Yesterday: Berlin, Germany
*”Good Day” in Czech
I didn’t know a lot about Prague before I visited. Most of my knowledge came from the multitudes of people who told me how beautiful it was, and the play Rock and Roll by Tom Stoppard, which I saw with my dad a few years ago. On Sunday evening, Stephanie and I took a train from Berlin through the German countryside (and past Dresden, which I enjoyed as I was reading a novel by Kurt Vonnegut at the time) and into the Czech Republic. As soon as we arrived, I understood why people think the city is so beautiful. Even at night, I could see so many different kinds of architecture, which I love. Also, like Germany, most people we encountered spoke some English which was good because, unlike Germany, I don’t know a single word of Czech. We met up with Liz and Rachelle, who were coming in from Sevilla, and Jovita, who had spent the weekend in Amsterdam, and had a quick dinner before turning in for the night.
This past weekend, while half of the students in my program were in Granada (I’m going this upcoming weekend!), and my roommate was in Paris, I took off on my own for the north: to Bilbao and San Sebastián. After deciding that Vueling is definitely my favourite low-cost airline (they let you have a carry-on and a purse! Anyone who has ever flown Ryanair knows what a big deal this is), I took a bus to San Sebastián and I immediately fell in love with the city! The walk from the bus station to the hostel was along a river and crossed a bridge just before it reached the ocean. The hostel I stayed in, Olga’s Place (highly recommended!) was just a block from the ocean. After I checked in, I decided to take a walk along the beach. La Playa de la Concha stretches in a curve around the edge of the city. Even though it was foggy and not particularly warm (a nice change from the heat in Sevilla, I must admit), that didn’t stop people from going to the beach. I saw so many people walking, playing with their dogs, even kayaking and surfing in the (freezing) water.
One of the things I love most about studying abroad is the chance to travel. Last spring when I was in London, not only did I get to visit some of the best places in England (Liverpool!) but I got to see a lot of other amazing locations in Europe (some of my favourites were Firenze, København, and Edinburgh). This semester, I’m trying to do a little more of my traveling in Spain, rather than galavanting all over Europe, because I’m trying to learn the language, but I do have a couple trips outside of the country planned, and even staying within Spain there’s plenty to do and see.
Last week, for our third required visit during the intensive period (the first three weeks of classes), we went to the city of Itálica, a Roman ruin from the third century, B.C. It was the birthplace of the emperor Trajan, and it has the remains of public buildings, residences, and a 25,000-seat ampitheatre. I visited Rome last year during spring break, so I’ve seen Roman ruins before, but these were still quite interesting.
(click to enlarge photos or check some photos out on tumblr)
(Click photos to enlarge)