Tuesday, July 1, 2014


Visiting the Basque region of Spain has been a dream of mine for a long time. I remember hearing about it I high school Spanish, and being fascinated that the language shared no roots with any other language.

While the weather barely cooperated, the days I had there were pretty amazing, but then again it's hard not to like a place the excels at pintxos, the bite sized food that every bar has. Tiny meals all afternoon & evening long? Sign me up.

Our ship docked in Gexto-a small town with amazing architecture, and since we were just far enough from Bilbao we had a shuttle that took us into the city.

I was also lucky enough to escape to San Sebestian with friends for a quick day trip, however the weather had other plans for our day at the beach. A quick & wicked wind storm kicked up pretty quickly, and we had to run for cover to avoid a fairly intense storm.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Life at Sea

So what's it like living on a ship at sea? It's pretty cool. First of all, our ship the M/V Explorer is beautiful. It's hard to tell from pictures but the ship is much smaller than the cruise ships people normally sea in ports. When we're next to them the Explorer looks like a baby, but it feels quite big when we're sailing. The ship is 7 decks with two dining areas, a faculty/staff lounge, a pool area with snack bar and loads of classrooms and cabins. Second, life is also pretty structured when we're on the ship. Breakfast is at X time, Lunch is at Y. Classes are on a regular schedule and there are always activities in the evening including our mandatory pre-port meetings when we get information about the country and city we're going to visit next. Third, I get seasick at sea. Horribly, horribly seasick. I'm not the norm when it comes to that, so many people can handle the movement like a champ, however I am not in that group. To be fair, I get motion sick on treadmills, but I'm currently taking seasickness pills, wearing the Sea Band bracelets, keeping my stomach full and taking naps. I'm not sure which of those works, but I'm not as green as I was on the way to Portugal. It's the small things, right?

Saturday, June 14, 2014


London was pretty fantastic.
I got a lot of research done which included receiving a 3 year pass to the British Library.  I don't know about you, but that sets my little geeky heart all a'flutter.  I found what I needed and then some. 

On top of that I got to do some sightseeing. Not as much as I'd like, but I got to explore Shoreditch and Notting Hill thanks to the City Cycling London Guide.  The guide was small & I really liked the design so I picked it up despite my firmly pedestrian status. It's a great little guide. Probably a fantastic one if you were actually traveling around on a bike.

One day I want to return (I only have a day in London after the voyage because the Fall 2014 semester starts almost immediately after the voyage) and actually tour around London for an extended period of time.*

Now I'm in Southampton at a very lovely hotel going through orientation for our voyage. It's been great seeing lots of familiar faces and meeting new people too.  The ship comes to port tomorrow and we'll actually embark on the ship in the afternoon!

*Okay, what I really mean is I want to come back and see everything related to Harry Potter.