A trip to Cardiff

After finishing all my university duties in Bangor, I was soon on my way to spend a few days in the capital of Wales – Cardiff! Therefore, this blog entry focuses on those few wet but exciting days in the South of Wales. This blog post will not tell you what I did in Cardiff chronologically, but rather according to different sights and places – since I went so some places several times because they were so nice. 😉 I hope you enjoy reading it!

Cardiff City and the Cardiff Story

After a four-hour train ride we arrived in Cardiff and soon went out of the hotel to discover the city. Cardiff has two main areas which are and are made attractive for tourists – the city centre and Cardiff Bay, ‘made attractive’ because within those areas there is free WIFI! (which doesn’t work properly….). On the first day we were mainly walking around and discovered for instance the Cardiff Market, a Jamie Oliver restaurant, a chapel now used as a bar and restaurant, the Cardiff Story (an exhibition about the history of the city), a shop selling ‘poopy’ cushion and a huuuuge shopping centre – St. David’s, a synagogue now used as an office (O.O). Have a look at the pictures below to see it.

Bute Park

Bute Park was one of our first destinations, it is Cardiff’s biggest (I think :-D) but definitely most famous park close to the city centre, right next to the castle. Before entering the park you will find a wall decorated with a number of unusual animals such as an anteater or a lynx, have a look at the photo showing the board with more information about that. It was a very nice welcome to a beautiful park with many things to discover. It hosts a number of animal statues inside as well, so you can go for an animal hunt, or do the fitness trail (a number of fitness equipment can be found and used in certain parts of the park), looking for the house where actually people live in, or even go into the park so far that it makes you think you are already outside Cardiff in a nearby forest.

Cardiff Castle

One major attraction of Cardiff is certainly the castle, which is located in the city centre as well. The castle walls are currently covered with flags showing players of all teams participating in the Champions League this year and a dragon protecting a trophy replica. I totally love this idea, I think it is very nice to look at and it indicates how important the Champions League final is to the city! Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that. On the 3rd of June the Champions League final will take place here – in Cardiff! I won’t be there though, I do not have a ticket but it might be worth going there to watch the game in one of the huge tents in the castle area- however, 1000 Euro per night is ridiculous. Anyway, back to the castle – The castle area is huge and hosts a number of places, such as the shop with the exhibition, the mansion part of the castle, the more fortress type of castle and a bomb shelter. Before entering the actual castle we went though an exhibition showing the Welsh armies in different wars, where one statue of a Dodo caught my attention (yes, I always pick the weird things out of the stuff I see).

After that we first went to the mansion part of the castle. It strongly reminded me of Penrhyn Castle due to its beautiful furnishing, have a look:

The fortress type of the castle is what you usually see when you search for ‘Cardiff Castle’, it is located in the center of the area and provides a nice view over the city.

Our last destination within the castle area was the bomb shelter, which was a long corridor and they were playing sounds which made you feel like there is actually going on a war above you. On the walls there were some interesting and funny posters and caricatures, have a look:

National Museum of Cardiff

The National Museum of Cardiff shows artifacts of natural and art history, so it is a kind of combination of the Viennese Naturhistosches and Kunsthistorisches Museum. However, it also has a big focus on the development of planet Earth. Here again, I have picked out the most awkward stuff to a amuse you (trilobites wouldn’t be very interesting, wouldn’t they?).

Millennium Stadium

The Millennium Stadium or Principality Stadium (that’s the name of its sponsor) or National Stadium of Cardiff is the stadium of the Welsh Rugby national team, but it is also used by the football team as its home ground. Unsurprisingly, it is probably my favorite attraction in Cardiff, together with the Dr Who experience. It is located in the city centre and we were told during the stadium tour that they had t odecide whether they would like to build it in the city centre (with less parking opportunities but close to the people) or outside (with many parking opportunities but far away from the city centre) – and we were told the decision was an easy one – and a good one, in my opinion. The stadium looks a bit like a big ship from the outside, on the last day of my trip they were already preparing for the CL final and I could take a nice photograph showing the Real Madrid flag. The stadium tour was very interesting, especially having a look at the two very different dressing rooms (Juve will have the better one), the VIP area where the trophy will be raised and the view from the very top of the stadium. We were also told that the stadium has its own falcon (I think), which is brought to the stadium frequently to keep birds away from building nests. The stadium is definitely a perfect choice for the CL final.

