Sunday, December 29, 2013

Climate Change

I recently spent some time in an actual winter wonderland: Niagara Falls, Canada. 
Here are a few photos from the day we went. My family and two of my best friends spent the day around the Falls. My two friends are from Maryland, and they had never seen snow or ice like this. We went to the American side as well as the Canadian side. Personally, I like the Canadian side better. 
There is a perpetual rainbow at the Falls that we see each time we visit. I was so glad I could capture it with the snowy and icy backgrounds.
The spray of the Falls ices over everything that it touches, so the barriers, trees, and ground were super slippery and shiny. It was beautiful and also dangerous. 
Below is a coin-operated binocular on the US side of the Falls, covered in ice.
 Just a week after this was taken, I found another coin-operated binocular on a beach in Florida. 
Quite a contrast!
It was so great to be able to spend time at the beach and get a little tan. My family and I had a nice holiday.
  I also was able to take some really great photos and just relax. It was much needed.
Hope you had a great holiday as well!


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Parka Weather

I've spent at least some of the past two winters in Maryland and there has never been this much snow... ever. I'm not complaining because I'm used to it, being from upstate New York, I was just surprised by the presences of more snow than just a "dusting." 
 Last week, it snowed a ton in Maryland! My classmates and I were hoping that they would cancel school, and I bet that they would have, had it not been finals week. We trudged through wind, sleet, and icy conditions to get to our exams. 
I was actually pleased by the amount of snowfall, not only because it made everything around my campus look beautiful, but because it gave me the excuse to wear my most favorite winter coat; the olive green parka that I can be seen wearing in almost every one of my photos from my study abroad trip to London. 
Take a look at some of my past posts, it is an ethereal coat that was basically sent to me from God.
I bought my parka from a thrift shop during one of my first free afternoons in London. When we first got to London, it was colder than I had expected it to be. I don't quite know what drew me to it (since it smelled really smokey) but I am so glad that I bought it! I took the huge jacket to our flat and put it in the washing machine and it has been a great companion on several of my trips.
It is a longer coat and has huge pockets that can fit mittens, my phone, my camera and even a bottle of water!
After I had bought it, I noticed just how many other young female Londoners were wearing similar parkas. I was pleased to find that I fit right in with them and their styles.
The only thing that I wish I could change about it is the fur lining the hood. It is kind of an orangy color that I'm not really partial to. 
This coat is kind of worn and could use some mending, but it has sentimental value, so I could never get rid of it.  
I am trying to figure out a way that I would be able to change the faux fur lining on the hood, and I am also on the lookout for a similar parka that may look a bit nicer. 
I definitely want the same olive color and length; these two things are the most important. I think I may like a gray-ish faux fur lining and buttons that go down the front. 
Here are some that I have found online:
This parka is from ASOS and, although it is not really olive green, the darker gray goes really well with the fur on the hood. It does not look as long as my current parka, but it seems to be long enough. The price is reasonable for a good coat. 
This is honestly all I could ever want in a parka. It is also from ASOS and I enjoy everything about it, except for the price.
I will continue to be on the hunt for the perfect, reasonably priced parka, but I know that, even if I do not find one this season, my trusty London parka will have my back.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Some Insightful Tips for Surviving Finals Week

Here are my top ten tips to making it out of finals week alive:
  1. Get enough sleep- I will be aiming for 7-8 hours if possible (hey, a girl can dream)... NEVER underestimate the power of a glorious slumber.
  2. Don't let yourself get too distracted- I know that sometimes, when I am trying to get work done, I zone out and then miraculously find myself scrolling down and down and down on Facebook; SNAP OUT OF IT... I have begun to realize just how much time human beings, including myself, waste on scrolling through newsfeeds and it disgusts me... I would not even want to see the total number of hours that I have wasted this semester on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. This is definitely a habit that I will try to kick. 
  3. Hydrate yo'self- I drink a lot of green tea and water. It is just comforting to have something to sip on while studying. 
  4. Set 12+ alarms- this way, you are assured to get to your exam on time because if your multiple blaring alarms do not wake you up, your annoyed roommates will!
  5. Wear socks- it is impossible to really focus on anything important if your feet are freezing cold, it is just a fact. 
  6. Do not return your books/ sell them back until after your finals are done- Heed these wise words...
  7. Bring at least six pens and three #2 pencils to every exam... and also bring a calculator, a big eraser and cough drops- as the boy scout motto states: Be prepared
  8. Ensure that you have enough time before your exam to review, eat, shower, brush your teeth, check stocks, and tie your shoes... and get to your exam on time!
  9. If you are a female with long hair, bring a hair tie on the day of your exam... and then bring an extra hair tie- one of the worst feelings in the world is not being able to physically see the exam paper in front of you because your own hair is in your face. We've all been there...
  10. Try your very best- At the end of the day, it would be nice to walk out of the exam room and confidently toss all of your carefully handwritten notes into the air and watch people watch them as they flutter to the floor as you strut away... Or, at least, it would be nice to feel confident and be able to tell yourself and your parents that you fought with valor for the whole semester, and maybe, could have possibly done alright on your final. 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

