Category Archives: Travel

APX Retreat Weekend

Two weekends ago I went on a retreat with my fraternity, Alpha Rho Chi, to Hocking Hills–it’s about a two and a half hour drive to get there from Cincinnati.

Explore

It was there where about 30 of my fellow brothers and I spent the weekend in a cozy (actually pretty large) cabin in the woods and bonded over food, hiking, bonfires, and dancing.

Morning Business

Here’s one of my favorite images from the trip; a nice panorama of the view from Old Man’s Cave:
Old Man's Cave

The trail was amazingly icy; none of us were super prepared for the hike. We saw a couple with spike boots (I have no idea what the proper nomenclature for those are), but on the bright side we were all in pants and sweaters and coats.

It was really nice to get away for a weekend. No wifi, limited/no cellular service really allowed us to distance from our present school worries and focus on having fun and really enjoy each other’s company. Retreat is a great time for older members to bond with the younger members, as well as enjoying time with those who’ve they’ve been with for a while. Myself included, there were a lot of seniors on this trip and knowing that this was one of the last times we were all going to be together in such a relatively “carefree” atmosphere was really special. Not that people need to go to the middle of the woods to connect, but it definitely helps. So, I urge everyone to take a step back and feel some gratitude for the people in their lives, and as a side quest, maybe take some time to explore the nature around them.

Although I wouldn’t blame anyone for waiting until it warmed up a bit!

My email to family, friends, and now you.

Hello!

Currently (8:06) on the bus to Brussels. This morning went pretty smoothly, no problems finding the bus–and vice versa. We left when scheduled, so I think I can say we are getting better at this traveling thing. I think I may be one of the few still awake on the bus (other than the bus driver and his co-pilot–wait. Co-pilot looks to be snoozing also. I’m just assuming he is a co-driver. I can’t say for sure). The bus is very large, much larger than I expected. Every person is able to get two seats! It’s nice to be able to get comfortable; this is definitely where being short comes in handy.

It seems like there is some type of illness that is being passed around here. Nothing too terrible, but general stuffed/runny noses and coughing. I may have caught a mini version, but I didn’t get any of the fatigue that some of the other students had/have. Jeff told us that the second week of a large travel expedition, such as this one, usually is the hardest. By this time the adrenaline of being in a new place has lessened a bit, and the amount of travel begins to affect the body more. Something like that. Hopefully by Sunday or Monday everyone feels better, or at least close to feeling 100%.

This drive is really pretty; we are passing a wind farm now. The rising sun and morning mist is really a sight. I think if it was a midday trip it wouldn’t be as nice, a lot of the built structures have been very reminiscent of what I’d see driving to Columbus or Chicago, except for all the French, obviously.

Laura

Quick update about 10 hours later (21:27)
Brussels is beautiful, except for the most modern area (where their agriculture building is and many of the government buildings around there). Also, their waffles are super delicious (I got one with whipped cream, strawberries and drizzled chocolate. Uh-maze-zing.) and I scored some free samples of chocolate and got an awesome handpicked bag of dark chocolate truffles and pralines, and went to the beer store to get a lambic and a Belgian blond. In a small way, Brussels reminds me of Queens in New York, but a lot prettier. I still haven’t been able to pinpoint how exactly, but it was definitely more of the less-expensive area that reminded me of Queens, not the central part of the city. I believe we (a medium sized group of us) are going to try and find somewhere to dance (a Bal-Musette?) near the apartment-hotel tonight, mostly for fun, partially because its part of an assignment. Tomorrow I have plans to be running around Paris sketching, market shopping (probably more viewing than shopping), and maybe gargoyle kissing (also part of before mentioned assignment). Somewhere beyond the Notre Dame is an art suppLy store that I need to find, and at 7 I’m going on a night bike ride tour (with two others) that ends on a boat with wine! The bikes will stay on shore 😉

Still sniffling a bit, but other than that my enthusiasm/excitement level is pretty high–maybe even higher than the roof of this bus.

Signing off, again,

Laura

Quick Paris Post 2

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Those stairs were a killer at the end. Phew. I’m pretty tired, but today was good. We went to Cathedral Chartes and Versailles. Walked a good amount, ate a lovely dinner. Chugged a lot of water.

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I should’ve had my glasses before taking my contacts out, so I hope that this last photo came through okay. Just little sketches from the day.
and with that, I say goodnight. I am le tired.

Paris Day 2

Our first full day in Paris our walking tour consisted of visiting St. Denis, Notre Dame de Paris, Saint Chapelle, studio and a needed laundry night. At said laundry place now with Luke, Megan and Katie. The guy working here practically walked us through it, although it was after my load had been placed that I realized that there were directions in English right on the machine we used to pay.

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The only disappointment of the day was that I lost my wide angle lens sometime in the afternoon. Most of the time my items find their way back, but unfortunately I do not believe that to be the case this time. I admit that this is not the worst thing to lose, not like my passport or wallet, but still. We were given about two hours after our trip to Notre Dame to get lunch and do whatever before meeting back up to continue our itinerary for the day, and I think it was within the last 30 minutes or so that I lost it. I thought it was a good idea to loop the magnetic holder around the metal part of my belt, but it must have fallen off/I must have brushed it off one of the times I sat down/got up.

