Friday, 19 April 2013

Lucerne (Luzern) I'm going to move here.

We arrived to Lucerne rather late in the day, as we spent all day driving. When we arrived we saw the Alps and they are gorgeous! We went straight to our hotel and didn’t have much time to put our luggage in our room because we went to the Stadtkeller Restaurant for dinner. The dinner was so fun! The music was great and very traditional. They had yodeling and old instruments. They played the long horns that are traditionally played on mountains and they asked the audience if anyone wanted to try playing it and I of course raised my hand. I could actually play it, it was a similar mouthpiece and breath control usage as a French Horn! They also did flag throwing and played spoons. David and I also went up because they asked us to come do some traditional Swiss dance, it was fun.

Then they asked for people to come up to Yodel and we had then ask our leader/professor Dr. Donnay. He really did not want to go up there but he did! He yodeled and then they gave him a beer- ha! We were proud of our BSU crew!

Then after the dinner we walked to the Lion Monument to see it lit up at night. It was pretty moving. It represents the Swiss guards in the French Revolution. Then we walked back on  one of the historical wooden bridges at night to see it lit up. 

Our next day we woke up early and we went to Mt. Rigi in the Alps. We all went as a group so we had to take a cable car up instead of hiking but it was still cool to take it. When we got to the top we saw the amazing view of the lake and other mountains. We had the option to hike part of the way down and of course David and I did and a few other people did as well but most of the people rode all the way down.  I’m so glad we hiked because we got to see so much more and it was gorgeous!

Then we went back into town and we went to a co-op and we again got cheese and fruit to eat with bread we took from breakfast. I also got some Swiss chocolate because it was so cheap and I love chocolate and it was sure amazing! We took our food and ate by the river and enjoyed the brilliant blue water and all of the swans swimming in it. Then we walked over to the lake and David and I sat with our feet in the cold glacier water and it felt amazing- especially since I sprained my ankle the night before and hiked on it (but I couldn’t go to the Alps and not hike!).  We sat here for about a half hour while Kelsey and Brittany went shopping. But where we were sitting was stunning. The lake was gorgeous and the mountains were right there and the sun was shining. It was truly a glorious day. I wish we could have spent more time here!

Then the four of us walked on the tower walk which has many old castle like towers to climb up (and really climb) to see an amazing view of the city! We enjoyed the views for a while before leaving them. Then we walked down and got some sandwiches in a shop. David and I shared a chicken schnitzel sandwich and it was terrific!

Then we stopped back at our hotel so Kelsey and Brittany could bring their bags back to the hotel. We then went to one of the historic bridges and watched the sun set. Then we went back to our spot on the lake and watched the sun set reflect in the mountains and we just talked for a while before heading back to our hotel for the night. 

Paris, An Amazing City

Our first day in Paris we woke up early to get to the Notre Dame early and avoid the rush of people. It was really cool to see and is beautiful on the outside. The inside is nice, too but very dark and not really decorated, like other churches are. After this we went to the St. Chapples church which was built by Louis IV to house the crown of thorns he got from Israel, which he believed was Jesus crown during the crucifixion. It was very beautiful on the inside, it was different from most churches because it had such brilliant colors painted on the walls everywhere.

Then we walked to one of the love lock bridges and David and I put a lock that we had painted in the state on the bridge and we threw our keys into the river Seine. Then we crossed the bridge and we were at the Louve. We only wanted to see the outside of the Louve because we had been told by so many people that it was not worth going to if you are only in Paris for a few days. But we did want to take pictures with the pyramids so we did go there. Us girls did not want to stay here long though because of all the issues they have been having with pick-pockters. And sure enough as we were leaveing these to Eastern European girls approached us and Kelsey, Brittany and I ignored them and kept walking but David stopped and signed what he thought was a petition and then they asked for money from him. He gave them some but he was lucky because they were doing this to other people and then taking their wallets and running off. I tried calling for David to leave them and then one of the other girls knew I spoke English andI tried to get me to do it so I had to leave him there with the other girl. He is lucky because another guyin our group had money taken from one of these girls, and another guy in our group was surrounded by children here trying to take his stuff, but he used some –choice- words and essentially had to hit the kid to break out from their pack.

Then we went and got lunch from a vendor and walked to the Pompidou Center. Some how David and I got in free so we were not going to complain! The lady said we were free but for some reason Kelsey and Brittany had to pay. The museum was so cool and really interactive and I really think we picked the best art museum to go to! The top floor also had an amazing view of the city and Eiffel Tower.

