Magicial World of Karlsruhe

Magicial World of Karlsruhe

Prepare yourself for the most German day yet.


This morning we woke up at 8 am in order to get ready and go to Karlsruhe. I don’t know a whole lot about what we are doing there but it should be fun. (Yay Surprises!) At 10 am Christina and I (+ my luggage) met with Luiz and Alex at the train station got coffee and tickets and caught the train. We traveled east from Mannheim to Karlsruhe, the village with Pascal lives. He met us at the train and brought us to his home where we were introduced to his family, shown the rooms and headed out to explore the town.

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While exploring the town we seen Pascal’s church, his school and the city hall. After that we headed uphill (I’m beginning to see a trend) to the side of a hill with the best view of the village.

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Had a bit of a panic attack half way up between a vineyard and a fence where there wasn’t enough space to breathe. I mean looking back, I should appreciate  the fact the we were casually walking up the side of a vineyard in Germany because that pretty cool. When we made it up you could see a bunch of villages and vineyards. This was the best view of normal Germany I had seen so far and I loved it.

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On our way back down we had to stop to pick up the ingredients for schnitzel, well schnitz-pom-sal (schnitzel, fries and salad). Pascal took change to help lead us through making schnitzel and it was probably the best I had ever had just talking about it makes me hungry. After dinner we all laid down for a couple hours (thank god) to get a nap in before our big evening.

What big evening? a traditional Oktoberfest.

Both of Pascal’s parents dressed in their dirndl and lederhosen and brought us to the event. It was the coolest way to experience tradition by going to a small place and seeing how people of all ages come together to drink. Pascal’s parents treated us to our first liter beer and a shot of schnapps to get the night started. From there we all chatted, drank and danced with strangers.

They played both traditional music and part music with live bands which was really cool. Keeping up tradition of the mayor breaking open the first barrel of beer. By the end of the night I had blisters, memories and a tram back. We somehow had a long night but managed to be back and in bed by 12 and asleep within the first 5 minutes of entering the house. Thank god though, because I was in for a long day of training tomorrow.


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Oh and the witch of Karlsruhe…

20 Things I Learned at 20

20 Things I Learned at 20

You probably don’t know this but this post is my 100th and since I missed my 1 year anniversary of this mess I call a blog, I figured I’d skip a day of travel blogs to bring you something I have been working on for a while. Enjoy. (I hope)


  1. do everything you can while you are young. I’m not saying this as an old person but take those opportunities as they come to you, don’t leave them for later.
  2. Call your parents. They may nag, but they love you and want to hear your alive.
  3. Don’t make yourself busy with unimportant things, you’ll just stress yourself out. Repeat after me, “cleaning is not a valid reason to isolate yourself inside.” OK?
  4. That being said, don’t forget to make time for just you. It is a valid reason to stay in on a Saturday, you do you.
  5. That thing you did in high school that you can’t forget? Yeah, it doesn’t matter. The only one who remembers all of the embarrassing things you do is you, and maybe your best friend.
  6. Keeping a journal is an amazing thing. You don’t realize how much you value moments in time till you have the ability to read back and see exactly how a moment in time made you feel.
  7. Long-distances friendships are weird and can be tough, but they are worth it. Everyone wishes to have someone to send postcards to, and plus there is a certain comfort in knowing there is someone across the world that thinks of you occasionally.
  8. Have a good pair of pj’s. You deserve to sleep in something nice, and if you are like me, spend have your day in.
  9. Learn to manage school/work and your social life. I’m still learning to balance, but I think it is trying that is important. School and work aren’t your life, don’t let them take all of it.
  10. Know your alcohol limit. This goes for everyone- you are old enough to not be a drunk mess every time you drink (its only cool every once in a while).
  11. Traveling can change your life. It sounds extremely cheesy but its actually true. Maybe it’s the patience you learn from the airports or the respect you learn for another country, traveling DOES change you.
  12. Try something new. It’s fulfilling, and every failed attempt is a funny story. For instance, that one time I tried to learn to read tea leaves…. yeah.
  13. Learn to accept a compliment. When someone is trying to show you appreciation take it, say thank you and feel the love!
  14. Find routine in your everyday life. Over the last year I’ve developed a wake up/coffee and chill/ get ready routine that keeps me relatively sane.
  15. Do your work. I say this and literally never do it, but when I am on top of my work my stress level is 0. Plus, school is what you make of it, you may not have to do your readings to pass but your only stunting your own learning.
  16. Learn to laugh at yourself. (and others *kidding*) Does falling in the park/ on the bus/ down stairs suck? ya. but being able to laugh makes it a little less embarrassing. I mean who can laugh at you if you are already laughing at yourself (amiright?)
  17. Find beauty in the worst of times. Is it raining? Jump in a puddle. Is it cold out? great. scarf weather.
  18. Wear comfortable shoes, blisters suck. So does your complaining. So save yourself and anyone around you the hassle and wear something comfy.
  19. Appreciate time. It will go too fast most of the time. You will lose people, pets, things but knowing you appreciated the time you had with them can help you move on.
  20. Let loose, it feels really good to not care about what others think and truly do what you want to do, free of fear of what others will think.

