The month of April was a busy one – it was my last month without weekly deadlines and exam revision, so I decided to take advantage of the freedom. I went home for the Easter holidays in London, then travelled to Berlin and then back to Leuven.
Here is a little run down of the places I’ve visited, the food I ate and my inability to travel without forgetting at least one essential item or having a train delayed.
Despite finding out I had a surprise deadline for the end of the Easter holidays, it was great to be home. I did a little sight-seeing, ate a lot of food and caught up with a few friends along the way.
Whenever I travel I try and account for the actual amount of time I will need to change trains, to walk, to queue, etc. but for some reason I always end up waiting for 3 hours before a scheduled train because I have no real sense of time and would rather overestimate than underestimate.
Being away, you start to appreciate home a little more, and even start to realise how long it has been since you visited the Tower of London and the London Eye, despite it only being a 20-minute train journey into London. My year abroad has reminded me that along with my love for the restaurants in London, there is a whole lot of things to do and stuff to see. We decided to go on a tour of a lot of the London attractions I had done at least 5 times as a young child, but wouldn’t be able to tell you a thing about as a 21-year-old.
After some encouragement to get my act together and book my plane tickets, I flew to Berlin for a 4-day weekend on the hottest day of the year so far. The friend I was visiting was working on Thursday and so I went on a one-man mission, determined to see everything in Berlin. As a first-time Berlin tourist, I saw the Berlin Wall, the Oberbaumbrucke, Checkpoint Charlie, the Jewish Memorial, the Brandenburg Gate, the Reichstag Building and the Tiergarten.
I managed to see everything I wanted to on my first day there. When I was finally done, I sat in front of the Reichstag in the sun and felt very accomplished.
That night we realised I had given myself (mild) heatstroke.
After some sleep and a lot of ice tea and water, I was ready the next morning to go exploring. Over the next few days, I was introduced to flea markets where I desperately wanted to make at least five totally unnecessary purchases and take a rug and a footstool home with me. We had a lot of vegan food, went to a lake to cool down and went to more parks than my hayfever could handle. We even went to an outdoor bath on the river called a Badeschiff?
Heading back to Leuven was a little sad, but it ended up cooling down a little (thank god) and I ended up settling back into work, meeting up with friends and catching up with everyone in Durham.
Travel is not one of my strengths – I really enjoy it, but I stress about delays and train changes and a plethora of other seemingly minor issues – but I’ve really enjoyed this term and feel like I’ve taken full advantage of the (almost) free month!