Tag Archives: exploration

Veni, Vidi, Trepidati (I came, I saw, I panicked)

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A bit of context please! The following story is based on an “adventure” of sorts I had last year. I might sound unlikely but, yes, it did indeed happen!

Saturday, 26th of October, 4:30

Espresso shots so far: 1, mental awareness: 35% (zombie), panic attacks: 1 (minor)

The special tune in the alarm clock and the obligatory pre-trip nerves appear to be the only reasons I am functioning at this infernal hour. It also appears that caffeine and sugar do not have their fabled WAKE-UP effect on me. Note to self: Do not trust advertisements again.

 

Stumbled over my backpack twice while looking for my hairbrush. Found it under a pile of clothes awaiting ironing. Dread to think how it ended up there. Was under the impression last night that all I would need in the morning was ready to be packed. I stand corrected.

 

6:30

Mental awareness: 45% (systems booting)

Taxi arrived the moment I opened the door. Thank heavens for good timing, or flat mate would have had my head for making noise so early in the morning. Will probably still do when I return… Had to kick the door close. Coffee still in hand, I had to wrestle a backpack and a drawstring bag onto the backseat and then proceed to make pleasant conversation with driver. Now, why do I have a bad feeling I am missing something important?

 

6:45

Mental awareness: 60% (systems loading)

Arrived at the rail station. First thing I noticed was the train on platform, preparing to leave. Yet, it appears I am about an hour early. That can’t be right. Better check with the nice gentleman by the platform doors after I finish my breakfast.

 

6:46

Mental awareness: 115% (panic attack imminent)

A MISPRINT! THERE WAS A MISPRINT AT THE TICKET OFFICE! I had specifically asked for the train leaving at 7:30, so that I would not have to pull an all-nighter just to be at the train station on time. Now I realize that the printed time on the ticket is 6:30. How could I have possibly missed that? Still, deep breaths, deep breaths now, no reason to freak out just yet. I can change the ticket for one on the very next train to London, no harm done, just a slight delay, right? Right? Oh, who am I kidding? THIS IS TERRIBLE! WHY ME?

 

7:00

Mental awareness: 95% (systems operational), mood: bad

Apparently printing error was my fault. Had to buy whole new set of tickets for part of the journey. Think that I hate the railway system a little more than I used to. Had to waste ten minutes waiting on a queue just to talk to someone. Conversation at the ticket office proceeded as such:

Me: There was a misprint in my ticket. Can I change it for a later one? Preferably one for the very next train to London.

Unsympathetic employer: I am afraid we cannot change your ticket. You will have to buy a new one.

Me (beginning to panic and not really caring about my account balance at this point): Fine! I need to get to Cardiff. It’s an emergency.

Unsymp…You know what? Let’s call him Joe: Well, the next cheapest fare leaves at four in the afternoon.

Me (hyperventilating as next train to London arrives at the platform): No, no! You don’t understand! I need to get to Cardiff as soon as possible! Just give me a ticket for the next train.

Joe: Very well Miss. That’ll be *** pounds.

Me: Gah!

 

Now sitting on the train on my way to London, I find myself unable to focus on anything other than homicidal thoughts involving printers, credit cards,Ticket office employees and  P. “I can’t access my bank account,” he said! “Can you come give me a hand sis?” he said. “It’s not that far!” he said. Ugh! Deep breaths now! Perhaps some calming music will help.

 

8:30

Mental awareness: 65% (still sleepy), mood: annoyed

Almost in London and struggling to keep myself awake. The effect of the music might have been too calming. Opposite seat has been taken over by someone who can’t possibly be anyone other than a retired Inspector Gadget. He has spread more electronical devices on the table between us than I thought possible and his legs have expanded to the point where I have to practically climb ON my seat to avoid being stepped on. Too tired to do anything more than the occasional glare, to which he is impervious, as he is hidden behind his newspaper. I hope Dr. Claw gets you sometime soon, you leg-space invader!

 

9:15

Mental awareness: 85% (not bad…), mood: cautiously optimistic

Unbelievably made it to London Liverpool Station with time to spare. Was not sad to part with Inspector Gadget. Had brief moment of confusion as I tried to find my way from Liverpool Street to Euston Station. Decided to play it safe and run the distance. In retrospect not a good idea since I was carrying two very awkwardly shaped bags. My mother was right. I need to exercise more… Must have been quite the show, bursting to the platform out of breath, bags nearly flying out of my hands and asking panicked about the train to Cardiff. Somebody must have been having a good laugh at my expense since I had barely caught my breath before the train rolled on the platform….

