Nov. 23

Today I went to a ropes/zip-line course.  It was so cool.  The stuff was really high up in the trees, and the ropes courses were actually pretty challenging.  What made it scary was that all of the lines are purposely loose, so if you shake a little bit the whole obstacle that you’re on will shake a ton.  I did the second and third highest/hardest courses and then the one course that was all zip lines.  About 15 UST people went plus a few others from our hostel, and it was really fun.  Other people went canyon jumping, skydiving, and paragliding.  After the ropes course, we went back to the hostel and got wraps for lunch at a place across the street.  After lunch, Nicole, Sam, and I decided to explore Interlaken a little bit.  Switzerland is REALLY expensive.  We found a McDonalds, and a cheeseburger was like 11 Swiss Francs, which is a little over 12 dollars!  We walked around and took pictures, and then got some chocolate at a grocery store.  It was really inexpensive, but even though it was the generic grocery store brand it was really good.  That night, the hostel organized a Thanksgiving dinner for the large American groups there (for us and an AIFS group from the US studying in Barcelona).  It was turkey, stuffing, carrots, potatoes, and then a chocolate/vanilla/raspberry cake for dessert.  It was really really good.  After that, most people from our group went to the bar/club in the hostel’s basement, which was fun.

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Nov. 22

Today, since it’s thanksgiving, we don’t have any class.  We are meeting our group by school at 1:45 to leave for Switzerland, so it was nice to be able to pack and get stuff done in the morning.  After I got some errands done, I met everybody at school and we got on our bus to Gatwick.  The bus ride was pretty long.  Gatwick is a surprisingly nice airport, with lots of good shops and stuff.  Once we got to Switzerland, we got on our bus to our hostel.  It was a really sweet bus – it had two stories, and each seat was almost like a business class airplane seat, with a flip up footrest and the ability to go almost flat.  Once we got to our hostel in Interlaken, which is a really cute place, we got settled into our rooms and then got some food at the pizza place next door.

Nov. 19

Today we woke up, ate breakfast at the hotel, and then got back on the hop on hop off bus.  We got off at Kilmainham Gaol and toured that, and then we rode the bus back around and then walked over to Trinity College.  We looked around there, and then Hilary, Christina, and I split off from Hilary’s parents, who were going to look at a church or churches.  We wandered up and down Grafton Street and had lunch, and then we kept walking down O’Connell Street and going into the shops.  We found Penny’s, the Irish Primark, and we all got a few things.  It was exactly like Primark but with all different merchandise, so that was a good store to find.  After that, we stopped at Tesco to grab some snacks for the flight and then went to the airport.  Before we left, Hilary’s mom started throwing up, and continued to do so the whole way back to England, so that was a bummer for her.  She thinks it’s the flu because if it was food poisoning, it would have been from breakfast, which we all ate together.  Even though we were only in Ireland for 2 days, we got a lot of stuff done on our littleToday we woke up, ate breakfast at the hotel, and then got back on the hop on hop off bus.  We got off at Kilmainham Gaol and toured that, and then we rode the bus back around and then walked over to Trinity College.  We looked around there, and then Hilary, Christina, and I split off from Hilary’s parents, who were going to look at a church or churches.  We wandered up and down Grafton Street and had lunch, and then we kept walking down O’Connell Street and going into the shops.  We found Penny’s, the Irish Primark, and we all got a few things.  It was exactly like Primark but with all different merchandise, so that was a good store to find.  After that, we stopped at Tesco to grab some snacks for the flight and then went to the airport.  Before we left, Hilary’s mom started throwing up, and continued to do so the whole way back to England, so that was a bummer for her.  She thinks it’s the flu because if it was food poisoning, it would have been from breakfast, which we all ate together.  Even though we were only in Ireland for 2 days, we got a lot of stuff done on our little trip.

Nov. 18th

Today we got up super early to go to the airport.  Since we were leaving before public transportation was up and running, we just took a cab to Stansted Airport.  We met Hilary’s parents there, and we got on our Ryanair flight to Dublin.  Since the baggage rules are so strict on Ryanair, and since we were only going for about 36 hours, I just took my gray Longchamps bag.  Once we got there, we took a bus to our hotel, dropped our bags, and got on the hop on hop off bus tour.  We rode that around for a while, and then got off to go to the Chester Beatty Library.  We saw some pages there that were from one of the oldest copies of the Bible, so that was cool.  After that, we got back on the bus and then got off at the Guinness factory.  We toured that, and then learned how to pour the perfect pint, and then looked around the bar at the top.  After that, we went back and checked into the hotel.  For dinner we walked over to the Temple Bar area.  We ate dinner at a traditional Irish restaurant.  Christina and I both got beef stew, which was really really good, and then we split an apple cinnamon crepe ice cream thing for dessert, which of course was also really good.  After that, we went back to the hotel and went to sleep.

