06/18/2010 - 06/26/2010 78 °F
Ok. Let's take a moment and review my last week in Germany. I drank big, German beers, ate a ton of homecooked, German food, danced the night away, climbed up 265 creepy spiral staircase steps to get to the top of a church in Freiburg, visited Zurich, saw another old church, saw the Rhinefall, drank more German beer, ate more German food, rode on a gondola up through the Swiss Alps, hiked through the Alps, went to a 50th birthday party, soaked up the sun by the Rhine River, visited an ancient castle, breathed fresh mountain air, ate Swiss chocolate, listened to a German band, learned some key German words, watched Germany beat Ghana in the World Cup, got forced into a sort-of Congo line, learned a silly German dance, listened to traditional German music, and, essentially, had the time of my life.
When I left every other location I've been, I was always looking forward to the next place. New sights and scenes always excite me; however, this morning when I left Patrick's house for London, I experienced a deep sadness for the first time on this trip. His family took me in as one of their own, and truly made me feel at home for the entire week. They were constantly doing everything in their power to ensure I was comfortable and happy. I've only been in London for one day, but I'm already missing Germany like crazy. I can't wait to go back.
There are so many details that I could go into about the things I listed above, but I doubt any of you have that kind of time, so I think I'm going to leave the list as it is. That way I'll actually have some stories to tell you upon my return to the States. Or, if you really want to know about something, you can just message me, and I'll tell you. Probably.
I woke up at 5 this morning, so Patrick could drive me to the airport for my flight at 7:30 am. Never again. We were up until probably 1:30 the night before at that 50th birthday party, so I'd only had about 3 hours of sleep, and then I had to navigate my way through the airport, and then across London to our dorms. I can't say I was overly concerned about it. Mastering the Tube is nothing because everything's in English. After being immersed in several different languages for so long, I'm almost going through culture shock because I understand everything that's being said around me.
So, anyway, my plane landed in London at 8:30 London time, and I had to find my way to the aboveground train that connects the London City Airport to the Tube. That wasn't too hard. The difficult part came when two different lines shared the same track, and I hopped on the wrong train TWICE before I realized I just need to wait for the next train going on the same tracks. Duh. So that kind of sucked just because I was lugging around my big, fat, green bag. After much strain on my navigational skills, I chose a stop that I thought was pretty close to our dorms and set off on the streets of London. All I had with me was a crappy Google map, so I got a little turned around and walked about 5 blocks out of the way and essentially made a giant, confusing circle when I was really only like two blocks away from the place. However, I still experienced a rush of triumph as I entered the building, knowing I had done it all by myself. (Well, technically I had some help from Patrick, who printed out the Google map and a map of the London Tube and even highlighted the closest stops to my building. Love it.) About an hour after I arrived and got settled in, one of my new roommates showed up with her mother. They've been in London for a week already, and they invited me to go eat at the Hard Rock Cafe with them and then walk around the city a bit. That's right, folks. My first ever meal in the UK: a gargantuan cheeseburger that probably cost the same as a small flat along the Thames. And it was worth every pence. MmmMMmmMMm. America.
After our deliciously overpriced meal of American cuisine, we headed across some park to the Buckingham Palace. Maybe I was just misinformed, but I was kinda expecting something with a little more grandeur. Maybe I'll get that when I go see Parliament. We kept walking and happened upon Westminster Cathedral. Now, let's not get this confused with Westminster Abbey--the really famous one. The Westminster Cathedral may be the largest church in England, but, for some reason, it's just not as well known. It was really pretty inside. Gold mosaics adorned most of the walls, and a giant crucifix hung from the ceiling. That's all I know about it.
We hopped on the Tube and headed "home." (I used quotes because it's temporary. I have had many "homes" this summer.) In like 3 minutes, I'm meeting more people from my group, and our site coordinator is going to show us where our classes will be held starting on Monday. Boo. Vacation's over for me.
I'll probably write again soon, especially if something funny/interesting happens. Or maybe I'll just start telling stories about my beloved Germany. You never know.