I guess the closer to 21 I get the wiser I feel. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Hungover in Heidelberg

Hungover in Heidelberg

Another day, another log.


This morning I woke up hungover and uncomfortable. I slept on a pull out couch in Luiz’s house and honestly…. I have never regretted jeans more.

Once we were up Christina and I got ready and left back for her apartment, I was feeling very sick with the cold I had so when we got back we chilled and ate for a few hours to pass the time.

It became time to get our shit together and actually get ready. The original plan was to meet back with Luiz and his friend Alex and I honestly don’t think we met till close to 3. So, when we made it to the station we grabbed our tickets to go to Heidelberg. Waiting at the station we learned that our train was delayed 5 minutes, but when 5 turned to 40 we asked a German girl what was happening and she told us “kids playing” which I thought was maybe still German because that isn’t a real reason. No it was, kids were fricking playing on train tracks so there were no trains going to Heidelberg (only in Germany). The delay let us meet up with Luiz and Alex. I haven’t mentioned Alex, but he is also goes to my university and was also here for reading week (kinda cool huh?). After 20 minutes we boarded our train and took that, a tram and a bus to get to the center.

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From there we walked up to the castle where we could get the best vantage point of the city that lies below.If you read my previous entry about Utrecht then you’ll know how strongly I feel about walking up hill or exercise in general. I mean, the view was definitely worth it but the walk there was the worst.

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From the top you could see all of beautiful Heidelberg.(Literally all I wrote about the view. Cool.) I mean, it was an amazing view and since it was misty and cold there was no one else there, which was perfect.

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After touring the castle we took our time exploring around the grounds in what I can assume is off limits. We headed back down and went for food at a restaurant Stephan had recommended to us. It happened to be a falafel place that was situated in a back alley off the main drag. It was kind of scary and exhilarating, but I guess it turned out okay. I mean when you think of Germany you don’t think “man they know their falafel”. The bathroom in the restaurant consisted of the back exit to the restaurant, an outdoor alley, then a tiny bathroom at the end of the alley (IT IS AS SKETCHY AS IT SOUNDS).

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I mean, it mostly sucked because I don’t really like falafel and it made me feel gross and sick. Post-gross meal we walked around the shops to pick up some souvenirs and more pretzels (literally my life blood). We caught the tram back to the train station and trained back to Mannheim. Yeah, a pretty early night but I think all the traveling had start to catch up to me and I was exhausted from doing a lot less.

So after tramming again back to Christina’s we watched netflixed and chilled while I repacked. Christina was falling asleep and I was suddenly wide awake (probably a mix of scary movie and adrenaline). Today was awesome and Heidelberg is gorgeous.

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Adventures in Mannheim

Adventures in Mannheim

I’ll preface this day with the fact that I didn’t take one photo. Not one single stinking photo, so I stole some pictures from Christina to give you an idea of what Mannheim looks like. Oké.


This morning was rough, after the night before I was left exhausted and in no mood to do things. Plus Tom gave me the gift of a cold, so I was lucky to have a fever from that (thanks Tom…)

Christina and I got up and had breakfast, I am in love with Christina’s apartment. It is this beautiful white palace with high ceilings and nice wooden floors. for breakfast we had eggs and toast, then we got ready to go to school (Yay for going to school on vacation). We walked along the area and pretty shopping district in Mannheim down to the university which is practically a palace. She helped me find coffee and sat me down somewhere with wifi so she could go to class. while she was gone I caught up on blogs because as previously mentioned I stay about 3-4 days behind.

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*a tiny christina in front of her giant school (Credit: Christina F.)

When she returned it was just me, writing alone, everyone having left and the building apparently closing. We left school and went for food, once I had my pretzel and fries (healthy right?) we walked along shopping and looking around. Giving up on shopping we went back to Christina’s to shower and get ready (again) to go to Luiz’s house.

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*the water tower on Christina’s walk to school (Credit: Christina F.)

