Copenhagen • Progressively Elegant

For me, Copenhagen was at the top of my bucket list. It was established as the happiest city in the world, from long ago. The famous Nyhavn street has always come up in tumblr search engines and the many bike-littered streets made me so excited to bike along it’s cobbled streets. The Danish pride themselves on being a bike-friendly city with a vast amount of parking spaces and bike lanes, with over half the population biking to work everyday.

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The famous Nyhanv Street!

On the afternoon that I arrived, I went around trying to see as many landmarks as I could. I was blessed as it was a blue-sky, warm-air type of afternoon. I also ventured out to the Food Market (it was delicious!).

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Hans Christian Andersen’s ‘Little Mermaid’ was spotted!

When my friends joined the next day, we had to see the Carlsberg brewery of course. It was pretty awesome as we were put in a group of travellers from all around the world: Americans, Europeans, Canadians, and more. We learned about the process of beer-making, the correct way to drink the sweetness belly-up, and how to skål!

They look pretty similar to me… @Sunny Sun

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We got to see beautiful crowns! At the Rosenborg Castle.

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Copenhagen, Denmark. How you stole my heart away – even after I thought I was already smitten with Barcelona. Copenhagen has a much different feel than Barcelona. It is quaint. The streets clean and frequented by many of it’s inhabitants – on bikes or by foot. I especially liked the many canals that streaked up and down throughout it’s 94 transit zones.

I would recommend looking at the Copenhagen card, as it gives you free transit and access into multiple museums. If you’re a big traveller like us, it’s a deal!

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We always hit up the best place to get a panoramic view of the city. Copenhagen’s Round Tower gave us that. It didn’t come without effort. We realized to get views in any European city, this required you to climb to the very top – without elevators.

We like to goof around. These are my favourite 3, as they switch genders by switching jackets.

All in all, I’ve noticed Copenhagen has a different feel than the other European countries. Even to date, it remains a clean and favourite city in my book of travels. The food was great – canal ride was amongst the best as we learned of the different histories of Copenhagen as it went through the different centuries. There is a mix of modern and historic architecture, as the city is one of the leading forefronts of sustainable living.

Copenhagen, Denmark • March 2-5, 2017

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Barcelona • Enchantingly Historic

Within 2 weeks of meeting new friends from all across the world, we decided to embark on our first trip in Europe: Barcelona, Spain! As most of us have never been to Europe before, our bucket lists consisted of the most “popular” and “must-see” cities. We stayed for 4 days… and were pretty awed from the moment we stepped into the city, until we left.

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The first landmark we encountered was Casa Batló. It was immediately to our left, as we stepped out from the Passeig de Gracia train station. Barcelona’s architecture differs quite a bit from the Georgian style I was used to in the UK. You could also see the years that the buildings had sustained as the style and texture had an ancient-like feeling.

While being there, I learned that the people were very divided. Not everyone agreed with Spain’s government and did not unite in their national identity. I noticed there were different flags strewn on the balconies of the various apartments, and this invoked a curiosity that led me to researching the apparent divide. Although I would warn travellers to be careful of their belongings, as one of my good friend’s wallet did get pick-pocketed.

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You can never have too many paellas in Barcelona…

Barcelona being close to the port allowed us to have some of the best seafood around. Safe to say, even though we had seafood paellas, pasta, and risotto about 3/4 of the nights there… it tasted amazing, every single time! The best drink around was the Sangria, which came in big cups or even jugs.

 

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Too many decisions!

One delicious restaurant I would recommend to all travellers deciding to hit up Barcelona would be in the district of Dreta de l’Eixample (will find the name!). The seafood, served cold or grilled – was AMAZING! I think I especially liked that evening’s dinner as we went after biking all around Barcelona and it’s beautiful coastlines. I am glad that I was able to have bike adventures in this city due to its wonderful pavements that allowed for long excursions and also the time I got from bonding with my friends, over falling bikes and breath-taking views.

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Overall, I think Barcelona was a great introduction city for most of us as it taught us the importance of being protective of your belongings, really letting the night life sink in while there, and the joys of travelling with a group of friends whom were relatively new in their friendship life – but still very responsible towards one another.

Here’s some of our happy pics. We jumped a lot. Because we were joyous in not being bound by assignment deadlines and textbook readings. Oh, the freedoms of exchange!

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My favourite 4 (missing Hoyhoy!)

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Barcelona, Spain • February 23-27, 2017

Why do I choose to collect snowglobes? Maybe it’s similar to the reason of why my face lights up when I see snow. Unpredictable, yet it eventually does arrive. Maybe on a day when you least expected it. But always making that day more special than the last.

To the Good Ol’ Days

After the excited initial feels of being in a new country, the stark surroundings and lack of familiar faces started to strike…

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It was only in the first few weeks that I met the other exchange students. The first friend I befriended was this one guy whom I would come to know, at a medium level (RHS – Sunny Sun). The smartest guy around, but also the goofiest and is often all over the place (literally). He introduced me to other people, and I will always remain thankful for that. Too smart for his own good, and too silly to realize that. Always bringing laughter in every sitting.

The other 2 are my mains! POPO and FIFI will always have your back. Whether it is in the form of sharing cake with you, cooking food for you, or just travelling to wherever you want. They are down.

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Sight: Charles Bridge, Prague
Mains: Popo & Fifi & Gigi
“Why walk when you can selfie?”

I am also thankful that in the beginning I was able to befriend some of my roommates. It was cool being able to live close to friends whom you could cook and chat late into the night with. They were older, wiser, and most often than not, very fashionable in an eccentric way. Overall an awesome role model for me. We all come from different backgrounds, but we’re also to meet during this term at the same University. Although I believe the best of times are often had at the most spectacular places, it is most likely the people whom are around, that make those days extra special. I learned to cherish this fact over the course of my exchange.

Here are some snippets of the residence I lived at while in Bath. I am also glad that I was able to find a family in Church and grow closer to each one of them. There is too much to say about everything that happens on exchange, but I would like, day by day, annotate it to you.

Although I’ve walked this path multiple times. That day I took these photos, I could sense that when the day came I took my last step away from this place – I would miss it dearly • Thornbank Gardens: during this period, I learned to fend for myself. This will always be my home away from home. Close to P, J, S, F, M, S, S, J, P, G & A.

IMG_1904That time I couldn’t stop playing with my phone. I realized my pictures would be nothing without knowing the stories of the people who litter my every album and populate the places I’ve been to with their smiles.

Thanks for coming along this ride with me. Europe, you’ve instilled a spark in me that I thought had long been put out. I know I’ll be back soon, don’t forget me just yet!

That’s truth.

Having had the opportunity to travel the confines of Europe; I am lucky beyond words. I would really encourage all those whom are looking to enrich their undergraduate studies – to seriously consider exchange. It is a hefty investment, but priceless. The adventures you will encounter, the people you befriend, cities to discover, and personal growth experienced: will change you forever.

I’ve finally come home. I’m back here, where I was born, grew up, accustomed to my own skin and happiness. Working full-time, but with the entire summer up to me, how I will fill it. There’s much I want to do. But help me to never forget Him.

I promise to update this blog with my adventures and “wise sayings”, that I’ve acquired over the past 4 months. Thanks, England.

You have to aim for the top, not aim to pass. You are more than what you were destined for. What’s your passion?

You were beautiful. More than anything I’ve seen in anyone. God creates the most wondrous of cities and places.

Soho

Sight: Soho, London
Photo credit: Ems Chiu
Date: June 1. 2017