Then we went to the Bastille and then headed toward their Statue Of Liberty. I have never been to New York but I do believe their copy is quite minuscule
 compared to ours. From here we walked a beautiful path filled with cherry blossom trees to the Eiffel Tower. The Eiffel Tower is even more spectacular than I thought it would be! It is much bigger than I thought and really very breathtaking. We didn’t get to spend much time here because we had to get a quick dinner before our bike tour.

The bike tour we took was amazing. I would really recommend it to anyone who is traveling in a city like Paris. It was fun just to ride around and we got to see a lot in a quick amount of time. We got to watch the sunset while biking and here we also got to see the Eiffel Tower light up and sparkle- this is so beautiful and I wish everyone could see it in their lifetime. Te bike tour included a ferry tour on the Seine and this was fun to see all the night lights of the city. After the tour we headed back to the hotel and did not get to bed until after 2! It was a long day!

Our last day in Paris we of course woke up early again to see as much as we could. We first went to the catacombs in the morning. They were much larger than I thought! The tunnels seem, to stretch forever and the skeletons fill every space possible! I did not realize that they were still using the catacombs for bodies up into the early 1900’s.

Then we went to the Arc De Triumph. This was very beautiful and very busy. From here we walked down the Champs De Elysees street which is a big shopping street with expensive designers and what not, so needless to say we didn’t spend much time here and basically just walked down the street. Then we got some cheese from a grocery store and a pear and we had this with the bread we snuck from breakfast for lunch. It was nice weather and we ate in a park. Then we walked to the Military School and looked at the bullet holes in the walls from WWII. These are from alley troops because the Nazi’s took it over and used it as a headquarters in the war.

Then David and I got our first macheron and it was delicious! We decided we wanted to try some more later! Then he and I sat on the grass in front of the Eiffel Tower and enjoyed the nice day and the view of the tower. Then we rode up to see the view from the tower and it was quite amazing!

After this we went and had dinner and split a little pizza which was very yummy. Then we decided to wander to see what we would find and we found a really neat park area that we explored for a while. Then we found a little bakery in a ritzy residential area and got some macherones for dessert. No one there spoke English and we could tell not many tourists came here. They were very friendly though and because they felt bad for not understanding they gave us 3 free macherones other than the two we ordered and gave it all to us for less than the price of one!! It was so nice! We ended our little date night by walking down and sitting on the banks of the Seine right across the river from the Eiffel Tower. WE sat here and ate our dessert through sunset and waited to see the Eiffel Tower light up and sparkle. It was the best way to finish off our time in Paris.

Sunday, 14 April 2013


This morning we left Oxford bright and early and it was hard for me to say good-bye. I really fell in love with England and our whole ride to London to King's Cross station was sad for me. England is beautiful and of course it was a glorious morning, which makes it even that much more stunning. When we got on the chunnel we would sometimes see the outside I don't think I will ever forget the last glimpse I got of the London sky line. -The chunnel was interesting and we were only under the water for about 20 min! I didn't even notice either, except for the fact the cabins are not pressurized so it cause our ears to pop like crazy! I was surprised, however, how quickly we got to French soil! Our ride to Paris lasted about 2 hours total. It was quick and a nice way to travel!

When we got here Dr. Donnay brought us on a walking tour until dinner. We walked down to the Moulin Rouge and he pointed out that that specific area was the red light district and to avoid it!

Especially at night! I know all of us ladies most certainly agreed, just by seeing the way the men sitting on benches would stare at women walking by! Even some of the guys in our group got defensive for us and did not like the way the guys were looking at us! I'm not saying we felt unsafe at all, it was just a little bit different. Then we walked up this hill to the Sacred Heart Basillica. Up here we got a fantastic view of the city! It was amazing how much we could see! We got a quick glimpse of the top of the eiffel tower too and it was so amazing just to see this! I can't wait to go there tomorrow!

After our walk we had a fancy dinner at the restaurant next to our hotel! We had chicken and a fancy dessert I had never had before! After dinner we came back to our room to finalize our plans for tomorrow and get our days figured out! I am excited to explore the city with my friends tomorrow!

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Farewell Oxford, You Will Be Missed!

Before I came on this Eurospring experience I knew that this may be the only opportunity I had in my life to travel abroad. Before I came here I had never left the United States, even though I had lived in Northern(ish) Minnesota my whole life. But now that I am packing up my belongings I am finding it so sad to leave here and that this place has really become my home. I really hope I get the opportunity to visit this city again. We had our finals this afternoon and I always forget how draining they can be! It is always a feeling of relief to be done, but I feel really confident in my knowledge of the courses. Dr. Chapman is seriously amazing and I believe his great ability to lecture has made it quite easy to learn! I really feel that these courses have helped me grow a lot in my subject area, as I am a Social Studies Education major. I feel much more confident in my knowledge of English history and even some European history.

