Granada & Barcelona!

spain

Following my trip to Belgium to see my friend Sebastien I headed off with a group of friends who I met at the University of Leeds to visit Granada & Barcelona in Spain.

The first of these two Spanish cities that we visited was Granada. Prior to coming to Europe I had never heard of this place but once I did some research it appeared to be a great place to see. We stayed at a hostel in a central location in the city so it was very convenient.

IMG_2059( A view from our balcony,not the greatest photo.)

Upon arrival we met up with some other students staying at the hostel and they took around the city to try tapas. Tapas are a very traditional Spanish cuisine in which you order a drink from a restaurant and they give you a small appetizer for free with the drink. With every drink we purchased we were provided with a different kind of tapas. (the United States should adapt this)

IMG_2057(a view of our hostel’s lobby)

The following days we headed out to explore and do some sight seeing.

IMG_2061(a basic view of the city)

IMG_2065(a nice water way while in search for caves outside the city)

IMG_2070(a view of the Alhambra, a moorish citadel and palace)

IMG_2074(while on our hike)

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IMG_2092(a view of the city from the Alhambra)

IMG_2098(great view from the top of our hiking)

After two great days in Granada we then headed to Barcelona!

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BARCELONA! 3 Days spent

Seeing Barcelona was amazing, great weather, great people, and great atmosphere. The people in Spain seemed to be just way more relaxed and easy-going in comparison to the rest of the places I had been. Out of all the countries I have been so far I would say it was my favorite. While in Barcelona I did a walking tour of the city, I saw the Sagrada Familia, I went to the beach, I saw a lot of Gaudi’s work, I went to FC Barcelona’s soccer stadium and  I saw the statue of Christopher Columbus. We stayed at a great hostel and met a lot of interesting people.

IMG_2102(Sagrada Familia,. has been under construction for 131 years. Original creator was Gaudi until he died and left no plans on how to finish construction)

IMG_2114(street view)

IMG_2116(along the dock)

IMG_2123(the beach)

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IMG_2129(Christopher Columbus)

IMG_2149(Barcelona’s Soccer Stadium)

 

I am now back in Leeds finishing up my final few weeks. My Easter break was incredible to say the least. My family got the chance to visit me in Europe, I ran an experiment in the middle of no where for a class, I got to visit and stay with a great friend and his family, I traveled Europe with people I’ve only known for a few months,and I’ve learned a lot about myself and life. Overall I  had visited 6 countries in just 4 weeks.

With just 3 weeks remaining in the semester I am going to try and travel as much as I can within the UK.

I will update you guys soon!

 

Belgium, Germany, and The Netherlands

My last update was about being with my family for a week and being in Northern England for one of my courses…

This post is about more of my Easter Break which I spend at a friends house who lives in Belgium!

Seeing my friend Sebastien while studying abroad multiple times was one of my many goals while studying abroad. I had already seen him once abroad while in Liverpool but now I was finally getting the chance to go to his home after last being there 3 years ago. Upon arriving I was once again greeted with open arms (and alcohol). The first two days we spent just relaxing and enjoying his home. Sebastien was still in his courses so he had to regularly go to lectures (I went to one that was in English, very interesting). The third day was the day that we had all been waiting for…we were going to go to a soccer match  between Belgium v Macedonia in the Belgian capital, Brussels. The atmosphere was something that I had never felt while at any other sporting event. The fans were always chanting and sometimes the occasional flair would get set off in the stadium. Belgium won 1-0!

belgium v macedonia 2 (<- Me & Sebastien)

belgium v macedonia 3 (<- very intense fans)

 

belgium v macendonia 1

 

The following few days we spent going to Sebastiens soccer matches and relaxing around his home. We then decided to take a trip to the nearby Belgian city of Bruges. This city was very old with many churches and a nice canal that we took a ride on. It was just a short drive away from Sebastiens house so we only spent an afternoon there.