The Home Stretch

The Thanksgiving Holiday break was such a tease this year... I went home to spend the holiday with my family a week ago, and I had such a great time with them, but I was drowning in anxiety over approaching final exams and projects. 
It was fantastic to have a small break, but knowing just how much work had to be completed between the time I got back to school from Thanksgiving break until the end of finals week, next Friday, was daunting.
I did not let it get the best of me though! I was unable to get some of the work that I had brought home with me done, but it was just as important for my sanity to spend some time relaxing and hanging out with family and friends.
One of the highlights of my break, other than having some time to just chill, was going tobogganing with my younger cousins! The toboggan that I have can be called "vintage." My father has had it for around forty years and it is much faster than your average plastic sled. It is a work of art, made of wood with the curved front.
We flew down a steep, snowy hill and I was in charge of making sure we did not crash into any trees or the brick building at the bottom of the hill.
Normally, I do not really like the cold or the snow that much, but it was perfect for tobogganing and the sun was setting, which allowed me to take some really lovely photos. It felt like home and the winters that I have grown up with. 
Coming back to school on Sunday night was terrifying because of how much work I had left to do for Monday. Luckily, I was able to get everything done and I am so glad to say that I survived this week! It is basically smooth sailing from here on out. I have finals and presentations to give next week, but I know that I will have ample time to prepare for all these things, so I am not as nervous or anxious about them. 
I am really looking forward to finishing up this semester and being able to spend some time at home for our winter break.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

The Baltimore Color Run

 I have been wanting to write a post about the coolest 5K on earth, that I was able to partake in a few weekends ago, but I've only just found the time. 
Two of my friends and I decided that we wanted to participate in the Color Run, so we signed up over the summer. I did not know what to expect, but I knew that we had to show up, dressed in white, and that we would probably come out of the race a little more colorful. 
On Sunday, November 17th, race day, we got up early, grabbed some Dunkin and drove to Baltimore. 
By 9 a.m., the city streets had become crowded with eager and excited people, from children to grannies, dressed in white. The earlier of the two heats of the Baltimore Color Run was to go off an hour later.
The Color Run has grown into the largest event series in the United States within just a few years. This was definitely made clear on Sunday.
We strolled about Camden Yards for a bit, trying to find where we could register. When we finally got our registration packets, we put on our temporary tattoos, t-shirts, and sweatbands and were ready to run. 
The Color Run is called "the Happiest 5K" in the world, and I believe that it actually, truly is. It was a non-competitive race, so we were not timed and we jogged and even walked during some of it.

At each kilometer mark, there was a color station where volunteers would throw colored powder at us. I was so glad that we had all brought sunglasses because the powder would have undoubtedly gone into our eyes if we had not. 
The powder is just colored corn starch, and we got some in our mouths during the run. It is harmless to us and to the earth, but it leaves you with a funny taste and smell. 
As you can tell from the above before and after photo, we came out of the race quite colorful. This after photo was also taken post- color festival, which is where we were turned into smurfs. 
After the race, we were able to grab some water and a KIND healthy grain bar, and then we made our way to the stage where we RAVED.
The DJ and other motivators were playing loud music and getting us to dance! They were throwing fannypacks and towels at us. I wasn't able to get my hands on any of them, but I did catch a few extra color packets. 
When they gave the word, everyone in the crowd opened their color packets and flung the powder into the air. It was superb and suffocating all at the same time.
After we drove back to campus, we each took a long shower to try and scrub the powder out of our skin and hair. It took a while, but being able to take part in the run was an amazing and unique experience! We did not want it to end.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Fashion Friday: 11/22/13

