Sarah and Laura had the brilliant idea of cooking a traditional Thanksgiving dinner for the Brits. It was kind of funny to watch them stare at all of the food in amazement that they were supposed to eat all of it!
I also loved fielding questions like "Do you give presents at Thanksgiving?"
It really gets you thinking about how silly the Thanksgiving traditions are though and it was definitely an experience I'll never forget.
Christina, Phil, and I decided to match for the event. Go England!
Way back in my entries that were still concerned with giving you history lessons about Lancaster, I mentioned that Lancaster was famous for its linoleum. Well, the man behind that industry, Lord Ashton, has a memorial dedicated to him on the top of a beautifully high hill in Lancaster.
A couple of weeks ago, Laura, Sarah and I hiked up there to meet Toni and her visiting friend, Emily, for a picnic and an afternoon of taking in the views.
The walk up was spectacular. We had to walk through these woods that seriously reminded me of an enchanted forest.
I'm beginning to understand the allure of British summers. Even though most days are still very cold, the few warm days are incredible and the sky here is a shade of blue we just don't have in Missouri.
There is also a butterfly house and a small zoo on the grounds. We found the most adorable snuggly birds!
I didn't have my camera this day, so all the photo credit goes to Sarah. I hope you can appreciate how beautiful it was!
England is a strange place. It's May. The flowers are out. But it's still 50 degrees here every day.
My essay scores are starting to roll in, and I'm so far pleased with the results. I'm starting to study for my finals, and am starting to get excited about this semester (well, two terms, really) to be over and to enjoy those beautiful summer months where there is little hanging over my head.
So I realize I'm writing this almost an entire month after I was in Barcelona, but I hope you'll forgive me. I just really hated giving up any moment I had with Erin to do much of anything.
Luckily, Barcelona was so fantastic it literally feels as though I was there just a few days ago. The entire experience was so incredible. I mean, come on. A European vacation with Erin? There isn't really anything better.
We started our journey unbelievably early in the morning (3:30 am!) with a cab ride to Liverpool. We had a lovely driver named John who was prompt, nice, and let us sleep peacefully in the back seat. We were so excited (especially Erin) when we got to the airport and realized it was the John Lennon Airport. The motto is "Above Us Only Sky." How cool is that?
We flew EasyJet to Barcelona which ended up being lovely because it meant we got to walk on the runway at the Barcelona Airport. It was literally the first time in 6 months I had been outside without a coat on. It was amazing.
We took the Aerobus into Barcelona. We were a little confused about how to request a stop, so we ended up getting off at Plaza Catalanya, instead of Plaza Espagna, where our hotel was located. It was so beautiful and we were so excited, though, that we didn't mind the lovely 30 minute walk through the heart of the city.
When we got to the hotel, my friends Christina and Laura (who were at the beginning of what ended up being a 5 week backpacking trip around Europe...thanks again volcano!) were already waiting for us. I was so happy that Erin got to meet some of my friends and we all got to spend some time in Barcelona together.
We started our journey by walking back to La Rambla (which is by Plaza Catalanya) and having our picture taken over and over again by Laura Clark who decided to be Erin and I's personal paparazzo. We walked for what seemed like forever until settling on lunch at this nice restaurant by the beach. Luckily, the journey there was filled with awesome street performers and wonderful views. Enter our first pitcher of Sangria and an amazing sandwich and salad.
Next, we went and sat on the beach. I've only been to the beach a few times in my life and I was so excited to lay in the sand. It was a bit chilly (hence Christina's hobo getup), and we had some less than polite encounters with the locals, but all in all, it was fun.
Next, we headed to the famous Gaudi Cathedral, the Sagrada Familia and stood in awe of the construction for quite awhile. We got there too late in the evening to really make paying the admission fee worth it, but it was marvelous to look at from the outside.
After the church, we took a break and went for a nap. We bought a T10 card so we could use the subway to get back to our hotel and it was great.
That night, we met up again for dinner and shared some paella and tapas and of course, lots of Sangria. We also booked reservations at Ice Barcelona, a bar made entirely of ice! It was so cold, but a really awesome, once in a lifetime, opportunity. To warm up, we spent our night sitting on the beach, testing each other with Harry Potter trivia (ok, really Erin, Laura and Christina tested each other and I listened) and taking in the experience.
We said our goodbyes to Laura and Christina that night and headed back to the hotel. The next morning, we set our sights high and went out to find Parc Guell without much clue where it was. We also wanted to have a picnic lunch. We finally found the Parc, big loaf of bread, fruit, and olives in hand, and began what would turn out to be one of the most beautiful days of my life.
It's hard to describe how incredibly beautiful Parc Guell is. It was the brainchild of Guadi, and no matter where you look, there is something that catches your eye. Additionally, the view of Barcelona is incredible.
Our last night in Barcelona we spent once more eating tapas, paella, and drinking Sangria. We also spent a good amount of time tending to our blistered and swollen feet-a truly small price to pay for our amazing time.
The next morning, we headed back to cold, windy, rainy England, but I think we both left a bit of ourselves in Barcelona.
I still need to blog about Barcelona. I suck, I know. I've just been happy and busy.
For now, for those wondering, my travel back to Lancaster is in limbo. I'm hoping to arrive Monday morning, but nothing is for sure. It could be quite a few days until I get out of the states. Stupid volcanoes.
Posts to come once I finish my final essay, get over my jetlag from going back to the UK (when that eventually happens) and have the emotional energy to go through the pictures of Erin and I's time together.