Friday, April 30, 2010


Wednesday night we had MUDEC "Prom". The evening started out on a boat tour of the Moselle River and ended with dinner and dancing at Il Piccolo Mondo.

The weather was perfect! The boat tour lasted 2 hours and we all just hung out on the deck of the boat as it went down the river. We got dressed up but definitely not as dressed up as we did for high school prom. On the boat white wine and sandwiches were served. When the tour ended, we took a bus to a restaurant in the woods of Differdange called Il Piccolo Mondo.

For dinner we were served salad, lasagna, chocolate mousse and red wine. The lasagna was shady at best. For some reason Luxembourgers like to put tons and tons of ham in their lasagna and I'm most definitely not a fan. During the dinner banquet, a few teachers gave speeches and some awards were given.

After dinner, we moved downstairs and watched a slideshow featuring pictures and superlatives. When the slideshow ended, dancing began. The whole night ended around 1:30am and a bus took us home to Noertzange. I had an awesome time overall!

Today is the last day of class. I just finished political science and am about to have history. I have 2 exams Tuesday and 1 Wednesday and I'll be home Friday!

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Train Never Came...

We were supposed to go to Sweden this weekend, but the train never came so we missed our bus to the airport and therefore missed our flight. I'm looking forward to being able to drive a car again. Public transportation just isn't reliable.
The weather in Luxembourg was really, really nice so it was at least a good weekend to be here. On Friday we babysat Lynn and took Sam to school. We met Danie at the grocery and shopped with her. We stocked up on Cini-Minis which is my favorite cereal in all of Europe. According to Hannah it tastes like Cinnamon Toast Crunch but I don't think I've ever had Cinnamon Toast Crunch so I wouldn't know.
My debit card started to malfunction on Thursday and I later found out my bank cancelled my card. Apparently someone hacked into Fifth Third's system and compromised some of their numbers so they had to issue new cards to everyone effected. Of course mine was one of those cards. The bank sent me a new card to my house in the US and neglected to inform me of this situation. So, I'm currently moneyless until my new card arrives in Luxembourg sometime this week. Luckily Hannah gave me a loan.
On Saturday, Jenn, Han, and I took the train to Trier, Germany. It has a nice shopping district and it's a really pretty city. We walked around and listened to a few live bands, Han and Jenn did some shopping, and then we headed back to Lux. At night we went to a birthday barbeque for Carlo's two-year-old nephew.
On Sunday, we hung outside for the first half of the day. It was almost 80 degrees! Warmest weather so far. We ate more barbeque food for lunch, cleaned our room, and got out butts kicked by Pitt in poker. We bought the Kollers pizza for dinner and we ate outside.
I skyped Katelynn and then my family and then went to bed.
This week is the last week of classes. We have our end of the year banquet on Wednesday night. I can't believe the semester is coming to an end. I will be home in 11 days!!!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Wonderful Weekend in Luxembourg

Hannah and I decided to stay in Luxembourg this weekend in order to save money. And it's a very good thing we did. Due to a volcano erupting in Iceland, much of Europe is now covered in a large volcanic ash cloud. Because of the cloud, flights have been cancelled for the past 5 days and the airlines still have not received clearance to resume flying. I have friends who left last Wednesday or Thursday for the weekend and are now stranded in various European countries until they can find a way home. Jenn was supposed to fly to southern Italy on Friday, but her flight got cancelled so she stayed in Lux too.
Strangely enough, the weather in Luxembourg was amazing this weekend! From what I could tell (that could must be way, way in the sky) the skies looked completely clear and it was sunny and warm.
On Friday we went on a half-day school trip to Vianden, Luxembourg to visit the Vianden Castle. Honestly, I decided to tag along for the free lunch. I had already been to the castle once before but it's a pretty castle worth visiting twice (especially for free). When we got home from the trip, Hannah and I babysat Sam and Lynn.
On Saturday morning, Jenn, Han, Danie, Lynn, and I went to the street market in Lux city. There was a lot of fresh produce and many flowers being sold. Danie let us all pick out our own flower to plant in the backyard to remind her of us when we are gone. I picked out an impatient, planted it, and 24 hours later, it was dead. Typical.
We shopped around and Danie took us into a really unique store where she bought us all rings. She said she wanted us to have them as reminders of her when we're home in the US (a lot of reminding will be going on).
When we got home, we ate a delicious chicken meal and then hung outside for the rest of the afternoon. We helped Danie garden and planted our flowers. Danie made us burritos for dinner. They were SO good! I forgot how much I like tacos/burritos.
On Sunday Jenn, Han, Danie, the kids, and I took the train up north and went hiking. The plan was to get off at a stop, follow the trails to the next train station, and take that train back home. It was supposed to be about a 4 mile hike but after about 2 hours of hiking we began to get the sense that we had somehow made a wrong turn. Keep in mind this lovely hike was taken with a 4 year old and a 1.5 year old. Considering Lynn slept almost the entire time, that wasn't a huge issue (except for Danie who had to carry her), but Sam was pretty well spent. When we finally figured out where we were and where we wanted to be, we decided it would be quicker to just walk along the road back to the train station where we started. Without Sam, the walk back would have taken a little over half an hour and it would have been much longer with him. So, we flagged down a nice lady in a car (otherwise known as hitchhiking) and she agreed to take Same, Pitt, Pitt's friend, and Jenn to the train station. Danie/Lynn, Hannah, and I walked the rest of the way. We got to the station 5 minutes before the train came and then took it back home.
We ate baked potatoes and cooked asparagus for dinner. Surprisingly, I enjoyed it a lot! Danie made all of our meals for the weekend and we ate like queens. After dinner we played outside with the kids, I skyped my family, and at night we enjoyed chocolate fondue! Apples, strawberries and bananas in chocolate. Yum!
I'm supposed to go to Sweden this weekend but I have a feeling I'll be staying in Luxembourg again. I really wanted to go to Sweden, but I won't be too upset if I can't make it. I'll keep you updated.

