Winter Wonderland

 
One of the best things about living in Europe has just happened!  

It has started SNOWING!

Everything looks beautiful, covered in white, fluffy, cold snow! It’s like a fairytale (when you are looking at it from indoors).

I would like to say a big thankyou to those workers who shovel the snow off the pathway; you are doing a brilliant job! It helps so much.

About 4 days ago, the first snow arrived. It was minimal, but never the less I was very excited. Just enough to build a mini snowman and have a slightly epic snowball fight.

But then, after 48 hours of constant snow, it begins to build up. The cars are hidden in the ground by snow and the buildings are covered with it. In places that are just not logical, there is snow. Like for example; the side of a tree, the side of it! But all of this extra snow leads to; you got it, the possibility of a bigger snowman!

Now, building a snow man is not as easy as you would expect. Not like building a sandcastle at all (I was told as soon as I started trying). You begin by making a snowball, and then you start rolling it around in the snow, patting it down every now and again to strengthen it. It starts to grow bigger and bigger, before you know it the snowball is huge and has turned into the head of the snowman!

Playing in the snow is so much fun; you soon forget that it is -18 degrees. Yes, negative 18 degrees.

When there is snow, everything is beautiful and anything seems possible.

Why Warsaw?

 This is a question I get asked by pretty much everyone I meet.

When I was home in Australia and telling people about my exchange, some didn’t even know where it was! When they found out they were so confused by my choice.

Here, in Warsaw, when people find out I am Australian their first reaction is; “WOW!” and that statement is always followed by, “WHY WARSAW?”

Because of this question being so frequently asked in my life, I realised that anyone who happens to read my blog will be thinking the exact same thing; ‘Why Warsaw’.

I will explain.

To be honest… it’s CHEAP!

Although the Australian dollar is totally epic right now, the rest of Europe is still incredibly expensive, and that’s just to visit, imagine living there! This way, I have based myself in a cheap country and can still travel to all the expensive ones in my spare time (and spare money).

Every thing in Warsaw is amazingly priced. It’s something like 3pln to 1aud. so my accommodation is 380pln a month… that’s 150aud!! Also in the supermarkets, pretty much everything is priced how you would see at home, but in reality it’s a third of that price! My transportation is even better, on my student card; I have 3 months unlimited travel for 98pln!!!

So that is the main reason.

Second, it’s Warsaw! What could be more different than home! The country is COLD, and it SNOWS at Christmas! Also, everyone goes on holiday to France or Italy, but who goes on holiday to Warsaw? So I figured that my chances of ever going to Poland were slim.

And here I am!

So if anyone was wondering what on earth I am doing in Warsaw, there is your answer! 

Until next time!

The wonderful life of leo

What a week!

You wouldn’t know it… but Warsaw is actually a very cultural city! Not only does it have all its history and beauty, but it has events all the time. These past two weeks I have been to an international music festival, where there were workshops for beat boxing, DJ mixing and more.

I have also been to the international film festival, where I saw two epic movies. The first one, a French documentary called ‘The game of death’ (look it up), it was a sociology experiment looking into how people react to authority. The results were really scary! 

The other was the winner of the festival; called ‘The sounds of noise’ it was awesome! It was a Swedish comedy about musical geniuses who are making music out of everything. At one point they are hanging off the electricity wires, with chainsaws for bows and playing it like a huge violin! Very creative! 

Also, I have experienced my first real autumn!! The star shaped leaves ACTUALLY fall from the trees and are all different colours, lots and lots of yellow!

So yes, very awesome.

I should probably mention university… So the most awesome thing is the classrooms! In the main building, they are so totally old school! like with real old wooden desks and a black board! So cool!

I am also planning a few trips. Next weekend I will be going to Gdansk (a small polish town north or warsaw) and prague in early december.

So I have a lot to look forward to!

University

So it feels like everything I have been doing so far, has been working up to this point. University.

That is the reason I came isn’t it? Its hard to believe that with all the fun I have been having travelling around Europe!

But I am finally here, in my university dorm, writing about it. I arrived about a week ago, and was a bit confused as we just sat outside waiting for our ‘buddies’ to show up. It’s a great system, they organise another polish student to help you out, and get you adjusted to the university life here, in Warsaw. This is the main building of SGH

The student dorms they have you in are awesome! It’s pretty much just for exchange students, so more people speak English than polish! Though I have learnt to recognise the ‘glazed eyes’ look on the other students when they don’t understand me.

 My room mate is from Germany, and her name is Melanie. She is very nice and her English is so good! She is happy I am her room mate, and that she will have perfect English by the time she goes home. I say either that or she learns how to sleep with her eyes open, pretending to understand what I am saying.

We are the only Australian’s here. The first reaction we get is; “wow! That’s so cool!” the next is; “WHY are you in Warsaw!” They just don’t understand why we would want to leave our beautiful country for the cold. And let me tell you, it is certainly cold!

This morning, I was so happy because the sky is so blue! At home, blue sky means warm. So I just put on a light jacket and went to my class. By the time I got there, I thought my hand was going to fall off! It is that cold. I may as well dump that jacket right now.

Awesome news, while Poland may not seem like a very happening country to outsiders, it begs to differ. The other day, while shopping (the malls are huge!) with some new friends, we noticed a red carpet. Thinking it was just a minor polish celeb, we stuck around to check it out. After a while, my friend who speaks polish asks a girl who was coming. This young girl looks at us as if we are stupid and replies, “Its Halle Berry”. So awesome!!! We were very excited! So when Halle Berry walked past us, and heard me talking in English, she looked right at me and said “hello”. So that just made my week, that here, in Warsaw, Poland, I met Halle Berry!

