Hello again! In my last post I left off with some pictures of my adventures and I just put more pictures up with captions explaining where they are from. They are a little mixed up but that’s a good way of explaining how my year has been, mixed up. During the first few months I was in England, I made many friends and it felt like I was always running around doing lots of different things. As you saw, I went to London, to the White Cliffs of Dover, around Canterbury, to Leeds castle, and to Ireland. Along with my travels I did things around the University of Kent campus, like attending class, joining the rowing club, and hanging out with friends. When Thanksgiving rolled around I had so many people ask to do one with me that I ended up doing three separate ones! So not only was it the first time I was away from home for Thanksgiving, I had to plan three separate ones! Luckily no one got food poisoning!
That first semester flew by with classes and traveling and friends. Soon it was time for Christmas break, a fact I was sad and excited for. I was sad because it meant my housemate Kaitlyn was leaving for good, as she was only doing a term. I was also sad because it meant that I was that much closer to the end of my time in England. However I was excited because I was doing some more traveling over Christmas. Kaitlyn’s friend Caiti, had invited me along to travel with her a bit and then I would be going up to Norway to spend Christmas and the New Year. Caiti and I would be traveling to Amsterdam and Berlin before we separated ways and I headed north while she continued to Vienna and Interlaken. It was a crazy couple of days that I traveled with her. We were only going to spend a day each in Amsterdam and Berlin, definitely not enough time! But we took what we could get.
So on December 15th we boarded a night bus for Amsterdam. We passed through France on our way there, although we didn’t see anything, and spent a very uncomfortable night on a very crowded bus with some very annoying children. We got to Amsterdam in the end though, albeit very tired. The bus pulled in around 6:00am which was much too early for many places to be open so we hung out in a Starbucks, yes they are everywhere, until we could store my luggage and head out into the city. Amsterdam is truly beautiful and definitely a walking friendly city. Caiti and I walked the many canals, saw the Van Gogh museum, ate cheese, passed through the red light district, took a picture with the IAmsterdam sign, and genuinely just enjoyed the nice day we had before we had to board our next bus for Berlin.
Another night on a bus was not enjoyed by either of us, luckily it was less crowded than the last one though, so we slept a little more. Getting to Berlin we had to make our way from the bus station to the hostel we had booked in the city, which was not so easy. Berlin is a lot more spread out than Amsterdam is, so we had to walk quite a ways to get to the hostel. On the way we saw the Brandenburg Gate and walked past a holocaust memorial, stopping at another Starbucks on the walk. We made it to the hostel finally and it was really a nice place, we had our own room and bathroom, a luxury in a hostel. After dropping off our stuff, we proceeded to the train station to get to the East Side Gallery, the largest standing piece of the Berlin wall. It was very beautiful because it had been covered in some really nice street art. Walking along it we made our way to some Christmas markets. Let me tell you, no Christmas market can beat the Berlin Christmas markets. The sights, the sounds, the smells, it’s all fantastic and it’s a really good thing I didn’t have more money on me! I picked up some souvenirs for my family and some German sausages for me before Caiti and I headed back to the hostel for some much needed rest. The next morning we would be parting ways. Something we were both very sad about. There’s something about spending two full days basically attached to a person, which makes it very hard to leave them. Saying goodbye at the train station wasn’t easy but we were both excited for the rest of our travels. I’ll save writing about Norway until my next post, but here are some pictures of Amsterdam and I’ll post some more up of Berlin!