 

11:00

Mental awareness: @#$%*blue screen of death! @#%$!&*

Birmingham has more than one train stations. BIRMINGHAM HAS FIVE BLOODY TRAIN STATIONS! WHY, UNIVERSE, WHY? Ticket said change trains in Birmingham, so when I picked up the word “Birmingham” over the frustratingly quiet intercom I –of course!- hurried out of the train. Seeing no trains bound to Cardiff, I started worrying but figured two ticket-related mistakes in one day are too much even for me. So I did what every mature person would do in my situation and popped to the closest information desk to ask directions. Turns out I was one stop early and that Birmingham has what appears to be an “international train station” in addition to the one where I was supposed to be at. It’s been a while since I wanted to punch something so much…. Nearly out of options, there is only one thing left to do: hitch a ride to the proper station. I will take it as a sign of mercy that the next train arriving on the platform was going the right way and was full enough for no conductor (no matter how dedicated) to attempt to check for tickets. It took fifteen minutes of doing a sardine impression and nearly twisting my ankle when the driver hit the brakes and I had nothing to hold on to, but I made it. Finally, finally the right station, the right train, the right time and minimal running involved! It’s nearly over! I am almost there! Dare I say it? What could possibly go wrong now?

 

11:05

Mental awareness: 35% (secondary system rebooting)

I…I think I might be lost. There should be a staircase leading to the platform right about here. Instead there is a solid wall. Harry Potter reference? Or did I just breeze by the stairs without seeing them? Whilst looking for them?

 

12:00

Mental awareness: 90% (secondary system reboot successful), mood: pleasantly surprised

What are the chances of sitting next to a friendly guy just because you launched yourself to the first free seat you found? Yes, there are still gleams of sun (figuratively) shining down on me. Fully intended on spending the rest of the journey reading and/or listening to music. Does not seem to be the case now. Guy sitting next to me not only talkative but actually interesting.

 

1:00

Mental awareness: 95% (really good), mood: best so far

Talked through the entire trip to Cardiff with cute guy next to me. Good mood appears to equal good luck since we appeared to be invisible to any and all conductors that passed by us, and I might have my ticket but he apparently lost his somewhere along the way. Topics ranged from travelling to babysitting (the inevitable subject between two people with too many younger cousins, nieces and nephews). Only half an hour left before this journey from hell is over and I must say it looks like it will end on a high note. Now, if only P. would pick up his phone…

 

1:45

Mental awareness: 100% (navigation system at full capacity), mood: stormy

Don’t worry, he said. I’ll pick you up from the station he said. Moral of the story? Never trust your little brother. Having toured the entire station and found P. waiting… nowhere, I finally managed to get him to answer the phone. It appears that it was LoL night, last night and every night, and he had only just woken up. Due to his phone ringing. Never mind. I am a grown woman, fully capable of navigating this city. To which I have never been before. Saddled with bags. With no map. In the pouring rain. I better get same damn good brownie points from the universe out of all this.

 

2:20

Mental awareness 80% (energy levels falling), mood: confused

Men come from the same planet as women, right? And dust is dust no matter how busy you are, right? Right? Took me nearly half an hour to found P.’s accommodation building, no thanks to this country’s inability to signpost the roads properly…. Had to face my immortal enemy: electronically locked doors. Tried to call brother and was promptly informed that I did not “have enough credit to make this call.” Tried following the instructions by the door and put the room’s code (which should have opened the door). Failed spectacularly. Tried again. And again. At this point a security guard came to see what’s the fuss. Explained the situation and was escorted to the reception, while (very understanding) guard went to knock on P.’s door to inform him of my arrival (and most likely wake him up). Popped in thirty seconds later to tell me that there was someone coming. Was that my brother? Lo and behold here was his Royal Lateness in his pajamas and flip-flops, coming to pick me up. Yes, he had only just rolled out of bed.

 

Walked up the stairs, through a maze of corridors, to his room. Paused nervously at the door.

“You weren’t joking about giving me a hand with cleaning, were you?” he asks. Would have cheerfully slapped him if it weren’t for the fact that I was so tired. As it were I limited myself to a frustrated “Just open the damn door!”

 

At this point I think a description of what I’m surrounded with is necessary. I will start with the premise that the expression “bombed” is no longer a cliché but very much a feasible reality. The drawers under the bed are hanging half-open and half-empty. The bed itself unmade (of course) and half-covered in posters. The desk practically invisible under the module handouts, empty bags of crisps, laptop gadgets and the occasional bundle of pennies. The kitchenette a qualified hazard zone. Nearly all the clothes stuffed in the laundry bag. Three bags of garbage by the door. Clusters of dust and fluff at the corners. I’m afraid to leave my perch on the bed to check on the bathroom.

 

Moral of the story? Never, under any circumstances, visit a first-year in university accommodation. The trauma is not worth it.

Pages flying everywhere…

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Last day in London and I am tireeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeed! And if I were a more reasonable person that would have meant finding somewhere cosy and spending most of the day there. Did I do that? No! Bookshops to see, museum exhibitions to gawk at and, busted ankle or no busted ankle, the day was fine and I’d take advantage of that. Which is why this post will be fairly short. At this point I am too tired to even put some shoes on and walk to the corner takeaway from some dinner. Nope, it’ll be a bubblebath and early night for me, thank you very much!

