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.


Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Oxbridge travelogue, part 3!

I’m finally back! Sorry for going all MIA on you again, especially after promising you part three of my epic Oxbridge travelogue, but I’ve been having another one of my hectic months again… torn between home and travel, I was pretty much buried in obligations and tasks, so much so that I didn’t even have time to sit at my own computer! But, that’s another story for another time, lets get back to what’s important – the Oxbridge trip - I’ve been DYING to tell you the rest about it! I’ve told you about the city and the school, so it’s time to tell you more about all of the amazing things I got to experience :)

So, in addition to living in a beautiful city and attending incredible lectures, I got a chance to go on quite a few excursions during my stay… Because we had the weekends off (we went to school from Monday to Friday, just like real school :) ), we had some free time during which CATS organised day trips to nearby villages and cities…so not only did I get to see Cambridge, but I also got to visit Grantchester, Oxford, London, a whole bunch of other universities and a music festival! Pretty amazing, huh?

The most heavenly looking tea garden - ever!
 The first week we went to Grantchester for afternoon tea at The Orchard : an 150 year old tea garden in which more famous people have taken their tea than anywhere in the world. It actually became a tea garden purely by chance, when a group of Cambridge students asked the lady of the house if she could serve them tea in the blossoming garden rather than the front lawn. Since then, it has drawn a constant stream of visitors, including John Keynes and Virginia Woolf (just to name a few :P) and pretty much become somewhat of a Cambridge tradition…I can see why. It has to be one of the most relaxing and calming places I’ve ever seen, and I can totally understand why great writers found the atmosphere so inspiring. It may sound a bit cheesy, but it’s almost as if time had stood still there, I could have just sat there for hours on end - the nature is just breath-taking…plus, they have amazing tea and scones, which is an extra bonus :P

I also went for a little walk to the nearby church, which is something I’m going to remember for the rest of my life. The church was tiny but uniquely charming, and it might sound a bit strange, but it had the most beautiful grounds and - graveyard. I know, graveyards aren’t really the first thing you go to visit when you’re abroad, but there was something so beautiful and serene about this particular graveyard that it really left a impression on me. In fact, the entire village left a great impression on me! I was just totally mesmerised…I really hope I’ll get the chance to go back one day…If your journey ever takes you nearby Grantchester, be sure to give it a visit, you wont regret it!

Doesn't it look awesome?
Besides visiting Grantchester we also got a chance to visit the amazing city of London. We spent a total of 2 days there during which we took a boat ride down the river Themes to the London Eye and Big Ben (which was totally awesome!), went on a walking tour of the city and had a general look-around at London’s landmarks...My gosh, London truly is a grand city! The buildings look so powerful and impressive, the streets are always busy and there’s always something fun and interesting going on wherever you turn…The people are also totally unique as is the tempo of life there, and too be honest, whilst the city was a lot more livelier and hectic that my hometown, I absolutely LOVED everything about it! From the people to the streets and architecture, there isn’t a single thing I didn’t enjoy! Oh, and I rode the Underground for the first time ever, which was also pretty awesome…it truly was an amazing feeling to experience in person all these things that I had seen in movies and documentaries; it almost had some sort of weird deja vu feeling ! I even got the chance to roam around Covent Garden, and I gave to say, the shopping was in accordance with the city: interesting and a load of fun :P

Here it is, the Hogwarts hospital wing from the outside!
Besides visiting some of the biggest London universities like UCL and LSE (which were A M A Z I NG ), CATS also organised a one-day trip to Oxford, which was great since it gave me the chance to compare both Oxford and Cambridge from experience rather that just second hand information and online research. We had a really amazing and informative tour guide; she took us all around the campuses and even went to the trouble of finding out how many people from which county are studying at Oxford. I was very proud to learn that there are currently 15 Croats at the university! That may not sound like much, but if you consider the fact that there are only 4 million of us in the world, that’s a huge achievement (for comparisons sake, there are over 40 million Ukrainians in the Ukraine, of which 24 are currently studying at Oxford.)…As you can see, that’s an amazing achievement for a tiny country like Croatia :)

Anyway, Oxford is also a very historic and beautiful city, and it has some absolutely magnificent buildings…I actually got to see the building in which Harry Potter was filmed, and, being a huge movie junky and Harry Potter fan, you can imagine how exited I was! Since I’m already at the topic of movies, I also visited a movie theatre whilst I was in Cambridge: we went to go watch the new Superman movie with some of the CATS staff…The movie wasn’t bad, but the theatre was pretty neat. It’s another one of those things that people usually don’t visit when they travel, but, if you ask me, it’s totally worth seeing since it gives you a better idea of what life is really like there…things like that really do have their own little charm :)

Punting by Kings College :) Isn't that pole huge?
Anyway, in addition too ALL of that, I also got to go punting down the river Cam and attend a music festival in the centre of Cambridge. Punting is a famous Cambridge tradition which is rather similar to a gondola ride…You sit in a flat-bottomed boat and a large wooden pole is pushed against the shallow river bend to propel and steer the punt. It’s an amazing way to get a quick view of Cambridge, and we got to see some of the university’s most famous buildings from a whole different point of view (literally :P). It really was a really unique experience and the beautiful sunny weather made it even more enjoyable! The music festival we attended was just as fun and it was really awesome to see how Cambridge students spend their free time and see what they do for fun…we got to go on some fun rides, eat some delicious food, hear a whole bunch of different music, and not to even mention all of the interesting people we got to meet! It was really awesome to hear all these interesting stories from students from all around the world, and it was, in general, a very fun experience…I mean, who would have ever dreamt that I would be at a music festival in Cambridge!

The post is getting pretty long again, meaning it’s time I summed up part three of my epic Oxbridge travelogue…Its hard to try and push so many wonderful experiences into a couple of lines (or a couple of hundred :P ), but I hope you guys managed to get the general feel and gist of things :) I leave you, for now, with some more photos from my English adventures. Enjoy! 

A photo from the courtyard of a college in Oxford :)

A photo of a bike and red phone booth - how very English :P

Scones and tea from the Orchard :) (in case you were wondering, they were delicious :P)
A quick shot with  Her Majesty herself :P