Posts Tagged With: weekend

Visiting the Countryside

Good day, my dear readers!

Last weekend I went on a trip to a small village in the area of Wiltshire. It was part of the HOST program, which gives international students the chance to spend a weekend with a host family in different parts of England – sort of as an opportunity to get out of London and experience the countryside.

My host family was very lovely and they took me to see Salisbury Cathedral on Saturday. For those of you who don’t know, Salisbury Cathedral was used as a filming location in the mini series Pillars of the Earth (after the novel by Ken Follett). Because of that I always wanted to go and see the Cathedral for myself but had never gotten around to do it. How excited was I that I spontaneously got to visit this beautiful work of art!

In pillars of the Earth they have a lovely little model of the Cathedral before they built it:

In the actual Cathedral, they also have a model of how it could have looked like back in the days when it was built:


I thought that was a great way of showing the building process, giving us a glimpse into the past. Apparently, Salisbury Cathedralw as built in only 38 years – a very short time for such an enourmous monument, considering that it was built in the 13th century. In comparison, the Cologne Cathedral took rougly 600 years longer to construct, even though they started around the same time…

I find Salisbury Cathedral a very beautiful work of architecture and I tried to take a few more artistic pictures. Here’s what came out of that endeavor:

Salisbury Windows DSC02976 DSC02977

Currently, the Magna Carta is on display at Salisbury Cathedral. Of course I had to see that one, too! But to be honest, it is “just” a piece of parchment with incredibly tiny letters on it. It is written in Old English AND with abbreviations, so there was absolutely no way I could decipher even a single word. But you can go ahead and try it, I took a picture of it! (Excuse the reflections, of course the document was well protected under glass.)

magna carta

Apart from that trip to Salisbury, the rest of the weekend was also great. My host family showed me their village and we talked about god and the world – quite literally. I also got to watch a match of Cricket – not the most exciting sport in terms of rapid movement and such, but it was more fascinating when I finally started to grasp the concepts and strategies of the game. Am I now officially British? 😀

Needless to say I enjoyed my countryside exchange very much and I am very glad I had the chance to go. If you, dear reader, are an international student in London, you might want to apply for a HOST stay yourself!

I am now revising for the upcoming exams – I can’t believe this will be my last exams in quite possibly ever! I’ll do my best to get through them and then run down the home stretch called “writing the master thesis”. Well, let’s hope for the best!

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Feliz San Juan!

Buenas días!

Ouf, qué fin de semana. San Juan es una fiesta loca aquí en Barcelona. Un poco como Año Nuevo en Alemania, pero sin la seriedad y la tranquilidad. Toda la gente simplemente baila y celebra en la calle y a la playa con fuegos artificiales – toda la noche.

So you can imagine there was a lot going on the past few days. Friday my flat mate and I went to another friend of hers that lives close by. We had planned to have dinner at her place and go partying later. However, we settled in and passed the time just chatting away. We had pizza and sangria and international company. J.’s room mate is Spanish and there was another French guy as well, so we all talked English. It almost felt like being back in London. The plans of going out were overthrown later because my flat mate and I didn’t quite feel like going out and it was almost midnight anyway. Normally, that’s when the Spanish people start going out, but I’m not used to that and I have always preferred a nice evening at home with friends to going to a club. So in the end we went home shortly after midnight with the promise of going out again the next day.

Saturday morning I strolled around the flea market again. I bought some more fabric, I really hope that costume I’m working on will look great. I can’t believe the prices here. This flea market is one of the few things I love about being here. Another would be peach jam. The Spanish know how great that tastes and I can choose from various brands for about one Euro. UK, LEARN FROM THAT!

Saturday evening I met J. and a colleague of hers from Poland in the city. We tried to have dinner in a supposedly awesome place – it was packed with people, you had to eat standing while customers squeezed by. And the food wasn’t good, either. I had a bocadillo con queso y jamón. It was ok, but nothing special but more what you can get in a small kiosk somewhere on the way. I don’t recommend this place to anyone – unless you like feeling like packed sardines in a can. The place is called Can Paixano, by the way.

Afterwards we had a drink in a small bar somewhere, I wouldn’t find my way back there I guess. We were supposed to meet up with a group of couchsurfers on the beach later, so we had to kill some time. For those of you who don’t know couchsurfing, it is basically a platform where you can find a couch to sleep on if you are in a city for a weekend or something like that. They also organize events for the tourists they host and such was the event we were going to. We sat on the beach for a while before they gathered but it was quite nice in the evening, watching the sun go down…

The group of couchsurfers was very international, I met french guys, a turkish girl, people from Asia and South Amerika and so on. We had music and beer a plenty, so the atmosphere was good. I was cold, though. I hadn’t brought a jacket, just a thin bolero and that wasn’t quite enough for a chilly evening on the beach. One of the organizers gave us – J. and me – his jacket so we could get warm. It was after 1 am when we left the beach together. It is always safer to travel in pairs and since we live only one metro stop apart, it made sense. The Polish girl stayed longer, I think.

Sunday started nice and slow. I had to prepare for the night, after all. So I just watched a movie or two and relaxed. My flat mate had a friend over from Germany, so they were out on sightseeing tour. At around 6.30 I headed out to celebrate San Juan. I met J. and the Polish girl I. in the city. There was a barbecue at some friend’s flat where I could join them. The people seemed nice enough but I stayed with the few I knew, mostly. It was raining a bit – YES RAIN! IN BARCELONA! – so we had to wait for it to stop before moving to the terrace on the roof. I liked the view, even though you couldn’t see the sea or anything, it was still nice to see Barcelona from above. We stayed there almost until midnight before we decided we wanted to see what’s going on in the city. So the four of us, I., J., J.’s room mate and me headed out to the beach. Seriously, the Spanish people are crazy. There were cannon shots everywhere, my poor ears endured some torture the past days. There is gente everywhere and you have to be extra careful with your belongings.

We strolled along the beach until we found the place where my falt mate had gone to. She was invited to a business event of some sort and when we arrived there we could join them. It was again on the roof of a house directly next to the beach. The view was spectacular! That’s how I like Barcelona. The lights, the sea, the people – great. The party itself wasn’t so awesome, it was more like chilling around, drinking and listening to music. But it was nice in it’s own way. The other’s of my group headed out again after a while but I stayed. I felt no special urge to go into the sea in the dead of the night to celebrate some weird custom. My flat mate, her friend and I stayed at that roof party until after 4.30 am. I was dead tired when we finally left. I had been standing for almost 9 hours by then, since both parties didn’t have many seating areas. It was 5.30 when I finally fell into bed, sleeping blissfully for the first time. I had found my ear plugs and sleepmask, so I didn’t hear anything to wake me nor could the light penetrate my sleep.

I happily slept until 1.30 pm the next day. It was a public holiday anyways, so I stayed in bed for the day, doing nothing much. I had planned to write this post yesterday, but I felt soooo lazy! Unfortunately, because of the lazyness, I didn’t sleep well last night, so now I am tired again. Today I work I yawned constantly and couldn’t concentrate on much. I still got work done, but it was slower than usual. I had my first business phone call with someone outside the company, and I was totally unprepared. Considering that I thing I managed it quite well. I won’t tell you what it was about, but the outcome is important to the company, so phew!

Now I will relax for evening, after having bought 12 litres of water – hopefully I won’t need to buy water anytime soon again, it’s freaking heavy. With that, I’ll leave you. See ya!

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