J.

Slomo83

J.

Why I started a blog:
Between 03/11/10-03/29/10 I traveled throughout Europe as part of Drake University's DrakeSMART travel abroad program. We visited Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Switzerland, France, Ireland and England. I thought this would be a great way to stay in touch with friends and family and it worked out very well! I will continue to use TravelBlog when I travel abroad, perhaps even when I make it to an interesting place right here in the US.

* When I travel I always have my laptop with me, blogging regularly and uploading photos. Click on the "subscribe" link below and you will be automatically notified when I submit a new blog entry.



North America » United States » Florida » Orlando » Disney World November 3rd 2010

7:00AM on Wednesday the 3rd came fast. My literary: Universal Studios – Islands of Adventure at 9:00AM followed by Downtown Disney for some shopping. I would spend most of the afternoon through the late evening at Epcot and Disney World – Magic Kingdom. If you have never been to Universal’s Islands of Adventure it is fantastic! Once in the park I headed straight for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Opening in June, 2010 this was my main reason for visiting the park again. You enter through Hogsmeade Village which is home to recreations of all the shops where wizards buy their goods, as well as the Three Broomsticks Pub. You get to go in the various shops and spend your savings while drinking Butterbeer and admiring the attention to detail. Olivander’s wand shop is undoubtedly ... read more
I Support Potter!
Spaceship Earth
Disney's Magic Kingdom

North America » United States » Florida » Orlando November 2nd 2010

On Tuesday, November 2nd 2010 I flew from Moline, IL to Orlando International Airport for what was to be a short trip to (not) see the final launch of NASA space shuttle Discovery…more on that later. I was initially supposed to spend my time with a grad school friend, but a previous delay in the shuttle launch had pushed the trip outside of her availability. Now on a solo vacation I rode the uneventful flight to Orlando, FL, enduring a brief layover in Atlanta. Once at Orlando International Airport (11:50AM) I rushed from the Air Tran terminal to the Enterprise Rent-A-Car kiosk only to find myself at the end of a VERY long line. This had to be one of 6 or 7 in-house car rental agencies and it was the only one with a line. ... read more
My Hotel Room
View From Hotel Room
NASA Launch Package

North America » United States » Illinois » Moline March 29th 2010

Monday, March 29th was the end of a great three weeks. Travel buddy, and veteran traveler, Ann was nice enough to help make a dream of mine come true. I had attempted two times to get up early enough in the AM to get to Abbey Road Studios before the street became too crowded with cars and Beatlemaniacs. I had failed her twice, having too much fun the previous nights to get up on time. Between Ann’s patience and my love for The Beatles NOTHING was stopping me today. At what seemed like the crack of dawn, Ann and I grabbed a cab and headed to NW8. Abbey Road Studios is of course the world-famous recording studio where The Beatles recorded over 200 songs. Once at Abbey Road we signed our names on the pillar which ... read more
London, England
London, England
London, England

Europe » United Kingdom » England » London March 28th 2010

Saturday, March 27th was a personal day for me. I skipped the city tour, deciding to instead do a load of laundry. Those of you who know me know that I am a clean freak with germ issues. By this point I’d had enough of Febreze and Axe - it was time to do a load of laundry. London was to be the “about me” part of the trip. Fellow DrakeSMART traveler Joe and I had secured tickets to an English Premier League soccer match: Tottenham Hotspur Vs. Portsmouth F.C. When the rest of the group returned to the hotel from the city tour, he and I headed via the London Underground to White Hart Lane in Northern London, home of the Hotspur. Built in 1899, the area surrounding White Hart Lane reminded me of Wrigleyville ... read more
London, England
London, England
London, England

Europe » United Kingdom » England » London March 26th 2010

The morning of Friday, March 26th came early. With a 7:30AM departure time, travelers were up by 6:00AM to pack and eat their last hotel breakfast in Dublin. The hour-long bus ride to Dublin Port went quickly, travelers using their time to reflect on the unique experience that was Dublin, Ireland. If the ferry ride from France to Ireland had tested our sea legs, the ferry ride from Ireland to England was to put them through boot camp. Although a relatively short ride, DrakeSMART travelers were faced with rough waves and heavy winds. Many passengers came to find that poor weather conditions were much easier to deal with at night when you didn’t have the added visual of the boat dipping up and down against the backdrop of the horizon. A few of the lucky passengers ... read more
Wales, U.K.
England
London, England

