From the Archive: Destination Spotlight, LONDON

If you’ve known me for any length of time, there’s a chance you’ve figured out this fact about me: I. Am. An. Anglophile. I’ve been obsessed with things British since I was a wee girl. I used to be able to sing a ditty with all of the names of the kings and queens of England, in order. (I can only just list them now).

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Image Credit, Elizabeth II at 90, Vanity Fair, Annie Leibovitz

Jane Austen. Harry Potter. The Beatles. Alan Rickman. Emma Thompson. THE QUEEN. ((…and Queen (ha!)) Tea. Midsomer Murders. The Spice Girls (very important to 12 year old me).  Castles. Shakespeare. Scones. Procedural mysteries. HYACINTH BUCKET. Dame Judy. Dame Maggie. Dame Julie. Ab Fab. Black Adder. MARY BERRY AND THE GBBO.

THE LIST GOES ON.

I’ve considered it to be a personal failing that I’ve yet to set foot on English soil. But on October 5, 2016 (Happy birthday, Daddy!) I will arrive in London. This is the part of my trip that is exclusively for fun– I have no legitimate reason to be there other than I want to be.

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Nereid Monument, British Museum 

HOWEVER, most of what I will be doing when I’m there is still closely related to what I’m into. I will be visiting museums (The British Museum, The Soane Museum, and the V&A are on the top of the list, the Tate and the Portrait Gallery are maybes). I want to go to Harrods and buy tea. Go to Kew Gardens. Westminister Abbey. St. Paul’s Cathedral.  The tower of London to see the Crown Jewels. And if there is an event where the Queen will be seen in public, you can bet your ass I’ll be one of the ninnies in the crowd. If I have time, and I’m starting to think it’s doubtful that I will, I may go to Bath.

I also want to just walk around and be there. Buy books. Drink Tea. Eat meat pies and puddings and bakewell tarts. Take a stupid picture in King’s Cross at Platfrom 9 ¾. Try very hard not to imitate the accents (I’m an accent chameleon unfortunately). Of all of the places I am going this fall (and MAN are there many), this may be the place I’m looking forward to the most.

Have you been to London? What are your must sees?

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Originally posted by isolatedhysteria

This is third in a series of blog posts that I will be doing to talk about where I am going during this trip, why I am going there, and what I’m expecting to see.

Paris * Besançon

From the Archive: Destination Spotlight, Besançon, France

This is a second in a series of blog posts that I will be doing to talk about where I am going during this trip, why I am going there, and what I’m expecting to see.

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One of the most exciting things about this trip is that I will be visiting a bunch of smaller places around France and Italy that I’d never have considered going to without needing to for research. Maybe it’s because this petite ville is in France, and because the arch seems SO COOL, but I cannot wait for my excursion to Besançon.

Located near the Franco-Swiss border, this is a small-ish city in the foothills of the Alps. It was of interest to the Romans because of its positioning in relationship to Alps, and the settlement’s positioning on the Doubs river.  Since the first century BCE, it has been a city that holds military strategic importance, shifting between Burgundian, Spanish, Austrian, and French control over the centuries.

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Image Credit 

Besançon is reportedly one of the prettiest cities in France that has yet to really receive a great amount of tourist attention (which is fine by me!) Surviving historical edifices in the city include: a Roman monumental arch (of course), a 12th-century cathedral, fortifications of Vauban from the 17th century, and much, much more.

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Image Credit

I will be visiting Besançon in early October and I’m, perhaps naively, hoping for beautiful, mild October weather for my explorations of this city. I know it’s a little too early for the leaves to turn, but one can’t help but hope right?

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Image Credit

Previous Spotlights: Paris

From the Archive: Destination Spotlight, Paris

This is a first of a series of blog posts that I will be doing to talk about where I am going during this trip, why I am going there, and what I’m expecting to see. 

Paris was my first international destination – and for a long time the only place I’d really been in Europe. I visited for the first time in 2004 and then I returned in 2005 for my semester-long study abroad. As cheesy and corny as it sounds, this city has my heart like no other. I’ve yet to visit a place that challenges Paris’s supremacy in my heart.

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Some of its primacy definitely is tied up with how I feel it connects to me as a person. I regard Paris as the first place I learned how to be myself as an adult. At the age of 19, I got on a plane and flew to France for months…I remember standing in the security line at Dulles watching my dad leave the airport and getting very emotional; two Russian grandmas comforted me very sweetly and made me feel less alone. As I think back on that now, I am constantly surprised that my younger self handled it relatively well; 30 year-old-me definitely would not have been as chill about the semester abroad.

Paris has some great personal memories…I did some amazing things, spoke the best French of my life (the state of it is so sad now in comparison), and met some truly fantastic people (including one of my oldest and bestest friends, Ashley!) Our small group of R-MC and Goucher folks, plus the ones we picked up in our language classes, had some amazing times together.