If I were a pessimist, I would start out by saying that this has been one of the most stressful weeks of my life, but since I try not to be so negative, I'm going to go ahead and say how thankful I am that I survived this week and that it is finally Friday.  
I owe a big thanks to the contents of my sweater drawer, because my trusty pull-overs have helped me get through this week without looking like a mess. 
For some reason, when I was around fifteen, I refused to wear sweaters... I would only wear cardigans or zip-up hoodies so that I could show off the shirt that I was wearing underneath them. Though this makes sense, I do not know why my past self decided that sweaters were unacceptable. 
The sweaters pictured above are all ones that I have acquired within the past year. The one at the top of the photo (and at the bottom of the pile) is from pull and bear. I am still so very proud of myself for finding this lovely, light sweater, with its delicate shoulder cut outs and slit in the back at a store on Oxford Street, in London, and purchasing it for around £10. I also bought a peplum shirt there for £3. That is my kind of shopping trip!
The next sweater was also bought while in London. I love how unique it is. It is from Europe's version of F21, Primark.
The maroon sweater is from a fabulous thrift shop in my area. It is made of wool and is from Eddie Bauer. It is so very warm and cozy. Although the bottom of the sweater is not fitted in the way that I would prefer, if I could wear it every day, I would. 
Next is a comfy creme jumper from the Gap. This sweater is a classic, however I have just begun to appreciate it for its true value. I was wary of wearing sweaters tucked in for the majority of my years on this earth. Even though you may not have anxiety of untucked shirts and sweaters, here is a photo from pinterest of a simple outfit with this kind of sweater.    

At the very bottom of the first photo is a quirky sweater that I bought at a thrift shop near my hometown. it has parrots on the sleeves and is a great conversation starter. A sweater like this is meant to be worn with long hair tied back, so that people can really see the details along the sleeves. 

Friday, November 15, 2013

Fashion Friday: 11/15/13 

(Please excuse my awkwardness)
 Ahem, RAWR. 
So my boyfriend and I were discussing over text message, whether the animal that is cross stitched onto my sweater is a cheetah or a leopard... I vote leopard, but either way, it is fierce and cuddly at the same time.  
It is fall and Maryland weather drives me crazy. I love days like today when it is just above 50 degrees. It is just chilly enough to have to wear a sweater and maybe a light jacket or a vest and either flats like mine or boots are valid footwear options. I thoroughly relish in sweater weather. 
Winter weather is quickly approaching and I'm not all about that just yet. I'm going to miss the bright Autumn colors and leaves that litter my campus and surroundings. Watching the trees change colors and lose their leaves from day to day will never not impress me.

I just recently bought this sweater on a whim at PacSun and the vest, which is my new favorite Fall item, is from the Ralph Lauren Outlet store by my house. Here is a similar one that I was able to find online (But I bought mine for much cheaper). 
Today, one of my peers told me that she liked my eclectic style and I have found that I'm just really not good at accepting compliments. 
My response: "ehhhhhhhh" followed by some mumbled thank yous.
Go ahead and enjoy this rift that I found in a parking lot:

Wednesday, November 13, 2013


Hello! Yes, I am alive! 
I'm planning for the revival of my blog because this nearly two and a half month hiatus has reminded me of just how important writing is to me. I've been so very busy with university and work that I have let go of some of the activities that I really love to do. This has made for a very stressed and anxious Angela. 
I've made a point to start running again, and I have been pretty dedicated thus far, but we will have to see if that changes with finals and chilly weather coming up. I've been running on one of the trails near my university and I have enjoyed pushing myself to go farther and faster. I did not realize just how much I loved the slight soreness that welcomes me when I try to get out of bed in the morning after going for a nice long run the day before. 
I have also been going to the weight room at my school... This is the first semester that I have ever even set foot in the weight room! For the past two years, I've been intimidated by the people who frequent the gym... Most of them happen to be athletic males who wear muscle shirts, grunt loudly, and make a point to slam their dumbbells down like they are trying to announce to the others in the room that they are, indeed, the alpha male and that they could take over for Atlas if need be. 
I try not to make eye contact. 
Running and working out in my spare time has helped me survive this semester, but it hasn't been enough. I've never been this busy, and I actually enjoy all the extracurriculars that I am involved in, but it bothers me that I have had to give up writing and blogging to do homework or sleep. 
(I just have not been able to embrace the true college lifestyle because I know myself and myself does not function properly past 1 a.m. let alone on no sleep at all.)  
(Also, I refuse to be a part of the "all-nighter" club because I know how miserable I will be for the remainder of the day and I am already always tired enough.)
Hopefully, that will change, and I will find time to both as well as balance all the activities and work that I have to do to keep up with school, enjoy life as a young adult, better my future and all that jazz. 
Well, cheers to the newest rebirth of my blog!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

