The End

I’ve been putting off this post since forever. Or at least since I got back. I want to synthesize all the experiences and feel ready for it to be over and feel totally settled in my life back in the US. But you know what? Life doesn’t work quite like that. Though the semester has started, and with it, good things and bad, a new place to live, revisiting an old city of mine, old friends, old places, it feels new and like a return at the same time.

I did so much in Europe, and now that I’m back, I’m not going to say that I feel like a whole new person, but I do feel like I’ve entered a new part of my life. In which I’m more of an adult, a little more confident, a little more sure of what I want. An emphasis on “a little” but still, it makes a difference. I understand more about how I want to be treated, what kinds of people I want to meet, and what kinds of people I can laugh about and not take too seriously. I learned a hell of a lot about people on this trip.

And also about places. I’ll never watch a movie set in Paris or Rome or wherever and not look for the places I’ve been. How it feels to walk on the street alone in London and how it’s different from Copenhagen or Barcelona. How I love cities but I love countries too. The crisp air in Bath, the dampness of the Czech mountains and caves, and riding my bike in the driving rain or wind or sun or dark in Fredensborg. And I’ll try my best to cherish it all.

And before I do a photomontage, I just wanted to thank my loyal readers and my drop-by-once-in-a-while readers. This blog made me feel really good about my writing, made me want to put off this last post. Which is why soon enough I’ll be starting another blog. Because Wanderlust was only ever going to be my abroad journal, for me and for you. Here’s a little map of where my readers come from– this map makes me happy. Thanks to my abroad friends for helping this map be a little more colorful. And thanks also to the abroad strangers who did the same thing. And thanks to my non-abroad friends and family for making the US such a standout.

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START THE PHOTO MONTAGE: The best of Wanderlust! (stay tuned, there’s a little something at the end)

IMG_1989Grafton, MA, USA

IMG_2211Humlebaek, Denmark

IMG_2532Odense, Denmark

IMG_2742Fredensborg, Denmark

IMG_2755Ugerloese, Denmark

IMG_3259Rome, Italy

IMG_3284Barcelona, Spain

IMG_3375Barcelona, Spain

IMG_3783Wiltshire, England

IMG_4252Cesky Raj, Czech Republic

IMG_4430Hilleroed, Denmark

IMG_4537Fredensborg, Denmark

IMG_4628Fredensborg, Denmark

IMG_4653Berlin, Germany

IMG_4796Berlin, Germany

IMG_4842Essen, Germany

IMG_4909Dortmund, Germany

IMG_4914Paris, France

IMG_5234Paris, France

Thank you to everyone I met, everyone I re-met, everyone who gave me a chance or taught me something or extended a hand or supported me. Thanks to people who smiled, who were concerned, who were patient, who played cards, who shared a beer or a laugh, who asked me for directions or who gave me directions or who showed me something wonderful. Thank you to people who ate the food I made, who made food for me, or who shared their company over a meal or who shared their company on a train or plane or platform or waiting room or airport terminal or theatre or their home. Thank you to the people who shared their children, their parents, their brothers and sisters and their grandchildren and grandparents or their friends. Thank you to the people who I visited, the people who I’ll revisit, the people who will come visit me, and to the people who I met who I’ll never meet again.

It was one hell of a ride. Thank you.

Which in Spain Means You’re Insane

I realized two important things today. 1) I haven’t posted in a week! Time to start writing! 2) I haven’t told y’all about Barcelona yet. Which is definitely the most important thing that has happened that I haven’t gone over in detail.

October 1:

We resume the adventure flying from Rome to Barcelona. This was my first experience with picked RyanAir. I really cannot complain. I paid $35 for a flight. An unreal price. It also encouraged forced me to pack lighter for the whole trip, which overall was probably a benefit.

After the worst landing I’ve experienced (already my least favorite part of flying BY FAR) all the people start clapping. It was soo unexpected, and so funny. And so real. I was grateful we made it too.

