Sunday, 20 April 2008

Spring Travels

As you are all most likely well aware, I spent the past month roaming around Europe and parts of Africa with my two friends Erin and Jen. To try and write a detailed blog about all that happened over that month would be impossible for me and my increasingly short attention span. What I've decided to do is a very brief paragraph on each location visited. If any of you have specific questions I am more than happy to answer them in detail via e-mail (khetland@ups.edu).

The Lake District, U.K.-

I'm going to have to go ahead and vote this my favorite part of the trip. Mom, brother, and sister-in-law joined me in my country of residence for a week long stay in a cottage in the insanely bucolic Lake District. We spent the week wandering lush green landscapes, cuddling lambs, goat kids, horses, and barn cats, eating copious amounts of pub grub and sticky toffee pudding (yum!), reading by the fire in our cottage and sipping tea and nibbling crumpets, and so on. It was a wonderfully relaxing and enjoyable week. I highly recommend it for everyone's next family vacation.

View from the hill above our cottage. Lovely.



Lamb cuddle! That and the goat kid were just about my favorite moments of the trip.



The female contingent on top of the fell.




Aix-en-Provence, France-

This is where I met up with Jen and Erin after leaving my family in England. While I only spent two days here, it was a very lovely two days. It was the first warmth and sun I'd felt in ages! It was exactly what I had imagined a city in Provence to look like. Colorful old buildings, great wine, bakeries at every turn. It was also the first time I'd been to a country in which I spoke none of the language. It was very frustrating, especially since (and this really should not have come as a shock to me) the French we're not very friendly. Alas. Oh, and my camera ate the pictures from France. Sorry.

Marrakech and Fez, Morocco-

From France we flew to Fez expecting to meet up with our first couchsurfing host. He was out of town. We grumbled a lot and freaked out a little before deciding to hop on a 7 hour train ride through 90 degree heat to get to Marrakech and a friend of Erin's. We hung around Marrakech for 4 days wandering the markets and surrounding mountains. Even got to ride some mules through the Atlas mountains. It was great fun. On day 5 we took another 7 hour train ride back to Fez and finally met up with our couchsurfer. He was nice enough, but dumped us at his families house where there were numerous uncles, cousins, etc. none of which spoke any of the languages that we three girls spoke. We felt very unwanted and I got sick so in the end we checked into a hotel for comfort reasons. Morocco and I didn't really get along that well, but I don't think I've ever met with friendlier people or better food.

The gates to the city of Marrakech. We took a horse and carriage ride around said walls. It was great fun.



Fruit stand. Mmm, dates!



Lantern stand in the souk (market).



Morocco was full of very skinny cats. Jen and Erin got a little annoyed with me because I just had to feed/pet all of them.



Surveying our kingdom.



A small village in the Atlas mountains.



Took a tour of a pottery factory outside of Fez. I pretty much wanted to buy it all. Someday. Someday.



Frankfurt, Germany-

Finally, a couchsurfer that worked out! Arrived at Simon's flat at 3am and he was very friendly and awake as he showed us to his huge attic room with skylights all around. He had mattresses and blankets all put out for us. Highlights included Simon taking us to his friends birthday party (such nice people. They made us a feast and danced the night away with us), touring the palm tree gardens, German thrift store shopping (just wait until you all see the spandex leggings I found!) and getting to eat all the foods I fell in love with in Munich 5 years ago. I love England, but I think Germany found my heart first and will remain as such throughout my life. I must say Frankfurt is not much of a tourist attraction but flights there are cheap so hey, why not? We also got to drive on the autobahn as the train to the airport was more expensive than renting a car.

Gummibears! A German tradition apparently. Yum!



Really wasn't a whole lot to take pictures of in Frankfurt. I did manage to get into a head-banging contest with one of Simon's friends though. He won. He head the heavy metal hair that I lack. It was German music at least.



The palm gardens in Frankfurt. Not sure what a tropical garden is doing in Germany, but it was lovely.



A traditional Frankfurt meal. We asked Simon what the green sauce was. He said "Uuhh, green stuff?". Whatever it was, it was tasty.



Prague, Czech Republic-

I had heard endless wonderful things about Prague and am happy to report that they were all true. The city is gorgeous! I never saw an unsightly thing the whole time I was there. I must confess that by the time I got to Prague I was so tired of traveling that I just sort of followed my friend Emily (who is studying there) around in a sort of travel coma. Went to some very cool museums and, as per usual, ate loads of tasty Czech food.

Not sure what this building is. In the case of Prague though, it doesn't really matter. The place is full to the brim of beautiful buildings just like that one, all with equally confusing names that are easily forgotten.



No trip to Prague is complete without sampling their specialty of fried cheese on a bun with tartar sauce. I think my facial expression pretty much sums it up.



Another travel essential? A trip to the local Ikea of course. Mom, Sally, Linnea I thought you'd enjoy that.



So there you have it. A super condensed version of my vacation. I do apologize for the shortness of it all. Finals are fast approaching and I have new play lines to learn. But, as I said, if you have any questions I'm happy to answer them. Also have loads more pictures so I'll try and make it around with slide shows to those who wish to see them when I return. All best, Kate

2 comments:

Chris said...

What is a head banging contest?

Linnea said...

Yes! IKEA!