Millennium Stadium

Cardiff Bay

Cardiff Bay is the other tourist area apart from the city centre. There you can find a number of attractions such as the National Assembly of Wales, the Millennium Centre, the Roald Dahl Plass, the Water Tower (entrance to Torchwood hub), Techniquest (a technical museum particularly interesting for children), the Pierhead Building, the Norwegian Church. The Techniquest was particularly memorable, as we managed to build a bridge, which is considered to be ‘very difficult to build’ and were surrounded by French lower secondary students, Cardiff seems to be very popular for a visit in France. Please have a look at some pictures before reading about the Dr Who Experience next 😉

Dr Who Experience

For those of you who have never heard of it ;-): Dr Who is a very popular and long running British TV series about a person (the doctor) who is able to time-travel in his ‘tardis’ (the phone box). I am not a hard core fan of the series, but I think it is very funny (but trashy ;-)) and the Experience is a must-do in Cardiff. The Experience is an interactive experience through some of the most iconic sets of the series – unfortunately, we were not allowed to take photographs during that interactive part – and the visitor group has to find three crystals to help the doctor with some enemies. I was one of three, as I found one crystal in the graveyard full of weeping angels. It was really cool, I can highly recommend it. 🙂 After that experience we could go through a museum with quite a lot of exhibits, including a number of different Daleks, Tardises (is that the plural of Tardis?) and other monsters, even Groots’ parents were there! Have a look at the pictures to get an impression of that! (And find even more in the Cardiff Gallery!) 😉 I would really like to do the Experience again one day – with Tilda Swinton, so please take her as the next doctor ok?

To conclude – no I won’t sum up everything because there is no point to as you have read it anyway – I had a great time in Cardiff, the weather was not perfect as it was raining most of the time – but those who know me know that I totally prefer this over high temperatures. In general, I have to say that I can’t complain about the weather in Wales. To me, it is perfect. I can’t be the only person who wants to go to the UK because of the weather? Back to Cardiff: It is not a huge city, you can cover all tourist attractions in a few days, so it is very nice for a short trip – and you can get everything you could want from a city trip: museums, a castle, a football stadium, entertainment and nature. And shopping of course. At least that’s what I want from a city trip 😉 The restaurants are rather expensive though, so you better take some money with you.

I hope you liked my Cardiff report, my ERASMUS stay is coming to an end very soon, but I am planning to publish one more blog entry about my whole experience, so there is more to come still! 😉

Best wishes,

Alexandra

Easter with The Beatles, Manchester United, Sheep & Yoda

It has been a looong time since my last entry! I sincerely apologize but because of that I have a lot to share this time, I hope you like it 🙂

I had three weeks of Easter holidays and spent most of the time working on one of my essays – I came here to study after all, and those who know me know important it is to me to do well just for or the sake of doing well and being happy with myself 😉 However, apart from that I also went to Chester again, had my family visiting me, took a photo with the Champions League trophies, took part in a great graduation ceremony, paid a visit to Penrhyn Castle and saw Manchester United live in the Europa League (and much more)! 😀

My second visit to Chester was as fantastic as my first one, Chester appears to be a rather small town but it is considered to be big enough to have its own Primark and Disney Store. I basically went to the same places I visited last time, but found something new everywhere, have a look at the photos below to find out! 😉

During the first week of my Easter holidays my mum and sister came to visit me for a few days and I was extremely happy about that. We spent most of the time in Bangor (it is small, but it has still a lot to offer) and went on a daytrip to Liverpool, where we went shopping and saw the wonderful Beatles Story – an exhibition about the Beatles. In the Beatles Café I had the most delicious cupcake (blueberry) I have ever eaten in my whole life, so if you ever happen to be there, try it! Have a look at the photos to get some impressions of the exhibition. Moreover, I found Gareth in Liverpool! But not in the exhibition, that would have been a bit…weird.

As mentioned before, I spent most of my Easter holidays working on my essays and therefore spent most of the time in Bangor – but not only inside my room. Especially since the Champions League trophies were travelling around Wales and came to Bangor, where everyone could take a photo with them. What a celebritization (Word says this word does not exist but I am pretty sure I used this term a few years ago in my Cultural Studies paper and got a 1 – so it has to exist! Shame on you, Word!) of objects…

After the holidays at the end of April we had our last compulsory meeting, which was a graduation ceremony especially organized for the international students. I am very grateful for this, I am sure not every university offers this. I am especially happy because in contrast to my diploma ceremony in Vienna I could celebrate this graduation together with friends. 🙂

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Graduation ceremony

A few days later I went to a nearby castle called Penrhyn, which was incredibly beautiful out- and inside (have a look at the photos below).