Side note: Luiz is a friend of Christina’s who is also on exchange from Brock. Probably one of the most confident people I have ever met. He’s alright.

On the way over we had to do a bit of grocery shopping (groceries=alcohol). Proceeding to attempt to tram over to his house, screwing up and having to walk back and start again. Once at Luiz’s we met all his roommates, who with Luiz, create this awesome assortment of cool people. There is Lena and Lena, one being the chill, hipster person everyone needs in their life, the other being the funky eccentric girl who has no problem with sarcasm. Then there is Stephan who is this guy who seems very well-traveled and has lots of intriguing things to talk about (because he is extremely smart). Last there is Pascal, who I had heard a ton about and I’m sure I’ll have more to say later, because I met him for like 10 minutes, but he is very thoughtful and doesn’t have a mean thing to say about anyone.

So together with this rag-tag group of German’s and Canadians we sat together and got to know each other while taking shots of Grappa (well they did, I took like 2). It is always really cool to actually interacted with the culture when you go to a different country, it isn’t enough to see the sights, you should really meet the people. Despite their language being a little harsh, these people were so kind and welcoming, I couldn’t have asked for more. Luckily we chilled, hung out and made pizza. Good night.

Survival of the Fittest. German Edition.

This blog post was potentially the hardest to write so far, as today was my final day in Nijmegen.  That realization left me feeling increasingly bummy as the day progressed.


We woke up around 10 and continued our routine of breakfast and news. Demi’s mom was a beautiful peach and drove us into the city so we didn’t have to figure out the bus. We then proceeded directly to our next meal after picking up Tom at a pretty little cafe that served these heaping “toasties” which were a-maz-ing.

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After that Tom and I walked Demi towards school and broke off to do our own thing. We walked around the church in Grote Market and back down to the oldest shopping street in the Netherlands to do some browsing (Primark no longer a threat to our shopping experience). We wandered around chatting and browsing until we realized I wasn’t buying any of the overpriced and seemingly useless kitchen items, so we headed back to the market. Just as before we sat at a cafe talking about the past few days, life, and when we would meet next. It amazes me that somehow we didn’t run out of things to talk about, but then again most conversation was through inside jokes so there was always another joke to be made.

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*super done with my shit.

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At 3:30 we went to catch the buss back to Weurt to have supper with Demi. When we got back I ran up to pack as fast as possible to give myself as much time with them as possible. I finally got the chance to give Tom my gift from Canada, which if you haven’t noticed for other blogs yet, I find extremely uncomfortable, but all was worth it when I got to see the look on his face at what I had brought him.

We shared our last meal together like a little family laughing and chatting. The best comparison we made was to the last supper and apparently I was Judas…k.

After supper the two drove me to the train station and I said goodbye to Demi at the kiss and drive, I had many things I wish I could say to her like because she deserved so much more than thank you. Tom walked me to my train to say goodbye, although it was sad I knew we would all see each other again. I shed a few tears but we left off on a good note, receiving a promise from him of his impending trip to Canada (and I will hold you to that Tom).

Once the train pulled away I was left alone with my luggage, crying in public like a damn fool. Unfortunately, this is the end to the cute story of Nijmegen, and I may have left my sanity there, because the rest of this day is the reason I question why I thought I could travel alone.

SO, in Venlo (one of my 3 transfers) I had 4 minutes to run from platform 4 to 1 whilst dragging my 50 pound suitcase down and up 2 flights of stairs. You could say it was an experience. However I made my train and was on my way to Dussledorf.

side note: German trains- why no wifi?

In Dussledorf I was lucky to have a kind German man help me with my suitcase down the stairs and struggled up to my next platform. However, when I got to the top I found out that my train was 20 minutes late but I refused to carry my suitcase anywhere so I waited those 20 minutes impatiently on the platform. ( I mean, I never said I was a smart traveler…) Once again on the train, the ride allowed me to catch up on writing what I hadn’t already (which was pretty much all of Nijmegen). When I arrived in Frankfurt I realized my train to Mannheim had left without me. This moment is when I was closest to tears, none of the running or dragging my suitcase had phased me till I realized I was stuck there. After arguing with the DB info stand people, I got on another train to Mannheim, but this one was an hour longer than the original was to be. Eventually I made it to Mannheim on an empty train to an empty station. But I was lucky to be met by a panicked Christina who thought I was never getting there. So although this day had been an emotional roller coaster and I was exhausted, I felt like I was finally safe.

We made it to her apartment at 2:15 (2 hours after I should have been there) and caught up about the past couple days since we had seen each other.