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But Paris – the place Paris…I literally can’t imagine a place I love more. The main touristy areas full of history, each arrondissement with its own personality and rhythm, from the grand Haussmannian boulevards, to the narrow twisting streets of the Quartier Latin, to slightly too pristine Champs d’Elysée, I love how this city *feels*. So going back for me this trip is HUGE. It’s been over ten years. It will be different; a lot has happened to Paris and me in the past decade. I’m hoping it will be like reconnecting with an old friend you haven’t seen in awhile, but you pick up where you left off.

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For this trip, Paris is serving two purposes. One, I get to start the trip in a place that is at least nominally familiar and I will be able to navigate it without large amounts of stress (hopefully). Two, it will serve as a kind of home base; I will arrive in Europe and depart to the US from Paris. I will travel to a few other locations in the north(ish) of France from there as well as make use of some library collections in Paris.

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I can’t lie though; returning to Paris definitely feels more like a personal pleasure than something expressly connected to work. Paris me manque toujours. Ma chère amie, à bientôt!

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This blog was originally posted here

From the Archive: When Plans Go Awry

I am only able to plan my trip in fits and bursts. I’m afraid if I go too fast, I’ll get careless and make a costly error. I feel like I made one of those errors today, but perhaps it was a case of reading and receiving old information, or the info I’m looking at now was recently updated.

My trip to Croatia is probably one of the most unique opportunities I’ve ever had. I’ve been planning, loosely, for this trip since February or March. All of the internet and print resources informed me that the best way to get to Pula, Croatia is by ferry, which runs April through the end of October.

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Pula is on the tip of Croatia’s peninsula, and ferry IS the most direct route. But apparently, in 2016, as opposed to previous years (I think), the ferries are ending at the end of September. I will arrive in this area in early/mid October..Previously, I thought it to be plenty of time to hitch a ferry from Venice across the Adriatic..enjoying a great view and experience all the while. But alas. ‘Twas not to be. All of the ferry schedules I can find confirm…no ferries after September.

After taking a step back for a few minutes, minutes that were filled with incredibly intense panic, I realized that all was not lost. I shall simply take a train from Venice to Trieste, and bus from Trieste to Pula. A bit longer perhaps, but MUCH cheaper, and instead of seeing the sea, I’ll see the countryside.  I’ll see plenty of the sea in Venice, Pula, Rimini, Ravenna, Fano, and Ancona.

I confess myself disappointed, but it is not the end of the world. Hopefully this is the only travel related snafu (knock on ALL the wood); with so many legs of the journey, I feel like some mixups are to be expected.

I think I’m done planning for the day!

This blog was originally posted here

From the Archive: Plane Tickets Booked!

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I get a little nervous every time I schedule international travel – It always feels like I am doing something HUGE, which I guess I am. So no big surprise to someone who is pretty regularly an anxious individual, it stresses me out.

BUT! It’s done. I will be in Europe from the last week in September to the first week in November. I conveniently arranged my travel times to fall around the dregs of the 2016 election season, and when I arrive back in the U.S.A. there should be a new president elect. I did this entirely on purpose because I’m already ridiculously stressed out about it (see the above note about being an anxious individual).

This trip departs from my other previous international travel in a couple of ways. Previously, I’ve pretty much just been responsible for booking the ticket and showing up. This time, I’m responsible for my housing, travel, and all of the nitty gritty for 100% of the trip. Also, previously, I’ve spent a significant amount of time in ONE country, and to be fair, seen a good portion of that country.

Collectively, I’ve spent several months in France and a couple in Italy. When putting together my original proposal for this trip, I realized that I would be returning to the only two countries in Europe that I have been to for another lengthy stay.  However, I will be ADDING two countries to my list of visited countries; one that I have loved from afar since the tender age of like…seven (England), and the other one I never really expected to go to, but I’m REALLY excited for it (Croatia). I also get to spend time in the south of France, where I’ve never been, and northern Italy (the farthest north I’ve been is Florence).

In short, this trip should feel HUGE….it’s such a great opportunity, on top of the OTHER great opportunities I’ve already had…and I’m that great blend of nervous and excited for it.

This blog was originally posted here

From the Archive: Research Trip 2.0

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This blog is a little dusty; it’s been a year since I started it! ..but it’s time to dust it off, and take it for a spin in preparation for my next research trip in Fall of 2016! I originally started this blog as a way to document my 2015 trip to Italy, but I figure I can take it a step further and use it to document my travels, mainly research related, in the process of completing my PhD. (Hopefully, there will be no scaffolding surprises this trip! See above!)

This fall, I’ll be traveling to Italy, France, and Croatia. I am debating tacking a long weekend to England on somewhere, because honestly, it’s a huge personal failure for me as an Anglophile to never have gone. Plus, I’ll already be over there so why not?

So this post is a metaphorical dusting off of an old blog in preparation of new adventures!