If your reading this blog I will have to celebrate! After investing 3 hours this past week to successfully post a blog I was ready to give up! Each post I made was ‘Submitted’ to the Bermuda Triangle of the internet so hopefully, I think, I have mastered the art!
Having had such a great time with Don’t be a Tourist on the Edinburgh trip I took a few weeks ago, a few friends and I signed up for a day trip through the same company to Whitby, a seaside town on the northern coast of England. We had fun taking pictures in the Abbey, roaming the cobblestone streets, walking the 199 steps leading up to the Abbey that are featured in Dracula and eating the best oysters and seafood from the small authentic Seafood Shack. To get the full effect of the Dracula aura (Dracula was written in Whitby) we went in a haunted house, The Dracula Experience, where low and behold there was a real live actor who jumped out unexpectedly and scared the living daylights out of us! On our return trip we went to Hogsmeade, the train station used in Harry Potter, it is the one that is at Hogwarts.
The following day my fellow American friend from New Jersey and I took a day trip to the Harewood house, which is a beautiful privately own estate about a half hour from our University. Not having a clue which bus stop to get off at, we asked the bus driver to call out to us when the right stop came up. Unfortunately we did not hear him and missed our stop by about 2 miles. Frantic we leapt off the bus and found ourselves lost in the middle of the majestic English countryside. Mishap turned adventure we wandered through the fields trying to take all of the sights and smells in. About two hours later we reached our intended destination only to find it was another mile walk to reach the actual house. The best part of the day was walking through the gardens taking pictures of the grand estate and not having a care in the world!
This past weekend I took a trip to Stockholm, Sweden with one of my good friends from home who is also studying abroad in England for the semester. I travelled to London and from there we began our journey! After checking into our quaint hostel located in Old Town we walked around, saw the palace, parliament and decided to take a boat tour throughout the islands. I had no idea there were so many! Sweden is composed of over 40,000 small islands, each one more beautiful than the last. After the boat tour we wandered some more and went back to our hostel before we went out to dinner.
In the morning we went to a café that serves the BEST Latté’s in the whole world! We even went back the second morning! Then we took a bus ride to Skansen an attraction park on it’s own separate island. Basically the government plucked important buildings from Sweden, Norway and other Scandinavian countries and put them in this large park. There is also a zoo. We spent nearly the whole day here. We went in a Cigar & Matches museum where we saw the world’s largest cigar which was ironically made in Brazil. We also saw a bunch of animals and went in various small historical buildings, each one explaining a different part of Swedish history. One of the buildings lured us in with the smell of fresh baked pastries and bread, so of course we split a pastry!
On our final day we took a bus to Vaxholm, a country town about an hour north of Stockholm. It was a rainy day, luckily the first two were filled with sunshine! Here we decided to take a ferry to an island about a half a mile away from everything else on which a medieval castle from the 16th century, turned museum, was located. Since the ferryboat woman dropped us off with no problem we figured the museum would be open, however we were wrong to make such an assumption. After walking around in the rain, opening doors only to see they lead to a dark dungeon we began to panic. There was not another soul on the whole island. In a small secluded section of the castle was a sign for a restaurant and Bed & Breakfast, both of which had the lights on. Thinking we discovered our temporary save heaven we ran over and began knocking feverishly on the doors, to which no one answered. Now we seriously began to ask ourselves,’How are we going to get off this island?!?!” I am a serious LOST fan and the only thoughts that were running through my head were that ‘the others’ were going to appear, kidnap us and we would be forever stuck on the island. If you don’t watch LOST, disregard that last sentence.
We walked quite briskly back towards the dock on the island in efforts to flag a boat down to come retrieve us, unfortunately everyone simply waved back. Desperate times call for desperate measures, so my friend and I began screaming at the top of our lungs, HElP, HELP! About an hour later we were able to get the attention of the coastguard who steered their way over to us. So thankful for our rescuers we jumped off the small cliffs on the island into their tiny boat. Wondering as to why we were on the island our rescuers told us that we should not have been dropped off there, although they said they were happy we were because we were their first official rescue! All in all Sweden was quite an adventure
I am currently struggling, yet again to pack for a weekend away. I am traveling slightly east but mostly north to the Lake District where I will be climbing mountains, scrambling gorges and participating in Halloween festivities! Much more on how it all goes when I return.
Until then, peace, shanti, pax.