 

I went there with two of my flatmates and their friends, a few days later my flatmates moved out, this is for you: Thank you for being the flatmates one can only wish for, although we had some difficult times with the mess and Paco (this guy is actually not called Paco, but he was called Paco because we do not know his name) I enjoyed the time with you, especially watching movies and dancing in the kitchen 🙂 I hope you enjoy your time back home, maybe we see each other again and watch Frozen 2 together (with Elsa marrying a woman!). 🙂

I am quite alright here (it is not messy at all, against all expectations o.O), someone new moved in – with all this moving out and moving in I feel a bit like a candidate of Big Brother – or rather I’m A Celebrity…. Get Me Out Of There! (the jungle camp) sometimes if you look into the kitchen…but I guess I haven’t done enough crap to be considered a D-promi and therefore I’m not suitable for such a show…

The first two may weeks were part oft he exam period here and I was lucky to have all my exams and assignments due in those first two weeks. I did not have that much work after all because I had done most things during the holidays. I only had a written and oral exam in Welsh, which was no problem at all and then on the 11th a written exam in the so called Prichard-Jones Hall in the center of the University building. This room is absolutely incredible, I wish I could have taken a photo but I was not allowed to take anything in apart from a bottle and pens. During the exam we were told that if one of our pens falls off the table, we have to call the invigilator to pick it up – another student picking up your pen would be considered cheating, which I found a bit..strange…but ok..here a BA paper is called dissertation so I am not wondering about anything here anymore…. ;-D

On the same day of the exam I was rewarded with a very unique experience, namely watching Manchester United live against Celta de Vigo in an Europa League game in Old Trafford. As you can imagine, there were quite a lot of people around this stadium with more than 75,000 places, but the atmosphere was incredible. I did not understand exactly what the fans were singing (they sang several songs), only “Jose Mourinho”. The game was a good one too, it was very close and after two red cars and two goals it ended with a tie and Manchester United proceeding into the final. It was rather late when the game was over and we had to get back to the city center to catch our (the last) train. When we saw the queue waiting for the Metrolink (tram) we knew we might not make it so we decided to walk, and if we didn’t take the Metrolink at a later station we would not have made it. It reminded me very much of my Brussels run, but this time my leg was fine and I was not alone so it was stressful, but not as bad as in Brussels. However, I will still won’t forget this Manchester night run 😉 And yeah, we made it in the end 🙂

After an exciting but also exhausting night in Manchester we decided to visit one oft he most famous villages of Wales, the town with the longest name – Llanfairpwll­gwyngyllgogery­chwyrndrobwll­llantysilio­gogogoch. It is very close to Bangor actually. You might ask yourself why someone would give a town this name? I was told it was done to get a train station and apparently it worked. And with that comes a Guinness World record, also not bad. The town itself is not very special, but it offers some more or less secret spots, such as a „hidden forest“ with a statue on top, a beach with another statue that can only be reached by passing a graveyard. Have a look at the photos to see what I mean. 😉

I hope you enjoyed reading this blog entry and looking at the photos I made, next time I will write about my visit to the Welsh capital Cardiff and of course include many photos!

Best wishes,

Alexandra

Conwy and an adventure in the wilderness of Abergwyngregyn

Welcome back,

As promised in my last blog entry, this time I’m going to share again some travel experiences and many photos of the Welsh cities and landscapes. 😉 This time I went to another World heritage castle – Conwy castle – and on another day to the magnificent Aber Falls and its surrounding nature reserve. Both days proved to be full of interesting encounters and I took more photos than my phone could handle – and deleting photos on a trip is the most annoying pastime I can tell you 😉 I hope you enjoy reading this blog entry!

While some friends already went to Conwy in January on a day trip organized by the university, I was very happy to finally visit this town and its castle last week. As you can see in the photos below, the town is surrounded by town walls, which you can even walk on.

After approaching the harbor of Conwy on the town walls, we came across the city town center and found one of my beloved goélands on a knight. It happened to be not the last encounter with a goéland this day….

Conwy harbor offered a great view on the sea, but also the smallest house in Great Britian (is it really Great Britain? Does that mean there is a smaller one in Northern Ireland or did those people just not go to Prof. Reichl’s lecture about cultural studies? I hope it’s the first one…)

Our next stop was the icon of Conwy – Conwy castle! It was rather similar to Caernarfon and getting up to the highest towers was surely a bit tricky here as well because of the small steps – I was so glad for not being dizzy anymore, I would have surely died this day otherwise. At certain times I felt like being in the world of Dark Souls, especially when I saw this giant knight statue with the crown on top. Let’s just have a look at the photos before I tell you what happened there! 😉

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What happened? It was le goéland again – of course. Two of them were very approachable and one of my friends fed them without them becoming greedy and aggressive – unlike the goéland in Beaumaris, which was not even fed. And the awesome thing about it: I have filmed it, have a look! 😀

On our way to the bus station we came across my favorite tree – a cherry blossom – which, in my opinion, could not have been a better ending to this wonderful day in Conwy. 🙂

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cherry blossom

Deadpool and co.

