Trip to Stonehenge and a Weekend in Scotland

Hello!

Last time I posted here, I mentioned that I was going to visit Stonehenge and Bath. So that trip happened a couple of weeks ago. Also, a week after that trip, I made another one. As it is obvious from the title of this post, the trip was to Scotland, where I spent 3 days.

Stonehenge

IIMG_5819 believe that there is no need to explain what Stonehenge is. Most people must have heard or seen pictures of it. At least it is considered as one of the most famous sites in the world. 😉

This trip was organised for students by the same company that I went on a few trips with before. It took us around 2,5 hours to get to Stonehenge by coach. We had pre-booked tickets, so as soon as we arrived there, we went to explore the site. The ticket to Stonehenge includes an audio-guide and a bus ride from the visitor centre to the stones. Unfortunately, visitors are not allowed to come close to the stones. So we had to enjoy the view from about 10 metres distance.

IMG_5747Stonehenge is probably not the most exciting place to visit in Britain, but I really enjoyed it. So I would recommend going there just to see it with your own eyes.  However, I must say that it looks bigger in the pictures. 😀

We were given around 1,5 hours to explore Stonehenge, which was enough to walk around, take pictures, and even drink a cup of hot chocolate in a local cafe. After that we headed to Bath, which was only around an hour ride away from there.

 

Bath

IMG_5820This town is named like that because many years ago the Romans found hot springs in that area, so they decided to build a temple and baths there. That is how the settlement appeared in that place. Nowadays, the town has a few wonderful sights. Among them are the Roman Baths, the Pump Room, Bath Abbey, Pultney Bridge, the Royal Crescent, and the Circus. My friend and I did not go inside the baths because the tickets were quite expensive, but instead we took a stroll by the river, visited other sights, and had lunch in a local restaurant. After a long and exciting day, we headed back to Coventry.

Weekend in Scotland

IMG_6696Accommodation and transportation for this trip were arranged through the same company as my previous trips. So the only thing I had to do was to find interesting places to visit and create my own itinerary. Also, I should mention that all together, we were around 270-300 students from Coventry, Birmingham and Warwick universities going on that trip on 6 coaches.

Day 1 (Friday)

IMG_5879We left Coventry very early on Friday morning. The plan was to go to Glasgow for a few hours to do some sightseeing and then head to Edinburgh in the evening. It took us a little bit less than 8 hours to get to Glasgow.  We arrived there around 2pm and were given 3 hours of free time to explore the city. I joined a group of Dutch girls to walk around the city together. We went to the Gallery of Modern Art, checked out George Square, which is the main square of the city, passed by the university, visited Glasgow Cathedral and Necropolis. The last two places impressed me most of all. The cathedral looked amazing and the view from Necropolis was fantastic.  After that we returned to the coach and continued our journey to Edinburgh.

IMG_6698When we arrived in Edinburgh, we found out that the hostel that was booked for us was just horrible. The windows were broken almost in all rooms there and everything was extremely gross. But we could do nothing about it. Good that we had to stay there 2 nights only. After 2 hours of confusion connected with allocation of the students, I finally managed to find a free bed in a room for six. After dropping my stuff in the room, I went to have dinner in Italian restaurant with those Dutch girls. Also, a club night was scheduled for that day. So at night, we all went out to have some fun in a club in the old part of the city.

Day 2 (Saturday)

DSC_1779In the morning we were offered to follow a 1,5-hour guided tour around Edinburgh. I really doubted that walking with 200 more people would be a good idea (as it turned out later, I was right!), so I decided to explore the city independently. First, I had breakfast in a café and, then, my long and exciting day began.  I went to St. John’s Episcopal Church and walked in Princes Gardens, after that I climbed up Castle Rock, where Edinburgh Castle is situated. The view from the Rock was marvellous, and I immediately fell in love with the city. Then, I paid for the ticket and IMG_6652entered the castle. On the territory of the castle, you can find a few museums and follow a guided tour. I visited almost all museums there, took many pictures but did not follow the tour. After 2 hours of exploring the castle, I decided that it was time to get going farther. Following the Royal Mile (the main street in the old town), I walked down to the Scottish Parliament and Palace of Holyroodhouse (the official residence of the Queen in Scotland). I did not pay to get in, just examined the palace from the outside. After that, I decided to go hiking in Holyrood park, which was nearby. The main sight in the IMG_6582park is Arthur’s Seat, which is a peak of an extinct volcano in Edinburgh named like that after numerous legends about King Arthur. The height of the peak is 250m. Getting to the peak of Arthur’s Seat was my goal, so I started my journey up there. I have no idea how much time it took
me to get to the top, maybe 30 minutes, maybe an hour. I really do not know, I was so overwhelmed by the view as I was getting higher and higher, so I was not paying attention to anything. When I got to the peak, I was on my last breath but it was definitely worth it. 😀 The view from up there was breathtaking! I could see the city and its surroundings in full view. I took around 500 pictures there and spent more than an hour on the top. But then, the sun was slowly setting, so it was also time for me to start getting down. When I got back to the DSC_2406old town, I found a restaurant to have dinner and rest a bit. It was still quite early to go back to the hostel then. Therefore, after finishing my meal, I decided to explore the city in the dark. Eventually, I found myself at the Christmas market. It was huge. They had a few attractions and many various stalls with souvenirs, sweets, drinks and street food. I indulged myself in a glass of mulled cider there. The atmosphere at the market was fantastic, it gave me a feel that Christmas was already around the corner.
When I felt that I had seen everything and taken enough photos of the place, I headed
back to the hostel to meet the others because a bar crawl was planned for that night. We went to 3 different places and ended up in a night club. After the whole day of walking I was too tired to party, so I left everyone and went to sleep.