My day was fairly uneventful at any case. I had breakfast at this fancy place downtown, called Kahve Dunyasi. As someone who takes her chocolate seriously I can give them my seal of approval and a double thumbs up. Plus they serve hot drinks with chocolate spoons. Chocolate spoons! How cool is that?

Not my best photo, I admit.

Not my best photo, I admit.

From then it was round two of my bookshop spree and I discovered this tiny, tucked away place, Cecil Court. Less than 50 metres long but every other shop sold books. Glee! Joy! Money spent! I regret nothing! Haha!

Cecil Court and its many bookshops.

Cecil Court and its many bookshops.

From there it was back to the tube and all the way to South Kensington for a coffee break before my ankle gave away from right under me and then off to explore the Victoria & Albert Museum. No photos taken there, sorry to  disappoint. I was too busy gawking at medieval and renaissance works of art. So I’m a sucker for all things past-1789. Sue me! Unfortunately the museum was too large and interesting. I skipped some of the collections and figured it was time for lunch when I realised that I had to sit down and rest every ten minutes. -sob-

Back to Piccadilly for me then and off to Fridays because it’s been a while since I had a proper burger and I was craving it. Luckily kitchen was slow so by the time I was done eating I felt secure walking as well. I had been meaning to have a quick look around Regent Street, not for shopping, heck I half expected to be asked to pay to look at some of those shops, just for the experience. Last time I was in London and in that area I headed straight for the H&M but this time I took my time. (And limited myself to buying only one bath bomb from Lush.) Made it all the way to Oxford Circus and then it was back to the hotel and a well-needed rest.

And on a side note addressed to the guy that tried to chat me up outside the Trocaddero today: Asking for my phone number and offering to give me a ride to the airport (not my fault he assumed I was flying home when I mentioned leaving tomorrow), while STILL not having given me your name is not going to win you points buddy! In fact it will firmly place you in the creepy-category and it will definitely NOT break my heart to tell you I’m busy tonight. Jeez! Why is it always the random guys on the street that do this and not a nice guy at my uni that I would actually been willing to date?

uuuuum...why? Just why?

uuuuum…why? Just why?

Oh, hello there! Isn't he cute?

Oh, hello there! Isn’t he cute?

Do you hear the people sing?

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Or in my case groan in pain,  but we’ll get to that later. Boy, did I have a busy day today! Where to start? Oh, I know! My schedule, or more like the list of bookshops I was going to check out. In my defense the only set thing I had was my obligatory theatre visit tonight. And the weather was gorgeous! Seriously, after last night I thought I’d be in for the chills. But no sir! I guess all the fireworks warmed up the sky?

I left the hotel bright and early and confident that I could face my immortal enemy with no problem. And what is my immortal enemy you might ask? It’s a different every other week but high on the list is always public transport. I mean seriously! Good luck figuring THIS out:

Hello! My name is Map and I am here to help you get lost faster and more efficiently.

There are two kinds of getting lost in my book (well, three if you kind my wishful thinking towards certain entities). There is the “shit I’m lost and I’ll be late” kind and then there is the “let’s walk through whichever road I fancy” kind. Today I had the dubious pleasure of experiencing both. First because I misread the aforementioned map and nearly boarded the wrong train. (And then nearly good squashed against the doors because rush hour). I have to give kudos to the disemboded announcer guy at Kennington station for directing traffic with the words: “Please move to any empty spaces to the right, it will make life easier for everyone.” And that is verbatim. Keh! Londoners are sassy!

I guess even dear old Will needed a break from all the writing...

I guess even dear old Will needed a break from all the writing…

Eventually I made it to Leicester Square and the closest Starbucks for  a much-needed sugar rush. The seasonal specials were just out today. Oh eggnog latter, how have I missed you! Thus armed I proceeded to get myself lost in this gorgeous part of London. -sigh- Why can’t I afford to stay here when I’m visiting? I generally don’t feel comfortable in large cities. I find them suffocating, all moody people, tall buildings and convoluted public transport (looking at you, Northern Line). Oh sure, I can appreciate the culture and shopping variety but only for a few days. Then it’ll be (happily) back to my small town with its manageable bus routes, its walkable distances and gentle teasing from a certain someone who can’t wrap his head around the idea that a smaller town can be as much (or even more) fun as a larger one, coughCardiffcough.

The neighbourhood is called Seven Dials, don't ask me why.

The neighbourhood is called Seven Dials, don’t ask me why.

See? Seven dials! Then again it IS the theatre district. Poetic licence?

See? Seven dials! Then again it IS the theatre district. Poetic licence?