chronic wanderlust

I knew that when I came back from an incredible three months in Europe, it would be difficult to adjust, but I was not prepared for the restlessness and yearning that I have experienced on a daily basis since I came back to the US. It's not that I don't like the US or where I live; it will always be home for me, it is just very different from the life I led in London.
Whenever my mind wanders, I can usually find it walking (with purpose) down some city street.
I miss the city so much.
I especially miss the people. I would pass hundreds of unique souls, just on my way to class each morning. It was incredible to see the differences between each person walking by.
I miss the closeness of the buildings and how there was always somewhere to go and something interesting to do. Even just getting groceries at the local Tesco was an adventure.
I miss the freedom of being able to roam wherever I wished. We traveled to so many places and it was so easy to get there and back again. 
The mundane bores me here in a way that I don't think I ever felt while abroad.
On nights like tonight, I just have this urge that tells me to go... just GO anywhere, anyway that I can. And I want to.
I want to get lost somewhere and be able to find my way back home when I'm good and ready.

Friday, July 5, 2013


I have absolutely no idea where this summer has gone. It certainly has not been a "summer vacation"as they were called throughout elementary and high school. I have been working between 25- 40 hours a week this summer and it has left very little time for anything else. 
I am very lucky to have a job, and I am even luckier to work for one of the largest retail companies in the world. I am a sales associate which means that I am surrounded by trendy clothes at all times. It amazes me that I know exactly where the majority of products are in our department store sized space.
My store sells trendy clothing at cheap prices and targets a wide range of customers. The majority of the customers that we get are young teenage girls.
I have found that the two most sought after products lately have been....
Cotton maxi skirts
High waisted denim shorts 
I am still very much attached to my hi-lo skirts, but I do have one maxi skirt that I bought from Primark while in London. I also own a maxi dress that I love. It is pictured above and is very comfortable. I like the old- time feeling of having to hike up your skirt to climb stairs.
The shorts pictured above are from Forever 21 and I bought them a few weeks ago. I love them! They are a bit short but they cover everything necessary and Lord knows I love tucking my shirts in. Forever 21 has a huge variety of high rise shorts, but the best ones sell out quickly. I tried to find the lighter version of these shorts in my size the day after I bought them, but they were all sold out!
Happy hunting!

