Before I went to Madrid, I expected what I had experienced in Barcelona, which was lots of sangria drinking and paella eating. When I decided to travel to Spain again, I knew that I should add Madrid to my itinerary but had no idea what to expect.
“Focus on the journey, not the destination.” – Greg Anderson
A good book can place you into a culture without having been there, or enhance it further by travelling and recognizing what the authors meant when they were writing. Some of my favorite holidays have been made even better by having a good book by my side that gives me an authentic insight to the culture I’m experiencing.
Study abroad season is back. Following the information session this month, dreams of doing tutorial readings while tanning, eating your weight in gelato and whiling away the hours in street cafés are in the air. But then reality hits – what about your friends? You’ve only just completed first year after all – do you want to be leaving again so soon? And why did no-one mention that you needed a 13.5 rather than a 7? And how are you going to pay for all this ice-cream?
This summer I decided to plunge even further into Scottish life and spend my time working a part time job in Edinburgh. Okay, it may have been more out of necessity after a depleted fresher bank account, but nonetheless it was an exciting new adventure.
“Is it safe to go to Greece this summer? Do I need to bring a lot of cash? How dangerous are the protests?” These are just some of the questions that I heard last spring. Because of the economic crisis and insecurity surrounding the summer elections, many countries advised their citizens to take precautions when traveling to Greece. I live in Greece every summer, so these warnings resulted in friends waiting for my emailed responses with panicked eyes, hoping that their plans of visiting me for countless days sunbathing and ouzo-drinking could still be salvaged.
My time in Strasbourg is not quite how I imagined life in France. Perhaps it’s because Strasbourg is not quite French. With omnipresent German architecture, street signs often supplemented with the Alsatian equivalent, and every restaurant advertising meals such as “Sürkrüt” and “Flàmmaküacha”, it is safe to say that the town of Strasbourg (a name derived from the German language) appears to owe more to its Germanic heritage than to the Republic.