On the bright side, this will probably encourage me to draw bit more in order to get the “wide angle” effect that the lens would’ve gotten. In addition to that, I still have my other two lenses.

Quick Paris Post 1

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Pho

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Photos from our walking tour yesterday and the last couple are from this morning. Longer update to come! Still working on the UK post.

About to leave for today’s events! A few museums, studio later today. Finding a boulangerie later is definitely a goal for today.

Dublin

I don’t feel like a weekend was enough to visit Dublin; especially with the work that we were assigned to do while we were there. Granted, I could’ve worked on the assignment a bit more in London, but there is nothing to do about it now. The feel of Dublin is much different of London’s feel. London seems a bit more…glamorous, perhaps? I feel I cannot accurately compare the two, partially because while in London I was able to see so much more than I saw in the couple days in Dublin. I would love to visit Ireland again someday, and hopefully make it to the cliffs that I’ve heard so much about.

Saturday morning Sydney and I walked around in the morning in search of a cafe where we could work on our assignment before meeting back up with everyone else. Our hostel was pretty close to the central part of Dublin, although there weren’t as many cafes as I would’ve liked. I suppose that because Dublin is pretty north, outdoor areas for cafes aren’t as popular as London, and I’m sure as they will be in Paris. The one we decided upon was a cafe diner mixture; we both ordered coffee an took over a four person table. Around ten was when it started to get pretty busy. We both got a fair amount done by the time we packed up at 12:20.

We met up with most of our group outside and it was a little after one when we left to walk to the Guinness Store House/Brewery. What an experience! I feel much more knowledgable about Guinness, and about beer in general–of course, there is still more I’d like to know. The walkthrough felt similar to waiting in line for a roller-coaster, at least one in a major theme park, such as Universal Studios. The design of the tour space must have been fun to come up with. At the end, after we did the Guinness Tasting side-quest, we had a pint of Guinness on the top floor, the Gravity Bar. The room up there was glass 360, and so everywhere you looked you were greeted with a panoramic view of the city. It was pretty crowded up there, so after 10 minutes or so we retreated back downstairs to find the rest of our group. Joyce and I decided to share some sweets while we waited to regroup.

It was around 16:30 when we finally were out the door and on our way to the Temple Bar area in order to meet up with another girl in the group and to search for some dinner. Even with about 6 of our other friends not with us, we were still a pretty large group. We decided to split up in search for food with the intention of meeting up later on. Joyce, Ben, Jill and I walked around a while in order to find relatively cheaper food and we finally came across a pie shop, a savory pie shop. For 6 euros we were able to each get a very filling meal, in addition to a very large and very needed glass of water.

Afterwards we decided to walk more south in search of the Libskin building. On our way we also saw the memorial sculpture for the Potato Famine, which was a very haunting installation as well as the Calatrava bridge (one of two in Dublin, actually). The Calatrava bridge is suspended, at least that is what I think the type of bridge it is. It is also white and so it contrasts really nicely with the surroundings.

That evening was a pretty quiet one for me. Instead of heading out to the bars with some of the others I elected to stay in to read a bit and do some yoga. A small part of me wishes I would’ve instead gone out, but there is nothing I can do about it now. It was a nice break though to have some alone time, especially after a week of travel, tours and what not.

The first week in Europe was pretty exhausting, but I think I’m finally adjusting. I’m starting to wake up before my alarm clock–that’s my major clue right there. I’m excited, because this means I’ll be able to enjoy some quiet time in the morning soon.

London, Oxford and Glasgow (and some things inbetween)

The Story Thus Far

London:

  • Sir John Soane’s Museum
  • Victoria & Albert Museum
  • Bedford Park
  • Emery Walker House
  • Kelmscott
  • Red House
  • Harry Potter Walking Tour
  • Somerset
  • London Bike Tour through the Royal Gardens
  • Buckingham Palace



Travel to Oxford/Oxford

  • Blenheim Palace
  • Oxford Museum
  • Sheldonian Theater

Travel to Glasgow/Glasgow

  • Stratford-upon-Avon
  • Wrightwick Hall
  • Blackwell House
  • Hunterian Museum
  • Hill House
  • Glasgow School of Art
  • House for an Art Lover

Quite a list, right? The House for an Art Lover is today, and many of us will be going back to the Hunterian Museum to catch the Mackintosh exhibition we missed yesterday. I promise I’ll be writing more than a list in the future, and adding photos, but I figured that some update is better than no update. Trying to go through photos as we go; I’m getting up to speed somewhat. Tonight we leave for Dublin, so I’ll save some of that time to work on studio stuff as well as catching up on other things.

Conquering Jet-lag

It’s 18:23 and I’m just now getting a bit tired, so, I’m going to consider myself well on my way to conquering jet-lag. Europe uses military time instead of whatever the US uses and so I’m trying to adapt to it (by changing my phone/ipad) so to minimize any sort of time miscommunication. Subtracting two hours isn’t that difficult (my shortcut to get US time, it’s sort of like subtracting 12, but I just ignore the 1. Doesn’t work as well when it hits 20:00 I suppose).
Military time is more efficient though, I gotta say. With no “am” or “pm” there is little excuse for error, unless you give, or are given the wrong number.

Continue reading Conquering Jet-lag