Posts tagged "Exploring"

Learning London: Exploring the City in Between Classes While Studying Abroad3 min read

When it’s time to choose a city or country to study abroad in, there are a number of factors to take into account—your field of study, maybe your ancestry … and an important factor is what you’ll be doing outside the classroom. Being a global center for fashion, finance, art and culture, London offers a lot for someone passing through, or especially for a student studying abroad.

If you have the incredible chance to study abroad in London while in college or another academic program, you’ll find your classes can teach you a lot. Seeing the city in between classes or on your days off can show you even more.

Here are some tips and tricks for making the most of your education (while having fun) in the U.K. capital:

Visit museums

It can sometimes feel overwhelming when you first arrive in a major city like London. It can be stressful to figure out what you should see first. Visiting one of the many museums London has to offer is a great way to get situated and find your way around the city.

Many of London’s museums are located in and around the city center and are either free or have student rates. Visiting museums can help you get a better feel for the layout of the city while learning more about the cultural hub you’ll be living in.

Some popular spots include:

  • British Museum
  • Tate Modern
  • Natural History Museum
  • V&A
  • Natural Gallery
  • Imperial War Museum

Hang out in local parks

Similar to New York City, London is packed with parks all throughout the city. Whether you have a break from classes, want to hang out with friends or even just get some fresh air, London has miles of green to wander around.

Hyde Park houses Kensington Palace (where part of the royal family lives), a lake, meadow and thousands of trees. Here you can find countless spots to lay out to read a book or have a picnic with friends. On a nice day, Hyde Park can also be ideal for taking a stroll or riding a bike.

If you’re looking to get some exercise during your free time, Regent’s Park is the place for you. You can wander around its many acres of park and gardens or play a game with friends at the largest outdoor sports arena in London—complete with facilities for football, softball and rugby.

Some good spots to people watch can be found in St. James’ Park. With many green acres that also house the Mall near Buckingham Palace, tourists and locals are constantly moving through the park. Plenty of animals such as water birds, pelicans, and woodpeckers can also be seen around the park too.

Visit local markets or restaurants 

If you have a lunch break or are looking for a snack between classes, London offers an array of new culinary experiences unique to Europe and the city itself. From local markets to restaurants, you have the chance to immerse yourself in the vibrant culture of London you might not realize it has.

Some of the most popular markets include Camden Lock, Borough Market and Brick Lane to name a few. Each is packed with creative bites for snacks or meals. Many also feature clothes and gifts made by local artists. Exploring the markets of London can help clear your mind between classes or be a new adventure for the weekend.

Explore new neighborhoods

Getting around London is easy. If you’re looking to stretch your legs and have some time to kill after a class, exploring London’s different neighborhoods can help you get comfortable in your new home. Grab a friend and hop on the next tube or bus to where you want to go. Neighborhoods like Kensington, Notting Hill, Greenwich, and Primrose Hill among others each have their own personalities and hidden gems.

Studying abroad is about your academics but it’s also a chance to learn about a new culture first hand. Even if your days are packed with school work, find time for exploring! If your study experience is like mine, it’ll fly by in the blink of an eye!

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Posted by Lustige Bilder - November 21, 2017 at 21:21

Categories: Travel   Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Exploring England: See Cambridge by Foot, Bike, and Boat3 min read

Exploring Cambridge, England

Located about 60 miles from London, Cambridge makes for an excellent day trip and is a worthy travel destination in its own right. Spend a short time there and you’ll quickly discover why it is considered one of the loveliest towns in England. Cambridge is chock full of exquisite architecture, lush gardens, and postcard-perfect streets, and exudes a youthful energy even as it is steeped in history.

To fully appreciate Cambridge, ditch the car and explore the town by foot, bike and boat. Here’s how:

Tour Cambridge on Foot

Cambridge is a charming city from every angle and you could easily fill an entire day strolling its lively streets, window shopping, peering into college courtyards and getting happily lost in the tangle of streets that make up the town center. Popular destinations include King’s College Chapel, Round Church, Trinity College, Fitzwilliam Museum, the path along the River Cam, and the landscaped gardens behind the colleges collectively known as the Backs.

For a more in-depth walking experience, choose from among several sightseeing operators that offer guided walking tours with interesting facts, stories, and myths about the places you’ll visit. Note that only official green or blue badge guided tours are permitted inside the University of Cambridge colleges.

