First day back from break. Actually that was yesterday, but I slept from
breakfast time until well after the sun went down, so it kind of feels like
that entire day never happened. Today is the first day back to school. Break
was an experience unlike any I've had.
in the company of three individuals from my study abroad program, bounced from
Montpellier to Barcelona, Dublin, London, Amsterdam, Berlin, and finally, Lyon.
I must say that all of this was truly as incredible as it sounds. If I were to
rank-order my preferences, it would look something like this: 1) London 2) Barcelona,
Lyon, & Dublin tie for second place 3) Berlin.
London is a brilliant place. It feels a lot like home, (Bryn Mawr,
PA), but in the form of a big, refined city. Everyone that I encountered was
kind, helpful, and warm. The shopping scene was perfect. Healthy food is
literally available everywhere, and the Whole Foods in downtown Kensington is a
magical metropolis. Definitely booking future voyages to the mother country.
found Barcelona and Lyon to be rather similar; perhaps this
is because they're not too far apart geographically (although Montpellier is
closer...) In any case- the food, people, and weather were lovely in both
places. The architecture was remarkable, with each part of town more ornate
than the last. Especially in Spain- I'm a sucker for mosaics.
Irish have a reputation for being nice. But one cannot understand quite how kind,
how welcoming they really are without actually visiting the country. I barely
noticed the cold, dark weather in Dublin,
because the people were so cheery that their good spirits overshadowed all of
the chilly winds and dark clouds.
first and last trip to Berlin was,
well, interesting. The area is cold and dark, the architecture unremarkable
except for a few landmarks. Even the Berlin Wall was shockingly unimpressive,
covered in profanity and explicit graffiti. All of the food that I consumed
there was subpar, even the coffee at Starbucks tasted weird once I put milk in
should be known that horrifying majorities of the people wear sneakers with
jeans, and in such an urban area no less. The only upside to this is that I was
not obviously distinguishable as a tourist while wearing my leggings and
sneakers, but the fashion genocide did not go unnoticed.
of genocide, we visited Sachsenhausen concentration camp near Berlin. I was
disappointed by the framed displays arguably glorifying Nazi leaders (as
individuals, not for their conquests,) but I found it to be inappropriate
nonetheless. Also, quotes in the museum such as, "Concentration camps in
Germany contributed only indirectly
to the genocide," attempted to displace blame in a way that is utterly
demonstrations downtown made the group that I was travelling with and I rather
nervous, but not as nervous as we were in the airport! The experience was
needlessly stressful and severe.
in Montpellier now; with eight weeks to go until I return to the States.