Berlin, London, Edinburgh
02.03.2007 - 11.03.2007
It has been a busy couple of weeks and I finally have some down time. Two weeks ago was midterms. I had six tests in a matter of 5 days. It's harder to study here because the school is a good half and hour away from my apartment and the library has strange hours. Back home it's easier to just go to Starbucks and read. Ashlie and I took over the dining room a few nights in a row in an attempt to study. We bought all of our books together to share so it wouldn't be so expensive so it just makes sense to study together. Later, we decided to be very American and we actually did plan a study session at the Starbucks down the street located near the Plaza de Colon. It's a different experience here all together. It's a chaotic coffee shop full of people chatting amongst loud music as opposed to the tranquil environment suitable for reading back home. Bu Friday we were so excited for the end of the week but also for our Spring Break. It was off to Berlin for a few days and then to London, and Edinburgh. Friday I came home from accounting class and packed my bag and we were off the the airport on the metro. It's about a 35 minute ride to the airport. Ashlie's bag was overweight but luckily the guy just gave her a wink and let her through. We experienced very little security in Madrid and were on our way to Berlin. We were staying with Ashlie's friend Carl who graduated from Creighton last year. At the airport in Berlin I saw a German girl from my accounting class and she offered us a ride to the city center but Carl was picking us up so we declined. In hindsight, we probably should have taken that ride because we ended up taking four modes of transportation with Carl as a few of the train lines were shut down. By the time we got off the train at Bellvue and got back to Carl's place it was about 2 am. We started off the next day with coffee and baguettes and began our tour of the city starting with Brandenburger Tor. We went to the Holocaust Museum which was finished just a few years ago. We had tea and chocolates with Carl's old German host dad. The city itself is beautiful and has a very modern feel to it. We had an authentic German dinner and Ashlie ordered a knuckle of ham and when it came to the table it looked like she had actually gotten the entire hip of the pig. The sauerkraut was great with the horseradish. We were in heaven because most of the time we are starving in Madrid. We actually got to eat dinner at a reasonable hour. The next day we ventured out into the city on our own and had a great day of walking and sightseeing. We went to Checkpoint Charlie where people once crossed from East Germany to West Germany. At dusk we went up into the radio tower for an audio tour of the city from above. We met Carl at a great Mexican restaurant where they spoke Spanish, in Germany. We felt like we were home. We were passing the bar and the bartender yelled out, "Senoritas." Ashlie and I both looked over and started asking him where the bathrooms were in Spanish. My German vocabulary is very small and I can't even form sentences. Somehow we managed though. Luckily they were on the Euro. We met up with some friends from Madrid the next day and went to Eastside Gallery. Artists from around the world were commissioned to create murals on pieces of the Berlin Wall still intact as a homage to democracy and a united Germany. It's quite incredible. By the end of the day our friends were almost willing to pay us for the tour of Berlin we had given them. Ashlie and I had walked the entire city in 3 days. We were off to London the next morning by 5 am. We got to our hostel, stored our stuff and then joined a free walking tour of the city. We spent 3 1/2 hours on the tour and by the end, I think we had seen the whole of London. We saw Piccadilly Circus, Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square, the London Bridge, the London Eye, Westminster Abbey, and Pudding Lane. After that we walked to Kensington and Hyde Park and then back into the city. We thought about catching a movie but found out that it costs 15 pounds ($30). So, we decided to throw in another 15 pounds and catch a show. We went to the musical Wicked and it was incredible. The wicked witch of the west's side of the story is quite interesting. After the show, we walked back to our hostel and realized that we are probably the world's worst hostelers. We forgot to bring a towel for the communal showers show we had to drip dry and then climb into our bunk beds. The next day we took it easy and went to the Tate Museum of Modern Art and walked around the city some more. We sat at a coffee shop and wrote post cards and then went to St. Paul's Cathedral to read at the park outside. That night we were entertained at the karaoke bar next to out hostel. The next morning we made a second trip to the Borough Market for a delicious brownie and then walked towards Waterloo. We found one of the first bookstores we had seen in London and I bought a book there. Our flight to Edinburgh was in a few hours so we headed to the London Bridge Underground. Arriving in the city was a bit of a shock because it was so windy there. We were freezing waiting at the bus stop for our friend Alberto. We stayed at Alberto's until Sunday morning. Scotland was the last leg of our journey and we wound down there. We had been going going going and we ready for a slower pace. We walked around the city and saw the castle but that was pretty much it for Scotland. We had a dinner party and an interesting excursion to Sainsbury's (the supermarket) trying to figure out the difference between mince and ground. We slept a lot and watched a few movies. I had the perfect Spring Break and enjoyed every minute of it. I am happy to be back in Madrid and definitely was a little homesick for the city. It's Spring here and Marissa visits in just under two weeks. I can't wait.