Day 3 (Sunday)

IMG_6686I woke up quite early on Sunday. I did not have too much time for sightseeing that day because we were supposed to meet at 3pm at the hostel to get on our coaches and head back to Coventry. So in the morning I passed by the Christmas market again, bought a cup of hot chocolate for breakfast there, and continued my trip to Calton Hill, where Nelson monument is situated. This hill also provides visitors with a great view. So I let myself walk around and enjoy it. Later, I went down to the National Museum of Scotland, Grassmarket, and St. Giles Cathedral. After visiting those places, not so much time was left until our
departure from Edinburgh, so I decided to eat something. Before I went on that trip, one of my friends had recommended me IMG_6697one nice café in the old town, so I went there. I also bought postcards to send to my friends and family before that. So I signed them as I was enjoying my cup of hot chocolate in the café. After the lunch, I walked through the city once again, dropped my postcards in the mailbox, returned to the hostel and got on a coach.

DSC_2577The ride back was not smooth. Halfway to Coventry, the coach that I was on broke down, so all people from it had to squeeze into other 5 coaches. I was lucky because I had a seat, but a couple of people had to stand in the coach all the way back to Coventry. We came back to our town around midnight. Tired and happy I got to my room already dreaming about my next trip to Scotland.

Thank you for reading!

The sun is shining!

Because my internet crashed weeks ago I haven’t been able to post the post I wanted about my  stay here in Genova from October, so I will post it not. Better late than never? 🙂blog7blog6

The last weeks since my last blog has been bissy, in a good way. I try to plan my work so that a sometimes can go on trips, like a did for two weekends ago, I went to Florence, the city of beautiful art! I had really high expectations about Florence and of course I was more than contect with all the museums, places to visit, exhibitions, churches etc, but just to walk in as a city it was not really what I had expected.

 

Even if this was I the middle of October there was a lot of tourists. I had the opportunity to buy a special museum card so I didn’t have to stand in line, which saved me a lot of time, but still it was very crowded at the streets and in the restaurants. It was quite expensive to I think but definitely worth a visit. It was a special feeling to visit some of the famous places and in real life see so so famous paintings, statues etc. I felt really lucky to have this kind of experience. I went there over the weekend and I thought that I on Sunday morning should go to Galleria Dell’Academia to see David by DA VINCI. When I came there was so many tourists, even this early morning, but I thought: “I can’t leave Florence without visit and taking a picture of David, it is impossible”. So ofcourse I went in to this crowded place and got my pictures!

 

In total, at 2½ day I visited totalt 25 museum, exhibitions and churches, but YES it was difficult! J

 

I also had the opportunity to visit the Cinque Terre which are very famous here in the north of Italy. It is five beautiful small fishing villages which small colourful houses by the sea, fantastico! Usually iy is possible to walk between the villiages, it is not that far, but when I went some roads were closed, unfortunately. I had to take the train but it only took some minutes, but there was big problem with the trains that morning so I had to wait forever with of course A LOT of other tourists. Even if the tourist season starts to calme down, I thought there was a lot of tourists and it was not really suitable for this small villiages, but nothing to do with that. Instead I tried to make sure that I was one step ahead the groups! I became a little as a sport! The names of the villages are: Riomaggioare, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazze and Monterosso. My favourites were Riomaggiore and Manarola!

 

Now when I’m writing this I’m sitting on the morning train to Milano, and the surroundings has started to get some autumn colour, it is really beautiful! Thankfully in Genova we are stille blessed with good and nice weather most of the time. For some days now it has been a blue sky with any clouds and 20+. Belissima!

Ciao!

 

blog5blog4blog3blog2

“Let’s go get lost. Let’s go get lost…”

Hi from Coventry!

I have not been writing here for so long!

