berlin wasn’t my favourite place we went, but it was also first. So maybe I was still getting accustomed to being in a new place? I learned a ton in Berlin though, mostly about German history, as you can imagine. I also go to meet up with my boyfriend’s brother for a beer and some sushi, which was really nice. You can’t imagine the effect seeing someone from home has on you, even if you don’t know them that well. It was really cool to see him, even if it was just for a couple of hours. What else can I tell you about Berlin…. I don’t think we actually ate any German food while we were there. It’s intimidating to try to order food when you don’t speak German, and people get mad at you for asking if they speak German. So, it become easier to just eat at places where we knew people would speak English.
Next was Prague. Note to self, reserve a seat when booking train tickets. Otherwise you’ll end up sitting in the hall of the train for 4 hours. It wasn’t actually that bad, as I just sat on my bag and kinda dozed off for most of it. But, any longer than 4 hours and I don’t think I would have been able to feel my butt anymore. It was good when the train finally arrived in Prague though, as it was only a short walk to the hostel. Except the hostel wasn’t there. So then what should have been a 15 minute walk turned into 3 hours of trying to figure out where the hostel actually was. Finally I was able to check my email and discovered that the hostel that we’d originally booked was closed and that the reservation had been transferred to another hostel…. Good thing they sent the email ahead of time…. I loved Prague. It was Easter weekend so everything was all made up for tourists and stuff even more so than I’m sure it usually is. I love tourist trap places. I love being in the middle of crowds. On the last day we walked up to the castle too, which gave us a beautiful view back over the river of all of Prague.
Vienna. Vienna was chill, and the bus only took 4 hours to arrive. Not too bad and it had been pretty cheap. The hostel here was way easier to find, and the guy behind the desk suggested a good traditional food place where we grabbed lunch. Open faced sandwiches are a big thing in Vienna, so it was cool to have one of those right off the bat. We spent time at Schonbrunn Palace while we were there, and also went to the zoo. That was my favourite part of the whole trip! I got to see real live pandas! Which were SO SO SO CUTE! Day made. OH! We also paid a visit to the Spanish Riding School and got to see the Lipizzaner horses get their morning workout. I remember watching a VHS movie about the horses and what happened during the war etc, so it was pretty cool to be able to see the actual stables and buildings that were in that movie. Also. If you are EVER in Vienna, don’t you dare order a regular coffee or latte. Instead, you must order a melange. It’s a traditional Viennese drink, and it’s sort of like a cappuccino, but it’s way way better. I couldn’t get enough of them while I was there, and I’m a bit heartbroken that I won’t be able to experience that for probably a very long time again.
Finally. Munich. Where I forgot to tell the gentleman at the Bierhaus that I only wanted a half litre for lunch. So, I drank of litre of beer. For lunch. At two in the afternoon. I can definitely say I’ve had my fill of Augustiner while being on this trip. Back home I’m so used to drinking super hoppy IPAs that I don’t ever try German or Czech beers. Man, that’s going to change when I get home. It won’t be the same, as I won’t be drinking it out of a huge stein that I need two hands to even lift, but hey, it’s the thought that counts right? We only had one day in Munich, so we basically just wandered around a bit. We spent a good part of the day at the Dachau concentration camp memorial. Well worth the hour trip out-of-town. It’s one thing to see pictures and read about the second world war and what happened in your first year history class. It’s completely another to walk on the grounds where it happened, and just try to imagine what those people went through. Chilling, moving, and incredible. If you’re ever in a place that had either a concentration camp like Dachau or an extermination camp like Auschwitz, please go and see it. It’s well worth it to pay the couple of Euros for an audio guide too. You get so much more out of the experience. Also. Please be respectful. The next tourist I see ripping through somewhere like that taking photos of every single little thing I’m going to lose it. Maybe take their camera and chuck it. Don’t test me. It’s not cool.
Well. What else can I say? I think that’s good for today. I’ll post again with some photos of the trip, although I didn’t take nearly as many as I would have liked. When it’s windy and cold you’re much less inclined to take your hands out of your pockets, regardless of where you are and what you’re looking at. Or maybe that’s just me being a sissy. Who knows.
Enjoy your week friends, good luck with finals if you’re still writing them, and see you all soon!