Posts Tagged With: london

A Trip to Hell on Halloween and other fun activities of the past weeks

Hello everyone!

Apologies for not posting anything lately, but I have to write so many essays for uni that I don’t really have any energy left to write my blog.

Anyhow, lots of stuff happened since the movie review. I went to Berlin to attend a conference, saw fireworks in London and finally registered with a GP. I had planned to write a huge post about Berlin on itself, but since that is already over two weeks ago, I’ll just summarize that trip for you.

I travelled with my friend (and former study colleague) R. and we started out from my place on a nice Wednesday afternoon, not thinking about anything that could go wrong. However, when we arrived at the Coach station to catch a bus to the airport, I knew this trip would not go quite as smoothly as we thought. There were many people waiting and apparently had been waiting there for quite some time already. The coaches were all delayed and everybody was wondering whether they would make it in time for their flight. We managed to miraculously get on a coach only about 15 minutes later and started to relax a little. But oh no, more trouble was to come. We were unlucky enough to get stuck in a traffic jam because there had been an accident on the road ahead. We had been in the coach for an hour already and technically should arrive in about twenty minutes when I looked at my google maps app to check where we were. I was shocked. The app told me, we were still an hour from the airport!

I shouldn’t have looked. From that moment on I was convinced we would miss the flight. Of course we had calculated a bit of puffer time, but an hour delay? Nah, we didn’t have that big of a time cushion. So when we finally arrived at the airport at 6:12 (technically, the gate should close at 6:10) we ran to the check-in counter to get them to call at the gate and wait for us. The staff told us that we were too late and had missed the flight and that we could purchase new tickets for the next day.

But we thought “Hell, no!” and ran for security check anyways. No harm in trying, eh? Of course, I had to go through a very thorough security check, beeping all over and taking off shoes and belt. Duh. My friend got through without beeping and started running for the gate, me following on her heels as soon as I was properly clothed again. When we arrived at the gate (which said final call, not closed, btw!) we were completely winded and ready to drop dead. There was quite a long queue, so we asked the people which flight they were waiting for. Guess what – IT WAS OURS! IT HAD DELAY!

We were quite glad and happy and smug that we had actually made it and NOT believed the staff at check-in. However, the happiness quickly diminished when the flight departed with over an hour of delay. When we arrived in Berlin it was only about 35 minutes delay, so we must have flown very quickly, but it still meant that we had missed two of the three train options we had selected to get to our hotel. Then we had to wait for our little suitcase, which technically is hand luggage but was taken from us anyway.

I went ahead to get the tickets for the train, but unfortunately there was a French couple in front of me, unable to properly use the ticket automaton. If my French would have been good enough to help, I would have done so, but Je ne parle plus le francais. My friend ran past me to stop the train from leaving, but even though we STILL missed it!

At that point, as you all can well imagine, we were furious, exhausted and depressed and just wanted to get to that hotel. So in the end, we took a taxi (we were internally crying about the amount of money that cost us and debating whether we should have just travelled without tickets) which then finally brought us to our destination.

The hotel was very nice, we got our room cards and then – oh glory! – we were able to sleep in very comfortable beds. It was after midnight at that point. We had started in London at 3pm. We had anticipated this trip to take us about 5 hours – not almost 9.

The next day however was quite positive, the conference was interesting, the people friendly and our presentation went well. In the evening we enjoyed a gala event with champagne and butter-filled Brezeln. On Friday, we headed home again and this time everything went well – almost too well, since we had allowed enough time for anything to go wrong and we ended up having to wait at the gate quite a while because we were so early. But we didn’t mind.

Yep, so that was our little horrifying trip to Berlin. It’s not my favourite city in the world and I was happy to be back in London again. It was Halloween that day, by the way and I had planned to go to a party, but I was too exhausted so I ended up doing a Halloween movie night with my friend (watching Scary Movie and Twilight. Both horror movies, yep! 😉 ).