Bruges 1

Bruges 2

A few days after we had gone to Bruges we took a trip to Maastricht in The Netherlands to visit a friend of Sebastien’s. Maastricht was only about an hour drive Sebastiens house so it was very convenient. We stayed and enjoyed the city of Maastricht for two days.

 

Maastrich 3 Maastricht 2 Maastricht 1

 

On our way to Sebastien’s house from Maastricht we decided to take a detour and head to Germany for a few hours ( how convenient right?). We entered the city of Aachen in the west of Germany and decided to grab some traditional German beer and some history.

Aachen 2(<- the cathedral in the center holds Charlemagne’s remains)

Aachen 1

 

Once the day was over I could say that I had been to three countries in 24 hours..without flying.

I then had a few more days in Belgium then I headed back to Leeds in the UK….

Seeing my friend Sebastien and his family is always amazing. They welcome me with open arms every time.It was great to have finally been back with people I knew before starting my study abroad experience.

After just a few days back in Leeds I was heading to Spain! I will blog about my Spain trip soon! Stay posted!

 

London, Paris, and Selside

Like I mentioned in my previous post I was going to see my parents in London then we were heading off to Paris…

Meeting my parents in London was a great experience. We visited a lot of the typical tourist attractions (Buckingham Palace, London Eye, Tower Bridge, Tate Modern, changing of the guard, Big Ben, London Bridge, Shakespeare’s Globe, West Minister Abbey…etc) We stayed at an apartment that was near many things to do. We stayed for 3 days in London then headed off to Paris.

big ben buck palace london eye london bridge

Traveling to Paris proved to be a bit more stressful than I had thought it would be. Not understanding French put us in quite the predicament to say the least…we managed though. Having been living in England it was great to go a place that was known for its food. Traveling within Paris became much easier after we had figured out the underground system. We visited the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, the lock bridge, The Louvre,and the Arc de Triomphe. It was great fun to see all this with my family!

eif tower eif tower 2 louvre arc de trioumph

The 7 day trip was over just like that. My parents then headed back to the United States and I had to go to Selside (North England) I cannot wait to see them again!

 

Selside

The reason I had to go to Selside was for a course I was taking at my university. We had to run experiments regarding outdoor activities. Mine was testing subjects positivity while participating in team activities. Some of the other experiments others  were running included mountain hiking, rock climbing, and mental tests.

selside

selside 2

 

I am currently in Belgium visiting my friend Sebastien. I will update you after my trip with him!

Cymru (Wales)

This past weekend I visited the beautiful city of Snowdonia in the north-west of Wales. I was joined by over 150 other American students for a weekend of adventures and sightseeing. Upon entering Wales you will shortly find out that the country has an abundance of sheep (that’s an understatement) Another thing that I noticed was that there was always a strange combination of letters under or above each English word. This language is known as Welsh. (here is an example) Image

Hearing this language was quite interesting to say the least…

The first night while in Wales we had a pub trivia night. This was a great chance for me to have fun and meet other students from the United States that have been studying in different parts of the UK. The following morning I headed off to go go-karting (we had all been assigned different activities to take part in) This wasn’t just any go-karting that I had encountered. This go-karting included us wearing helmets, full body suits, and gloves. The laps were timed and presented on a monitor for us to see. The top 3 winners received champagne (I lost :( )

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My years of Mario Kart training didn’t pay off

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Following go- karting I was assigned to mountain biking. I had never been mountain  biking before and was very excited because the location of the biking was beautiful. The biking it self didn’t go so beautifully. It did not take long to figure out that I was not gifted in the sport. In the end I completed the 14 mile biking (Tour de Snowdonia)  Here are some photos of the views I had gotten from the biking.

wales steal 8 wales steal 6

 

After my long day of adventures I headed back to the hotel we stayed at and got some rest. Shortly after I decided to take a walk around the area and see what I could find.

wales steal 7 wales steal 5 wales steal 4 wales steal 3 wales steal 2 wales steal

After taking a walk around I again headed back to the hotel. That night we had a party planned at our hotel for us. Needless to say 150 students at a hotel will always be fun. We enjoyed music, food, and the bar.

