My summer is ending in roughly two weeks because once schools starts I consider it to be Fall! This is a bitter sweet moment for me. One because this is my last free summer and two, my last semester in college. As much as I am excited for the adult life and the next chapter, I can't help but be sad that this part of my life is coming to an end.
In honor of my adventures from the past summer, I thought I would share my bucket list and everything I have already crossed off! Including some pictures (:
Marry my best friend
Adopt a child from another country
Live to meet my grandchildren
Own a business
Plan someone’s wedding (besides my own)
Visit the 7 Natural Wonders of the World
(Grand Canyon, Great Barrier Reef, Harbor at Rio de Janeiro, Mount Everest, Aurora, Paricutin Volcano, Victoria Falls)
Visit the 7 Wonders of the World
(Taj Mahal, Giza Necropolis, Petra, Colosseum, Chichen Itza, Machu Picchu, Great Wall of China, Christ the Redeemer)
Ride an elephant in Thailand
Live abroad for a year
Visit a volcano
Picnic in front of the Eiffel Tower
Ride a camel in Morocco
Go on an African Safari
Play hide-and-seek in a shopping mall
Get lost in a city alone
Visit Mount Rushmore
Run the Color Run marathon
Zip line in a rainforest
Visit every state in the U.S.
See the Northern Lights
Follow an ambulance
Go on a ghost tour
Stay in an overwater bungalow
Cage dive with great white sharks
Visit a chocolate factory
Stand in front of the White House
Be in a talk show audience
Stomp grapes at a vineyard
Walk the Hall of Mirrors at the Palace of Versailles
Throw a coin in the Trevi Fountain
Chase a tornado
Put a lock on the Bridge of Love in Paris
Ride a trolley in San Francisco
Walk through the Sistine Chapel
Visit the Vatican
Ski a black slope
See the Statue of Liberty
Jump on stage at a concert
Hold a lion cub
Go on a mission trip
See Big Ben
Ride in a hot air balloon
Shop on Rodeo Dr.
Live in a city that snows half the year
Bike through the Lavender Fields in Provence
Learn how to sew
Stand under the Arc de Triomphe
Learn how to surf
See a show on Broadway
Go to a ice bar
Watch the sunset in Santorini, Greece
Donate hair to a cancer patient
Visit the Musee du Louvre
Eat in China Town in New York City
Swim with dolphins
Experience zero gravity
Do paint balloon darting
See JFK’s eternal flame
Camp in Yosemite National Park
Attend the Summer Olympics
Tour Sagrada Familia
Walk through Central Park
Take a cooking class
Sit court side at a Spurs game
White water raft
Change someone’s life
Ride on a double decker red bus in London
Lean on the Leaning Tower of Pisa
Visit Plaza de Espana
Live in a state where I don’t know anyone
Wine tour in Napa Valley
Complete a 30 day yoga challenge
Sled down the White Sands
Overlook Park Guell
Record a song in a studio
Watch the ball drop in NYC
Look for the Lock Ness Monster
Hike the Swiss Alps
Stand on the Cliffs of Moher
Have a summer fling
Stay out all night and watch the sunrise
Find a church I can call home
Learn how to read sheet music for the piano
Gamble in Vegas
Attend a World Cup
Drive across the Gold Gate Bridge
Attend an award show (CMA’s, VMA’s, etc.)
Eat Chicago Style Pizza in Chicago
Go on a road trip with Best Friends
Drink coffee from Starbucks in Seattle
I am going to start by saying I thought Austin was weird but it does not compare to Amsterdam. I was told I would experience culture shock but nothing could exactly prepare me for what I was going to see. I was a little out of my comfort zone but I must admit that it ended up being one of the coolest cities.
Fun fact: there are more bikes in the city than there are people.
So of course we rented bikes for our weekend. It was basically the best and worst decision ever. Best because I felt like I really indulged in the culture and it was so quick to get around! Worst because I can't tell you how many bruises are on my legs or the number of times I nearly got ran over. I might have almost fell off my bike 10 times leading others to fall off theirs. It was quite the experience!
So about this culture shock. If you have ever heard about the red light district you probably have a clear vision of what it is like. Well it is about 10 times more intense than you think. I would say google it but I'm almost afraid of what would pop up.
In the simplest way, don't take children and go with an open mind.
The food was so flippin good. To be honest though I only really ate street food majority of the time; pizza, hot dogs, fries, take out. It was delicious! It felt like part of the experience.
On our last night we hopped on a small boat to cruise through the various canals of the city. Speaking of canals.. There are literally like 10 different canals making it so easy to get lost. But we managed especially on our bikes.
For being in such a strange city I was sad to leave because it felt like a never ending adventure.
My last week in London has officially come to a close. I have had my last fish and chips meal, my last breakfast tea, and I have turned in my final. Yes I actually did "study" abroad. While it wasn't the hardest class I still had to write a few papers and take a final exam.
I am so sad to be leaving this place because it has become my home away from home. I love every part of the city! I will come back one day. I mean I have to! I'll be craving the market food!