There is one thing I want to share with you although it might not fit my promise of focusing on travelling – in the evening I spotted the Power Rangers, Wolverine, Deadpool and Spider-Man in the nearby pub. Find proof below! Fancy-dressing is here apparently something you just do, I think in Austria people would ask you if you are a bit crazy XD

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Abergwyngregyn Nature Reserve

The next day we went to a close town called Abergwyngregyn, which was our starting point for visiting two waterfalls called Aber Falls and the surrounding nature reserve.

It takes quite some time to get to the Aber Falls, but it is totally worth the long walk. Especially because you are surrounded by a wonderful scenery on your way to the falls. The day we went there was a very sunny one – a rarity here – so a lot of people were at the nature reserve – in particular families with children – and at the falls it was so busy that you had to wait to take a nice photo.

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There are actually two of those falls, the second one was less crowded but not less impressive. 🙂 We did not take the same way back and went along the hills back to the Abergwyngregyn bus station. The walk was a challenge at certain times because some areas were a bit like a swamp and we had to jump from to stone to stone in order to not get wet – this is what I call an adventure!

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Before we went down the hill to the village we came across a baby sheep, have a look at the picture and video below. In contrast to the grown-ups, who ran away from us, this one was lying like this right next to the footpath and staying for a while like this, curiously looking at us. After a while it was annoyed by its celebrity status and have a look at the video to see what happened next.

This was the last exciting event on that day, I hope you liked this blog entry, I am already in the middle of my Easter holidays – three weeks here – looking forward to a family visit! 🙂

Best wishes,

Alexandra

 

Living in the UK – Some thoughts on food, books and my classes

Welcome back,

Now since I had a number of deadlines this week and I was a bit sick (I had a vertigo because of a blocked ear and had therefore an ear syringing – was ok ;-)), I can’t offer you any travel reports this time but I can offer you an insight into living in the UK and everything that comes with that, like buying and eating food or searching for a new book to read. I am sure you will find some things familiar if you have been to the UK before, but I am also sure you will learn something new too and hopefully enjoy reading it! 😉

Food is obviously always a big issue, but especially if you live in a country that offers food which his mostly different from the stuff you are used to at home, you will need some time to get used to it. What I can say about British supermarkets is that you won’t believe me what kind of awesome stuff they are selling here, and the good thing about it – it is very cheap compared to food sold in Austria. That might be one reason why every time I look into my basket before paying I say to myself “well, that escalated quickly…..”

Too much sweet stuff….

Another reason for this is certainly the fact that I always find something new I want to try in the sweets section, but I have to say that now (mid-March) I have control over it. Some of the most delicious things I have tried so far are Milky Way chocolate stars, Oreo Golden cookies, mint-flavored Aero bubbles and a Maltesers bunny (Easter is coming).

‘Spread’ is one of the words I have never used before I came here but is now quite important to me because I eat it every day. It refers to the paste you put on a toast or bread, you surely know the most famous one in Austria, Nutella. Here they sell hundreds (I am exaggerating) of different peanut butter spreads, but the coolest ones I found so far are Maltesers, Bounty, Cadbury and Twix spreads. I have tried all except for the Bounty one, and they are really good.

What amazes me  most is the variety of different hot chocolate drinks, which can be made with hot water. I have tried a lot of them like White Maltesers, Milky Way, Wispa (very bubbly), some mint and orange-flavored thing, but there are still so many to try.

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The selection of teas is simply amazing, I already bought more tea that I can drink during my stay here. But not everything is good, I have not told you about the cat food yet…

Cat food

Here they offer a huge selection of cans with everything you can imagine in them, I bought a chicken soup once in case I get ill. That was a very bad idea!  I will always remember that as the ‘cat food incident’: When I opened the can I thought omg this looks and smells like cat food. But I gave it a chance and prepared it in the microwave and tried it. I cannot say if it tastes like cat food because I have never tried cat food but I will certainly never try this soup again. I think cat food tastes like that…Now I really don’t understand why cats  eat this…

Tilda

Apparently British people  like Tilda Swinton – one of their fellow Brits – so much that they even name rice after her.I did not want to take a photo myself because I guess people would stare at me if I took a photo of rice in the supermarket….

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Crisps & Waste

Those were the positive aspects. However, this variety of great things apparently comes with a price: waste culture. Let me illustrate this by showing you how crisps look like here.