I had made a list of a few bookshops I wanted to check out but honestly it was a more “let’s see what we’ll see” day. I ended up walking all the way to the British Museum, through the theatre district and Soho. Along the way I stopped at Mysteries and Treadwell’s (yes, these are bookshops), did a little shopping and let me tell you, good thing I’m on a limited budget (and luggage space) or I’d still be there going through books…

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BOOKS!

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On a slightly irrelevant note, both my flatmates and I are international students. We have this running theory that if you are staying or visiting a foreign country you will end up magically gravitating towards other people from your own country. Since I bump into Greeks at the weirdest places, I’m pretty sure there’s a sociologist out there that could probably prove this. It came therefore as little surprise when, after leaving Treadwell’s, the first shop that caught my eye was called The Life Goddess and was -you guessed it!- a Greek deli place. Shoutout to them, their meat pie is to die for! (and I take my pie-tasting very seriously!) I’ll probably go there again tomorrow, their cheese looked really good and it’s been a while since I have had graviera (look it up!).

Oh, why can't you be in Norwich?

Oh, why can’t you be in Norwich?

So anyway, by then my feet were starting to hurt and my sugar rush was long gone. Back to Leicester Square via Trafalgar Square (because I could) and back to the hotel. I’d barely kicked my shoes off when my phone went Ding! Lo and behold the latest (and last) Naruto chapter was up.

WARNING: FANGIRL SPAZZING FOLLOWING

I will keep this spoiler free but OH MY GOSH IT WAS AWESOME! AND I HAD SOOOOOOO CALLED SOME OF THE THINGS THAT HAPPENED! AND DAMN MY SHIPPING IS CANNON! WORD OF GOD, MARRIAGE AND BABIES CANNON! TAKE THAT YOU NON-BELIEVERS! -mental happy dance complete with twirls and imaginary confetti-

FANGIRL SPAZZING OVER

-ahem- Yeah, usually I try not to be so vocal (keep telling yourself that) but I get so rarely to see a pairing that I like being cannon that it’s an extra treat when it happens. And in this chapter I got four. Four! Practically gift-wrapped! I haven’t felt this much fangirl-glee since the last episode of season 6 of The Mentalist aired.

Past my fangirl fantasies being fulfilled (alliteration!) I also had the stage performance of Les Miserables to look forward to. It was…interesting to say the least. I mean, the musical itself was awesome, the cast amazing and -snif- Javert is firmly placed on my hug-at-first-sight list of fictional characters (I also have a glomp one and a shoot one, but that is a subject for a another post). But getting to the theatre… Oh I was all excited, was even going to wear my new, comfortable-ish stilettos, my hair co-operated on the first try, it appeared that there was nothing rotten in the state of Denmark (or the Olde London Town as a matter of fact). And then somebody Up There (or Down There, or Around Here) decided that I had had too much fun. Cue the artfully hidden by leaves pothole. Cue the sprained ankle and the half mile trek on heels. I’ve a high pain tolerance and I was still ready to cry by the time I made to the theatre. At least the performance made up for it, and the weather held out on the way back, because if I ended up having to limp with a bad ankle, on twelve-inch heels, under heavy rain… Let’s just say this post would have been on a more uncharitable nature. As it is I will leave you for a hot bath and an eight hour sleep before I head out to take London by storm again.

London Bridge is falling down…falling down…falling….

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Well, not down. Sorry to any music lovers, but from what I saw in the gloomy twilight London Bridge was most definitely NOT falling down! Or was it Tower Bridge? I was on Southwark with my back to the St. Paul Cathedral so… But I run ahead of myself. First things first: Welcome old readers and new to my latest round of travel blogging! Sit back, kick off your shoes and immense yourself to the wanderings of a 20something student with a limited budget and no head for directions.

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Aaand we’re ready to go folks!

My trip started so well, I couldn’t help feeling suspicious. I was on the train station early enough to grab a coffee, I boarded the train as soon as it arrived and made myself comfortable. The thing is, I have a really bad history with trains. Delays, misprints, getting lost…You name it, I’ve been through it some point. So I was understandably internally freaking out when one of the train people (conductor? I’m not sure what you call them) asked me if I was certain I was on the right train. Yup, I was, thank you very much! What followed, after we rolled out of the station at the pace of a lazy dragon, was a blissful couple of hours spend in re-reading Chocolat (read it if you haven’t, it’s AWESOME!), listening to music, admiring the landscape and fighting sleep. Had a bad night yesterday, I always seem to sleep badly the night before a trip. Which, if you think about it, is really bad management on my body’s part.

Anyway, not much to say for the train ride other than to describe a gorgeous sky that greeted us just as we entered the greater London area. Imagine that: it had been raining so far for the entire trip, so the landscape was coloured dark green and grey, But here the clouds were thinner and the occasional burst of sunlight, the pretty, golden kind, burst through. It’s amazing how much of a change the difference in light makes.