Friday, May 31, 2013

Tube Stories

One of the things that I miss the most about my London adventure is living in the big city. There was always something going on and there were so many different kinds of people. I recently found the Humans of New York website, which brought me back to London and the city's people.
People watching on the Tube was probably my most favourite activity.
I once saw a young actor going over his script at rush hour; he was enunciating his highlighted lines loudly, and I could not help but watch him.
One day, while passing through Liverpool Street Station, I looked up to see a man pointing a machine gun at another man being handcuffed by the police. The handcuffed man looked like a normal tourist, and we could not figure out what was going on. My friends and I decided to leave the station as quick as we could, just as other officers were coming in.
We happened to see several people in animal onesies on the Tube, which we did not really get...
There was a time when I was with two of my friends and we were sitting on a bench, waiting for one of the last trains when a youngish man walked by, smiled at us (creepily), and then walked back to us after we had ignored him. He tried to talk to us, but my friend's "are you serious" face scared him away.
On a very long ride on the Circle Line, I was seated across a (rather strange) couple who were dressed in several layers of cloth and who each held lengths of electrical wires, coiled up. They were jokingly fighting about how much money they had made that day and I could not begin to guess what their occupations were.
I just really enjoyed seeing all types of people and it was there were countless times where I was able to see almost every single type of demographic in the same tube car. There were young children in their uniforms going to school, businessmen in designer suits and drunks. Commuting on the tube was always an adventure, and I loved each new experience.
The highlight of my Tube people watching excursions was probably when I happened to meet Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch while they were filming in a tunnel off a passage in Charing Cross station.
My friend, Vanessa, Benedict Cumberbatch, and me!
I take such pride in telling this story, but whenever I do begin telling it to someone in person, I jumble all my words up and speak too fast out of excitement of the fact that it actually happened. So here is the story:
The day before this photo was taken, we had gone to watch both of the actors film BBC Sherlock, just down the street from our University. My friend Vanessa and I ran down to the set just after our last final exam. We had a great spot to stand and we stayed for about six hours! It was so worth it. We were just across the street from the set and it was so interesting to see how they filmed a scene and tweaked things and then filmed again.
The actors were so sweet and would smile and wave at us whenever they could. I took a ton of photos of the set and actors, but I really really wanted to get photos with them, as I am a HUGE fan of the Hobbit and Sherlock. I also had a Hobbit journal which I had used to write about my London experience from the beginning (nerdalert), so I thought that it would be the coolest thing ever if I had them sign it... or at least if Martin signed it! (the Hobbit himself). But there was no chance to even ask them... they had too much to do and there were just too many fans.
The next day was our very last day in London and I was touring around the big sights with my friends, just one last time. Vanessa and I had been trying to figure out where the actors would be filming that day by checking for any hints on google or twitter, but we had no luck.
Our little group decided to split in two after we walked around Trafalgar Square. Vanessa, decided to go home and I kept walking around the city with a few other friends. I got a call from Vanessa about fifteen minutes after we had split up and she just said "They're here! I just walked by them in the Tube."
I ran back to Trafalgar Square and met Vanessa just outside the station, and we went down to see if we could see them. We walked right by them, and I'm sure that when they smiled at us, they could tell just how much we were freaking out on the inside. We were going insane on the Tube ride home.
Since it was my last day in London, it was my last chance to get my journal signed, so we decided to go back to Charing Cross a few hours later.
The actors were nowhere to be seen but we knew that they were in the tunnel because we recognized the Sherlock filming staff from the day before. We waited against the wall of the Tube passageway for about three hours and it turned out to be worth it.
Martin passed by us once, and we were too scared to say anything but "hi."
Then, I decided to pluck up enough courage to ask one of his P.A.'s if he thought that Martin and Benedict would sign my Hobbit notebook, and I held it up for him to see. He started out by saying how busy they were, but that it couldn't hurt to ask them. I think he became less annoyed at us after seeing that it was just the two of us, that we were calm and little ladies with American accents.
When Martin Freeman came back, I blurted out something and held up my notebook. He came right over to us and was literally inches away from us. We had a conversation and he signed my journal for me and for Vanessa and thanked us for waiting. I told him that we were studying in London and that it was our very last day here.
"And you're spending it inside?" he asked.
He was honestly so sweet and friendly, it made Vanessa and I the happiest girls in the world.
Unfortunately, we were unable to take a photo with him because he was in costume.
Vanessa and I think that he went back inside the tunnel and told Benedict about us because he came out right afterwards!
He smiled and waved and was friendly as well. He signed my journal for the both of us and made a comment about filming in the Tube, which made us laugh, because we had found out the day before that he normally rides in a Jaguar.
Benedict talked to us for a bit and a kind security officer that was with the crew took our photo with him.
It was an exceptional day and we skipped the rest of the way down the passage and took the tube back home to pack up everything we had accumulated over the past three months.

P.S.- The photo of Benedict Cumberbatch, Vanessa and I has been the background of my cell phone for about a month and a half and I wish that I could have thanked them better for taking the time to talk to us.