If you buy a bag of crisps (“Chips” in German) – usually 2 bags because you can have 2 for 2 pounds – and you open it you won’t find crisps. You will find five six smaller bags of crisps. It is double the amount of waste you produce if you buy one pack. The one shown on the photo below is rather small, about the size of crisps bags in Austria, but there are also much bigger ones which typically contain X2 salty x2 cheese and onion 2x salt and vinegar and sometimes 2x prawn. PRAWN??!? Yes, that is not a mistake. Prawn crisps. Why do they do that to those little creatures… I guess it is artificial flavor but still, the mere idea of turning a creature into crisps is kind of disturbing…..

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By the way, Chips (“Pommes”) are eaten with vinegar. Everything is eaten with vinegar. WHY??? I don’t like vinegar. But ok, if they like it…

Books

Before I went abroad I said to myself that I won’t buy books here because it is so annoying to get them back home. I did not stick to that. At all. You might know that I love CYAL ( children’s and young adult literature) and here you find a children’s books section everywhere! Every little bookshop such as the shop in Liverpool cathedral or Chester cathedral has a children’s books section. I found one in the Football Museum’s store as well, have a look at the photo below.

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I am particularly happy that I found a Shakespeare collection for children, I really love those books and I might find them useful for teaching in the future. I would have never thought that I would end up reading Shakespeare hear…what comes next? James Joyce? Äh..maybe not. Especially if there are no children’s editions.

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Another thing that is certainly very different here is teaching. I think I have already told you that I am doing five classes here, two of them being electives. Let me tell you a little bit more details about them.

English & Society

English & Society is a first-year Sociolinguistics course i have originally taken just because I had to find another course and this one was available to me and fit my schedule. You might think it is very basic and boring to me, but that is absolutely not true! While there are certainly many things I am already familiar with (and the teacher noticed that after thanking me for my active participation 😉 ), there are certain topics which are almost completely new like Language and Gender, which was very interesting and should definitely be a part of an introduction to Linguistics that features Sociolinguistics. Other issues were being discussed from a very different perspective compared to Vienna, especially since dialects have a very important status here. As David Crystal said, RP is not popular anymore, it does not even exist anymore. Another aspect is the fact that we have a 1-hour tutorial every week, which is basically a practical class – we analyze graphs and discuss certain aspects from the lecture. It is very similar to my ISL2 tutorial in Vienna, there is no repetition of content, but application of content, and now I experience it on the other side and see how very meaningful this is. For every course we have an online course on Blackboard – the Welsh Moodle – have a look at the screenshot below. It is – of course – bilingual.

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SLA and Language Teaching

SLA and Language Teaching is a course dealing with various aspects of bilingualism, language acquisition and language teaching, such as the Critical Period Hypothesis, Code-switching and native and non-native teachers of English. The session on the last mentioned topic was particularly interesting because this is such a controversial topic. The only thing I want to say about this is: Please ask yourself  if being a native-speaker of a certain language is something you decide yourself or something you are born with and cannot change….I guess you can imagine what I want to say, I am just pointing out the similarity to other discourses…problematic discourses…just saying…I won’t comment on this issue anymore because the discourse makes me a bit pissed. 🙂

Metaphor & Thought

This course mainly deals with metaphor and metonymy. At the very beginning I thought I was well informed about those because i have read so much about it, and many things were certainly familiar to me, but there are soooo many new aspects. For this course I have a tutorial every fortnight (tutorial = practical section with the teacher), where we practice the content with worksheets (as I said, very much like the ISL2 tutorial). It also inspired me to start with a certain project which I might tell you more about in the future…

Japanese

I do this course as an elective, it is taught by the ERASMUS coordinator and he is really cool! Most of the times we work with newspaper articles, we translate them in groups and then do some interactive stuff like playing out a dialogue. Yesterday I was the admin of JAXA (Japan’s NASA) talking English with a Japanese accent! But we also have more traditional lesson where we work with the book, but in general the atmosphere is rather relaxed and I feel very comfortable in the course.

