Welcome :)

Hello and welcome to my humble blog:)

My name is Daniela and I’m a 17 year old schoolgirl living in Zagreb, Croatia. Besides being a typical high school student, I have a passion for animals, movies, music and good food (only eating – I cant cook to save my life). In my short spare time I have between after school activities and studying, i can usually be found out with my friends or being bitten by our evil black pet cat.

I enjoy reading, Christmas time and going to the movies – its almost like therapy to me – and usually find it very difficult to introduce myself. Well, that’s pretty much the basic information about me in a nutshell.


Friday, 2 August 2013

I'm home!

I’m BACK! No matter where I go or how long I’m gone for, I always manage to find my way back to my good old computer screen and trusty keyboard…and after a month long trip of a lifetime; here I am again, as usual! I would have been back sooner, or at least posted something on the blog earlier, but this strange streak of technological misfortune seemed to have followed me around on my journey…My mobile phone began to gradually decompose as soon as I entered the airport, and after two days in England my laptop, which I took mainly for blogging, decided to also take a break and simply stop working, leaving me almost totally cut off from my friends and family back home. Luckily, I salvaged my cell phone, so I managed to stay connected, but the laptop was pretty persistent in giving me a hard time…So I gave in, changed my blogging plans and decided to write once I got back home, but well, as soon as I returned my family did the typical Croatian thing and took me straight to the coast for a “holiday from my holiday”, where the laptop began to magically work but there was no internet connection…yep, my plans were delayed another week. But I’m back home now, and I must say, after 4 weeks of limited computer access, its nice to be sitting in front of my computer again…lets hope my streak of bad luck has come to an end :)

But anyway, enough about my computer and on to the important stuff! You must be wondering how it went? Well, I literally can’t find the words to express how jaw-droppingly wonderful and amazing the course and entire trip were for me. It’s been two weeks since the trip and I’m still under the impression of everything I saw! I experienced and learned things I never even dreamed I would in these three amazing weeks and I have so many things to share with you – I don’t even know where to begin!

Well, let’s try from the start – that’s usually a good place to begin ;) I apologise in advance if I begin to jump from one topic or story to another; I want to try get in as many things as possible!

Anyway, I was lucky enough to arrive during the heat wave in England, so I didn’t see a single drop of rain for the whole 3 weeks - I even managed to get a light sunburn! Sunburn in England – that’s not something you hear every day…but seriously, the weather was beautiful. Since we always hear about the notorious English rain and weather, I packed my raincoat, long-sleeves and umbrella, but luckily for me, the sun shined bright for 21 days in a row so I didn’t need to use any of them :)

The accommodation I stayed in was really lovely, as were the house supervisors, Tom, Ana and Paulos. To be honest they were more like our parents than supervisors and they really went to a lot of trouble to make sure that all of us were comfortable and safe. There were 23 of us from all around the world attending the Oxbridge course, so we were placed in a house about 20 minutes walk from the college, which is in the center of Cambridge. As expected, everything was extremely clean and well looked after, but I have to say that I was really surprised at just how welcoming and comfortable the accommodation was. Everyone had their own room and facilities, and we all shared a living room and kitchen, so it was pretty much like living with one giant international family under one roof! It’s always interesting to be immersed into a mix of different nationalities and personalities, and after three weeks of living together, it was actually hard to leave because the “house” genuinely felt like our home.

A photo of the street...and a cyclist - they are everywhere!
As I said, there were 23 of us representing 3 continents and many different countries, and we all got along really, really well. It was fascinating to meet all these different people and their different cultures and personalities, and I think it’s even more amazing just how similar we found ourselves to be and how close we all became. Cambridge in general is full of astonishingly fascinating people from different backgrounds, and the city itself is absolutely stunning: it’s very green (they have the most gorgeous parks scattered all around town), historical and generally very charming. It has an amazing mix of old and new architecture: whilst some of the colleges are more that 500 years old, around the corner you can find a new shopping center or modern restaurant. The city has an awesome vibe, and there is so much history behind every single building that it really is jaw-dropping; as you walk around town, you might just come across Steven Hawking's old college or unknowingly pass by the library in which the first edition of Shakespeare’s literary works is held, or maybe have a drink at the pub in which the discovery of DNA was announced. Every morning I would pass by Newton’s famous apple tree on my way to school. Now if that isn’t mind-blowing I don’t know what is!