Monday, April 29, 2013


Even though I have been home for three weeks and have been asked the question: “How was London?” at least forty times, I have still not been able to come up with a better initial answer than: “It was great. It was so great.” Of course, afterwards, I elaborate on the incredible places that I have been to and everything that I have seen while overseas. However, I have found that it is so difficult for me to describe my entire experience in few words. I could say “It was one of the best experiences of my life,” but that would be cliché. True, but cliché.
            Being able to study abroad was definitely one of the most amazing opportunities that I have been given, and I am so glad that I was able to go to London. Initially, when my best friend Emily Davis and I both found out that we had been accepted into the program, we had plans to be gone every weekend. We wanted to visit Italy, Portugal, Spain, Morocco, Greece and anywhere else we could possibly think of. We quickly found that we did not have the funds or time to do this. Luckily, we were able to go to France, Ireland, Scotland and the Czech Republic, as well as several places in England and we used our other weekends to explore our city and get to know it as well as we could in three months. I have now become an expert on the city of London and I would not have it any other way.
            Three months may sound like ample time to be able to see everything there is to see in a city, but London is just so full of interesting sights and events that it would be near impossible to see everything. There was always something exciting happening, whether it was Tom Cruise filming a scene from his next movie down the street from our flat, or a giant pillow fight happening in Trafalgar Square. There was such a variety of areas and places to go in the city, each with its own kind of charm. Personally, I fell in love with Brick Lane and the different marketplaces. Also, most of the museums were free and there were plenty of places to do some people watching, which is one of my favorite pastimes. It was impossible to be bored in London, which is why I loved it so much.
            To my parents’ relief, there was some studying done while I was in London; It was not just a three month vacation in Europe. Taking classes about London, while in London was quite the experience. There were times where we would be reading a work of English literature and come across the name of a street that we had walked down hundreds of times. Also, being able to take a class about William Shakespeare and his works, while living in England was incredible, as well as seeing several of his plays being performed. Through my classes, I was able to gain further knowledge on the history of the place where I was living and they also helped me understand why things are the way they are today.
Studying abroad in London has taught me to be ultra- independent. It has also prepared me for living on my own, having multiple responsibilities, including cooking for myself, and it has let me experience city- living. I have found out just how much I love the city sounds, close buildings and how much culture there is. I encourage anyone with an inclining for adventure to study abroad. Being outside of my comfort zone really pushed me to branch out and do some exploring. I also learned a lot about myself while on this trip. It was a great experience and I would do it again in a heartbeat.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The view from the London Eye

Earlier this week I went on the London Eye with a few of my friends. I had been hoping to go on a nice day and luckily, it was sunny and clear out, though still very chilly.
 The best part about going on the Eye is the view... we could see for miles! It was amazing to be able to see Big Ben and Parliament, the Shard, St. Paul's Cathedral and Buckingham Palace from standing in the same spot and turning.
 The ride lasted about a half hour and we were in the pod with about fifteen other people. I would highly recommend going for a ride on the Eye to anybody who is traveling to London. If I have time in the next two weeks, I hope to go on it at night to get a different perspective of the city.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


This weekend, I experienced an entirely new feeling called DSL; Deep Scottish Love. This feeling comes from within the heart, and it can hit you at anytime; like when you're walking along the rocky shore of a loch, hiking through a forest trail or just viewing the snow- capped mountains from the window seat of a bright yellow van that just happens to have the words "wild and sexy" painted on it.
Our trip to Scotland began on Thursday afternoon, when about 50 students from AIFS left King's Cross station at about 2 pm. The train ride lasted about four hours, and we passed through English countryside and rode right along the ocean for a while.

When we arrived in Edinburgh, it was already dark, but we had a chance to explore the city a bit after we had settled into our hostel. A few friends and I ate at a local pub called The Last Drop and then we ventured near the Edinburgh castle on the hill. When we paid for dinner, we noticed that there is a difference in appearance between British and Scottish pounds, although they are equal in value and can be used in both places.
On our first day on the road, our bright yellow Haggis tour buses carried us to the highlands. Our tour guides, Stevie and Scott the Scot (who wore a kilt all weekend) filled us in on some Scottish history and culture. We got used to their Scottish accents and learned to answer with an “aye” for all things affirmative. We stopped at several places on the way to our next hostel in Loch Ness, including a few castles and scenic overlooks.
There was beauty everywhere we looked. It is not hard to find in such green countryside. We had the most fun just exploring the places where our bus stopped.

On the way to our next hostel in Loch Ness, we got to stop, get off of the bus and do some sight-seeing every so often. Some of these stops included a few castles and scenic overlooks. We also had the chance to see some deer up close as well as a few “hairy coos” which are furry, highland cattle. By the end of the trip, we had become used to the sight of sheep in the middle of the road.

There was beauty everywhere we looked. It was not hard to find in such a thriving countryside with wild heather growing all over and the crumbling dry stone walls. 
One of my favorite stops was right by the shore of the ocean on the Isle of Skye, which we covered our second day on the road. The shore was pebbly and we got to climb some of the huge rocks that the tide had left behind. We got some great photos of each other with the mountains and the ocean surrounding us. 

Lake Loch Ness was incredibly smooth and intriguing. There is so much legend behind that lake and whatever is living underneath its depths. Stevie told us that the lake is extremely long and deep and that creatures move into the lake from the ocean through the lock system every so often. He believes that the Loch Ness monster is actually a huge oarfish, and he claims that he has seen one jump before. Personally, I am not sure if I believe in something like the Loch Ness monster, but I have really enjoyed seeing all the Nessie souvenirs. 