Everyone take a sigh of relief, I’m alive.

Bridget and Biertje Take on the World

Bridget and Biertje Take on the World

I realized I stopped giving these any preface. Well here is Day 7 of my travel log. I skipped posting yesterday due to work and homework things (and a good binge with my roommates) #sorrynotsorry

So.


Didn’t get up till 12:30 due to last nights activities. I awoke in Demi’s room slightly confused and very lost, of course she had told me not to close the blinds all the way so I could see where I was in the morning, but I didn’t listen and was currently reaping the rewards.

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Demi and I sat downstairs and the huge breakfast she had prepared for us. After that we chatted, watched the news and I helped her with her homework. Or at least I’d like to think I did…

*pray for her grades*

It’s funny because at home I refuse to edit my work, but it is almost calming to editing her work and talk things through with her because things I find very simple are the only parts she doesn’t get. Demi is extremely smart though and as soon as the concept is read to her she could talk circles around me.

By the time we were actually dressed and ready to go it was already close to 5pm. We headed into Nijmegen to do a bit of shopping which ended up walking past all the cute shops in order to get to Primark before it closed. Although not going into any of the cute little shops, the old part of Nijmegen is extremely pretty and inspiring. Definitely a place to visit if you are ever in the Netherlands. Similar to Deventer with its old streets and small shops, Nijmegen’s center has a beautiful old church in the middle and is surrounded by small cafes that are perfect for a chat over coffee.

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But that wasn’t the focus today, Demi and I were on the hunt for Primark. It is this weird 3 level store that is full of clothing and house products. I mean, yes very similar to stores like H&M and Forever 21, but its very cheap, and I like cheap. I had heard only good things (except from Tom, but screw Tom). We spent the next hour shopping through the levels and talking about our love for cheap things. Around 6 we realized that we would probably be late to Tom’s where we were going for supper and the panic started. Demi went back for the car and I went to check lout, which didn’t help that the store was closing so everyone else was also checking out. Post-cehckout left us rushing back to the car she had illegally parked and going straight to Tom’s. For supper Tom made us this amazing pesto chicken (this is here because I know he will read this) and supper progressed with casual conversation about Canada and differences/similarities and such. This is when Tom’s dad Bert went on to ask “so Bridget, tell us a bit about yourself”. I mean, at first I didn’t quite realize he was talking to mean and when I did I laughed because what else does one do when you’ve met someone a few times and they call you the wrong name. Although, it made for a funny story and he is super nice so I’ll let it slide.

After supper and clean up, we all sat down and I was once again reunited with Biertje the cat. My love for cats has become so real here that I honestly am starting to question if I’ll ever get married or if I should just adopt a cat now. Unofrtunately Biertje wouldn’t leave with me so I’m still catless. #foreveralone

Demi and I left to go watch her friend play football (classic Dutch).

  1. It was so damn cold.
  2. the national team was playing for a spot in a tournament that I’m not sure the title of

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We sat inside the club house and watched a bit of both games, but when Demi decided ther was no chance that the Dutch team would win we went out into the cold to watch the other game. It is actually quite interesting how into football people get here. I can imagine this is the equivalent to American football where everyone is really intense and there is a lot of pride in the teams you follow. Because the closest thing we have in Canada is hockey and although I would call myself a fan, I’m no die-hard leafs fan that will stand by them through their many loses.

But back to the current situation, it obviously eventually got too cold to stand outside and we retreated for coffee and to see if any miracles had happened. Ya… they hadn’t. But once the game outside ended, it went from a room with just Demi and I in it to a room full of football players really quickly. All gathered around the TV to see the Netherlands lose to the Czech Republic, tensions were running very high.

Post-defeat, I got to meet Demi’s whose was on the team we were originally there to watch. He was very kind and invited us over to watch more football (NICE!). After a couple of teas at Demi’s (probably around 11pm) we returned to the city and ended up sitting around and chatting while drinking more tea, but probably one of the chillest times I have had yet here. We weren’t rushing or going or drinking, we got to just sit and enjoy each others company which is what I like doing best. this didn’t last too long and Demi and I returned home to get to sleep for our relatively early morning to follow.

Meters on Meters

Meters on Meters

Day 2 in Nijmegen, not playing favourites or anything, but this may have been the best day of the trip.. just saying.


Not wanting to get up and get ready, both Tom and I hung back while Demi went to class in Utrecht. I spent my morning doing the home work that I had avoided doing and re-packing the mess that was my suitcase. At 11, Tom biked over and he and I sat for tea with Demi’s dad Wilhelm. Realistically, the major portion of the conversation was between Demi’s dad and Tom because his English was a bit rusty but he tried to ask questions and that was enough. He drove us to the train station, which was much appreciated because it was cold as balls.