A church in the grounds of St.Johns College
Newtons's apple tree
Cambridge is a university town, meaning that the city is pretty much built around the colleges themselves, many of which are placed in the very center of Cambridge. I got a chance to visit several of them, including King’s College, Trinity College and Clare College, and I have to say that I was really impressed by just how beautiful the colleges actually are. 
I remember having to literally stop my jaw from dropping to the ground as I was taking a tour of Kings College…every room seemed even more majestic than the last, the courtyard was breath-taking and the library was unlike anything I had ever seen in my life. I was just gazing at everything in wonder, so much so that I’m pretty sure the tour guide thought I was insane :P I never even knew that such amazing places even existed! Besides having this almost regally grand feeling about them, the university and its colleges are based on such rich tradition and history…you almost get the feeling that you’re in some sort of temple to knowledge! So being able to physically stand inside these colleges, not only admiring their beauty but also knowing what and how much they represent, was an extremely inspiring and humbling experience…I mean, I come from a small school in a beautiful, but comparatively small country, and to be standing in one of the greatest university cities in the world…I still get goose bumps just thinking about it!

Also, one of the things I learned while strolling around the colleges is that Cambridge students, besides being exceptionally hard-working, also have a pretty good sense of humor. Each college has a wide range of customs and traditions, some of which are really quite interesting…For example, on the day of their Matriculation dinner, students from Trinity College traditionally attempt to run round the 400-yard Great Court in 43 seconds of the clock striking midnight, right after overeating and most likely drinking a little too much…apparently, only 2 people have ever succeeded. Also, if you ever happen to walk past the entrance to Trinity, they have a very beautifully decorated front gate with a statue of Henry VIII right above the door. Now, that in itself isn’t weird. This is where it gets strange: if you take a closer look at previously mentioned Henry VIII, you will see that he’s holding something rather peculiar in his hand : an old chair leg. Allegedly some questionably sober students in the 19th century decided to climb out the window, steal his sword and replace it with the now famous wooden accessory…the king has also been sighted holding a carrot and a bicycle pump. 

Do you see him? He just sits there all day!
Also, this isn’t really a tradition but it’s something I noticed while sightseeing: Cambridge pigeons are big posers. And I mean that literally – they actually POSE on top of statues. The first time I saw Henry VIII at Trinity College there was a pigeon sitting on his shoulder…I was a bit confused, but it wasn’t moving so I assumed it was part of the statue. I walked past the next day to take another picture of the entrance…you can imagine my surprise when the pigeon, who was still sitting in the same place as the day before, suddenly moved! And the funny thing was, that wasn’t the only statue that had pigeons faking to be made of stone on it – John the Baptist on the wall of St. Johns College had one on his head! Well, they managed to fool me! What is even stranger though is that they seem to sit in the same spot on the statues every day, so whenever you walk past there is always a pigeon... almost like every statue has its own designated pigeon :P

Anyway, I'll stop here in order to not make the post as long as the Bible, but I promise to be back again with part two of my travelogue – there are so many things I still need to tell you! Until then I’ll leave you with some more photos of Cambridge...be back in a jiffy ;) Enjoy!

Street view of Kings College, along with some random tourists :)

Me in Kings College courtyard - sorry, my posing skills are terrible!
A view of the river Cam (which flows though the center of town)
and yes, there is a pigeon on his head
John the Baptist at St.Johns College...and yes, there is a pigeon on his head...
The Bridge of Sighs from a punt (read: cute boat)
Kings College from the river Cam...isnt it just wonderful?

Until later!