So I made it well and whole to London, and even managed to decode the train map in less than ten minutes. And that’s about where my transport-related fortune bids me goodbye. You see, I knew which stop to get off to, I just didn’t know which exit.Inevitably, I ended up choosing the one furthest from my hotel. It wasn’t a long walk, but if you’ve been in London you know how well the roads are signposted in some areas. Thank goodness for mobile GPS.

As for the hotel. It’s actually much better than I expected. Sure the neighbourhood is not that good (read: took a taxi back because the streets look scary) and there is some wear-and-tear but the room is clean, the bathroom sparkling and the bed comfortable. Also, I haven’t been able to hear anything past faint footsteps through the door, and after that place I stayed last year in Bangor…. When I booked they said they were giving me the last room, which might explain why there are a single and a double bed here (three guesses on which one I’ll sleep).

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I unpacked quickly and off I was to see my cousin. Poor baby, he’s a first year. Being the jaded third year that I am, I find his fresher-itis very amusing. We went at Nandos (not my top choice when there are pubs to sample) and then for a walk in Southwark. Top moment of the evening (initiating fangirl mode in 3…2….) I FINALLY SAW THE GLOBE THEATER! OH MY SHAKESPEARE! I FINALLY SAW IT! -ahem- Yes, I know it’s not the original but until I bump into either the Doctor of Marty McFLy (at this point I’m not picky. Heck, I’d even put up with Captain Kirk!), until I manage to get my hands on a time travelling transport I will content myself with what I can get.

Not that I am complaining... It IS the freaking Globe...

Not that I am complaining… It IS the freaking Globe…

Anyway, Cousin and I walk all the way to St Paul’s cathedral (cue the Mary Poppins song)  but by then the cold was getting annoying, so we grabbed a taxi and headed home. And so here I am finishing these lines. I will attempt to upload (the WiFi keeps crashing) and I hope you enjoyed my babbling. See y’all later!

P.S: Look at the gorgeous moon I saw from Southwark bridge!

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Spring Trip 2014 – Day 12 – English Version

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Today was the whimsical day, the day I woke up without an alarm clock, the day I wore my favourite dress for no reason, the day I wondered around and the day I bought that CD I wanted since I was fifteen. Normally I’d still be out, it’s blasphemy to be indoors with such a gorgeous sun, but unfortunately there’s luggage to be packed and a taxi to be booked (and quite a few pictures to go through). I’ll be out very soon, as soon as I’m finished writing this, since I need to find somewhere with Wi-Fi and tea to post this and kill a few hours until the tavern is open. Yeah, the one I went to the night before. I know I try to go to a different place every night but I won’t get to eat a souvlaki until I’m back in Athens so sue me!

I’m not kidding when I say today was my whimsy day. I had breakfast and then just randomly walked around with no map (or sense of direction). Mercifully I did not end up out of town again…. I did find a neighbourhood, however, that looked like someone had torn a page from a real estate magazine and pasted it over reality. It was the real deal: two-storey houses with stained glass over the door and blooming gardens, lace curtains and the occasional ceramic gnome. For once in my life I’m not snarking. I was a really nice road and, contrary to my expectations, not of the cookie-cutter variety.

Right… Yeah, not much to say, last day and all that jazz. Tomorrow I’ll post the last update from Norwich and officially announce what my next project will be. But for now, instead of wasting space talking about nothing, I’ll put up some of the pictures I’ve taken here in Nottingham.

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Spring Trip 2014 – Day 12

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Σήμερα ήταν η ανούσια μέρα, η μέρα που ξύπνησα χωρίς ξυπνητήρι, που έβαλα το αγαπημένο μου φόρεμα χωρίς λόγο, που έκανα μια βόλτα χωρίς κανένα λόγο και που αγόρασα το CD που ήθελα να αγοράσω από τότε που ήμουν δεκαπέντε. Κανονικά θα ήμουν ακόμα έξω, με τέτοιον ήλιο είναι αμαρτία να μένω στο ξενοδοχείο, αλλά δυστυχώς έχω μια βαλίτσα να φτιάξω και ένα ταξί να κλείσω (και καμιά εικοσαριά φωτογραφίες να ξεκαθαρίσω). Θα ξανακατέβω μόλις τελειώσω με αυτό το κείμενο για να το ανεβάσω και να σκοτώσω λίγη ώρα στο ίντερνετ μέχρι να ανοίξει η ταβέρνα. Ναι, ναι, ξέρω ότι συνήθως πάω σε διαφορετικό εστιατόριο κάθε βράδυ, αλλά δεν θα ξαναφάω σουβλάκι μέχρι να γυρίσω στην Αθήνα οπότε….