Here is is my guide to London:
Street hot dogs on Portabello Rd
NANDO'S for a Chipotle/Chickfila meal
Fish & Chips from any pub
The Diner in Camden Town for American food
Crepes or gelato on any corner
I never met a meal I didn't like
The Jam Tree
Walkabout for karaoke
Imperial for cheap drinks with a college experience
O'Neill's or Waxy O'Connor's for live music
Piccadilly Institue for a ghetto club scene
Things To Do
Walk around Portabello in Notting Hill for shopping and good food!
Bourough Market on an empty stomach
See a musical or show
Walk around Piccadilly Circus at night because it is lively and similar to Time Square
Knock out the Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, and Westminster Abbey in a day
Hit up Camden Market for a weird time surrounded by tattoo shops
Skip the London Eye and grab drinks at The Shard
Eat everything and anything
I seriously cannot believe it is over!
I also just spent a weekend in Amsterdam so come back for my strange experiences!
I may or may not have skipped class to go on yet another adventure. Earlier this week I took a day off with two other girls from my program. We went on a bus tour to the historic Stonehenge and the city Bath. Both of which completely took my breathe away. I will also point out that this bus tour was a hundred times better than Scotland's. (That might be a bad thing to say, oops!)
Well here is my trip!
First off we headed to Stonehenge, which was yet one more thing on my bucket list. I am starting to think I should share my entire bucket list with y'all! Anyways, Stonehenge is roughly 2 hours from London, not bad at all.
Once we got there we had an hour to visit the site and utilize the audio tour. An hour was honestly plenty of time to walk the whole thing of rocks and to learn about the history of them. It was quite interesting to learn where they came from, their use, and different myths about the famous site. They also made for the perfect photo opp, but what doesn't when in Europe let's be real!
Next, we went to Bath which was only an hour from Stonehenge. Here we had 3 hours. Let me repeat that THREE HOURS to explore. So the first thing we did was grab lunch at a little pub called West Gate. I had a fish sandwich with chips. YUM. Also cider is a pretty big deal in Bath so we of course had to sample it!
We then walked around a bit. One thing I loved about this city was how small and quaint it is. Also every where you turned was street performers. I loved listening to the various artist do renditions of popular songs. It just made everything seem so lively.
From there we headed to the historical Baths. We did another audio tour to learn all about what they were used for and why they were so important to the people. The city earned its name from these watering holes. The various pools were used for different reasons from cleansing and relaxing to healing. The green bath seen in the photo above was once were the people gathered to relax and sun bathe. Interesting enough this water is the original water streaming from the ground but it is super dangerous to get in it because it is now poisonous. So there was no swimming for me!
Lastly, before hopping on the bus to head back to hour temporary home in London, we of course ate gelato. I can officially say I have had gelato in every city or country I have visited. I definitely have a problem! It was probably the best gelato I have ever had though..
Sadly, my last week in London has also come to a close.
Come back to read up on my last adventures and thoughts of the city!
I am a woman of many talents.. just kidding, I am a woman of many ethnicities! It is such a cool experience to visit the countries where my relatives are originally from. In addition to being Irish (yay Dublin!) I am also Scottish! My last name McKinney is from the Scottish decent and apparently I have some random family members roaming around somewhere. Yoohoo! If you are out there I love the country, lol.
Anywayssss, over the weekend I took a quick trip to Scotland with other people from my study abroad program. I must say it is an insanely beautiful country, partly medieval-esque other part completely green! The only down fall was the fact I saw it all from a bus window.
So let me break this down for you: I left London at 14:00 (2 pm peeps, keep up) and arrived in Edinburgh at 7pm by train. A very rough train ride I might add. Now the next day we got up at 8am to get on a bus to explore the mountains and other random towns in Scotland. We were literally on a bus nearly 9 hours in which we only spent time long enough to get a picture at each stop. Then we stopped off in Inverness for the night. We woke up bright and early once again for a 6 hour bus ride to only have to sit on a train for 5 hours to go back to London.
But enough complaining here is all the beauty I saw:
So because we arrived in Edinburgh in the late evening there wasn't exactly much open. We couldn't even go to the castle because it was closed! Imagine this princess' disappointment. Basically all of my pictures were of the city at night which is super annoying.
My friend and I didn't just want to go to sleep instead of exploring so we thought a haunted ghost tour would be so fun! The city is so historic and old. The buildings were 100% the original structure complete with a medieval theme. This made the ghost tour that much more intriguing. We walked around with our guide for about an hour ending up in underground vaults. These vaults were originally used for storage but evolved into brothels and other cringe-y things. Of course they made for the perfect scary story where I got a few chills up my spine.
The majority of Saturday was spent stopping just long enough to take a picture. To be honest I can't remember the name of half of the places because we weren't there long enough. But what I can tell you is how pretty each location was! Everything was SO green, like SO SO SO green.
One place that I will never forget is Loch Ness. As in where the infamous Loch Ness monster is hiding. This was a super cool experience because on my bucket list I have that I want to visit this place! I didn't know we were going there until a few days before. I literally unintentionally checked something off my bucket list!
Well that's pretty much all I have to say about this spectacular country. Maybe I can come back one day and see it my way!
WHERE I SHOP
The Impeccable Pig