Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Tucker and Beth Take on Stuttgart

Hey everyone,

So this past weekend (and into the beginning of the week), I caught a flight to see my Step-Mother Beth. She started work over in German about a month ago, so I though I would go and visit her this weekend. We ended up going all over the map, and almost crossing into Austria thanks to our GPS. It was a great adventure and I hope you enjoy reading about it as much as we enjoyed doing it.

Well my journey to Stuttgart started with a red eye sleeper train from Plymouth up to London to caught my flight early Saturday morning. My train left Plymouth at almost midnight, and I don’t think that I will be traveling by night train anytime in the near future. I didn’t sleep at all and my train got me to London at 5:12 am so yeah it was a long train. When I got to Paddington I realized that the tubes wouldn’t get me to Heathrow on time so I managed to get an (expensive) ticket on the Heathrow express that would get me to the airport well before my flight.

After another quick train journey I ended up at the airport and since I already had my boarding pass I made my way straight through security. Once on the other side I found the closest stop to my gate and waited for my gate number to be announced. Then after it was announced and a transit ride to the gate I was on my way to Stuttgart. And yes I slept the whole way there. My ears didn’t like me when I woke up.

When I landed in Stuttgart it was a lovely day, and I managed to get through passport control with ease. Then it was through the gate and Beth was right there waiting for me. It was great to see her since it will be one of the last times I see her before I head back to the States. So after getting a quick bite to eat and trying to get some Wi-Fi, (free Wi-Fi in Germany is really hard to come by) we made our way out of the airport walking by car rental places and of course an adult store in the airport. Who knew right? So we got back to Beth’s apartment, and as we were there I had to turn her phone into a hotspot to make sure one my paper was in which it was. Two to make sure my last post was up. And three to let people know I was here and made it from my flight. After that and a quick change of shirt, Beth gave me a quick tour of her area of Stuttgart.

The area around where she lives is really nice and to my surprise really quiet for being in a city, and so close to all the stores she needs. So she showed me all the stores that she was close to and this little local market that happens every Saturday, which was really nice. I was so glad she lived in this little area, and that she was happy there.

After Beth’s guided tour of the area we wanted to do something more because there was still daylight to do things. So we made a plan to see Birkenkopf or Rubble Hill. The backstory to this place is that after WW2 ended Stuttgart was mostly untouched, however of what was destroyed the people of Stuttgart piled all the rubble on to this one hill and this was it. At the top you can still see pieces of the rubble that was created from the conflict that ravaged the continent for so long.

So after our history lesson we made our way over to see two things that I was jealous of Beth for being able to do, which were the Mercedes-Benz Museum, and the Mercedes-Benz Arena. The Museum itself was amazing! The amount of cars that they had in the museum, which ranged from the first car ever made to some of the iconic Benz models throughout the ages. I was so glad I got a chance to see it! Then it was a quick little run down to see the Mercedes-Benz Arena, which is where VFB Stuttgart play. Unfortunately they were relegated from the Bundesliga this season so the arena will be hosting 2.Bundesliga football next year, but I still hope Beth goes and catches a match there.

After our afternoon journey we made it back to the apartment where I got to meet Beth’s landlords. They are lovely people who make Beth feel at home which makes me really happy.

So after Beth changed and a quick call to Dad we went off to find dinner. We went to this little Irish Pub which was close to Beth’s and got some food. There I got my first taste of German Hefeweizen, and I think that I will miss Beer in Europe quite a bit to be honest. We sat there eating, drinking, and watching both the FA final, and the DFB Pokal Cup final, so needless to say it was a good dinner.

So after a good night's sleep we managed to get up and get moving around 10am (Thanks to me sleeping in. I still blame the sleeper train.), and headed off on our journey into the Black Forest. The Black Forest is an area that spans south from Stuttgart as far down as Freiberg, and is this beautiful forest area. Beth wanted to see this shopping center in the black forest, but after not being able to find it we managed to get to Nationalpark Schwarzwald. The park itself is amazing and I wish I could go back some day. However we managed to get to the top of the mountain it sits on by ski lift, and then take a hike around the top.

On the top of this mountain we managed to find a beer garden called Darmstadter Hutte. Although they didn’t speak any English, but both Beth and I managed to get our food and drink. I will say that after that hike the food tasted better because we earned it! After we made our way down and then went on another adventure to the Black Forest Museum. 

It took us a bit to get there due to the long and winding roads in the German mountains, as well as the fact that bikes pass whenever they want on German roads. But when we got there we got there with an hour left, and we thought that we didn’t wanna rush it so we got some food instead. I managed to get a beer and the glass it came in for 5 euros, which I thought was a great deal. Got the glass I wanted to get well I was here so all worked out. We managed to make it back to the house in one piece, and have a home cooked meal. I had really missed that so it was nice to share a meal like that with Beth. Then it was to bed early so we could get up early to make it a castle that both Beth and I had wanted to see.