Δεν αστειεύομαι όταν λέω ότι σήμερα η μέρα μου ήταν εντελώς ανούσια. Έφαγα πρωινό και άρχισα να περπατάω χωρίς χάρτη. Ευτυχώς αυτή την φορά δεν κατέληξα έξω από την πόλη… Βρήκα όμως μια γειτονιά στην βόρεια άκρη της πόλης που ήταν λες και κάποιος είχε ξεκολλήσει μια σελίδα από εκείνους καταλόγους που έχουν στα μεσιτικά γραφεία και την είχε κολλήσει στην πραγματικότητα. Ήταν πλήρες πακέτο: διώροφα σπίτια με βιτρό στην πόρτα και ανθισμένους κήπους, δαντελωτά κουρτινάκια και που και που κανένας κεραμικός νάνος. Για μια φορά στην ζωή μου δεν σαρκάζω. Ήταν ένας πολύ ωραίος δρόμος και σε αντίθεση με αυτό που περίμενα τα σπίτια δεν ήταν ολόιδια.

Μάλιστα… Ναι, δεν έχω πολλά να πω, τελευταία μέρα and all that jazz. Αύριο θα ανεβάσω το τελευταίο κείμενο αυτής της σειράς από το Norwich και θα ανακοινώσω τι θα είναι το επόμενο project μου. Αλλά αντί να συνεχίσω να μιλάω για το τίποτα θα ανεβάσω μερικές από τις φωτογραφίες που έχω ανεβάσει στο Nottingham.

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Spring Trip 2014 – Day 11 – English Version

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Earlier today I wrote that as long as I am in Nottingham I will be posting in a day-late schedule. Considering however how much my feet hurt right now, I decided to chill at Starbucks for a while before walking back to the hotel. As for the background change…I wanted something more summer-y now that the sun has been shining even in England. Now that the boring stuff is out of the way, here is my day:

Remember my gleeful ranting about my hotel? Yeah, the points still stand but the other proverbial shoe has dropped: the Wi-Fi works only at the bar. Not only that, but their provider has decided to block WordPress because…reasons…We don’t ask and you shouldn’t either! Off I went to Starbucks for a coffee and to upload last night’s post and after that let the walking commence! I’m sure there’s a direct bus link with the campus (in fact several buses passed my on the way) but unless I walk an area I will never learn it. Not that I didn’t almost get lost or anything. My wander was nice however, Nottingham is much bigger than I expected but still well-kept. I know it sounds like I’m talking about a pet or a garden but it’s the best comparison I can think off. And with all those parks I think it’s rather apt.

I checked two of the university’s campuses (I’m pretty sure there’s a third one tucked away somewhere) and overall I’m pretty satisfied. The ground area is large, larger even than the Birmingham campus I dare say, but both the grounds and the buildings look good. Yeah, I think my potential uni master list looks like this, right about now:

  1. York
  2. Nottingham
  3. Birmingham
  4. Bangor

I want to check Edinburgh as well, but that will have to wait until I have money to travel again. Maybe sometime come December or January. We’ll see.

When I had finally seen all that I could see (and my feet were beginning to protest) I turned to walk back to town. Do I discern a self-destructing (or at least shoe-murdering) pattern here? Or at least I thought I was walking back to town. Thank goodness I asked for directions! Turns out I had been leaving Nottingham behind and was steadily heading for another town. My old fear of walking to a completely different city by accident nearly came true! I wanted to take advantage of the sun and wander around for a little longer, but after nearly eleven kilometres (seven miles for you Brits!) I couldn’t even stand anymore.

Hence my pit stop at Starbucks, this post and my plans with a bubble bath as soon as I can crawl back to the hotel. See you tomorrow with more news from Nottingham!

Spring Trip 2014 – Day 11

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Νωρίτερα έγραψα πως όσο είμαι Nottingham τα κείμενα θα ανεβαίνουν με μια μέρα καθυστέρηση. Δεδομένου όμως το πόσο πολύ πονάνε τα πόδια μου αυτή την στιμή, αποφάσισα να την αράξω στο Starbucks για λίγο πριν περπατίσω μέχρι το ξενοδοχείο. Όσο για την αλλαγή στο φόντο… Ήθελα κάτι πιο καλοκαιρινό τώρα που ο ήλιος λάμπει ακόμα και στην Αγγλία.Τώρα που βγάλαμε τα βαρετά από την μέση, ιδού τι τράβηξα σήμερα:

Θυμάστε τους διθυράμβους μου για το ξενοδοχείο; Ναι, ισχύουν ακόμα, αλλά θα ήθελα να προσθέσω σε αυτούς ότι το Wi-Fi λειτουργεί μόνο στο μπαρ. Όχι μόνο αυτό, αλλά και όποια εταιρία κι αν έχουν αποφάσισε να μπλοκάρει το WordPress για…λόγους…Δεν ρωτάμε, δεν ρωτάτε! Κατέβηκα λοιπόν στο Starbucks για ένα καφέ και για ανεβάσω το χτεσινοβραδυνό post και μετά ξεκίνησα το περπάτημα. Είμαι σίγουρη ότι υπάρχει λεωφορείο που να πηγαίνει στο πανεπιστήμιο (με προσπέρασαν μπόλικα όπως περπάταγα) αλλά αν δεν περπατήσω μια περιοχή, δεν πρόκειται να την μάθω ποτέ. Όχι ότι δεν παραλίγο-χάθηκα, αλλά λέμε τώρα. Η βόλτα ήταν πολύ ωραία, το Nottingham είναι αρκετά μεγαλύτερο απ’ότι περίμενα, αλλά όσες περιοχές έχω περάσει είναι πολύ καλοπροσεγμένες. Και απ’ότι φαίνεται η πόλη έχει πολλά και μεγαλα πάρκα. Και δεδομένης της ζέστης που έχει τις τελευταίες δυο μέρες, τα χρειάζονται.

Τσέκαρα δύο από τα campus του πανεπιστημίου (νομίζω έχει άλλο ένα κρυμμένο κάπου) και είμαι πολύ ικανοποιημένη. Είναι μεν αρκετά μεγάλα, αλλά τα πάρκα τους είναι πολύ φροντισμένα και τα κτίρια -κοιτώνες ΚΑΙ σχολές- φαίνονται κάλα. Γενικά νομίζω ότι η κατάταξη των πιθανών πανεπιστημίων για μένα πάει ως εξης:

  1. York
  2. Nottingham
  3. Birmingham
  4. Bangor

Θέλω να τσεκάρω και το πανεπιστήμιο του Εδιμβούργου, αλλά το αφήνω για όταν θα ξαναέχω λεφτά για ταξίδι. Μάλλον του χρόνου τον Δεκέμβρη. Ή τον Γενάρη. Αναρωτιέμαι, αν κάνω κοτσιδάκια θα μου ανοιξουν να πω τα κάλαντα;

Όταν είχα πλέον δει ό,τι ήταν να δω στο πανεπιστήμιο (και τα πόδια μου είχαν αρχίσει την γκρίνια) άρχισα να περπατάω προς την πόλη. Ή σε μια κατεύθυνση που νόμιζα ότι θα με πάει στην πόλη. Πάλι καλά που σταμάτησα και ρώτησα ένα περαστικό γιάτι είχα πάρει μια λάθος στροφή και άφηνα το Nottingham σιγά σιγά πίσω μου. Ο πάλιος μου φόβος ότι μια μέρα θα καταφέρω να περπατήσω από μια πόλη σε μια άλλη χωρίς να το καταλάβω παραλίγω να γίνει πραγματικότητα! Ήθελα να εκμεταλευτώ τον ήλιο και να συνεχίσω την εξερεύνηση της πόλης αλλά μετά από μια διαδρομή περίπου έντεκα χιλιομέτρων δεν μπορούσα να σταθώ.

Εξ ου λοιπόν η στάση στα Starbucks, αυτό το post και τα σχέδια μου για ένα bubble bath μόλις καταφέρω να συρθώ στο ξενοδοχείο. Τα λέμε αύριο με περισσότερα νέα από το Nottingham!

Spring Trip 2014 – Day 10 – English Version

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ANNOUNCEMENT! FOR AS LONG AS I AM IN NOTTINGHAM I WILL BE PROBABLY UPDATING A DAY LATE AND YOU CAN THANK THE HORRIBLE INTERNET AT THE HOTEL FOR THAT!

Right…Last stop before going back to Norwich and all that jazz…. I’m sorry I cannot describe the train ride here but as soon as I stepped on the train it was like somebody flicked a switch. I barely made to two seats and made myself comfortable before falling asleep. Good thing the girl sitting on the other side of the aisle offered to wake me up before we came into the city.

I had a bit of trouble when I arrived at Nottingham, as I was out of change and for some reason there was no cash machine on the station. It took a bit of walking, but mercifully there was a strategic line of taxis opposite of the first cash machine I found, so I didn’t have to walk all the way to the hotel. As I am sure you will have noticed by now, when I was booking hotels I went for “cheap”. Add to that the fact that my current “residence” is near a student neighbourhood and you can see why my expectations were rather low. Imagine therefore my pleasant surprise when I walked in my room. I dare say it is the best of the four! Comfy, spacy and it has a large bathroom. Jackpot!

Not that I stayed there for long…As soon as I was settled I went exploring. The city is well organised, divided in thematic/historical zones with – to my immense happiness – maps and signs everywhere. I went up to the castle (naturally!) and I might have to go back again, as when I arrived there was a tour to the caves below it about to start and, well, I couldn’t miss it! By the time we were out again the clouds that had been chasing me on and off before were completely gone. I am not ashamed to say that I spent the next thirty minutes laying on the grass, sunbathing.