Europe » Ireland » County Dublin » Dublin March 25th 2010

Thursday, March 25th brought a nice change of pace. With an uncharacteristically late program start time of 9:00AM, coupled with the convenience of having the presentation held in the hotel we were staying in, DrakeSMART travelers had an easy morning. After a quick stop by the breakfast buffet we assembled in the upstairs dining area of the hotel bar, finding the chairs and tables rearranged into a more suitable layout for an interactive presentation. The program was put on by two representatives from Trinity College - Dublin. The presentation was informative, even surprising some travelers. We were interested to learn that the Catholic Church provided all social services for children. We also learned that a full quarter of the population is under eighteen years of age. After the program’s conclusion we had a few minutes to ... read more
Dublin, Ireland
Dublin, Ireland
Dublin, Ireland

Europe » Ireland » County Dublin » Dublin March 24th 2010

Tuesday, March 23rd was to be a busy day. We left our Paris hotel early in the AM, boarded the motor coach and took off for Normandy, France. Along the way we stopped in Chartres, France. The main attraction was the Cathedral of Our Lady of Chartres which is considered to be one of the finest examples in France of the Gothic style of architecture. While it didn’t have the wow factor of the Cologne Cathedral it was still a beautiful building. After a walkthrough the DrakeSMART group fanned out to experience the town. A few photos, a few souvenirs and we were back on the motor coach. Once in Normandy we stopped by the Allied Cemetery. This was a sobering experience. I was determined to not let it get to me, but it did. In ... read more
Normandy, France
Normandy, France
Normandy, France

Europe » France » Île-de-France » Paris March 22nd 2010

Monday, March 22nd we began the day with a program at the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The OECD defines itself as a forum of countries committed to democracy and the market economy, providing a setting to compare policy experiences, seeking answers to common problems, identifying good practices and coordinating domestic and international policies (thanks, Wiki). The presenters discussed topics such as social policy and children’s health. It was another unique experience and a very informative presentation…lots of data. After the AM OECD program Jordan, Megan and I headed to Musee du Louvre. We took the subway and got right in to the famous museum without having to wait in line! The Louvre is of course best known for being the setting of author Dan Brown’s “The Da Vinci Code.” Ha, sorry Zach; I ... read more
Paris, France
Paris, France
Paris, France

Europe » France » Île-de-France » Paris March 21st 2010

Saturday, March 20th was a travel day for the most part. On the way to Paris we stopped at Chateau de Fontainebleau, located in the city of Fontainebleau. The Chateau was used by the monarchy as a hunting residence and vacation home of sorts beginning in the 12th century. Zach, Mike and I took our obligatory tourist photos of the grounds and then passed on the formal tour to explore the city. We ended up at a bar (hard to believe, I know). Zach, who speaks fluent French, conversed with the bar tender who mistook us for being British. We took it as a compliment and the bartender reminded us that England was Playing France that night for the 6 Nations Rugby Championship, suggesting that we play it cool should England win so not to get ... read more
Fontainebleau, France
Fontainebleau, France
Fontainebleau, France

Europe » Switzerland » South-West » Geneva March 19th 2010

On Thursday, March 18th we left Rothenberg, Germany for Geneva Switzerland. The rules for bus drivers in Europe are very strict and our driver Luggi needed to take a two-hour break in order to comply with the law. Our mandatory stop turned out to be a great thing and we ended up getting to visit Bern, which is the capital of Switzerland. Bern is a beautiful city. We all had time to split up and take a self-guided tour of the city, exploring shops and restaurants. After a nice break and some great photo opportunities we were back on the bus and headed for Geneva. We arrived in Geneva around 5:30PM, giving us time to check in to the hotel and head out for dinner. The next day was to be a busy one so most ... read more
Bern, Switzerland
Bern, Switzerland
Bern, Switzerland




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