Then Saturday evening, I went to see fireworks at Alexandra Palace with the au pairs from my neighbourhood. One of them had her birthday on Sunday and we were celebrating into that by watching the fireworks. It was quite lovely. Unfortunately, I had to work on Sunday so we didn’t stay out long afterwards.

I also went to see a movie last weekend at the International Student House. They regularly show movies for free, though nothing that is currently showing in the cinema. I went with my friend R. and the Norwegian girl (H.) I have mentioned before to see Pompeji (also known as Pompe II 😉 ). Not because we liked the movie but because of Kit Harrington who also plays Jon Snow in Game of Thrones. If you have never heard about Pompeji, the story and especially the ending might come as a shock to you. But I remember reading quite a lot about Pompeji when I was younger so I knew what would happen and could simply enjoy the Hollywood story they made out of it.

I guess this is all for now, I’ll have to tackle the next essay now. And what a choice I have: Taylorism, a case study about Luton Airport or comparing income inequality in Germany and the UK. Yay!

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Let’s do some orientation!

What’s up, people? Goodness, I’ve been busy these past few days. Orientation week has started and I am actually a little overwhelmed.

But let’s do this chronologically.

So basically, the first weekend in London was relatively quiet. I went up to High Street and found that nothing has changed much since I went away. Boots, Poundland, Tiger, all still there. Yay! Saturday evening, I went out with the au pair from next door and two of her friends – to one of the two pubs on High Street. We had a great time there (and later at the McDonalds because we got hungry for some reason) and I am glad to have joined them. I’m sure we’ll be doing it again!

Monday, I went to uni and got enrolled. Or rather, I had to practice queueing first. Approx. 2 hours of standing in line, but it was worth it for now I have my ID and can start signing up for student discounts and all those things. I also got a British SIM so that I can access mobile internet everywhere.


While queueing, I met the first few international students, from Norway, China and Belgium. All very lovely people with interesting stories. We met again the next day for the continuous introduction speeches at one of the big lecture theatres. Tuesday afternoon we had a short guided tour around the area, which was a good opportunity to get to know the immediate surrounding (I never got to explore the area last year, what a shame! I missed out on so much!). We ended at ISH – short for International Student House, an institution where students from all over the world can come and join in many events and trips. On Tuesdays, there is always a pub quiz, and of course we all participated. I was in a group with seven girls and two boys and that evening was the starting point of what will hopefully become a great friendship. I named our group “snow white and the six blondes (+the guys)”, since we were all blonde except for one girl. By now, we have a whatsapp group and a facebook group by that name as well.

Our group by some miracle won the pub quiz (we are just that awesome!) – the prize was a voucher for a Welcome-to-London-Trip next Saturday for each of us. Which is pretty awesome cause now I get to do some touristy stuff like seeing Buckingham Palace without paying extra! Would you have known how many cubicles are on the London Eye? Or where in London the Queen isn’t allowed to go? (I did :D) 

Wednesday wasn’t overly interesting regarding the presentations we had. We went to Regents Park for lunch, with a group of probably a dozen people, which was really nice. After we got off in the afternoon, I went with the Norwegian girl to the ISH to collect our tickets and sign up for the Travel Club Membership. With that, we can go on some trips for less money than is normally charged. If I have time, I’ll definitely do that!

The highlight of the International Student Orientation week was the boat trip on the Thames in the evening. Some of you might remember that I had that last year as well. But this year was infinitely better! The general atmosphere was awesome, everybody was friendly and ready to party and taking selfies with whoever was next to them. The music was pretty good as well and most of us were dancing at least half the time. By then, our pub quiz group had grown and we know have probably about twenty people in our loosely formed clique – from Germany, Norway, Sweden, Netherlands, Italy, Portugal, the US, France and god knows where else they are coming from. Most of them were getting pretty drunk on the boat, but it was all still ok and fun. Compared to that evening, the boat tour from last year seems incredibly dull. We have some plans to do culture cooking, so that we get together and taste the food from whichever countries we are from. And of course go to the pub quiz or karaoke or just clubbing and whatever else there is to do in London.

