Monday, August 5, 2013

Europe 2013

 I named this blog "25/8" in the aspiration to live life to its fullest. This past month feels like I've actually been living 25 hour days of an 8 day week. No one can say we wasted a single moment of this trip. 
     When my mom first called me at school and told me she was planning a trip to Ukraine, I immediately asked to stop in London. Having just looked at a university there, I figured since we'd already be in Europe, why not make a pit stop? Turned out my little sister, too, had requested London, so off we went. 
     My friend, M, lives in London (though unfortunately she was abroad when we visited) and she always gets annoyed when people stereotype London as gray and rainy. Nevertheless its a stereotype for a reason, and we packed accordingly for our visit. Armed with umbrellas and jackets we arrived just in time for a dry spell and the hottest day in seven years. Despite the heat we tackled nearly all of the major tourist sites, London Bridge, Tower Bridge, the Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, Kensington Palace, Big Ben, a cruise on the Thames, Millennium Bridge, St. James Palace, Westminster, the Horse Guards, and St. Paul's Cathedral. We also visited some "culturally important" sites including Shakespeare's Globe theatre, Platform 9 and 3/4,  Sherlock Holmes' house at 221B Baker Street, and the Churchill Cabinet War Rooms. 
     As I've been learning in my anthropology class, to understand a culture its important to go native. I'd say we did pretty well; in 4 days we managed to conquer the metro, excuse me Tube, and bus systems, get thrown out of a pub, and enjoy fish and chips. 
     It was an incredible trip and a lot of fun. I always love exploring new countries and cultures and London didn't disappoint. 
     From London we flew to Amsterdam and then on to Ukraine. The following three weeks were... interesting, to say the least. In short, we spent 4 days in Kiev, 9 days in Donetsk, 1 in Slovyanagorsk, and 3 in Milekina. All the adventures cannot possibly be described in a single post so I'll have a short series of posts summarizing some of the highlights. Hope y'all enjoy learning a little about Ukrainian culture! :)

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