I took the time on the train to write a few postcards and make Tom listen to all of my favourite songs. Even transportation can be made fun when your with a friend. The same goes for waiting, when we got to Utrecht, Tom and I made our way towards the center to meet with Demi. Since she was coming from class, 10 minutes turned to 30, but all was well because there were people to be watched and jokes to be made. Finally caving to the cold I forced Tom inside the starbucks where we had been waiting to get a drink, this is where Demi joined us and the squad was complete.

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As we walked you could just see the tip of a tall tower and this is when Demi told us her plan to have us climb said tower. Yes, I’ll admit that at first I was skeptical, “paying for excerise?!”. After our awkward tour through the Dom church with a man who seemed very funny but gave the tour in Dutch so I’ll never know. This left me the tourist who looked too stupid to get the joke, or laughed at the wrong time. ~language barriers~

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We then met our next tour guide who would take us up the tower. He was a strapping young fellow, but honestly I’ll never understand how he does this job for a living. It is literally up and down a tower all day. I could just write that I walked the tower with ease but that would be a huge lie. I was panting by step 40 (there were approx. 465) and hated the close quarters of the stairwells. for most, getting to the top was like that scene in Rocky where he finishes training and jumps around all happy, but for me it was more like being dangled from a tower and wanted to cry. I hate heights and this view was no exception.

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After sitting for a while, still scared, but also amazed by the view and just how intense it is to be this high in an old building. Being 95 meters in the air was mildly terrifying, but made me appreciate my beers more later. At the time time I was terrified and shaky, but it was definitely worth the view.

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The way back down was easier, but not great. We walked all the way down without breaks like before so you get pretty dizzy (maybe just me though). From there we headed for our much deserved beers that had been blessed by the fact that they were served in a church converted bar. (It is pretty amazing, a must visit)

Insert a real talk:

This happened to be Canadian thanksgiving, and no, I don’t really get what that means but normally I spend it with my family and we eat lots and enjoy each others company. No one tells you what its like to feel kind of displaced on a holiday. I had never missed thanksgiving and knowing at home my family would be praying for my safety made me feel really weird about being in Europe. Of course this feeling was quickly replaced by the happiness I felt to have been missing that for something as special as this trip. I was sitting in a bar in Europe drinking with two of my closest friends and I wouldn’t let the slight sad feeling get me down. Though those friends may tell you differently.

#blessed

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After discussing it with these guys there was no one I would rather have shared that tradition with. I am truly thankful to have such amazing people around me. Thanks guys.

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After the church/bar we continued to another bar near Demi’s campus to eat the cheapest meal (5 euros) and was pretty damn tasty. Once again on the road, we headed back to Nijmegen in which we finally rested from that tower walk and decided on our plans for the night. Bussed back to Weurt and ran home to get our shit together before our night out on the town. No more then 15 minutes later we were back out and on bikes on our way into the city (no, its not huge or complicated but yes, I still have no clue how we got there that night).

We went to this cool pub and danced x2 (because we danced more then I could describe). I love dancing with these guys because I don’t really care how I look since I know no one else there, and they are both super fun to party with. Here’s why: they never seem to tire, they dance their hearts out, they include you in the Dutch party. And there was lots of Dutch music, also old English songs… (and one Christmas song). At this point it is safe to say we were about 5 rounds in and things were beginning to transpire.

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We basically peaced out and went a street over to another cafe. It was small and packed with students but holy crap was it fun. We found ourselves a small corner to claim our own, got some drinks and began dancing again. This little cafe was probably my favourite, it was really small but intimate and made for an interesting experience, similar music to the last one but not as packed. (More space for my dance moves)

There is something exhilarating about partying in a new place. I mean obviously the fact that you can do whatever you want but you also can really enjoy the people you are there with. It’s also really easy to immerse yourself into the culture when you are thrown into a bar without tourists.

For any still wondering about the title of this blog, at this bar we ordered a meter beer, which is 11 beers in a wooden carrier. I think this may have been a bit of a waste because we were all pretty gone to finish this alone. When we “finished” the meter we got to head out to the dance floor until it was time to go. I say finish because we (I) gave away three beers… oops.

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At about 4:30 we got on our bikes and headed home, a long ride when you’re tired, cold, and drunk. I don’t know how they do it. We finally made it home and into bed around 5 and I know one thing, this night was one for the books.

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