Welsh

Welsh is communicative classroom, that means we are taught Welsh by the communicative method: Most of the time we learn constructions by practicing the pronunciation and using them by talking to fellow students. I really like it and I think I highly benefit from the class because I learn a lot for my own teaching. To show you what I have learned (and to show off a little bit) I write a short text about myself (without help): Alex dw i. Myfyriwr dw i. Dw i’n astudio Saesneg yn y Brifysgol ym Mangor. Dw i’n dwad o Awstria ond dw i’n byw yn Neuadd Kyffin ym Mangor. Dw i’n dysgu Cymraeg yn Cymraeg i Oedolion yn Stryd y Deon. Dw i’n licio pêl-droed yn fawr! 😉

I hope you liked the blog entry, next time I will provide you with more interesting travel photos, but to finish this blog entry, have a look at the sunset I caught at the pier one week ago, it was amazing. 😉

Best wishes,

Alexandra

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Anfield, Liverpool ONE and following the White Rabbit in Llandudno

Welcome back,

Sorry, it took me a bit longer this time to write a blog entry, but last week was reading week, that means no classes (almost no classes, Welsh and Japanese took place) but a lot of time for reading travelling. I was not on the road the whole week and I somehow do not remember what I did when I was not travelling but I am sure it was something meaningful, the usual stuff you do when you don’t do anything in particular.

During reading week I went to Liverpool again, a very rainy Liverpool as you will read, experienced the Welsh national holiday, and went to a place not that far away from Bangor at the sea – Manchester by the Sea. Just kidding, it was Llandudno. After reading week I went to the cinema with a friend- read this blog entry to the very end to find out what is the best movie of 2016.

Some of you might have read my first entry about my first trip to Liverpool, where I wrote that I really want to come back to Liverpool soon – and that is exactly what I did. After a two-hour journey and change of trains in Chester I arrived at a rainy Liverpool and immediately took a bus to Anfield – the stadium of Liverpool FC. One thing you might want to know if you ever go to Liverpool or the UK in general: The buses won’t stop at your stop if you don’t raise your hand and the buses won’t stop at a certain stop if you don’t push the stop button – very different from Vienna but very efficient. You need to know it, though.

It took me approximately twenty minutes to get to Anfield, which is not exactly in the city center, and I just came in time to join a stadium tour. The tour guides did a great job, it was both informative and extremely funny to listen to them, although it is sometimes a bit tricky to get everything spoken in Scouse (Liverpool dialect). I want to share one of their many jokes with you: When we went to the player’s dining lounge we got to see an area designated to the children of the players. The guide said that there used to be many toys in there……….. but when Balotelli left the club he took most of them with him! 😉

During the stadium tour I met a friend from Porto Alegre in Brazil, who is also a big football fan, and he said that we will meet again in 2018 in Russia. I’m sure about him seeing Brazil, but I’m not so sure if I will see Austria there…

After the stadium tour I went to the club’s museum, which – as I was told – is the only museum displaying a real Champions League trophy.

I particularly enjoyed the new Steven Gerrard collection, it is really amazing what he gave to the museum to display.

After visiting the museum I went to the club’s shop and bought the best fitting hoodie I have ever bought in my entire life. It is black with a big grey Liverbird print on the front and you will certainly see me walking around Vienna in that one.

Afterwards I took a tour bus which went to Albert Dock, on the way I passed Goodison Park – home of Everton FC – which is actually VERY close to Anfield. Maybe I will go there too one day.

From Albert Dock I went straight to Liverpool ONE, Liverpool’s biggest shopping center, and spent the rest of the day there. It is incredible how many shops there are! I also have a very good excuse for shopping almost the entire day: the rain became heavier and in the end my umbrella did not leave Liverpool the way he came there with me. I went to Disney store, the football club stores, Primark, Forbidden Planet, a Sushi takeaway shop and many more I don’t seem to remember…I think I can only remember those ones I bought something at…So I bought many things, including a very cute Nemo plush, which is looking after me now.

It was very difficult in the heavy rain to make photos, so I have only a limited number of photos unfortunately. Before I went home I went around Albert Dock and then the rain got really heavy, I have never experienced such a heavy rain before in my life. My shoes got soaked and that was a rather unpleasant feeling but I took some great photos at least . 😉 I left Liverpool with a large number of shopping bags, a wet coat and many new impressions of a great city – I will be back.

WARNING – LINGUSITS ONLY – DANGER OF CONFUSION

Have a close look at what my Nemo plush has printed on:

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Just by printing this on a plush Nemo, Disney (2017) has successfully extended Widdowson’s (1978) distinction of genuineness and authenticity by adding the aspect of originality. So remember: Best material is genuine, authentic and original (whatever original means….). As you can see, I am in academic mode at the moment, I have two deadlines next week.

WARNING OVER – EVERYONE CAN CONTINUE READING

The first of March is St. David’s day, the Welsh national holiday. I saw a lot of Welsh flags in Bangor and went to a traditional dance in the evening which I took part in (I got very dizzy from the twirling) and I ate one of the most delicious food I have ever tasted – Welsh cake. It’s like a pancake but smaller and sweeter, simply great.

