Summer in the District

Okay yes, I never did finish my London blogging adventure. BUT I do have pretty decent drafts from back then, so I might fix them up and do them as archived posts at a later date. But right now I have something EXCITING to talk about…

Ya girl is spending the summer in Washington D.C. working as an intern for a historic site and then just livin’ life in the district. 

I KNOW. How cool is that? It’s going to be one hell of a summer. I can’t wait to explore this amazing city even further and make new friends from around the country (and the world). There’s even a possibility that one of my lifelong friends would get the opportunity to come up here and stay with me!

I’ve been here for less than a week and this city already feels like home. Of course, driving here is no small feat. I definitely prefer taking the bus and the metro (London got me way too used to not driving in major cities). I’m living with family members, but I have my own space (which is amazing and I am so thankful). I’m gaining independence and preparing for the real world in major ways (which I also did in London, but I think you get the point). IMG_4677

I’m already working on my DC Summer Bucket List, but Google can only take me so far. I’ve done many of the tourist-y things already, but I’m planning on revisiting many of them. SO, I want to know what you like to do/want me to do this summer in DC! Leave suggestions in the comments or text me or FB message me or email me or send a carrier pigeon and I’ll add it to my list!

This summer is going to be just like my semester abroad – an adventure of a lifetime. I can’t wait to see what these next three months bring me. Hopefully it will include the chance to finish up my London blog posts!


lydia. 

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A Belated Brighton Blog Post

Soooo a few weeks ago, I went on a trip with my program to Canterbury, Dover, and Brighton! It was so much fun, I can’t believe it has taken me so long to write about it!!

While the trip was open to everyone in the program, it was required by my British Youth Culture class that I go. And I’m so glad I did. Of course, going along with my great trend I’ve had, I was sick on this trip. Having to get on a bus that Saturday morning was not where I wanted to be, especially since I had been coughing up my lungs since the Thursday before.

Needless to say, I didn’t get to experience the awesome nightlife that Brighton is famous for, but I had been ready to get back in bed and just sleep my sickness away since I had woken up that morning.

The second day in Brighton really was the best/most exciting. We started the day with a tour of the town. My class had a different tour from everyone else because we were focusing on different points related to our class. It was an awesome perspective on a historic city. We went through the famous Lanes shopping district, and ended up at the Brighton Pavilion. Pictures weren’t allowed in there, but it was gorgeous. It’s supposed to be a Taj Mahal-inspired building, intended as a residence for the royal family near the coast (during the 18th and 19th centuries).

For lunch, I had the freshest and best fish & chips I’ve had since I got to England. Brighton is well known for its seafood…because it’s a beach town. Then I went and adventured down to Brighton Pier. I’ve never really been to a true pier before, and this was so cool. It was a little weird thinking that these carnival rides were on what was essentially a dock, but I just leaned into it. It was really cool. I just walked around and took a lot of pictures during my afternoon free time, so let’s go to (what I assume is) the only reason people are reading this post: photos!

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I’ve gotten really behind at writing blog posts lately. I have a lot of posts with titles and pictures in them, but no words yet. But I also have a bunch of papers due in the next week, so I’m working to find a good balance. Hopefully I’ll get caught up this week, but if not, next week for sure! Thanks for sticking with me!


lydia. 

Lisbon Landscapes

I know it’s been a while since I actually went to Lisbon, but hey, better late than never, right? Since breaking up my travel posts worked out so well for my Scotland trip, I plan to do the same with my Lisbon trip. Check out parts ONE and TWO!


Since I got such a positive response on the last photo post I did (landscapes in Scotland), I thought I would do another one! This one is focused on the landscapes and beautiful scenes in Lisbon. Enjoy! (And let me know which is your favorite, as I want to enter some of them in my school’s study abroad photo contest!)

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Lisbon was BEAUTIFUL (if you couldn’t tell), and if you have any questions about planning a trip to Portugal, let me know! I know a lot more than I did before this trip!


lydia. 

Lisbon: We Walked HOW Far?

I know it’s been a while since I actually went to Lisbon, but hey, better late than never, right? Since breaking up my travel posts worked out so well for my Scotland trip, I plan to do the same with my Lisbon trip. Check out parts ONE and THREE!


Saturday in Lisbon was one for the books. To put it simply, Kelsey and I estimated we walked about ten miles that day alone. A lot of it being up and downhill. As someone recovering from the worst blisters in her entire life, it was difficult. But it was so, so worth it for the stuff we got to see.

We got up pretty early in the morning, to the free breakfast in our hostel. I don’t know what it is with this hostel, but they kept getting better and better. They had waffles, toast, cereal, coffee, panini’s, apples, tomatoes, cucumbers, orange juice, tea, and literally so many other breakfast foods. This breakfast was probably better than any hotel breakfast I’d ever eaten. Not to mention the fact that they had nutella on the table for the waffles.