Once I felt my batteries full again, I continued my walk, when another wild stroke of luck appeared. Not only did I find a Greek restaurant, but they also served great souvlaki (hurray!!). I was going to just going to sit for a quick bite but I got to talking with some people there and it was nine by the time we left, All in all I think I like it here. Tomorrow I’ll check the university, and from then on we’ll see.

Spring Trip 2014 – Day 10

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ΑΝΑΚΟΙΝΩΣΗ! ΓΙΑ ΟΣΟ ΕΙΜΑΙ NOTTINGHAM ΤΑ ΚΕΙΜΕΝΑ ΘΑ ΕΡΧΟΝΤΑΙ ΜΕ ΜΙΑ ΜΕΡΑ ΚΑΘΥΣΤΕΡΗΣΗ. ΜΠΟΡΕΙΤΕ ΝΑ ΕΥΧΑΡΙΣΤΕΙΤΕ ΤΟ ΧΑΛΙΑ ΙΝΤΕΡΝΕΤ ΣΤΟ ΞΕΝΟΔΟΧΕΙΟ ΓΙΑ ΑΥΤΟ!

Μάλιστα…. Τελευταία στάση πριν γυρίσω Norwich και τα λοιπά και τα λοιπά… Λυπάμαι που δεν μπορώ να περιγράψω την διαδρομή μέχρι το Nottingham αλλά με είχε πιάσει μια απίστευτη χλαπάτσα στο τρένο. Και όταν λέω χλαπάτσα δεν εννοώ νύστα. Εννοώ το πρώτο στάδιο της χειμερίας νάρκης. Χωρίς πλάκα! Είχα πιάσει δυο θέσεις και έριξα τον ύπνο του δικαίου. Πάλι καλά που η κοπέλα που καθόταν από την άλλη πλευρά του διαδρόμου προσφέρθηκε να με ξυπνήσει πριν φτάσουμε στην πόλη.

Είχα ένα μικρό πρόβλημα όταν έφτασα στο Nottingham, δεν είχα λεφτά στο πορτοφόλι και για κάποιο λόγο ο σταθμός δεν είχε ΑΤΜ. Μου πήρε σχεδόν ένα τέταρτο περπάτημα μέχρι να βρω κάπου να σηκώσω λεφτά, αλλά ευτυχώς είχε πιάτσα ταξί ακριβώς απέναντι οπότε γλύτωσα το υπόλοιπο περπάτημα. Όπως πιθανότατα να έχετε συνειδητοποιήσει πλέον, όταν έκλεινα τα ξενοδοχεία με ενδιέφερε κυρίως να είναι φτηνά. Κάτι αυτό, κάτι το γεγονός ότι η τωρινή μου “κατοικία” είναι κοντά σε φοιτητική γειτονιά, δεν περίμενα και πολλά. Τι ευχάριστη έκπληξη λοιπόν με περίμενε όταν μπήκα στο δωμάτιο μου. Τολμώ να πω ότι είναι το καλύτερο από τα τέσσερα! Άνετο, ευρύχωρο και με μεγάλο μπάνιο. Τζακ-ποτ!

Όχι ότι έμεινα και πολύ εκεί…. Μόλις ταχτοποιήθηκα κατέβηκα να τριγυρίσω το κέντρο. Η πόλη είναι πολύ καλά οργανωμένη σε θεματικές/ιστορικές ζώνες και προς μεγάλη μου χαρά έχει χάρτες και ταμπέλες παντού. Ανέβηκα και στο κάστρο (φυσικά!), αλλά μάλλον θα ξαναπάω για να το δω με την ησυχία μου, γιατί λίγο αφότου έφτασα είχε τουρ στις σπηλιές από κάτω του και δεν μπορούσα να το χάσω φυσικά! Όταν η γύρα τελείωσε τα σύννεφα που με ψιλο-κυνηγούσαν πριν είχαν καθαρίσει και δεν ντρέπομαι να παραδεχτώ ότι πέρασα την επόμενη μισή ώρα ξάπλα στο γρασίδι, κάνοντας ηλιοθεραπεία.

Όταν είχα ξαναφουλάρει τις μπαταρίες μου συνέχισα το περπάτημα, και για να δείτε τι θα πει τυχερός άνθρωπος, όχι μόνο έπεσα πάνω σε ταβέρνα, αλλά σέρβιραν και φοβερό σουβλάκι! Σκόπευα να κάτσω για ένα γρήγορο φαί και να γυρίσω στο ξενοδοχείο, αλλά πιάσαμε την κουβέντα με κάτι και πήγε εννιά μέχρι να το διαλύσουμε. Γενικά, νομίζω ότι θα μου αρέσει εδώ. Αύριο θα πάω να τσεκάρω το πανεπιστήμιο και από εκεί βλέποντας και κάνοντας.