At the end of reading week I went to a place called Llandudno, which is pronounced as “Chlandidno” (for German speakers). This time not by train but by bus, so I got to see a little bit of the Welsh countryside, which his very green and very sheep-filled. After arriving in Llandudno, I was very surprised because I expected a very small town but it was actually much bigger than expected and surrounded by the sea. We first went to the promenade and discovered one of the most awesome things one can find in Llandudno: There are more than 50 statues of characters from the two Alice in Wonderland books and there are signs on the road which guide you through the town to the next statue. Alice, Alice everywhere!

The last statue of all is the White Rabbit, which can be found very close to the promenande, which you can see below.

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Llandudno promenade

On our way to the pier we came across a tent where a family – I assume – presented some birds, mainly owls but also a falcon. It was great to touch Hedwig’s cousin, it was very soft! Have a look at the photos, especially the one of the tiny little owl, he or she was so cute!

The pier was filled with small shops selling food, Wales merch and other stuff.

At the very end there was – what a surprise for British piers – an amusement arcade. My friends wanted to grab a Winnie the Pooh in a dragon costume out of one of the machines, but they were not lucky unfortunately…and of course, Alice was there as well, but a very…mature…Alice.

The pier from the pier on the town was simply great, but we made our way to the town accompanied by our well-known friends (?) and their laughing sounds from Bangor – the seagulls.

It was raining a little bit throughout the day, but as a result Llandudno said farewell to us with a rainbow.

I promised you to let you about the best film of 2016: I watched it with a friend in Bangor’s Art and Innovation Center – called Pontio – and it’s name is “Don’t Take Me Home”. It tells the story of the Welsh Football National Team and their journey from losing a coach to becoming one of the best teams in Europe. It was simply amazing, it shows the emotion of everyone connected to football – the players, the team, the supporters. If you are only a little bit interested in football or (national) identity, you should watch it, it is worth every single penny!

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With this tip I want to finish this blog entry, I hope you liked it! 🙂 With a few deadlines coming up I’m not sure whether I can provide you with exciting travel photographs in the next week(s), I will probably share with you some ordinary stuff, but which is also interesting and very funny, I promise! 🙂

Best wishes,

Alexandra

Alex’ Adventures in Chesterland – An unexpected appearance of the Cheshire Cat and chasing squirrels

`Curiouser and curiouser!’ cried Alex (she was so much surprised, that for the moment she quite forgot how to speak good English)

(Lewis Carroll, adapted)

This quote describes quite well how I felt about many things we saw and experienced in Chester, which was a bit like Wonderland to me because I came across so many unexpected and strange – strange in a positive way – things. Read all about my trip to Chester in this blog entry.

I was very happy that I could actually go to Chester, since storm Doris hit North Wales quite hard – I went on a Saturday and on Thursday all trains were cancelled due to the weather conditions and even the University was closed for one day.

After arriving at the train station in Chester we went straight to the town center and found ourselves in the middle of a rather small but very beautiful town. Its houses give Chester a very special and unique charm, to me it felt like being in the middle of a medieval town.

On our way to the center we went through the town’s main shopping street – Foregate Street –we passed a number of great shops as well as the Eastgate and the Eastgate Clock, which is one of many sights.

Close to the town hall we paid a visit to the Visitor Information Centre, which surprised me by selling a number of Alice in Wonderland and especially Cheshire Cat products – Chester is located in a county called Cheshire. I bought a beautiful postcard there, you can see it on the photo below.

Right opposite to the town hall there was the next surprise waiting for us – a very cute statue of an elephant called Janya.

Our next stop was Chester Cathedral, where we were given a very warm welcome by an older gentleman and a lady. The cathedral is not as big as the one in Liverpool, but especially its windows are very impressive.

Chester Cathedral had many surprises to offer, one of them was the Lego Chester Cathedral. The building of a Lego model of the cathedral is a project supporting the cathedral’s education trust and a great idea in my opinion.

Another surprise were the small windows looing into the inaccessible inner yard of the cathedral.

Two of the larger ones were particularly interesting to me, they have one thing in common and this commonality made them special for me – have a look at the photos, the solution is provided at the end of this blog entry. 🙂

After visiting the cathedral, we walked a little bit through the town and saw the University of Chester, the city walls, the Queens Park Bridge and the river Dee – where we saw Mark Twain and Lady Diana – photos below. I also took a photo of a mouette (not a goéland) – in case I have not mentioned this before, in French there are two terms for seagull.

The town is very well known for its Roman past and therefore offers a number of museums and sights related to this part of its history, such as the Roman Gardens and the Roman Amphitheatre.