We got to try haggis at for dinner at our hostel one night, and we also learned how to put on our own kilts for a Tartan toga party. This trip to Scotland was filled to the brim with raw beauty and the country has become one of my most favorite. I hope to go hiking through the mountains someday in the future and I know that I definitely will be returning.

Friday, March 8, 2013


 Last weekend, our group went on a trip to Prague in the Czech Republic. At first, I did not know what to expect but I ended up really enjoying myself.
 We landed in the airport in Prague and were greeted by a totally different language and the challenge of figuring out the currency (which uses a lot more zeroes than I am used to).
After finding an ATM and being shocked by the fact that we had just taken out 2,000 Czech koruna, we rode the bus into the city. Even though it was getting close to nightfall, we could admire the unique architecture of the buildings in Prague. Since the city was never bombed, all of the buildings are very old and built in the same style.
Our hostel, Hotel Fusion, was probably one of the coolest hostels in Europe. It gave off a funky vibe with writing on the walls and the rotating bar that was downstairs.
We all met up after we had settled into our rooms and went on a short walk to Old Town Square, the city's centre. The square would be perfect for a concert! There is plenty open space in the middle and it is surrounded by little shops, restaurants, food kiosks, churches and museums.
My favourite part of the square was definitely the Astronomical Clock Tower. It is the oldest working astronomical clock in the world and some say that it is cursed; anybody who has tried to restore or fix the clock has either gone mad or died...
The clock has a set of moving figurines of the apostles that pass by windows on the hour as well as a skeleton, which symbolizes death, that rings a bell when the clock strikes the hour.
A group of my friends and I had dinner in the square and we ate outside, under heat lamps. The restaurant also offered us blankets. It was chilly in the city, but we were happy to be together and have good food.

 The next day began with a walking tour of the city. This was very helpful because, in the days leading up to our trip, I had not been able to do much research about sights to see while in Prague.
We learned a brief history of the city and the Czech Republicfrom our tour guides. One of the highlights of the tour was the Charles Bridge which was decorated with several statues and plaques. The bridge also offered a great view of the city along the river.  I noticed the great numbers of swans that were in the water below us. I have never seen so many swans in one place before! They are pretty to look at... but I have heard that they become really aggressive if you get too close to them.
There were many people selling trinkets, jewelry, food and caricatures along the river, as well as a few street performers.

 After a lunch, where I tried local cuisine, including hot (mulled) wine and fried cheese, we went on a tour of the castle on the top of the hill. The view was really spectacular. We could see all the Terra-cotta coloured roofs of the buildings around us and we were there just in time for the changing of the guards, which was very interesting to watch. All the guards seemed to know that they were good-looking and took pride in their fur hats.
The castle is the biggest in the world and we were able to explore different rooms and the churches that are connected with it such as St. Vitus Cathedral.
I really could not get enough of the architecture in the city! It was incredible.
  After the tour, we explored the city on our own for a bit. Sarah Moran and I took in the view from the top of the St. Nicolas Church bell tower and then we visited the Salvador Dali museum.

Our next day was left free for us to make our own way through the city until we had a group dinner at a traditional Czech restaurant later that night.
 It was a gorgeous, sunny day in Prague and we walked to sights like the Dancing House and the Lennon Wall, which was inspired by John Lennon.
We also spent some time just sitting in the square, people watching and taking in some rays. 
We even had time to try Trdelnik which remind me of pretzels except they are wrapped and baked around a wooden pole and then covered in either cinnamon sugar or almond.
Before we got to Prague, I did not know how much there would be to do in the city, but I quickly realized that the city had new and interesting features waiting for us behind every corner.  

On our last day in the Czech Republic, we left Prague to travel by bus to Lidice and the Terezin Concentration Camp.
The town of Lidice was burned down by German forces in 1942 and all of the adult males were killed. There is now a memorial where the town used to be.
The Terezin Concentration Camp was eerie to visit, because of all the death and destruction that had happened there, but it was also very educational and a significant part of history.
We saw some of the conditions that inmates were kept in as well as the cemeteries and the cremetorium.
After visiting these places and catching the brilliant sunset, it was time to catch our flight back home to the UK.