The following day we would all be returning to our universities but before we did that we would all take a short morning trip to a neighboring village along the sea side.

wales sea 2 wales sea wales sea 3

 

It was great to see a new country and get away from the city life of Leeds.

Now it is Tuesday, March 12 and I am going to see my family in London! We plan to stay in London for a few days then we will head off to Paris for a few more days! I am very excited to see them. I will update you after my trip with them, stay posted!

Friends & Liverpool

Last time I wrote I left off with me heading off to Liverpool in just a weeks time…

I spent 2 days in the European Capital of Culture absorbing all that I could. I spent this time with my friend Sebastien and his family. It was great finally getting to me up with someone that I had known prior to coming to Europe. We spent our first day at a few museums, taking in good food, learning about the cities sporting culture, and walking along the docks. One thing that I noticed almost immediately when I arrived in Liverpool was the dialect or accent that the people had. It had only been a two hour train ride from Leeds to Liverpool and change in dialect had taken place. I enjoyed hearing this accent more than the Leeds (Yorkshire) accent. It was easier to understand and spoken a bit slower. The second day we decided that we would would take the Beatles Tour and travel to a few famous areas that the Beatles were known to play while in Liverpool before fame. One of the coolest locations that I saw in Liverpool was The Cavern Club, the Beatles had played at this location 292 times. It was full of history, culture, and great live music. 

 

Since returning from Liverpool I have to doing a lot of studying and group work. Our Easter break is coming up in just 2 weeks and a good portion of the assignments are due just as  I return. Hopefully I can get much of this work done before the break because I am planning on doing a good amount of traveling. (the break lasts 4 weeks, woohooo) During my Easter break I will be heading to London, Paris, Northern England, Belgium, The Netherlands, Barcelona, and hopefully Granada. I am stressed to say the least, but can’t wait!

 

This weekend I am heading to Northern Wales for a trip with my IFSA Butler program. We plan to participate in outdoor activities, hiking, and sightseeing. I am very excited!

I will update my blog once I have returned from Wales!

All questions/ comments are welcome!Image

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Mugged!

It has officially been a month since I left the United States. England is finally starting to feel like home. I’ve made some great friends, and have started to branch out a bit more around the area. Some of the stuff I have been doing includes watching the super bowl at 3:00am (English time) at a pub, going to the Leeds Art Gallery, participating in pub run, celebrating Australia Day (due to me becoming friends with a large number of Aussies), going to Manchester to celebrate the Chinese New Year, and going to Manchester United’s Football Stadium (Old Trafford). Pretty exciting stuff, i’ve got some photos to go along with these events as well.

In just one weeks time I will be heading to Liverpool to see an old high school friend from Belgium named Sebastien. I’m very excited to see him and explore Liverpool. (about an hour long train ride from Leeds) Other things I am looking forward to are my parents & girlfriend coming to see me in 25 days. We plan to visit London, Paris, and Leeds.

Now for the daunting news….

As you might have noticed the title of this post is “Mugged!”. Yes, I was mugged. Just about 3 blocks away from where I live. I wish I could tell you that I beat the two guys up but that just wouldn’t be true. The two men jumped around a corner and knocked me down. Once I was on the ground they demanded my wallet. I then pulled out my wallet and through my cash on the ground and ran (only 15 British Pounds). I was on my way to class at around 9:30am (odd timing) and I had my laptop on me which was broken from when I fell (it is fixed now). It really wasn’t as scary as I thought it might have been. I have learned from it and realized that it is all part of the experience.

That is all for now, stay posted!ImageImageleeds foodleeds art galleryview from my flat leedsleeds city marketleeds fish n chipsmanchester, leedschinese fest. manchester