Today – Thursday – was the first day of postgrad orientation. So I finally met the people from my course (since nobody from the international orientation was on the same course as me). There are about ten or so of us, but there might be coming more next week. Mostly girls – actually just one guy so far, from Italy. We have three America girls, three Germans (counting me), a girl from Ecuador and another from India and some I didn’t get to talk to. We already have a facebook group as well and I think we’ll get along very well.

I was hugely surprised to find that a girl I did an internship with two years ago is with me on the same course. It was like “Hey, I know you from somewhere….right?” The world is just so small!  (I couldn’t resist the Disney…)

However, meeting all these people and getting loads of information is a lot to take in. This time around, I apparently have to register with a local PD, get a national insurance number to work part-time and god knows what else. My student oyster will be in the mail next week so hopefully the immense amount of money I’m throwing into public transport will go down a bit. There are also a few things to do concerning module registration and all that. I won’t have that many lectures during the week, but I can see a huge amount of essays piling up around New Year and then again in May. We’ll see how that goes.

Anyways, that’s the update for now. I don’t have any plans for Saturday yet, but on Sunday we’re going to Brighton with the Internationals, so that will be fantastic! Stay tuned!

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There and back again

My dear readers, I have embarked on a new adventure. Guess where I am – yet again!

London has called me back and I have followed that calling. It has been over a year since I left and I remember telling my lovely host mom and the neighbours that I would come back.

Well yes, I did. And I’m staying with them once again. Yay!

The journey here was relatively eventless. Possibly because I have by now made the trip to London a few times and I no longer get overly excited by that. Everything went smoothly. The flight arrived only about ten minutes later than planned and I got my suitcase without waiting (I actually had to walk quite fast to catch it – otherwise it would have gone around the belt a second time!). The queue in front of the bus was longer than I had hoped but not as bad as last year when I first arrived (remember my very first post?).

At Golders Green I was challenged by the fact that it is indeed no longer possible to pay for your ticket on the bus. I actually had to get an Oyster card for that 20 minute trip, but oh well. I probably won’t get my student oyster card before next week, so now I’ll just use the normal one until then.

I made a quick stop at Waitrose to get something to drink and cereals for breakfast tomorrow – the Waitrose hasn’t changed a bit! I found everything in the same lanes as last year (or maybe they changed it inbetween but are now back to the old way? Who knows…)

At my new home I was greeted by my neighbours, since my host mom is on holidays. I was treated to a lovely dinner (lasagne and cake for desert!) and now I’m sitting in my room, the suitcase is empty and most stuff at the same place as last time I was here. There aren’t many changes around the house, the biggest and for me most tragic, however is: The flatscreen in my living room is gone! Imagine my face when I saw that:

 (Of course, I’m exaggerating. It would have been nice to have, but I’ll live without it.)

Well people, that’s it for today. Over the weekend, I’ll go on a few reconaissance missions around the area, see what has changed. On monday, uni starts with that whole orientation stuff (or in German, because I love the word: Gedöns.)

I’m pretty sure that will be exciting and I’ll tell you about it. So stay tuned! (And subscribe, if you haven’t done that by now…)


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It has come, at last. My time in London is over. Today is the last day, tomorrow by this time I will be back in Germany. It is really sad, but then again it has been five amazing months! What else could I ask for?

The suitcase is already packed – even though there are still things in my room that are supposed to go in there. I have no clue how to fit everything in, but isn’t it always like that? There are so many things that you collect over time and you never notice them until it’s time to part. I am so glad that my parents were here last weekend and took some of my stuff with them, otherwise I would be in a tight spot.

Today is a rainy day, it just like London to say goodbye with such an average day. Some people came and said their farewell, but there are some I’ll be visiting this evening for the last time (at least, for now). I am also watching some last DVDs, for as long as I have access to them: I watched Skyfall and Casino Royale, Inglorious Basterds and Captain America. The kind of movie I wouldn’t normally watch on my own. I had baked beans on toast with eggs yesterday for dinner, something I’ve come to like a lot. I also watched Germany’s Next Topmodel, which is of course rather lame of me. But oh well.

