Barcelona!!!

Barcelona has been so amazing this far. I’m staying at one of the Sant Jordi hostels and it’s so amazing. It’s clean the beds are comfortable. Oh and it’s fun. Every night they do a communal meal for something like 5 euros. Last night was Sangria night and tonight is burrito night.

  And every night at 11 the hostel leads a bar crawl where they go to a bar and then a club. I’ve yet to go to a club but it’s a ton of fun. There are 5 (I think) sant Jordi hostels and we all meet up and you get to know people at other hostels as well. 
  Last night I went out with two girls I met who are from England and we walked down La Rambla to the beach we stopped for food and saw people dancing in a square. I’ve yet to see the beach in day time or really go out. Instead in spending most of my days by the pool with my feet dipped in. It’s so relaxed here. 
 
I think im going to go have a snack before we go do a bit of shopping. More later!!! 

Maddy 

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Well. Here it goes.

I’ll have to post later about Paris because there is a lot to talk about but as of 6am this morning I’m on my own.

Currently I’m sitting in my Hostel in Barcelona Spain where I’ll be for the next 4 nights. I’ve already spent time in the rooftop pool which I was understandable excited about and it was very worth it. It might not have been too hot here but it felt like it was very hot.

I left Paris this morning at 7:15am on a 6+ hour train ride towards Spain. I hadn’t slept much so I did most of my sleeping on the train. What I did see out the window was beautiful and the countryside is France is so quaint and I wish I’d gotten a chance to stop there. Unfortunately I probably wont have time.

When we cross any border I get a text from T-Mobile telling me if I get free phone usage there (I do everywhere that I’m going) So that text is always exciting.

Pulling into Barcelona my heart started racing. This is the first time that I’m really on my own anywhere and while that’s freaky and scary it’s also really exciting and once I’d found my hostel (which took a few extra minutes because as always I walk the wrong way first. I took a walk around the block and got some Orange Juice and a Chocolate Donut. Then I headed back and went to the pool. I spent about 2 hours there getting to know some people from my hostel. So far everyone has been really nice. There are a lot of Americans and Canadians here along with some Brits that I went to dinner with. Tonight I’m going out with the hostel. It’s currently a little after 9pm and I’m going to go get my laundry out of the drier and get tonight going.

I’m going to try to post more now that I’m really doing this.

Maddy.

Paris Day One (Aka day 10) 

We’ve made it to France!  

 Unfortunately for us Suzanne has caught a nasty cold and on our first day in Paris we were unable to go out to do much. I walked around Le Marais where were staying but it’s Sunday so most things are closed. I did get some pho which was good and I stopped by a French grocery store to get some stuff to sneak into our room for my mom. We did get a chance later in the day for both of us to go out and walk around together. 

    

Tonight I went out to see the music that’s been playing all day. We’re about two blocks from a huge stage that’s been set up in the square so I walked out to see some of what was around. After standing at the big stage for a bit I walked down the street a little to a small cafe where another band was playing right outside. I sat above near a group of French girls and we soon started talking. 

  They were super sweet and we hung out for a while. They shared some food and advice but soon I started to get tired and decided to call it a night 
Unfortunately I’m starting to feel a bit sick so I’m calling it a night early and I’m hoping this will go away overnight. 

Maddy

On to Paris

After 8 days in London Suzanne and I are now sitting in St. Pancras station awaiting our Eurostar train to Paris. Unfortunately Suzanne has caught a nasty cold she feels “Terrible”. Also there is an adorable baby next to us in the station and he’s just making noises and giggling and it’s the best.

I don’t know what I was expecting from London. I guess I just thought about it as being the first stop. A grace period or something I wasn’t really expecting to love so much about the place. Thursday I climbed up over 500 stairs to the top of St Paul’s Cathedral and looked out over the city that has really taken my breath away.

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if you want to see more about St Pauls go to https://www.stpauls.co.uk/visits/visits/explore-the-cathedral where this image was taken from
If you ever get the opportunity to go into the Cathedral take it! If it’s between that and Westminster do St Paul’s. It’s a beautiful old building with so much history and so much beauty. The day I was there was the anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo so when I got there it was actually still closed at 2:40 in the afternoon because Prince Charles and his wife were there for the memorial so when I got there I had to wait outside for a while but once I got in I was in awe. Unfortunately there were no pictures allowed. The basement is a crypt that isn’t nearly as extravagant as Westminster but it’s much more organized and personal. The main floor has amazing architecture and stained glass while the back area is all gold and colorful. There’s a large book that honors American and English soldiers who died in World War II. The book actually moved me to tears. After looking around I decided to follow a random corridor where they asked for my ticket again. I showed the man and he let me pass through the archway and into a huge stone spiral staircase. I just kept climbing not really knowing where I was going. After 257stairs there was a very narrow hall with low ceilings and pipes that led to yet more stairs. Once up those stairs I looked out over a railing down to the floor. I was at the base of the dome right below an amazing mural on the dome. I sat there for a few minutes taking it all in. It almost made me cry again. I then saw a sign that said up. I followed it. Sensing a pattern? It led through a door that was no more than 2 feet wide. There were more stairs.