Actually, I have been quite busy lately. I had two course papers to submit this week. Also, I somehow managed to catch so-called fresher’s flu twice, and, of course, I was travelling.

This time, I am going to cover the part about travelling around the UK.

I guess when people decide to go on exchange, they do not think about the education in a chosen university or country only. Culture, history, places to visit, various attractions, food, etc. also play a significant role when selecting a destination for your studies.

IMG_3991Well, at least for me it was the case. When I was choosing a place to go for my exchange, I was also considering how interesting it would be to live in that country. As I love travelling and exploring new places a lot, I wanted to go somewhere where I had never been before. That is how I ended up adding the UK universities to my exchange studies application. I thought that it would be amazing to live, study, and travel in this country for a few months. Must say, I was not mistaken!

IMG_3988It has already been almost 2 months since I moved here. And I have already managed to visit quite a few wonderful places in England. Coventry has a very good location. It is right in the middle of England. So it is really easy to travel from here, and it does not take that much time to get to different parts of the country.

Alright….

The first trip (except the one around Coventry) I did in England was to Birmingham. But that one I already covered in my first post, so not going to write about it again :D.

DSC_0156The first weekend after I had arrived in England I went to London! I was absolutely excited about going to the capital. I went there by coach with a company that organises trips around the UK for students. It was a very short trip, though. We left Coventry at 7am and were back at around 7:30pm. The ride took approximately 2,5 hours, which with all the traffic jams in London was not bad at all. As it was my first time there, I wanted to see all major tourist attractions. First, we had a short guided tour around and, then, had a few hours to explore the city on our own. I met 2 girls on the coach, so we decided to explore the city together. (These 2 girls later became my travel buddies and good friends, too.) That day we saw Westminster Palace with its famous Elizabeth Tower that has Big Ben on it, Westminster Abbey, guard change at Buckingham Palace, Piccadilly Circus, Somerset House, Saint Paul’s Cathedral, London Tower, Tower Bridge, and the London Eye. We did not use any public transport that day, just went on foot. After walking around so much, we got on our coach and headed back to Coventry. That day was amazing! The weather, my company, everything was perfect. And, of course, I fell in love with this beautiful city of London!

IMG_4100

Only a week later I went to Oxford and Stratford-upon-Avon by coach with the same company. The first stop was in Oxford. We went to Christ Church there. A very lovely place, which could be of a great interest to all Harry Potter fans because some of the movie scenes were filmed inside it. We also saw that famous university of Oxford. Looks nice and very old! However, in order to get in, you have to pay. So we did not go inside. We also walked around and did some shopping for souvenirs.

 

IMG_4181IMG_4127

IMG_4302

In the afternoon, we headed to Stratford-upon-Avon. The town is quite small and very cosy! The most famous thing there is a house where William Shakespeare was born. So if you consider yourself an admirer of his work, then it must be an interesting place for you. I personally enjoyed visiting both towns.

 

And the next weekend, we went on a day trip to Cambridge. One more town famous for its prestigious university. We visited Fitzwilliam museum, one of the university buildings, saw a Mathematical Bridge, and went punting. It was a lovely day in a lovely town!
IMG_4399 IMG_4448

In the middle of October, I went to London again to do more sightseeing and to celebrate my birthday.  But that time I got to spend 3 days there, so I managed to see and do way more things. I was also well prepared that time. After having had consulted with a couple of my friends on what were the must see and do things in London, I created my own itinerary.
IMG_4567

So very early on Friday morning I took a train to London. The trip took only 1,5 hours. The first day I did not see many new things in London. I went to see Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square, Tower Bridge and Westminster again but this time in the evening, when the illumination was on. So beautiful! Also, I visited China Town and had some Chinese food that day. It was really good!

 

On Saturday morning, I headed to the National History Museum. It was fascinating! So many wonderful exhibits. And the building is stunning. Later, I passed by Harrods (for those who do not know, it is a very fancy and ridiculously expensive department store). I did not buy anything and felt quite weird there. 😀 Later, I checked out Covent Garden, went to London Film IMG_4986Museum that was holding an exhibition “Bond in Motion”. As you can understand from its name, the exhibition was dedicated to James Bond films. 23 vehicles that were used in the films were exposed there. After the exhibition, I headed to see MI6 building. (You can see a connection between this place and the exhibition I guess. :D) I took a few photos and moved on. By then it was already getting darker, so I decided to go to Westminster to enjoy the sunset and the beautiful view there.

IMG_4973I started Sunday at the Brick Lane market. There I got myself a birthday cupcake and a smoothie :D. Later I checked the surroundings and found lots of amazing graffiti there. The next place on my list was the British Museum. The museum is enormous! There is so much to see. I got tired after 2 hours there so decided to move on. The underground train took me right to Camden Town – a district with a vibrant atmosphere that is full of various markets, interesting stores, music venues and numerous food places. I had sort of dinner at a street food market there, and also bought a small souvenir for myself. In the evening, I planned to go to the London Eye. So after finishing my meal, I headed back to the city centre. I was super lucky because the queue for the tickets was pretty short. The view from the top of the IMG_4987London Eye was fascinating! It definitely was worth the money!

