i love melbourne, it is so great to be back and i haven't even had the time to completely unpack and settle and now uni has started. crazy times catching up with friends and visiting missed food stops (ahh yes brunch culture!!!!) and trying to get my head space around the fact that, well - final year of my degree.
all these catch ups with friends have freshened up the feelings of post-exchange, i miss it i loved it i want to relive it. unfortunately all i have is my memories and my pictures and i guess this post will be about that, putting it down to words so that those memories won't tarnish. here goes.
East End, Glasgow
Isle of Arran, Scotland
The day after halloween, struggling through kelvin way and up the hill on university avenue to make it to our 7am bus. Still inebriated, stinking like a distillery and clutching onto our pillows for dear life as if a safety raft.
As much as we did struggle, the trip to the Isle of Arran was astounding. Not only did we get to see some beautiful landscape and hike through 50 shades of green, hopping onto a massive ferry across the Atlantic Ocean and almost being carried around by huge wind gusts was also part of this adventure. Waterfalls and towering trees, fish and chips, good company, and sleeping on a patchy bit of grass with our pillows outside a whiskey distillery makes for an interesting day. Note that I know now to never travel drunk/hungover on a bus through windy roads.
In total, I visited Edinburgh 3 times. I love how easy it is to get from one city to another, it was only an hour away no matter bus or train. The first time round we caught the train onward chasing the sunset. Speeding by little towns and grassy fields as the sun bathed everything in it's warm hazy glow. No matter how many times I rode through the countryside, no matter how many times I recall these memories, I am always filled with a sense of euphoric awe - if that's not the term it is one now because that is exactly how I feel. Edinburgh is such a stunning city, with gothic architecture enclosed with rolling hills, Arthurs Seat a short trek away with wide and sweeping views of this beautiful city, fairy lights illuminating the laughter and joy throughout the Christmas markets.
The Lighthouse, Glasgow
Nestled within Glasgow city is this little building called The Lighthouse, filled with quirky exhibitions and platform high enough to watch Glasgow bustling as dusk set in. Funnily enough, the exhibition that was running when we visited was about Melbourne 3000 - essentially Melbourne CBD. Interesting that I learnt more about Melbourne CBD whilst living in Glasgow as compared to when I was living in Melbourne CBD itself.
One thing was for sure, I did not prepare myself for the bitter cold temperatures. Warsaw was so interesting, so cool. So much of what we did was thanks to such great friends, Tomeks and Magda (shout ouuut), thank you so much for taking us around and being such great hosts.
!!!!! I left my heart in Iceland and it's still taking its time coming back to me. I loved, loved, love Iceland. I don't know how much more I could express my completely and utter infatuation with this beautiful little country. First time in a snowy environment, first time travelling solo, first time seeing one of nature's greatest wonders - the aurora borealis. The idea of doing a solo trip was frightening, and whilst I did thorough research on safety and ease of traveling, I still worried, I wasn't sure if I would be comfortable, if the fact that I was alone in a completely foreign land would scare me and paralyze me, if I would just regret it but no. Despite being by my lonesome self, Iceland was one of the greatest experiences of my life. I can't put how I felt into words, nor can I quite capture the magnificence of it into words. Raging waterfalls as it snow stormed, sweeping snowy landscapes, minimal modern architecture - Iceland was and is my ideal palette. Steaming in 34 degree celsius in natural geothermal baths as snowflakes flurried around me topped it right off just before my flight back. Roaming through countrysides in search of the Northern Lights, wrapping my fingers around a cup of hot chocolate as I ponder on how, bloody, amazing, the, world, is. I would gladly go back in a heart beat.
Random bits of Scotland
And in the briefest way possible, that was it. I can hear people around me getting sick and tired of my talk from my exchange, I can't promise this will be the last of it because it was indeed the greatest decision I've ever made. I couldn't recommend it more.