So the weather is nice at the moment, it is, at least, not raining. Though it is cold, but I am sure I will manage. Forecast is that it will start snowing in 2 weeks time!!!

Wish me luck!

Warsaw!!

So its totally not what I expected… I was all prepared with my full on winter coat… got off the plane… and it’s like 20 something degrees… haha!! not that I’m complaining!! It’s totally awesome! I still get a few more weeks of sunshine!!

I am staying in the Old Town area of Warsaw till I have to go into uni on Tuesday. I am getting used to the city before I have to study… And I love it!!

I have found that it’s a little bit of everything… its like Venice because there are loads of pigeons! Then like Paris because it has the coffee shops with umbrellas out the front. Also like Brugge because all the buildings are pretty and clumped together… totally awesome! Most people here know pretty decent English!! so my terrible Polish skills are not needed… amazingly even the zebra crossings are like pianos!! I’ll add a picture when I find a zebra crossing that doesnt have people or cars over it… There are like a million brides walking round the city with their entire bridal party, taking pictures at every corner!! Ice creams that are on cones, but like 5 inches tall! delicious cakes, the most beautiful and historic buildings ever! AND taxis that take ‘dropping you off at your doorstep’ very seriously, as they literally drive onto the pathway where people are walking to let you out of the cab!!

Warsaw is certainly a city to visit! And probably the best place for me to have come on my exchange!!

This is going to be awesome!!

EUROPE!!!

Europe has to be the most facinating place in the world!! It is light, like all day, from about 4am (not that i am up that early, but i just know) till about 10:30 at night!! crazy! however it means you get a longer day, more time to sightsee!! yay!

So I just arrived back into London after traveling around europe for a month and a half, it was so totally awesome!! Started in Brugge (Belguim), which is this beautiful, tiny little town in the country known best for its chocolates!! the buildings were the best part, they have these cool roofs which look like steps, and stick out (the photo explains it better)

so you see, awesome! only problem with the city is that there isnt much to do there… so i recomend only spending a few days there.

We then went off to Paris, which is pretty much what you expect. When in the very center of the city, totally beutiful, but as soon as you go outside, very dismal… but still, amazing! We pretty much managed to fit in all our sightseeing into one day! We did this by going on a hop-on-hop-off bus… sooo worth the money! It took you all around the main sights, with tour guides on the bus and everything.

We also got to spend a day at Disneyland Paris, which was sooo cool!! though the lines for the rides were HUGE!

From Paris we started our busabout trip. And went to switzerland! best place ever! it was so pretty!!! you literally walk out of your room at the camping ground and see a waterfall off a cliff (photo below)

Its was very peaceful, met some cool people and just hung out… there were many walking tracks (which i didnt do…) and waterfalls to see (which i did do)… so all together, totally awesome! The people in switzerland are amazing, they know perfect english and plenty of other languages!!

Then we went to munich, beer capital of the world! We stayed in Wombats hostel, which was so well organised and really nice. Lots of placed to go at night time, where pretty much everyone was! We did the walking tour in the morning, then went to the Dachau Concentration Camp the next day, was very scary and sad to think about.

Next was Innsbruck, which was also very pretty, but rained most of the time i was there. Still amazing, lots of shops, also went to the crystal musium, which was beautiful! only spent 2 nights in innsbruck, dont reqally need much longer. You can however, in winter, go bobsleding!! how cool is that! unfortunately it was too “warm” so we couldnt do it…

From there we went onto Venice, which was soooo hot and stinky! but lots and lots of shopping to be done, which was awesome! Though i got bored of shopping towards the end of our stay in venice, which is very unlike me!! lots of masks and glass to buy! Venice is an Island… i didnt know that… loads of tiny bridges!

Next stop was ROME! I was so looking forward to it and wasnt dissapointed! It was amazing and you can totally tell that rome wasnt built in a day! the history was everywhere, its just sad that all the gold and riches were taken from the ruins!

Next was Florrence, on the way we stopped off at a small tuscan village, it was beautiful. But florrence, wasnt anything like it… as i was expecting… It was much more like a normal Italian city. We hired bikes to get around, which was a mistake, as i am very clumbsy and fell off… not fun! Awesome markets though so i got lots of stuff!!

Almost over now, from florrence we headed to nice, but on the way stopped of in Pisa, which was awesome! We got to take lots of photos!!

So nice, it was very pretty, and different to where we had been so far. Its on the french coast line, so we had the ocean for once! Only problem  is that instead of sand at the beach there were big, sharp, pebbles!! so it wasnt exactly the place for sunbathing!

Last stop was dublin, we flew there from nice . Pretty cool city, though a bit too much like england for my taste. Awesome pub lunches though and lots of guinness! We got to do the guinness factory which was sweet! The founder signed a contract to have the property for 9000 years! smart man!

So now back in England and heading into poland soon!!!

Big trip, awesome fun, cant wait to do it again!!!

Busabout

I just got back to London from my big trip around europe! A post is coming detailing that trip, but i wanted to mention busabout.

If anyone is going to europe for a holiday and want to do lots of places, please look into doing busabout! Its the best way and i totally recomend it to anyone going to europe. Its just like Contiki and Top Deck, without all the stupid parts. Like it picks you up at the most popular hostel in the city, then just drops you off in the next one. No worries trying to find the station! They have break points in between, mostly just at service stations, but sometimes at places like Pisa and the sleeping beauty castle.

There is a website that you book everything through, your seats on the bus, your accomodation. Everything.

Just check it out! i believe it only goes in summer. But there are loads of options, all around europe, Italian adventure, Greek Island hopper!!! so cool!!!

This is the Website! http://www.busabout.com/Explorer