I followed these. At this point my lungs and everything in me was killing me. My legs hurt and I was thirsty and disgustingly sweaty. After more than 100 more stairs I was outside the base of the dome looking out over the city. At that point I was done. I wasn’t going to climb anymore. But I knew that I had to or I’d never live it down. I’d probably not do it again so I waited in another line and started up even MORE stairs. This time it was a VERY narrow metal spiral staircase. Or staircases. That kept going. You’d finish a few and there’d be another right there. Finishing all those stairs all the way to the top was amazing but seeing the floor through a tiny window, looking down 85 meters to the floor made it all worth it. Then after just 10 or so more stairs there it was. The top. Looking out I could see everything and it was amazing. It made the stairs and everything seem like nothing.

Train is boarding. I’ll talk about Friday later! Bye London!
Maddy

London Days 2-5!

I’m so in love with this city. The architecture is so amazing and it changes from one building to the next in very dramatic ways. The people have been nice and the Atmosphere has been just right. Not too rushed but not lazy in anyway.

Also I really need better titles for these posts!

Day 2

Day 2 was the day that we did one of the things that I’d been looking forward to the most. We went to Hampton Court Palace which is Henry VIII’s palace. There are a hand full of pictures in my last post. I can’t seem to find the words to describe this place. It was so beautiful and each wing was so different.

Before I actually talk about the Palace I have to talk about the ride getting there. I must preface this by saying that in Seattle I bus a lot. Almost daily I at least bus from school to home. I know how to bus and generally back home I don’t get lost. That wasn’t the case on Day 2 in London. I looked up instructions for how to get from Shepherd’s Bush where we’re staying to Hampton court. Took a picture. It all should work out. Right? Hah. We walked in a circle the wrong way. I think I heard “You made us walk 2 MILES” about 10 times. Although really it wasn’t even a mile. Only to realize that the bus picked up right in front of the tube station… Across from our hotel. The rest of getting there was pretty easy. One transfer. Getting back was easy as well minus getting off at the wrong stop and having to get on the next bus.

On to the Palace. The palace is from two different times and two different kings.  That was obvious in every detail as they were both very distinct. One was all white walls and murals while the other had huge tapestries and smaller detailing. The gardens outside were amazing although we only saw the formal garden through the windows. We did go out to the lawn and into the rose garden. The rose garden was one of my favorite places on the grounds. They had roses of every size and color and it smelled amazing.  (See photos below) My other favorite thing from the palace was the clock I don’t know what it is but I’ve been loving all the clocks in London. They’re all so different and all so beautiful! I can’t describe the palace but if you look at my last post there are some pictures there! I’m still trying to find a good place to post all of my photos. If you have any suggestions please let me know.

After Hampton Court we went to this fancy little Italian restaurant across from the bus stop called La Fiamma. We got wine and pasta, I had spaghetti with seafood and Suzanne had some kind of beef pasta thing both were amazing but I must say I really loved mine, and had some gelato and finished the day with another long bus ride back to our hotel, this time only getting lost once.

Day Three

Day three was when Jet Lag hit us hard. We’d had basically 4 big days in a row and the time difference killed us. We basically slept a lot. We did go to a grocery store and got some food; bread, milk, peanut butter, coke zero, cookies. Just the necessities. And we went to the huge mall near our hotel which is actually really nice and I went back yesterday. It was basically a day of exploring the neighborhood around us.

Day Four

Day four was the first day that we went into what I guess I would call Downtown London. We’d purchased three day passes for the Big Bus Tours which is a hop on hop off tour service with one line that has a live narrator and one that has an audio tour. On the first day of the tours we just rode around listening to the audio tour. On this day we found what has become our favorite food stop. It’s called Pret A Manger. It’s a little chain that seems kinda like it’s to London what Starbucks is to Seattle. But their whole thing is that everything is made in store the same day you buy it. They make the BEST croissants that I’ve had. They have sandwiches, fruit, and soups along with the pastries and coffee, also if you know how much I love orange juice you’ll know that I’m a huge fan of those Evolution Orange Juices at Starbucks and they have juice that’s maybe even better!!! This was the first day that we saw all of the sights.