After finals were done I had a bit of down time before our last dinner. After dinner Dr. Chapman gave a speech and it was actually a bit emotional to hear him to talk about his love for the program and it was hard to think that we were spending our last few moments with him! He is such a great person! Before we left he reminded us all to work hard as scholars but to not forget to be silly every once in a while. I admire that advice from someone as great a scholar as him!

Tonight I just need to finish up a little bit of packing to get up bright and early to head to Paris! As much as I don't want to leave, I am excited to continue exploring and to see other cultures. I may not have much time to blog, nor do I know how much internet service I will have, but I will try to blog every day that I can!

Friday, 12 April 2013

Finals tomorrow!

We had our last lecture this afternoon and it was about the American Revolution. It was interesting to here Chapman's perspective. He mentioned how King George the III felt like 'a father figure who felt hurt and rejected by his children.' Overall, I'm glad I got the experience of hearing the perspective from someone who grew up in England.

Tomorrow we have our finals so I have been using most of my free time to study! I feel pretty confident about it but also feel I need to study more for my science class. When I am not studying I have been using my breaks to go for walks in the University park behind our hall. I'm really going to miss spending time relaxing in the beauty that park provides. It is beautiful right now with all the spring flowers sprouting!

Tonight's dinner was not one to impress. As I've mentioned before I do not by any means consider myself a picky eater, but I cannot eat the lamb anymore. The smell alone has really gotten to me! So, after dinner David and I went and bought cheese and bread to tie me over! Tonight I plan to spend more time studying and then heading to bed!

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Study Day!

After classes today (one was about country life in the 17th/18th century, and the other about the origins of navigation and it's advances) David and I went to a bookstore to purchase one of our professors books which he has written. We are hoping to have  him sign our copy before we leave! After we picked up the book, we decided spur of the moment to go to G and D to really begin studying for our finals which are on Saturday. We went through our whole main lecture course and we feel we know what to expect for the test because when we went through our notes there are some obvious themes Chapman was getting through to us. We were there for a few hours and I got some hot chocolate to drink while we studied!

 Then after we were done studying we came back for dinner in our hall. It was alright tonight. After dinner Brittany, Kelsey, David and I played the card game, Garbage. It was fun! Overall, it was a pretty lazy day, but we all needed it after the past 3 busy days! :)

Monday, 8 April 2013

Cotswolds Tour

Today after our classes (which were about mass media and crime in the 17th century and were amazing!) our director from BSU set up a little afternoon tour to see more of the Cotswolds. The Cotswolds are little villages in the beautiful  countryside located in the Southwest-ish part of England. Most of the villages are tourist areas or retirement areas (I'm going to retire in Bibury, incase you were wondering). The first village we went to was Fairford. We stopped here because of it's church. The St. Mary the Virgin Church was 'given' to Catherine of Argon by King Henry VIII. Because it was 'given' to her it was probably protected. When Henry VIII reformed to the Church of England, almost all Catholic Churches were destroyed or completely remodeled. This church, however, has it's original features still. The stained glass here is very different and dates back to the 1500's. They even had windows with the devil and demons, so that was unique. They also had windows depicting Bible stories.

Our next stop was Bibury. It is SO gorgeous here! I love it! There is a trout farm and it is so gorgeous and has beautiful gardens. The water is ridiculously clear- it's amazing! One could spend hours relaxing and spending time here. In this village there are also the Arlington Row houses. These houses date back to the 1300's and wool workers were allowed to live there as long as they kept their job. It was so beautiful and the houses are so unique!

 Our next stop was Bourton-on-the-water. This village is called the "Venice of the Cotswolds" because there is so much running water and foot bridges. It is fun to walk around and admire the water and all of the ducks trying to swim against the current. Here I had my 'high tea' of the trip. I was told to have it in the Cotswolds so that I would get clotted cream with it. So, I had my English tea, and fruit scone with clotted cream! It was delicious! I really need to make scones more often because they are fantastic!

Our final stop of our little tour was to see the Rollright stones. These stones are also from the Neolithic era, just like Stonhenge and Avebury. They are also thought to be a part of religious ceremony, but of course know one will really ever know what's up. These were smaller stones too and the legend is you can't count the circle of stones more than once and come up with the same number! It also says, if you can do it three times in a row any wish you may have will come true!