So up around 8, and out the door by 10 we put in the directions to the Schloss Neuschwanstein, and we were away. For those of you who don’t know what the Schloss Neuschwanstein is I’ll try and summarize it really quick for you. Neuschwanstein was a castle that was commissioned by the German King Ludwig the 2nd, which sits high in the mountains overlooking Bavaria on the border with Austria. Some say it is the castle that gave Walt Disney the inspiration for Cinderella’s castle.

But the drive there was long, but the both of us wanted to see the castle so we didn’t really mind. However as we got close to the castle the GPS had us going into Austria then back into Germany to get to the castle. I had to do some navigation to make sure we stayed in Germany, and got to the castle. We managed to stay and Germany and get to the castle in one piece.

After we parked both Beth and I looked up to the top of the mountain’s and we saw the castle that we had come here to see. We made it to the ticket center and fought the line to get our reserved tickets, and then hopped on a shuttle that would take us to the castle. We got there about 20 minutes before our tickets would let us into the castle for our tour.  So after the wait in the rain we got in and got an English tour. Unfortunately, we were unable to take pictures inside the castle, but I got one with a great view on one of the castles balconies.

After our tour we went back into town and got some food. After a quick meal we made our way to see one of the mountain feed likes that are all around the region. The water was crystal clear, and made the lake even more beautiful. But after braving the rain for far too long we got back to the car to head back to Stuttgart.

I have to admit that I slept most of the car ride back to the city, and once we were back I studied for most of the night. I did get enough sleep tonight to make sure that I was able to function this morning to get on my flight. There was nothing really of note to mention this morning minus going to a Starbucks. But now I’m waiting for my flight to get me back to the UK for my exam this Friday.

But I wanted to take this time to thank Beth for her hospitality, and for being a tourist with me. I hope you had as much fun as I did. I know that you're going to be working there for a bit, but let me know if there is anything I can do when I get home to make the adjustment there easier. There will be some Dunkin Donuts coffee in your future I can tell you that. You have been amazing helping me through the whole study abroad process and one of my biggest cheerleaders when I need it. So thank you for being there well I have been studying abroad, and know that I will be there for you for anything you need well you're in Germany. Love you!

But that’s it for my adventures for the week. There will be some more adventures in the coming weeks you don’t want to miss, so stay tuned for those. But other than that remember to stay safe and enjoy the day!

P.S. Thank you for 2000 views I never thought I would get that many!


Saturday, May 21, 2016

Newquay: Britain's Surf City

Hey Everyone,

So last weekend to celebrate my 21st birthday I went to Newquay. I had wanted to get out of Plymouth for a bit to just hang out on the beach, and from what I was told Newquay was the spot to go. So I booked a hostel a few weeks back, and got a 9-pound train ticket and went. This is a quick rundown of what it was like at Britain’s Surf city.

So I got out of my Friday lecture early and with my bag filled with my stuff, and I went down to the train station to catch a train. The first train I went on was your normal train headed down to Penzance, but when I got off at Par to try and get on the train that would take me to Newquay, I realized it was a one-carriage train. But it was the perfect size for the rail journey ahead. It was a short trip from Par, but a scenic one and it kept it up all the way to Newquay.

The second I got off the train I weirdly felt at home because Newquay gave off a Hampton Beach type of vibe. Just a walk thought some of the small; tightly packed streets you could see the beaches and the reason that I had come here. I stood and looked at the beach closest to my hostel, not knowing my hostel would over look the beach, and just took it all in.

But after a bit of just relaxing and thinking wow I cant believe I’m here, I managed to find my hostel. The place was already packed, and I waited in a queue for a good solid 15 minutes. As I stood in the queue ,the place gave off an entirely different vibe to what I though hostel was. The place was covered in surfing magazine covers, and drink deals were on almost every wall you looked at. You could tell the people who stayed here liked to have a good time, and that was my plan. It took me seconds to check in go to my room. I dropped my bag and went down to the bar to get some food.

It was when I was down stairs eating and having a drink did I really notice the view my hostel had. After enjoying that view I went and explored the city for a bit. I eventually made my way over to Fistral Beach. I didn’t stay to long because I knew I would be going back the next day. After getting back to the hostel I had another drink and then just called it an early night. I got a chance to meet all of my roommates who seemed really nice, and they all invited me out with them, but after falling asleep trying to work on a paper there was no way I was able to go out. So shortly after that I managed to fall sleep, and I slept so well for a hostel bed.

The next morning came and after getting showered and dressed I grabbed my daypack and when on an adventure of the city. I had a great breakfast at a restaurant named Ohana, then managed to walk over to see some lovely beaches and cliffs. I feel like I must have walked a few miles to see all the beaches. But the walk was well worth it to see the clear blue water crash up against the rocks creating some of the best beaches I had ever seen. 

