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Journals from England 2008

2009-01-20 Wrap-Up, Part 1

Whew! These past 5 weeks have been a blur, and between European travel and final exams, its hard to believe Ill be home in five days. A lot has happened in this time, but I thought Id talk a little today about my travels outside Nottingham throughout much of December and January. For the most part, winter break went off without a hitch. I didnt know going into it, however, that travel and vacation are not synonymous. The sights I saw and the experiences I had were amazing, but after a month of running to catch trains and planes, the weight of 50 pounds of luggage becomes tiring. Im glad to have had two weeks back in Nottingham; it has given me a new perspective on England and allowed me to appreciate the time I have left with the things I didnt even know Id miss! Anyway, here are a few experiences I know I wont soon forget: -Finding myself on the Champs Elysees in the late afternoon under flurries of snow, finding a free carousel to ride and watching the Eiffel Tower, LArc de Triomphe and Place de la Concorde pass with each turn. -Walking along the Seine alone during my two solo days in Paris, nervous to be on my own, but feeling a strange sense of empowerment from being able to navigate local transit and customs without too much difficulty. -Landing in Stornoway, Scotland, where the runway comes directly out of the Atlantic Ocean, one of the most dramatic views Ive yet to see. The town is the main port of the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides, a place I hadnt heard of three months before but am definitely glad I got the chance to see- I definitely recommend it if you get the chance! -Being in Toledo, Spain, for the Epiphany celebrations that took place on January 6th, and chuckling at, aside from the live camels (which were unexpected), the fact that the soundtrack to Footloose was being blared from a Coca Cola float in the town square- talk about globalization! -Spending a morning in Kensington Gardens, London, reading a book and feeling a small sense of pride every time a fellow tourist asked me for directions. Of course, I never knew the answer, but its a start! Id definitely recommend a similar trip to anyone, if only for the perspective it has brought me. I know that theres always more out there to see, but have been reminded just how much I love about home. All together, Id say winter break was a success! Until next time, Claire

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