Monday, April 12, 2010

London finally

After our very long bus ride, we took about a 15 minute walk with all our luggage to the hotel. We were in a 2 person room with 3 people so one of us had to be the mystery guest who snuck in and out of the hotel. I took on the challenge. Jenn and Han checked in as I waited in the lobby and later discretely went up to the room.

The next day when exiting the hotel, I took 2 sets of stairs and the elevator. Probably overkill but I made it into a game.

We walked to Buckingham Palace to see the changing of the guards. However, we couldn't see a whole lot because we got there a little late and there were so many people.

We then walked around St. James park, where we were able to see tons of beautiful flowers. I was surprised at how busy London was. There were so many tourists! I realized it would be a tourist destination but it was packed.

We walked around Westminister Abby, saw Parliament, Big Ben, and the Eye, and then went to lunch at a Tai place. I got chicken and broccoli and it pretty much tasted nothing like the kind I'm used to.

After lunch, we went to the National Gallery where they were putting on an outdoor play of the Passion of Jesus. We couldn't see because the crowd was so big so we left and walked around. We ended up finding cheap tickets to go see Chicago. Before the musical, we ate dinner at Pizza Hut and they had real Pepperonis! Everywhere else I've seen in Europe uses sausage and calls it pepperoni. More like pepperphony.

I really didn't know what to expect about Chicago since I hadn't seen the movie and pretty much know nothing about musicals, but I really enjoyed it. We sat in the nose bleed section but it worked out because we got to use some pretty stylish binoculars. When the show was over, we walked home in the rain, I snuck into the hotel, and we went to bed.

By Saturday we realized the hotel either didn't care or didn't notice we had 3 people in a 2 person room so the sneaking in and out pretty much stopped.

We got up in the morning and went to Portobello Market. There were so many shops and people! It was difficult to walk at times because the crowd was so massive. We stayed there for a few hours and then took the tube in an attempt to find Chipotle. We had heard rumors that a Chipotle was being built in London, so I researched it and found the address. I read online that it was supposed to open in late April but we thought we'd try our luck anyway. Fate betrayed us and all we found was a "coming soon" sign. So close, yet so far.

After our defeat, we took the tube to Kings Cross in honor of Harry Potter. We found platform 9 3/4 and the excitement on Jenn and Hannah's faces was that of kids in a candy store. We took many, many pictures.

Then we took the tube to the London bridge and the Millennium Bridge. I expected the London Bridge to be significant looking since it has it's own song and all, but it's actually pretty ordinary.

In the evening, we grabbed our computers and began a search for free wifi. We walked for about a mile before finding it at McDonald's. When we went back to our hotel, we found out we had free wifi in our room the whole time.

On Easter Sunday, we got up and got ready for church. We walked to Holy Trinity Brompton which is the church that started the Alpha series. We accidently attended a family service so some of the songs involved hand motions. The strange thing about this service was that there was no sermon or a mention of the bible. Those seem like key items in a church service.

We went to a pancake house for brunch. I forgot that in Europe, pancake actually means crepe. So by American standards, we ate crepes. Mine had apples, bananas, and nutella in it. Yum!

It was a really nice day, so we walked around the gardens in Hyde Park and saw the Peter Pan statue. I also saw people paddle boating in the lake and it made me miss the times my family and I used to go paddle boating when we'd visit my grandparents.