The hostel also offered a free walking tour at 10:30 every morning (seriously if you’re ever in Lisbon stay in this hostel I promise you they’re not paying me to say any of this I really believe it), so we decided to go on that. Even though it had begun to rain and that made the old cobblestone tiled streets even more slick, we thought it would be the best way to see the city.

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Turns out, it was. Our tour guide, Marco, was so great and very personable. Our first stop was literally to just chat and get to know each other. We had to introduce ourselves and give a hint as to what country we were from and everyone had to guess. I said “everyone’s afraid of our next president – even though we don’t know who it will be” and Kelsey said “we really love baseball.” There were probably four or five other Americans on the tour, so we quickly ran out of ideas as to what to say. Not to mention our accents really give us away.

We spent about three hours on the tour, walking around the main part of central Lisbon, trying not to slip on the wet ground and keep up with fast-walking Marco. He spouted off facts about his home country faster than I could talk about my hometown, and we ended our tour at a local flea market. As someone who lives about half an hour from the largest flea market in the Southeastern USA, and the largest indoor flea market in the USA (it’s the same one LOL), this flea market seemed like no big deal. But it was still a really cool market. I actually ended up getting three Christmas presents for people there. There were also huge booths that looked like mini garage sales. I’m not sure why, but that was really interesting to me.

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By the time we left the flea market and got some lunch, it was a few hours until sunset. We wanted to take a train to Belém to make it to Torre de Belém before the sun set. We had to go back to the hostel (I hadn’t brought my jacket with me and we had souvenirs we didn’t want to carry around). My feet were killing me, but I was excited to walk down by the riverside again and watch the sun set over the river.

By the time we made it to Torre de Belém I had to sit down. But the view was breathtaking and almost worth it. We even found a makeshift stand called “wine with a view,” and it is exactly what it sounds like. They sold wine right by the river so you could sit and enjoy a glass of wine as the sun went down. Which is exactly what I did. It really brought the whole evening together.

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How we felt after walking nearly three miles to get there.

We ended up back at TimeOut Market for dinner, and on our walk back, we began to hear really loud music. Assuming we had missed out on a party, we followed the noise to outside a Tezenis store, where a huge stage was set up and there were DJs on a balcony. Staying to see what all the ruckus was about, it turns out we found ourselves in the middle of Rita Ora’s launch of her lingerie line. She was performing a concert at the opening of this store, that she was partnered with, and Kelsey and I stumbled upon it at the exact moment that it was starting. What are the odds?

While I didn’t really know who Rita Ora was (until Kelsey explained to me she had contributed to a bunch of famous songs, including “Black Widow”), it was still really fun to join the crowd and cheer her on and she performed. Not only did we get the chance to see Rita Ora, but we got to hang out at a free concert that we managed to run into. It was so cool.

That night at the hostel was cocktail night, but I opted for a shower and to go to bed early. Once Kelsey and I had discussed exactly how much we think we had walked that day (boy I wish I had had a FitBit for Saturday in Lisbon), I was even more tired than I had previously been. Kelsey was FaceTiming a friend back home at 11:00PM, but I was asleep before she even got back to the room. We were both wiped out from our trek around the city that day.

Overall, Lisbon was a trip I will never forget. Even though I doubted initially if there was going to be anything to do in Lisbon, it was going to be worth it to get to see Kelsey alone. Lisbon was great, but getting to see Kelsey was better. I couldn’t have imagined a better trip with a better person. Only with Kelsey would we accidentally walk ten miles in one day, run into a Rita Ora concert, and plan our future houses based on the media room of the hostel (LOL). At first, it seemed like there wouldn’t be anything that cool to do in Lisbon, it was absolutely one of my favorite trips I’ve taken in my life.

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Thanks for a great weekend, Kels. See ya in December.


lydia.

Lisbon is for Reunions

I know it’s been a while since I actually went to Lisbon, but hey, better late than never, right? Since breaking up my travel posts worked out so well for my Scotland trip, I plan to do the same with my Lisbon trip. Check out parts TWO and THREE, up later this week!


Over the first weekend of November, I met up with one of my best friends from back at Wofford, who is spending her semester abroad in Granada, Spain: Kelsey! After a lot of confusion in planning our trip and even a change in weekend, we finally decided on Lisbon, Portugal as our destination.

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Kelsey and I posing at Miradouro de Santa Luiza!

I’m not gonna lie, when Kelsey first suggested Lisbon, I was like “really? Lisbon? What’s in Lisbon?” But boy was I wrong. Lisbon is absolutely gorgeous and is chock-full of history. Did you know it is one of the oldest cities in Western Europe? And it was completely destroyed in the 15th century by an earthquake, fire, and tsunami? Talk about an apocalypse. Lisbon was a part of the Roman empire, and is still home to some Roman ruins.