Day 5

This was yesterday. First I’ll talk about the show we saw then I’ll talk about the other stuff we did.

Yesterday Suzanne and I saw The Book of Mormon. I’ve never laughed so hard in my life. It was rude and I’m positive not everyone would enjoy it but I sure did. It was funny and smart and If you’re not easily offended or you like South Park (Or shows like it) you’ll love it! When I went to New York back in 2008 We saw Legally Blonde on Broadway and I really loved it. Now on the West End I saw The Book of Mormon. I wish I went to more shows. I always forget how much I love them.

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Before and after the show we went on two different live guide bus tours and saw even more. We did stop by Saint Paul’s Cathedral but it cost money so I think I’m going to go back alone today while Suzanne goes to the gardening museum. I love seeing everything and having someone who knows what they’re talking about and can point out the best photo ops was helpful. On the tours I’ve met people from Brazil, Turkey, and Argentina along with seeing people from all over the place! While tours are touristy and there are other ways of seeing the city I found them to be helpful and interesting!

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Well. Today we’re going to go to Westminister, Take a river cruise, I’m going to see Saint Pauls, and We might go to the Tower of London although I think we were thinking about dedicating most of tomorrow to that.

I guess I’d better wake my mom up seeing as it’s 10am here.
I’ll try to post more regularly!!!

Maddy

Because I’ve been told I’m not posting enough

I’ve got skype here and I’m currently Skyping my mom who’s in Seattle and because she wanted some pictures I’m going to post a few here and I’ll post more later today or tomorrow. These were taken at Hampton court which is Henry VIII’s palace. These were from day two in London.

London Day 1!

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(This picture is from before take off in Vancouver)

Well we made it to London.  We landed at around 11:30am London time. The first thing that I noticed was the different names things had, elevators became lifts and bathrooms or restrooms became toilets, and the voice instructing you in the airport had a British accent. It sorta felt like I forgot that so many people had British accents. It was almost comedic how I reacted.

Why didn’t anyone tell us how muggy it is here. It was muggy in the airport and our hotel is muggy too! We are on the top floor but it is really hot in here.

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To get to our hotel we took the underground. We’re staying somewhere closeish to the airport however the underground doesn’t go there so we went into town then back to our hotel which was kind of a pain but we got to start to see how the underground works and got to see a lot of interesting people. A school group got on the first train. They were maybe 14 or so. I believe that they were a school group from Spain and all I could think about is how similar the kids that I know around that age were. They were loud and talking over one another. Friends sit with friends. They dressed just like I did in middle school. It was a really good first taste of Europe.

Once we finally got to our hotel it was 3pm in London, that means 7am in Seattle. We’d been in town for 4 hours after being on a plane for 9. We did what everyone said not to do. We slept. for about 3 hours. I know it’s not supposed to be good for jet lag or whatever but we needed it. Now it’s a little past 8 and we’re going to go get dinner soon!

If you’ve been to London what should we not miss?

Maddy

In Vancouver!!!

Well Suzanne and I have made it safely to the Vancouver airport! We’ve got about 3.5 hours until we fly out.

Suzanne is glad that we are finally on our way and I have to say that I agree. The planning has been fun and now even though I HATE flying and I’m super nervous I’m ready to start this thing. I can’t even begin to imagine the things I’m going to learn and the people I’m going to meet. I’m more excited (right now, this changes by the minute) than nervous about this entire thing.

We will be landing in London at 11:30am which is about 3:30am Seattle time. I might end up posting more in these four hours but if not I’ll be posting tomorrow!

See you in 2 months!
Maddy

Tomorrow is the day

I think it’s a well known thing that I’m a procrastinator. I put things off. I avoid things. My goal with this trip was to not do that in regards to packing. I packed a week ago as a form of procrastination from my graduation requirements. However. I then decided that the best idea was to attempt to live out of my suitcase. So. Now everything is dirty and unorganized so I have to repack, and do everything else that I’ve been putting off  all week. So seeing as it’s already 9:15pm and I am leaving for the airport in 12 hours this is all I’m going to post tonight. But coming on Saturday at some weird time due to time differences or maybe tomorrow from the airport will be another update!!!

Well I’m nervous and excited. See you all in two months!!!

Maddy