I went to Brent Cross, a lovely shopping center not too far from here and did some small shopping. I have never gone on a shopping spree, so this time was no different. I spent less than 15 pounds on three shirts, that’s not too bad, eh? After that, I paid a last visit to the Poundland, getting some last random things. A book called Combat to Catwalk, a bracelet and some chocolate. So now I’m well prepared to go home.

I hope all you readers have enjoyed my blog for the past months and that you will continue following my life in Barcelona. There will be some changes around here, obviously. This blog needs a new design! Thank you for staying with me, and next time I’ll be writing from Barcelona! Cheers!

Mind the Gap, please!

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London’s Animals

Here are some pictures I took today at St. James Park. Lovely little creatures, aren’t they?

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Hi, it’s not a new entry, I just wanted to share some photos I took today – it was an amazingly beautiful day, I have never seen such a blue sky – let alone in London! Hope you enjoy it, the next written entry will come soon. BildBildBild

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A Visitor from Germany!

I was so excited for my friend, Kiki, to come over from Germany for a few days. We have been planning this for a while and we had a lot we wanted to do.

On Thursday morning, I went to the tube station to meet her. I had to wait around a bit, for there were delays on the tube from Heathrow and since there is no service in the underground, she couldn’t let me know she was running late. But finally, she arrived and I was happy to see her. We headed home and first of all had breakfast. It was 10:30, after all: Perfect time for breakfast. My landlady had set the table for us already, how nice of her!

After settling in and showing her the whole house, we decided to head into town. We took the tube to my university and collected tickets to the study abroad gala the same evening. There were enough left so that we both could go, even though we are technically not supposed to bring friends. But who cares?  We then started our little shopping tour. First stop: Primark, of course. For some reason I felt the need to buy a dress for the evening, so I looked around and tried a few on. I never liked shopping for dresses (unless it is real fancy ones), but I found one that looked nice on me and was cheap, too. It is a white dress that goes to the knee and made of some flimsy cloth that I like very much. I was never one for stiff dresses that don’t move when you move.

I also bought a matching purse, too. The whole outfit cost me only twenty pounds, so that was a good deal. Kiki got some stuff, too, so we happily marched out of the shop. We also went to H&M, because they had a gorgeous dress displayed in the shopping window and I just wanted to go see how much that would cost. Unfortunately, it was 200 pounds, so there was no way I could get it, but I still think it’s gorgeous. It is turquoise, made of net lace and on top shaped slightly like a corset. Ah, well. Another time. I don’t really have a reason to buy a ball gown anyway.

We were back home in the early afternoon and had enough time to get ready for the gala and check the showing times for The Host. I even had enough time to do an elaborate hair up-do and put Kiki’s hair up in a lovely sock bun before heading out again. We had slight troubles getting my friend into the university, because she doesn’t have an ID card and was not announced to be there as a guest, but since she had an invitation, they let her in eventually.

We had a lovely evening with some of my friends there, the Americans were there and most of my theatre class and we talked to many people. The food was great, they had small pizza pieces and pastries and some vegetables, as well. And heavenly chocolate cake for dessert. Mhhh! The study abroad team gave a little speech and each of us got a cute little teddy bear with an university shirt on. So adorable! Kiki got one, too and we named them later that evening as Edward and Jacob (please do not ask me why, but that’s it now).

After the gala, some of us decided to go have some drinks. There was a cocktail bar close by that had happy hour until 9 or so, so we went there. I drank something eerily like alcoholic and liquid gummy bears. For some weird reason, we all got fake moustaches to put on and some funny looking hats. I have no idea what that was about but we took some pictures, making weird faces. I had originally planned to go to karaoke that evening and take my friend along, but she was tired after the long day (and god knows I understand the feeling of getting up early for a journey), so we went home after our cocktails and watched Breaking Dawn Part 2 before getting to sleep. I had avoided that movie before, but oh well. We didn’t get all the way through because both of us were too tired. And I couldn’t take a single thing seriously about that movie.

The next day, we got up more or less early, because we wanted to watch the Host at noon. My Danish friend joined us at the cinema and the three of us saw the movie together. I already put up the review, so please check that out if you’re interested in my opinion.

