Sunday, 2 January 2011

home again home again

You all know how much I love to travel. I often say that if I could spend my life traveling, I would. However, as wonderful as it is, it can be exhausting and sometimes all you want is the comfort of your own bed. I have always loved the quote by George Moore that says:

"A man travels the world over in search of what he needs and returns home to find it."

As much as I want to argue against it, it's impossible to fight his argument. I can certainly attest to that. For the past few weeks, I had been traveling around Europe with my friend TJ. We are both masters students, he at LSE and myself at St Andrews, both feeling exhausted after a semester of studying, needing to get away and relax. Naturally, we chose the coldest place on earth this time of year: the Czech Republic. Don't get me wrong, Prague was a gorgeous city and I'm glad I visited. However, it felt like we were walking from building to building so we could duck inside for shelter. Despite it all, Prague was absolutely stunning. I'd love to get back there when the weather breaks. Here are a few highlights:

The astrological clock in Old Town Square

The Christmas markets in old town square

Charles Bridge :)

 Nightfall in Praha

After 4 days in Prague, TJ and I traveled back to one of our favorite places on Earth: Strasbourg, France. Strasbourg is such an amazing city for us, but it is also our second home. We both studied abroad there at the same time and it is where we became friends. The city is magical for us because we know its back alleys and its hidden gems. It was the place where we both grew so much as people and were changed deeply by our experiences. The moment our plane landed in Paris, I felt immediately at home. Although we had to sleep on the floor of the airport for the night so we could catch our morning train, I didn't mind. I was going home and I loved every minute of it. Because of the heavy snow, the TGV took over 3 hours instead of the usual 2 hours and 15 minutes. It was actually nice because I was able to soak in the French countryside. As the train conductor said, "prochain arret: Strasbourg" (next stop: Strasbourg), TJ and I squealed a little and jumped out of our seats. The French people gave us the usual head shake and mumbled "les americains" under their breath. We were like little children on Christmas morning. 

Being back in Strasbourg was incredibly surreal. It was comforting but a little sad at the same time because we no longer live there. However, we had a ton of fun. We visited all of our favorite places: Le Michel, Le Tarbouche, Cafe Brant, Le Brasseur... and the list goes on. We stayed with a French friend of ours who was so gracious to have taken in the two of us. We went to a bar in Germany one night, had dinner at Malou's house, went skiing in the Vosges and did lots of christmas marketing! I even got to see my host family, which was the best part of the entire trip! Here are some photos:

mmm kougelhopf. So happy to be back in Alsace. 

Good morning, Christmas markets!

Nothing beats a cigogne (stork) with a feather boa. 

oh hey there, tarte flambee. I missed you. 


skiing in the vosges.

Although traveling was a ton of fun, there's nothing like coming home for the holidays. This trip has flown by. I'm already heading back tomorrow, with no return in sight. I know I'll be back at some point, it's just not planned yet. The uncertainty of it all is a little unsettling. I guess that's what I love about it. Coming home was exactly what I needed. I was able to reground myself and now I can go into my exams with a clear head. There's truly nothing like being home for the holidays. However, I can't wait to get back to Scotland. Next stop: St Andrews!

Our Christmas tree at home