And make it we did, meeting our friend Drew (Bonnie’s friend from Smith, my friend through DIS and Bonnie) at the hostel at midnight, as prearranged. The hostel was lovely and we had some beers with some guys in the kitchen before going to bed. (Maybe worth noting: Said guys were a Canadian IT guy and two German prison guards. A motley crew it was).

October 2:

We have a breakfast at our hostel and walked a couple miles towards La Sagrada Familia. Even in the heat, it was but really nice to take in Barcelona, which is much more chill than Rome. We also split a very cheap, pretty good paella. Because there are some things you just have to eat.

La Sagrada Familia is a FEAT in architecture. It has been in progress for almost exactly 100 years, and will not be done for another 20. Cathedrals take a long time, but if you consider the advancement in building technology in that time, it’s… a freaking long time. This place is unmissable.

La Sagrada Familia, from the front.

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There are two distinct sides, the “Passion Facade” and the “Nativity Facade.” I believe this is the latter.

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Windows.IMG_3281

The Ceiling. European ceilings are just so good.IMG_3282

Godly.

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Over the pulpit.

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Me and a window.

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A very attractive selfie of the three of us and the Nativity Facade.

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After La Sagrada, we made our way down the widest streets I’ve ever seen to the most narrow ones, then back out again. The old part of Barcelona has winding alleys unlike those in Rome. Much narrower, and curving, so you never know where you’ll end up.  We ended up at La Rambla, a very famous shopping street, and possibly the European Capitol of Pickpocketing. So I clutched my bag close and we walked. Drew is practical and destination-oriented, setting goals, reading maps. I read maps, but I’m content to mosey and wander for a while before I do. Bonnie does not read maps (well), but usually is game to wander or find the destination. A good in-the-middle. So, we spent less time on La Rambla shopping and meandering than I would have alone, but it was still good. We also found a very famous food market, and luckily for me, all of us were down to eat some free samples and look at food stuffs. I got a Horchata and struggled to tell the others what it was. Just did some research to better explain it, and the word Horchata is actually Orxata, which is Catalan, the language most widely spoken in Barca. It is a sweet, creamy drink made from Tigernuts in Spain (google it) and made with rice in the U.S.

When we got back to the hostel, we ate a dinner cooked by the hostel staff, and played some pool in the basement. A great hostel, it was. Then the three of us, plus another DIS kid, Kenny, went out clubbing. We did not realize 1am is WAY too early to go out in Spain, and we were greeted by a sad, empty dance floor, and we left before anything exciting happened. The club we were at played the following songs twice in the hour and half we were there: Ain’t No Mountain High Enough and Call Me Maybe. Make of that what you will. We walked about an hour to get back between 3:30 and 4:30am, all the while having a raucous sing-along of Taylor Swift, Rent, and Mika, to name a few. It was the most fun I’ve had in a long time.

October 3:

Destinations of the day: Park Güell and the beach! We picked the right times to do both because it rained in the morning for a bit, when we were exploring the beautiful architecture, landscaping, views, and very talented street performers of the park.

Drew pointed out that one time the ANTM finale was here! Caridee’s season!

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But like, woah.

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Barca, the Med, and oh yeah, La Sagrada on the left.

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Stand up base is my weakness.

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Parchitecture (see what I did there?) and the city

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By the time we got to the beach the weather had cleared and it was perfect. My toes were loving the Mediterranean, and Drew and Bonnie relaxed on the sand.

Oh look, the perfect non-touristy Spanish beach (the trick: get off the Metro at Via Olimpica)

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A goal of mine. So perfect.

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We headed back into the city for a Tapas Tour we were going on. Tapas were great, and our tour group was rather excellent. We went to three different tapas places, and, we learned, you have to order drinks with tapas (by custom, not law or anything) so we had some traditional style apple cider, beer, and sangria, which was served in a jug that you pass around and pour from a distance into your mouth (or not from a distance if you have terrible aim and care about your clothing, like myself).

Yup, this thing.

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We then went back to the hostel, and one of the hostel staff was giving a lesson in making sangria, and it was the most sensual demonstration of basically wine and fruit salad that you could possibly imagine, from a Brazilian Johnny Depp lookalike, again, if you can imagine that.

