Hello everyone! I am back. Do you know what can really hamper a blog? Internet that does not work for a week and then traveling for 12 days. Needless to say it is very hard to write new posts when that is happening. I am now back from travel week and ready to tell you all about my travels.
For the first part of travel week I traveled with my school to Kiev, Ukraine and Moscow, Russia. I spent two days in Kiev and three days in Moscow. I really wish we had spent more time in Kiev, but it seemed like there was a lot more to do that we did not get to when we were in Kiev. Kiev was a very old fashioned city. There were a lot of old churches and monasteries that we visited. We even got to tour underneath one of the monasteries where all of the monks were buried. The best part of the trip though was the World War II museum in Kiev. It was absolutely amazing and full of amazing artifacts. After we were finished in Kiev we traveled to Moscow via overnight train. The ride was not bad except for having to wake up at 2 am for a passport check at the Russian border.
We arrived in Moscow at 9 am though so we had a full day to tour around the city. It was a good thing that we got there so early because Moscow is huge. There are almost 10 million people that live there and it is a much larger city than St. Petersburg. Even though we were there for three days we really only got to see the highlights that all the tourists see. We spent a lot of time at the Red Square and saw St. Basil’s Cathedral, Lenin’s Mausoleum, GUM, the changing of the guards at the tomb of the unknown soldier, and had a tour of the Kremlin. That is a lot of stuff to do in just three days, but it was fun. My favorite part had to be Lenin’s Mausoleum because everything is so simple , but at the same time very powerful to witness all of the history in one room. After we finished in Moscow it was our free time and that is when I got the chance to explore Europe.
My first destination was Brussels, Belgium. I was planning on going with another student from the program, but her flight was delayed and we were staying in two separate hostels, so we never ended up meeting in Brussels. That was ok because I met four Canadians in my hostel who I hung out with. All four of them were from different parts of Canada and did not know each other. I only went out with them at night though. During the day I explored everywhere from The Grand Place to Manneken Pis to an old fashioned brewery to the home of the EU Parliament. Each day consisted of me taking out my map while eating a Belgium waffle in the morning to figure out where I wanted to go. Throw in a lot of walking and pictures and French Fries (which were actually made in Belgium) and that I what my days were like. It was a lot of fun and there was so much to do in the city. I would definitely be interested in going back and the other girl that went agreed as well.
From there I journeyed to Copenhagen, Denmark for three days. This is where I met up with a very good friend of mine who is studying in Copenhagen for the semester. If you are interested in looking at her blog this is the link: http://adanishadventure.wordpress.com/ It is a good thing that she has been studying there because she was able to show me all of the important highlights of the city. We covered almost the entire city in two days just by walking. It is a lot smaller of a city compared to Moscow. I guess that is one of the many reasons that the Danes decide to bike everywhere. The amount of bicycles on the road or at the metro stations was amazing. The entire city could be confused for just on big bicycle store. Besides the bicycles though we toured some museums, visited castles, walked around Christiania and even climbed to the top of a church. I would say all of it was definitely worth the cold and wind. Even the church where we were outside and it felt we could be blown off of the building. Just like the other places it was a very action packed few days. Copenhagen had to be my favorite city though. It seemed so cozy with the small buildings and pedestrian streets. Especially when we journeyed outside of the city to visit her host family. It seems like a great city to be in with just enough to keep you busy, but still a lot of places to explore.
Travel week was a lot of fun though. It was a great time to explore various cities that are difficult to get to because I live in the United States. Even though I was exploring on my own for a little bit it was still definitely worth it. The places that I went were amazing and it was definitely an experience of a lifetime to be able to travel to all of the countries. Some of my friends from this program want to do some more traveling before we leave, so we may go on a weekend trip to Finland or some of the Baltic States. We do not have a lot of time left so hopefully we can do that soon.
As you can imagine I have a ton of pictures from my trip so I will get those up shortly. I was not sure how well they would load if I tried to upload them with this post.