Bike to Grantchester

You don’t have to be a fan of the TV series Grantchester to enjoy a leisurely bike ride to the quaint village just south of Cambridge. Rent a set of wheels from Rutland Cycles, City Cycle Hire or another local outfitter and head on the roughly six-mile round trip ride, passing through the Backs and picturesque Grantchester Meadow along the way. The route follows a popular but narrow footpath, so be prepared to proceed slowly and disembark once you reach the village. Also, remember to keep left!

If the weather is nice, take a seat outside in the sprawling Orchard Tea Gardens, a Grantchester landmark since 1897, and enjoy a freshly baked scone along with your choice of tea before heading back to Cambridge.

Go Punting along the River Cam

A quintessential tourist activity in Cambridge is to go punting along the River Cam, which runs through the heart of town and offers a unique view of the Backs. Particularly on a warm summer day, the river is often filled with flat-bottomed boats steered by punters standing at the stern who use a pole to navigate the shallow waters. Take out a self-hire punt if you want to test your ability to navigate in a straight line. For a more leisurely and informative outing, join a shared tour or hire a chauffeured punt and listen to tales of Cambridge through the years as you move lazily on the water.

Punting is most common in the stretch of river between Jesus Green and Grantchester and there are multiple operators to choose from.

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Posted by Lustige Bilder - August 16, 2017 at 16:36

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Exploring Europe by Rail: What You Need to Know

European train travel

European train travelTraveling by train through Europe is an enjoyable and economical alternative to flying from country to country. Not to mention, you’ll see some of the world’s most magnificent scenery right outside your window instead of 20,000 feet below. However, it’s not quite as simple as just buying a ticket and hopping on the next available train. You’ll need a carefully planned itinerary, an efficient packing strategy, and a sense of adventure.

If you decide to skip the airport in favor of the train for your next trip through Europe, here are some of the basics you should think through before embarking.

Buying Your Ticket

It’s important to spend some time reviewing your options for train tickets. The most popular is option is Eurail, which will help you save money in certain situations, but not all. You’ll need to decide which type of pass we’ll best suit your needs and plans. The options for Eurail are:

  • Global Pass: Global passes offer unlimited travel on all railways in Europe (United Kingdom excluded). This pass gives you access to 28 countries and is a great option for extended travel and longer stays.
  • Select Passes: Select passes are great if you want to explore regions in Europe, and are available for travel between two, three, or four countries.
  • One Country Pass: If you’re planning to stay within one country for your entire stay, the one-country pass is your best bet for access to regional and high speed trains that will take you from city to city.

First and Second Class Travel

You’ll also have to decide on first or second class travel if you’re 25 years old or younger (all adults over 26 years old must purchase a first class ticket). The amenities are a little better in first class, including Wi-Fi access, snacks and drinks, larger seats, and smaller crowds.

A Eurail pass offers other benefits beyond the train as well, including discounts on ferry routes, hotels, and museums.

Making the Most of the Night

You can save valuable time by traveling through Europe at night, but keep in mind that most night trains require a reservation at an additional cost. Most European trains have several options for sleeping: a private cabin (1st class), a couchette, which is a cabin that accommodates up to six people (2nd class), or a reclining seat (2nd class). If you reserve a cabin or couchette, pillows and blankets are provided for your comfort; if you opt for a reclining seat, which is similar to an airplane seat, bring your own pillow and blanket.

Dining Options on the Train

Most long-distance trains will have a dining car where you can purchase breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The food is high quality but can be expensive. Trains traveling shorter durations will frequently have snack carts offering light fare. If you’re a particularly picky eater or on a budget, you may want to buy food at the station or in a local market before boarding the train.

 Pack Light

Finally, keep in mind that most Europeans travel light so space for your luggage will be limited on a train, especially if you’re traveling in 2nd class. You will have a little more room in 1st class, but generally still less space than you would on an airplane. Pack accordingly.

Traveling by train can be a great option in Europe since countries are relatively close together. You can have breakfast in Munich and dinner in Barcelona if you plan carefully, save the time you would spend in security lines at the airport, and see the continent from an entirely different perspective.

Image courtesy of Huffington Post.

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Posted by Lustige Bilder - November 4, 2016 at 22:01

Categories: Travel   Tags: , , , ,