Because Spain, we went out clubbing again, this time me and Bonnie with two guys who were also staying at our hostel. After walking around and going to a bar, we got to the club around 2:15am, aka PRIME TIME in Barcelona. Bonnie and I got in for free because we’re girls (sometimes sexism is kind of ok) and inadvertently ditched the guys in order to get this deal. We danced and danced and danced and went home in a taxi around 3:30 with significant hearing loss. Oh well. It was really fun.

October 4:

Drew went to Geneva early in the morning, so it was just me and Bonnie hanging out once again. We went to MACBA, which translates to the Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art. The museum was one of the best I’ve been to, and the art was all from after 1960. Which even in a contemporary art museum, is rather contemporary. Impressive.

I really liked this one.

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Wedding trunk, I think? With army men coming out.

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Some really innovative music composition

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YES, TOUCH IT. (no, not all of it)

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A poem on the wall in English, Spanish, and Catalan. (I think “majeure” is supposed to be “major”). I really like this poem.

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This is not art, but just a sign as we were leaving. But I really liked it.

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Then I really wanted to go shopping, so Bonnie humored me and we walked around La Rambla again, until I finally found something worth getting: stud earrings, which are black stones dipped in silver paint. Fairly cheap because Spain, and handmade in Barcelona.

We got back to the hostel to pick up our bags, and asked for directions to the airport. It was 5:00 and our flight was at 9:30, which in Spain means you’re insane because everything is relaxed and runs late. The Jonny Depp guy at the hostel told us we should stay another hour, and to get us to, he bought us a chocolate cake, and then made us and another guy who worked at the hostel lattes. We went up the the roof and ate and chatted, and the guys smoked and it was fun. The topic changed to acro-yoga (acrobatic partner yoga) and they told us they were learning it and did we want to see their routine? (they were definitely not smoking tobacco). We said yes, naturally, and they showed us this amazing routine in which Johnny Depp was holding the other guy with his arms or legs the entire time while lying on his back on the ground, and the other guy balanced. Then they finished, and asked if we wanted to try. I did.

IT. WAS. MAGIC. Bonnie tried, and then we split for the airport, all smiles, and when we got back to Copenhagen, we put on all of the clothes we brought (Copenhagen is COLD) and went back to her place, where I crashed on her floor. It was quite the week, needless to say. But I’m glad to be back in Copenhagen. At least for another week.

Stay tuned: London is next! No city is safe from my tourism!

What Does Cactus Even Taste Like?

My week in review. It’s been another long week, with me posting once already, and I have another post about a certain dessert item that may or may not make it to the interwebs before this one. Stay tuned.

I have this journal, which is something I’ve never really done consistently before, but was inspired by the coincidence of seeing this post on Pinterest around the same time I got a journal for Christmas from my cousins Mike and Nicole (Hi Nicole!). So since December 23, 2012, I’ve written a sentence about every day. Just a sentence of the highlights. I’ve never missed a day, and I’m pretty proud of that. I also picked a good year to start because I got to write about seeing my Gram in a casual way right up to when she died. So that’s something that’s nice. ANYWHO, I sometimes use it to see what I did in a week, but the problem is that I sometimes have boring days and then I have nothing to write and have no idea what happened that day, when I look back.

For example:

Saturday Sept 14: “Made brownies and watched Dr. Who with Maria.” Here are some pictures. To all those who have told me to watch Dr. Who over the years, you were right. Love love love.

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From those slutty brownies I said I’d make

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How they ended up looking. Oops, the brownies crushed the cookies, making it more like a cookie crust. Also, yum!

Sunday Sept 15: “Lazed around, went into Copenhagen, and did some creative writing.” I’m actually pretty happy with the writing I did last Sunday. So that’s good, right? I won’t post it here, though. Not for a while.

Monday Sept 16: “A humdrum rainy day featuring good food and a walk with Gabby” (hi!) But seriously, what did I do all day? I bought a luggage/locker lock for my upcoming trip to Rome and Barcelona! That’s all I can recall.

