Travel Journal #7 — A November to Remember

Versailles, FranceNovember has been an incredible month in Glasgow. The workload of all of my classes has picked up a bit as the end of the term comes to a close. But I still found time to fit in some travelling. This month, I went to Paris, London, and Edinburgh — three of the most beautiful and famous cities in Europe.
The first trip was Paris. Meghan, Bailey, and I met two friends from Centre — Mathieu, who is studying in Grenoble, France, and Jack, who is studying at Queens University in Belfast, Northern Ireland. It was great to see friends from home while being so far away. Over our weekend in Paris, we saw all of the famous sites — the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Arc de Triomphe, the Louvre, Musee d’Orsay, and Champs Elysees. It was fun to visit places that were made iconic by TV, books, and movies.
London & ParisBy far, the highlight of the trip was venturing to the top of the Eiffel Tower. We decided that we wanted to climb the stairs to the top. While we were waiting in line, it started pouring rain. We decided that we didn’t care, so we began our ascent to the top of the monument. The stairs go two-thirds of the way to the top, and then you take an elevator the rest of the way. Not only did we feel extremely accomplished once we reached the top, but the view was absolutely stunning. By the time we reached the top it was dark, so we saw the lights of Paris at night. Ever since I was a little girl, I expected to feel the atmosphere and ambiance of Paris someday. I felt that at the top of the Eiffel Tower.
While in France we also spent a day in Versailles, which included a visit to the chateau where Marie Antoinette lived. I was in awe of the extravagance of the entire property. I’ve never seen such elaborate paintings and textiles. I’d been told that Versailles was not to be missed — it’s so true.
After a few more uneventful weeks in Glasgow, Ellie and I decided to enjoy London over Thanksgiving weekend. If we couldn’t be with our families for the holiday, we might as well do something awesome, right? After comparing prices and travel times, we decided that taking a bus overnight was our best option. We boarded the bus on a Thursday night and arrived at 6:30 on Friday morning. We did some walking and saw the sun rise over the River Thames.
Thanksgiving with friendsAgain, in London, we saw all of the iconic sights — Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, the Palace of Westminster, Trafalgar Square, the National Gallery, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Buckingham Palace, and the Tower Bridge. All of these were marvelous to see. It’s hard to pick a favorite out of those. A few other highlights of the trip included going to Harrods — Europe’s largest department store, which has over 300 departments! Ellie and I indulged in a little bit of window-shopping and Godiva desserts while we were there. Another highlight was the Christmas market that we stumbled upon. We had delicious food and drinks, and found a “Bavarian Village” with a dance floor. It was an unexpectedly fun evening! We also went to Camden Town because of a recommendation from our flatmates. We shopped the underground markets and experienced the “punk” side of London. Ellie and I also got Garra Rufa fish pedicures — something I never thought I would do, but found surprisingly enjoyable! Overall, it was an amazing weekend in London.
After spending Thanksgiving weekend in London, we had our own Thanksgiving the following weekend with our flatmates. Ellie and I successfully cooked our first turkey along with sweet potato casserole, creamed corn, gravy, corn bread, green beans, brownies, and chess pie. It was such a great night because we shared an American tradition with our new friends abroad. Everyone had a blast and loved the food. They even asked for the recipes so they could make some of the foods for their own families! Even though it wasn’t on Thanksgiving Day, it was still a time for all of us to realize how thankful we were for our entire experience in Glasgow.
My last adventure of November was in Edinburgh. I woke up one Friday morning after classes ended and decided that I wanted to visit that city. So, I went to the bus station, bought a ticket, and went! I took a map with me and did some exploring. I visited the Edinburgh Castle and explored the Royal Mile. I saw both Old Town and New Town. It was really cool to see the capital of the country that I’ve been living in for the past three months.
After a very eventful November, I’m looking forward to a December filled with more trips, studying for finals, and savoring every last moment I have with my new friends in my new second home.
by Julie Springate ’14, currently participating in the Centre-in-Scotland study abroad program. Learn more about study abroad in Scotland.
PHOTOS (top to bottom): Exploring the grounds around the Palace of Versailles in France; visiting St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, the Eiffel Tower in Paris, and Big Ben/Houses of Parliament in London; and Thanksgiving dinner with friends abroad.

By |2012-11-30T09:19:09-05:00November 30th, 2012|News, Study Abroad, Travel Journals - Scotland|