After the movie, Kiki and I wanted to walk around the city some more, and we parted ways with my Danish friend because she had other stuff to do. So Kiki and I made our way to Bond Street and looked for Victoria Secret. She had a shopping list from her cousin who instructed her to go there. I found it completely overwhelming. We spent quite a lot of time there, searching for the very specific things on the list. I have never seen so much underwear, so much fancy underwear in once place. We were successful in the end and headed over to the Disney store afterwards (speaking about change of scenery). Unfortunately, that shop is not equipped for grown-up Disney fans, so there were only about 4 shirts I could have bought and they were not even that cool. I would have bought a stuffed animal, but I figured I don’t really need it at the moment, so I didn’t.

We had spent quite a long time in town, so when we came back home, we quickly had dinner (baked beans on toast!) and tried to get ready for the musical we had tickets for that evening. The Phantom of the Opera. For some reason, my friend started getting ready later than I (Facebook is addictive, after all) and we were running late. We literally ran out of the door and to the tube station to make it in time. Of course we didn’t exactly know where the theatre was, so we were running, looking at my GPS and asking people at the same time. We barely made it, though. We stumbled to our seats in the darkness, just as the show was about to start. Phew! The review for that musical is up as well, so feel free to read about it. I am amazed how my feet survived this – I was wearing my heels, and I normally cannot walk in them, let alone running. But they didn’t hurt as much as I had suspected.

That evening we finished Breaking Dawn – so now I know the whole badness of the trilogy. I find it hard to remember that I once liked the story. It just seems too ridiculous to me now. The next day, Saturday, we were planning on meeting with Kiki’s hairdresser and her friend, who conveniently were in London the same weekend. It was the perfect day: sunny, warm, a nice breeze. I finally got to wear my sunglasses, yay! We met the other two girls at the London Eye, but we didn’t go up because it is expensive and it was also crowded. Instead, we strolled along the river and across the bridge to the Houses of Parliament. We took loads of pictures along the way and enjoyed the sun. It was already around 3.30 when we arrived there – we had met rather late and had a lengthy breakfast – and I persuaded the others to go to my favourite pub to watch the Grand National, which is one of the most famous horse races Britain has to offer. Kiki and I were excited to see it, since we both love horses, and the other girls just wanted to go into a pub, so all was well.

We shared a table with two young men who apparently had placed bets on the horses and told us a bit about it. They also offered to buy us drinks, which we graciously accepted after the race. It is a steeplechase, meaning that there are obstacles and the horses have to jump as well as run – which is rather dangerous. Luckily, my friend and I did not bet, we would have lost. We had our favourites, but I believe both of them arrived at the finish line without their riders. What a pity. The atmosphere was great, many people were there and some even dressed up as jockeys with toy horses. We had a great time with our table mates and stayed for over two hours.

Kiki and I went home afterwards and parted ways with the two other girls. They wanted to go to Piccadilly Circus and some other places later. When we got home, we had dinner – pizza. Nothing fancy, but just enough for us. We transferred the pictures to my laptop and looked at them, and we also watched Ted, this movie about the magically living teddy bear. It was cute. We spent the rest of the evening just talking and gossiping and watching funny videos on youtube. For example, the Hillywood Show – they do parodies of movies such as Twilight, Harry Potter or the Hunger Games. It was so sad that she had to leave the next day.

We had enough time in the morning to have a lovely breakfast and get ready without much hectic. We had gotten my landlady a small thank-you present which we gave her that morning before heading out. I accompanied Kiki to King’s Cross and made sure that she was on the right tube back to Heathrow. I would have loved to have her stay with me longer, but school was calling back in Germany. We had a great time overall and I am happy that it all worked out. We didn’t spent too much time on looking at touristy stuff, because we already did that together two years ago, so this weekend was more about seeing each other again after quite a while.

Well, that was that, and next up will be my trip to Amsterdam. I doubt that I will be able to write that today though, so please be patient. There is a History Essay waiting to be written!

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