Tuesday Sept 17: “Finished The Only Good Thing Anyone Has Ever Done [by Sandra Newman] and met with HopeNow.” I wouldn’t say it was the only good thing anyone has ever done, but it was good. I would definitely recommend it to a creative writing professor or student. There were some BEAUTIFUL sentences. Sentences I read and reread. Wow. HopeNow is an anti-trafficking organization based here in Copenhagen which I’m working with with my advertising class to give them a communication campaign, as basic as they may be. They do really good work.

Wednesday Sept 18: “Got a book out of the library, went to the Louisiana, and ate a butt-ton of food.”  First, yes, I wrote butt-ton in my journal. When I look back on this when I’m old (or next year) it will seem so embarrassing hilarious that I ever though that way. The book was Jodi Piccoult’s Handle with Care. As I write this on Saturday, I have read 400 pages. That’s approx. 100 pages per day. I mean, it is the standard formula Jodi Piccoult, tugging on heartstrings in a New England courtroom, but I can’t put it down. I went to the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art again to see YOKO ONO: HALF-A-WIND SHOW and write about it for my art history class. It’s actually very interesting to read about her, and realize that she’s not just some artist who got famous because her husband was (John Lennon, for those of you who live in a pop culture-free hole somewhere) but is actually an artist in her own right. Who happens to take advantage of her husband’s influence, name, face, and money. 🙂

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We are all water.

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A slide to get into the show. Also, my classmate Sasha’s face.

Thursday Sept 19: “Read a lot and watched Rent– also there was a guest speaker about Sophie Calle.” Like I said, I read about 100 pages per day, so… yeah. I also watched Rent for the first time since high school and cried quite a bit at Angel’s funeral and burial and at the end. It’s like seeing old friends… die. SAD. In my art history class (Women, Art, and Identity), a program assistant at DIS came in and spoke about Sophie Calle, an AMAZING French “surveillance artist” look her up, she’s the coolest. Her show “Take Care of Yourself” and her book “The Address Book” are especially impressive and creepy. Take a google at them. I might be purchasing The Address Book later, when I get back to the states, if I can’t find it at a library first. SO COOL LOOK IT UP.

Friday Sept 20: “Saw some great bands at Hillerod Kultur Nat with Breanna.” Says it all. Me and Breanna (a third friend from Smith. Seriously, maybe I should have gone to Smith. kidding. kind of.) walked around Hillerod and saw

A gospel choir: They were fun and I’m thinking about joining them. It was hilariously obvious that English was their second language, unlike in the other groups we saw.

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A “Rock Choir” singing Coldplay, among other things. A women’s chorus called “Hot Notes” singing classical Danish music. And this nice view of the castle (plus me, wearing this new vest/leather jacket combo I just discovered doesn’t look stupid)

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The MOST AMAZING SWING BAND EVER. They’re called Overjive, and they were attractive and Danish but sang in English (because swing/big band is in English mostly). People danced. People here can dance, I say, dance! I took a video of people’s feet at one point, but wordpress won’t let me upload. Remind me to show you sometime.

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Cute, right???

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All cleaned up! (The other pic was from their sound check. We were a little early)

A pop band singing American and Danish pop music called The Donut Brothers. Cuteness in bowties.

I ate this perfect sandwich (and I know how to order in Danish “Jeg vil gerne have en vegetar sandwich” SO THERE!)

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And we bought these beautiful apple ciders with a hint of CACTUS, of all things. “But what does a cactus even taste like?” we asked ourselves and each other.

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Today: I have yet to write in my journal, as I always do it before bed. I wrote part of my Yoko Ono paper and baked. There will be a post about the latter.

A week in the life. Do not expect a post from me next weekend, because I’m going to 1) English: Rome 2) Italian: Roma 3) Danish: Rom ON SATURDAY and then 1) English/Spanish/Danish: Barcelona ON WEDNESDAY and then I’ll be coming back and be sleeping and doing incredible amounts of homework next weekend. Just saying,it might be a while.