So, that was the last thing I did in London during that trip. So the next morning, I got on a train and headed back to Coventry for my afternoon class.

 

DSC_1271My next trip was to Liverpool – the Beatles city. We saw Museum of Liverpool, Titanic memorial (the ship was assembled there), World Museum, Liverpool Cathedral and went to the Beatles shop. This city was a bit different from all other places that I had visited before. Still it was really nice.

 

DDSC_1278uring the Halloween week (yes, in England they seem to celebrate Halloween the whole week) I went to Warwick Castle with my English friend that I had met in Sweden last year. Warwick is situated only 40 minutes away from Coventry by train. So again, it was really easy to get there.

The castle was built in 1068 but it is still in a very good condition! It was also nicely decorated for Halloween. We went to the Dungeon there to listen to the history of the plague in Britain. It was kind of a scary place, I must say. But we had lots of fun.

IMG_5547

And the last trip I went on so far was to Manchester last weekend. We checked out the Football Museum, Manchester Cathedral, very beautiful John Rylands library, Town Hall, and went shopping. We also wanted to see the stadium but there was a game that day. So we did not dare to go there.

 

That’s it for now. My next trip is going to be to Stonehenge and Bath this weekend. I’ll write about it here later for sure. Guess it’s going to be fun.

Thanks for reading!

Jeju Calling

Annyeonghaseyo!

I´ve haven´t been blogging for a while. I was busy revising for the midterms. Autumn has arrived in Seoul and it is beautiful. There´s a lot going on in Seoul in this season. Last weekend a group of friends and I visited Jeju island. I´ll tell you all about this amazing trip.

Jeju is a Korean island, around 1 hour by flight from Seoul. It is rather small and very popular amongst Koreans,Japanese and Chinese tourists. In summer the beaches are crowded with tourists. We went off season, so we basically had the island for ourselves.

We arrived in the evening and took the bus to our guesthouse in Seogwipo.

Day 1

On our first day we hiked up Korea´s highest mountain, Hallasan (1950 m). Weather was great, not too hot or cold. We had to hurry up as we had to reach the base by 12:30. We walked really fast and arrived one hour before the deadline. Hiking was fun and relaxing, as not as many people were there. It was less exhausting as Bukhasan, as less steep. To get to the peak it is around 9 km. It was cloudy when we were at the the top, but the atmosphere was great. We were above the clouds. When we walked down it was foggy, it was rather spooky: perfect for Halloween ;). We were tired after all that walking. In the evening we went to a sushi buffet, super yummy and visited the market.

Jeju 560 1446195773924 1446259618827

Day 2

Next day: more walkin. The weather was amazing: sunny and warm. We walked along the Olle trail. The trail took us along the coast and to some waterfalls. It was really nice and easy to walk. The view was very impressive. We had a jeju specialty for lunch: Jeju black pork barbeque. It was very good and gave us strength to keep on walking along the 13km trail. Jeju is all about the nature, so walking/hiking is a perfect way to see the natural beauty of the island. In the evening we went to the market. The market offered cheap and tasty fruits and other food. Jeju is famous for its Tandarines, you can see them grow everywhere.

In the evening we went to see the Korean punk band Crazy Nuts at the Jeju Music Festival. We found out about it just a few hours before the concert. It was very interesting and free, even if punk music is not my favorite.

Day 3

We got up really early! We took a taxi to Sunrise Peak in order to watch the sunrise (as the name implies). Unfortunately it was cloudy so the sunrise was not that visible. The atmosphere was great anyway. As we had started our day so early, we had a lot of time. We took the ferry to Udo, a tiny island 3.5km away from Seongsan-ri. We rented bikes and bilked around the whole island. The bike way is 15.9 km long and very nice. I´d advice everyone to either tour the island by bike or borrow a scouter, way quicker and more fun than walking. Udo is very beautiful, has amazing beaches and cool lava cliffs. In summer it is super crowded, when we were there there was hardly anybody. We had lunch and then drove back to our hostel, as it started ti rain and we were really exhausted.

We took a nap and then went for some dinner. We had a really nice last dinner in Jeju.

Overall, Jeju was amazing. It is very different compared to mainland Korea. Jeju has palmtrees. Jeju is interesting for people that enjoy nature and being active. You can also only go for a beach holiday, but Hallasan is something you should absolutely NOT miss. I don´t think that I´ve been this sporty on a trip, It was a great experience and the group was simply amazing. I had such a good time. Jeju is an absolute highlight!