Nov. 17

Today we got up, ate breakfast, and then left the hotel to go to Glastonbury.  It was supposed to rain all day, but it was beautiful, so that was a nice surprise.  Our first stop was Glastonbury Tor, a HUGE hill with a tower on top.  It was used by a monastic community for ages, and a long long time ago, the surrounding area was flooded and the Tor was an island (according to our guide).  We parked at the bottom, and it was basically like climbing a mountain to get to the top.  It was endless stairs that snaked back and forth across the hill next to the one with the tower, and then more stairs on a slight incline over to the hill with the tower.  It was insanely hard, and one girl even had an asthma attack on the way up.  Once you got to the top, there were great views all around.  After that, we went to Glastonbury Abbey, which is in ruins, but must have been quite cool when it was still standing.  What’s left is HUGE.  At this site, we also got to see where King Arthur and Queen Guinevere’s bones were supposedly found, and we found out that Glastonbury Tor was supposedly where Avalon was, so that was really cool.  After the Abbey, we had free time in the town for lunch.  Glastonbury is a weird town – we walked up and down the main road for 20 minutes before finding a restaurant that was not a “licensed vegetarian restaurant”.  We also tons of shops selling crystals and incense.  After lunch, we got back on the bus and drove to Stonehenge.  There’s not much there – just some bathrooms and a walk up food stand, but they’re building a new visitor center down the road that will supposedly be much better.  The stones themselves are a little underwhelming, but it’s mind blowing to think that something was on that site as long as 5000 years ago.  The site was abandoned by one group BEFORE the pyramids were even started.  It’s true that you just get out, take pictures, and then leave, but it was still pretty cool because the sun was setting behind the stones right as we were leaving, so it was really pretty.  We got back around 7pm, and the three of us went straight home to pack for Ireland.

Nov. 16

Today we got up super early to go on our overnight trip to Bath, Glastonbury, and Stonehenge.  First we stopped at an old burial burrow in the middle of a field.  It was aligned so that on certain days, the sun would shine all the way down the inside of the burrow and hit the head of the person buried there, so that was an impressive feat of engineering.  Next we went to a small town that had a big rock circle around it, kind of like a giant Stonehenge.  The rocks we all deliberately placed a certain way in a certain formation, but nobody knows how or why they were there.  The stone circle also had a ditch around it that would have been about 70 feet deep when it was first made.  Again, nobody knows how it was made or why.  After that, we dropped our bags at the Bath hotel and went to the Bath city center.  We had some free time to explore and get lunch, and then we met up again to tour the Roman Baths.  Bath is a really cute little city with lots of shops and restaurants that were all already decorated for Christmas.  The Roman Baths were really really cool.  They were preserved much better than I thought that they would be.  We spent a long time in high school Latin classes talking about Latin speaking people who ended up in Britain, and we looked at the Roman Baths a lot.  It was also a cool atmosphere.  It was cold outside but the baths were warm, so the whole area was steamy/misty.  After the baths, we went on a walking tour of Bath.  Our tour guide showed us where rich people (like Nicholas Cage) buy or rent houses when they are in town and where Jane Austen lived when she was in Bath.  We also saw the modern day spa that uses local water.  We were told not to touch the water in the Roman Baths because it is contaminated with bacteria, but the water that the spa uses is famous for its therapeutic properties.  After the walking tour, a bunch of us got dinner at a Jamie Oliver restaurant.  After that, we walked back to the hotel.  We didn’t go out later because it was cold and a long walk to the city center, and we didn’t feel like walking back late at night, so we found an American channel on tv and watched American shows.

Nov. 14

Today we didn’t have management since our teacher is back in the US for the week to meet with students from an online class he is teaching from over here.  The only thing I had scheduled today was registration at 3.  I registered for Theory of Interest, Theology of World Religions, Computer Technology for the Business World, Honors Financial Management, and an honors seminar called The Foreign Experience.  After registration, Ashley and I went down to Leicester Square.  It was the UK premiere of the last Twilight movie, Breaking Dawn Part 2.  Once we got down there, we looked around and saw all of the stuff set up.  They had barriers, red carpets, a stage, lights, big screens, and billboard sized posters.  We hung out there for a while while people got there.  None of the big celebrities came in by us, but we saw Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson on the big screens, and we heard all of the big actors in the film get interviewed on the stage.  Althogether, it was really cool.  After that, Ashley and I walked around and found Wok to Walk, a Chinese walk up restaurant.  You pick a base (rice, noodles, etc.), a protein, veggies, and then a sauce, and then they cook it all together in a pan right in front of you, and then you take it to go.  It was SO good – we will definitely be going back there!