Since the Easter Bunny didn't come to London (at least not to us), we stopped in a convenience store and bought candy for each other. We probably bought a little too much. For dinner, we ate our Easter Candy. I skyped for a long time, fell into a food coma and went to bed.

On Monday, we walked to Harrod's to do some window shopping. The place is expensive! I saw a purse for $12,500. Must have been some purse.

We went to the Albert and Victoria Museum, but instead of looking at the art, we ended up sitting on a bench and people watching instead. I think we're all a little arted-out. People watching was entertaining, though.

For lunch we went to a pub and ate fish and chips. Considering I don't like fish, I wasn't really looking forward to this meal, but it was so much better than I expected.

In the evening, we walked around Oxford St, watched the Hang Over, and went to a night club called The Zoo.

On Tuesday we checked out of our hotel and walked over to Buckingham Palace to catch the changing of the guards. We soon realized it wasn't a guard changing day.

We walked way too long with all of our bags, grabbed lunch at subway, and then stored our luggage at the train station.

Danie, Carlo, and the kids arrived for a family vacation so we met them outside Westminster Abby and hung out with them for about an hour and a half. It was really good to see them!
After we said goodbye, we got our luggage, took a bus to the airport, arranged the weight perfectly, and got on our flight.

We arrived in Prague for our base course trip around 11. We were picked up at the airport, got to our hotel around midnight, and went to bed.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Letter to the Reader

To My Dear, Dear Fans;
Sorry I have neglected to post anything in over a week. I promise to write about London, Prague, Auschwitz, and Cracow shortly. Anticipate a lengthy post.
Best Regards,
Meredith Maureen.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Edinburgh, Scotland

Written on Thursday April 1, 2010

I’m currently on a bus from Edinburgh to London. I’ve been sitting in the same seat for 9 hours and we’ve stopped for 2 bathroom breaks. I haven’t eaten any real meals, just snacking on chips so I’m feeling pretty gross and hungry. I started and finished reading The Last Song but Nicholas Sparks. I loved it. We should be getting to London in about an hour.

For the past two days I was in Edinburgh, Scotland. It’s a really neat city because it still has a very old look to it but there’s a lot to do.

It was snowing when our plane landed Tuesday night and it continued to snow until Wednesday afternoon when it turned into rain. We packed as much as we could into Wednesday since it was our only full day in the city even though it was freezing.

When we first got up we enjoyed an incredible hotel breakfast. To those of you who experience an “American” breakfast daily, this breakfast wouldn’t have seemed too extraordinary but since I’ve become accustomed to a couple slices of bread with spreads, I was thrilled to see pancakes.

After enjoying a delicious meal, we walked to the Edinburgh castle. We didn’t go in, but it was still pretty from the outside. After seeing the castle we walked around to many different shops. I saw more plaid than I ever thought possible.

We went to a park on Calton Hill when there was a great view of the city and the lake.

We ate lunch at a place that served 3 course meals for 8pounds. I kind of figured the food would be gross since you usually get what you pay for, but I was pleasantly surprised. I got mushroom soup, a warm chicken sandwich, and chocolate ice cream.

After lunch we went in a museum (I don’t even know what it’s called, all art looks the same to me these days) and we went to the Scottish National Library.

Jenn was given a box of cookies at one of the stores we went in, so we decided to give them to two homeless men and their “singing” dog. They insisted upon shaking our hands and one of them looked at my ring and told me my fiancĂ© is cheap. Offended, I told him I’m not engaged. We quickly left and washed our hands.

At night we walked around the University of Edinburgh and listened to live music at a pub.

I would love to get off this bus now. The girl behind me keeps pulling my hair and it’s making me feel sick to type while the bus is moving so I’m going to stop now.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Dublin, Ireland

Hannah, Jenn, and I left for Dublin after school on Friday afternoon. We first had to go to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Luxembourg to pick up our visas because our initial visas expire in the beginning of April. I really like the visa stickers they put in our passports. They make our passports look so well traveled.