I then made my way back to Fistral Beach, which is said to be the home of British surfing. It was such a nice beach but unfortunately the surf was really small, so I didn’t really fell like getting a surfing lesson that day. But as I was walking along the beach there was a ton of boat racing going on. It was really interesting to watch. But after walking for what seemed like miles I made it back to the hostel to work on some more course work and start booking hostels and seat reservations on trains for my journey across Europe.

I managed to get a quick bite to eat, but then I meet up with my roommates Will, Lisa, Emma, Sam, and Anastasiya, and we all meet up at this place called Whiskers to get a drink. We all came from different walks of life so it was amazing to get to meet them all, and enjoy a night out with them. But after some dancing I needed to hit the hay for my early train the next morning.

The next morning I checked out and got a quick breakfast, and waited for a train that never came. It broke down on the tracks. So they sent a bus to grab us and take us to Plymouth. And a short hour later I was back in Britain’s Ocean City. So that was my weekend in Newquay, and I know that I will be back at some point in my life, I’m not sure when but I’ll be back!

So I had more pictures that I wanted to share with you all but due to a computer crash I only could save the two that I have posted on here for you all. But I can’t recommend going to Newquay enough, so I will link my hostel down below so you can have the same experience I had in Britain’s Surf City! But remember to stay safe and enjoy the day!


Monday, May 16, 2016

It's Almost Closing Time

Hey Everyone,

So it's almost been a month since I last wrote so I figured it was time for a bit of an update for you all in my travels and studies around england! So for those who read this for the travel aspect this post might be a little dry however if you want something a little more travel centered stay tuned later this week, and the upcoming weeks!

We'll after getting back from Nationals in London things started to gear up for deadline time. I had two papers, a few quizzes, and a sales video. Shout out to the boys I worked on the video with for putting up with me filming my part as I only had a few hours of sleep that morning. But even though the deadlines seemed endless I got through them all and I am moving to get my last two done as well.

Things with Enactus are slowing down as I take a step back from Recreo. I'm glad I'm leaving now so they can focus on the ideas that were built on this year and take it even further. I can't wait to see what the program will look like in the following months, and I will be the first international buyer of our product! From my time here I look forward to seeing what I can do to see what I can accomplish back with Enactus Plymouth State, it will be a lot of hard work starting a project from the ground up again, but I relish the challenge once again.

I did make the journey with a few of the Enactus crew up to Exeter to watch some horse racing. It was something I will remember for the rest of my life! I think I might have made some money I'm not sure, but I did pick one winner. I will always remember the Gone To Far for being the first horse I had win for me! It was a great time out with the gang and I hope they enjoyed it as much as I did.

                                          Photo Credit: Hannah Yarr, @hannahyarr

Then about a week after that I celebrated my 21st birthday. I can finally drink a legal beer in the States! However since I've been following the english laws for the past year it's going to be nothing new to me when I get home. But it was the first birthday in a long time that I got to celebrate it with people. My flat surprised me with a cake, and so did my Enactus team in our meeting. Then there was a crew that went out on a Tuesday with me. Needless to say it was a great time and thank you to everyone that came out to celebrate, and making it a birthday I will never forget!

Quick side note, thanks to committee having the last Enactus Social after my birthday. Even though I was dragging it was great to go out with the Enactus crew at least one more time.

So besides my birthday I also got to play my final games as a member of UPFC Sparrows. I know most of the boys wanted a shout out in this blog, because of all the banter I get from them. So boys here is your moment. I want to thank you all for letting the token American play the sport your country had created. I know I wasn't a Tim Howard or Clint Dempsey but I did my best to try and play the position you asked of me. Seb, I wish you and Newcastle the best of luck in getting back to the Premier League at the first time of asking. Ismael, you keep up with that touch on the ball, and yes the Plymouth 2 Plymouth banter was good. Scott, keep that backline in check and Lucien keep calling for the ball on the wing you'll get Morgan to switch the play at some point. And for the rest of the team, especially Adam, and Will it was a pleasure to play with everyone of you, and I wish you luck on whatever team you get to play for next season, and I hope I get to see you on my side of the pound at some point.

On the topic of Football I did attend my final English Football match on the 7th of May. Argyle took on Hartlepool United winning 5-0. It was a perfect way to end my English Football experience. I am going to miss how inexpensive tickets are, and how close to the park I was. But above all I will miss the amount of heart that is showcased every sunday on both the pitch and stands. Plymouth has turned me into a green, so up the Argyle boys and get the win at Wembley to get to League one. I'll be supporting wherever I am.

But I think that is it for right now. I have one more final deadline and then I have an exam next week and then my England adventure is coming to an end. I still have a ton of travel plans that I will be telling you all about so keep on the lookout for that. I hope you're having a good day well you're reading this and remember be safe and enjoy the moment.