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But without a doubt, the best part about going to Lisbon was getting to see Kelsey. If you know me at all, you know that my friends are incredibly important to me. Being away from them for so long is slowly breaking me, but getting to see Kelsey, even if for a short period of time…it was so, so wonderful.

On Friday, I arrived in Lisbon, navigating my way from the airport to the hostel by myself (Kelsey had arrived before my flight even left London), and honestly – I was super proud of myself. First things first, we had to take a reunion selfie (after the ten minute hug I initiated). Then, after checking into the hostel (Good Morning Hostel – Lisbon, I would highly recommend this hostel if you ever go to Lisbon IT WAS AMAZING), we decided to adventure over to the TimeOut Market. It’s basically a huge food market and had everything we could ever imagine. But of course, these Americans had pizza.

It was getting close to sunset (thanks Daylight Savings Time) when we finished our late lunch, so we ventured uphill (for some reason, Lisbon is SUPER hilly) to Miradouro de Santa Luzia, which essentially means “viewing point.” It was gorgeous. We got some great pictures and were completely blown away by the views. For a while, I was under the impression that we were overlooking the ocean, but I later learned that it was just a river.

On our walk back, we stopped every few blocks to take pictures of the tiles on the facades of the buildings. That’s one thing I didn’t expect in Lisbon was the beauty of the architecture. Yes, they had Spanish-style buildings, but also they had the facades decorated with elaborate tiles. It’s something that really makes Lisbon unique, and something I really loved.

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While these are not the actual tiled walls, these are some tiles from former facades that were for sale at Feira la Ladra!

Our hostel (which is so amazing), had a free sangria night on Friday night, and we both took full advantage of that. We got the chance to meet some of the other people in our hostel (people from everywhere – USA, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Czech Republic, Mexico – all over), which I really loved. It was something that I feel like you don’t get the chance to do in most hostels, and even though I was super excited to be spending time with Kelsey, it was really cool to get the opportunity to meet people from all over the world.

Our final adventure for our first day in Lisbon was an attempt to locate a Tapas bar. Kelsey had been raving about how wonderful Tapas bars are in Granada (you can apparently get appetizers and a drink for like two euros). But that was not the case in Lisbon. It’s not Spain (obviously), so there weren’t many places that were like Spain. We did end up finding a really cool restaurant where we got food, but it took way too long for our liking. Kelsey had been up since 4:30AM and I had been up since 6:30AM. Neither of us wanted to wait very long for food, but Europe takes their sweet time in restaurants. Needless to say we were ready for bed when we finally made it back to the hostel.

More than anything though, I am glad that I took this trip because I wanted to see Kelsey. My friends are very important people to me and not being able to see them is really starting to get to me. Spending this time with Kelsey really helped make up for it. Kelsey is such an amazing person, completely genuine and tells it like it is. But she’s also kind and caring and the person you want to have around if something goes wrong, because she always keeps a level head. She is not judgmental and loves with her whole heart.

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I had been going through a small bout of homesickness the week before I went to Lisbon, and Kelsey cured that for me without a doubt. There is no one in the world I would rather adventure around Lisbon with, attempting to not completely wipe out on the slick tiled hills. It was a random adventure, but I wouldn’t have had it any other way with any other person.


lydia.

Scotland: My Search for Nessie

My trip to Scotland was jam-packed with adventures, so I had to break it up into multiple posts! Check out parts ONETWO and THREE!


Our last day in Scotland was a trip to Loch Ness. I was so, so excited for this trip, because I had always wanted to visit Loch Ness. Not many people know that it is one of the coldest Lochs in the country (staying pretty constant at 3 degrees C), and that it was created by a shift in the Earth’s core. It was absolutely beautiful (as the rest of Scotland has been), and like I said in the last post: a picture is worth a thousand words, and I had about a million words to describe Loch Ness.

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Loch Ness Clansman…the hotel that runs the boat tour we took across Loch Ness!

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For some reason, my camera was super blurry during this whole trip. I thought this would’ve turned out a better picture, but alas…

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Colin, Chloe, myself, Jackie, and Mimi on the boat trip across Loch Ness

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Loch Ness, Scotland

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Loch Ness, Scotland

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Searchin’ for Nessie

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hanging with my good pal, Nessie

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More scenic views of Loch Ness, Scotland

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Selfies from Urquhart Castle on the shores of Loch Ness

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my personal favorite, a selfie from the shore of Loch Ness (I’m standing right outside Nessie’s house)

Another one of the coolest places I’ve ever been, and for sure one of the most beautiful. I know I keep saying that, but everywhere I go seems to top the last place I went! It’s completely insane how cool this semester has been.

That’s all from Scotland, but I still have plenty of time left in Europe (I am lying to myself here…I only have about a month and a half left but I don’t want to admit it), so stay tuned for even more adventures!!


lydia.