I should preface this story by telling you about RyanAir's ridiculous weight restrictions. Checked bags are only allowed to weigh 15 kg (33 lbs) and carry on luggage can only weigh 10kg (22 lbs). Also, purses, laptops, etc. must fit into your carry on luggage and are included in the weight. If you go over the weight for either bag, you have to pay a fee (somewhere between 35-50 euro). And it costs 15 to 35 euro to check a bag (depending on when you do it). For our two week trip, we decided to each bring our backpacks and fill them with clothes and then share one checked bag. We figured that if we all put clothes in our backpacks and the rest of the stuff in the checked bags we would be fine with the weight restrictions. Wrong. Each of our backpacks were either exactly at the allowed weight, or slightly over, and our checked bag weighed a good 10lbs over what is allowed so we were faced with the dilemma of whether we should pay for another checked bag, or try to eliminate weight. Being poor college students, we chose the latter. I stuffed as much as I could into my pockets, including my bible, journal, chargers, camera, ipod, wallet, and few other small things. My coat probably weighed at least 7 lbs. Hannah filled her pockets as well, and Jenn got creative with hiding her purse under her shirt. It sort of started out as a joke, but when we realized it was actually possible to eliminate the weight, we went for it. In the end, our checked bag ended up being .3kg over, but the nice lady working the baggage counter let it slide. Today when we fly to Edinburgh, we'll take the same measures plus tiny foot Jenn is wearing her Sperry's inside my large tennis shoes, i'll probably stick the straightener in my sleeve, and we're all planning on wearing multiple belts. Should be a fun time going through security.

After our flight landed, it was a huge pain carrying the checked bag through Dublin as we tried to find our hostel. We definitely should have packed lighter. When we finally did get to our hostel, for some reason they weren't expecting us until April. Since the hostel worker felt bad about the mix up, he gave us a 6 person room all to ourselves, and he took 25 euro off the total price. Love when that happens! Besides smelling extremely strange, our hostel was pretty decent.

Saturday morning we got up with the intention of sightseeing but we really just ended up walking around and shopping. Dublin has some incredibly cheap stores. My favorite part about walking around the city was just hearing the accents. Irish accents are awesome. Also, everything is in English! It's almost strange to see signs I can actually understand. Oh, and they drive on the left side of the road here. It's funny because you can tell who isn't from this area by the way they look when they start to cross the street. All of us used to driving on the right, look the wrong way before trying to cross. Dublin must have had problems with this in the past because they now have directional cues on ground saying "look right" or "look left". Very helpful.

For lunch, we went to a bagel shop-- first time i've had a bagel in 3 months. It was delicious and we met a really nice Polish lady who joined us for lunch. She has been living in Dublin for 3 years so she gave us advice on where to go and what to see.

Saturday evening we went to a pub and had fish and chips for dinner. Considering I don't usually like fish, the meal was better than I expected. Later we went to a different pub and listened to live music.

Sunday we got up at 6am and took a PaddyWagon tour to the Cliffs of Moher. The bus left at 7am and we didn't return until 7pm. We made a few stops along the way and finally got to the cliffs around 1pm. They were absolutely amazing! I would say they're my favorite thing I've seen since I've been in Europe. I'll post pictures on Facebook so you can see them. After we spent about an hour and a half at the cliffs, we left and went to lunch. They took us to Fitzsimon's bar that had a nice buffet. I got turkey and veggies. Then we stopped in Burren, which is a city in Ireland where there is literally no soil. Because of some scientific reason I didn't understand (Jena, maybe you know?) there is something going on with the tectonic plates in the area and the ground looks very different than the rest of Ireland. It pretty much all looked like rock. Also, where they dropped us off, there was just a herd of cows hanging out. I originally thought they were wild cows, but they had tags so I'm going to say someone probably owns them. I don't know why they were there or why there wasn't a fence or something. I actually saw a lot of animals while looking out the bus window including cows, sheep, little baby lambs (so so cute), and an unidentifiable animal I've deemed as half sheep half dog. It looked a lot like a white Rory, so mom and dad, you may want to check into this. The only bad part about the trip was that Hannah, Jenn, and I sat in the very back of the bus. The seats didn't recline and it was a very long ride through many bumpy and winding roads. I thought I was going to puke numerous times, but luckily I held it together.

Monday the whether was pretty much terrible. It was cold, rainy, and windy. For some reason we thought it would be a good idea to go to the seaside. We took a 30 minute train ride to Howth, and when we got off the train and attempted to walk to the sea, it was nearly impossible to keep our umbrellas up. We were using them as shields from the wind and it was hard to walk. We eventually gave up the battle, put our umbrellas down, and got soaked. We went to the tourism office, learned there was pretty much nothing we could do in Howth under the current weather conditions, so we headed back towards the train station. We did get to see a few seals in the water and we enjoyed a soup lunch before going back to Dublin.

Since the rain continued, we decided to see a movie. We saw Bounty Hunter with Jennifer Aniston and Gerald Butler. It was pretty cute.

The rest of our time in Dublin was really just a lot of walking around. We didn't actually see a whole lot of famous sights. Today is scheduling day for fall semester classes so we're hanging out in the hostel until after we schedule because we need to use their internet. When we leave here, we'll go get lunch, and then probably walk around the Trinity College area. Our flight to Scotland leaves around 8 tonight so we'll take a 6pm bus to the airport. We will then stuff our pockets and board the plane.