Close to those Roman sights we quickly went into St John the Baptist’s Church, maybe because of rather a strange appearance at its entrance.

Afterwards we went through Grosvenor Park and experienced something very fantastic: There were so many squirrels! While the first ones were rather shy, some of them were running towards us. The only thing you need to do is pretending you have some food in your hand. We then tried to capture some nice photos of them, which was not as easy as it sounds. It was very much like playing Pokémon Snap, this is real Pokémon Go I can tell you! I did my best in order to get the best photo possible: One of the squirrels climbed my left leg, one jumped on my right knee and another one gave me his right claw. Please find my rated submissions to Professor Oak and a photo of me being attacked below, as well as other impressions of this great park.

There is one huge and beautiful shopping center in Chester, the Grosvenor Shopping Centre. I found one shop particularly interesting, it was a shop called Build-a-bear where you can make your own plush: Fill it, dress it up and even give it a heart. Have look at the photo below to see the Star Wars section of the shop, you can even make your own Darth Bear or Bunny Fett. A Bunny Fett would be so tempting…I did not even glance at the price tag, I would not have recovered from the shock for sure…

Before leaving Chester we passed again the many shops close to the Eastgaste Clock and discovered many interesting things such as wooden Batman, Superman and Spiderman.

I am still amazed by the many interesting things we came across in Chester, I know I always say that, but I definitely want to visit Chester again! I forgot to share this but in Chester I saw the most delicious cakes I have ever seen in my life, the bakery I saw them in will be visited soon! And maybe Bunny Fett will accompany me home next time…

Best wishes,

Alex

I promised to tell you why I liked those particular windows in Chester Cathedral: The cats, of course. It is always the cats.

The ultimate football experience in Manchester – and my personal one in Bangor

Welcome back,

This time I am writing about my trip to Manchester – which was a kind of football trip – and about my football experience here in Bangor – football passive and active so to say. 😉  To be more precise about the Manchester trip, I will share my experiences at Old Trafford and the Old Trafford Museum as well as the National Football Museum, but also some things I have seen in Manchester.

To me, Manchester is inextricably linked to football. The reason I did not want to go to Manchester for my exchange semester was simply the fact that I would have spent all my savings within a week or less. Just joking, I went to Bangor because I wanted to go there, only there – for academic reasons, to learn about cognitive linguistics mainly. But you know that anyway. By the way – if you were wondering why I use the term ‘football’ here instead of ‘soccer’ – since I usually use American spelling – I just think using ‘soccer’ would not really fit, especially if the museum is called football museum. 😉 Back to Manchester: After arriving in Manchester, I was very happy to hear that it takes only 15 minutes by bus to get to Old Trafford from the city center. Soon we arrived at the stadium and I saw the hugest stadium I have ever seen in my life, it is even bigger than the Ernst-Happel stadium and the Emirates Stadium (Arsenal’s ground).

After visiting the megastore we went to the Old Trafford Museum, which displays Manchester United’s history. It was a rather small museum but there was still a lot to see. The collection of objects ranges from individual player’s items such as Ronaldo’s boots, Ibrahimovićs jersey to a wide range of different trophies. Apart from Ronaldo’s stuff I was very happy to even find Shinji Kagawa’s jersey – one of my favorite players – among the objects on display.

A particular interesting but also sad part exhibition is the part in which the Munich air disaster is shown. The Munich air disaster was a plane crash on the 6th of February in 1958, which took 20 people’s lives, among them many Manchester United players.

The very intersting exhibiton finished with a wall showing the names of all Manchester United players.

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After visiting the museum, we took a guided tour through the Old Trafford stadium. I have learned many fascinating things about the stadium and the club, such as that you have to pay a fine of 5000 pounds if you touch the football field, which the tour guided us of with a rather serious expression on his face. We saw the stadium from various different places, it has more than 75,000 seats, and with 55,000 season-ticket holders I assume it is not that easy to get a ticket for a game.

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Inside the stadium there is a huge area for buying food and drinks and – of course – the player’s dressing rooms. I was very lucky to be the second in the dressing room of ManU– ok to be serious I went as one of the first on purpose because I knew what was coming – and the tour guide said we can take place anywhere we want, on our favorite’s player’s seat if we want. I immediately ran to Paul Pogba’s place and the French people (probably from St.Etienne because ManU played against them a few days before) were noticeably disappointed – what a pity for them.

In the away team’s dressing room we could see a number of jersey of players who have played at Old Trafford on the away side, such as Ryan Giggs with Wales, Ronaldo with Real Madrid and Abby Wambach for the US in the Olympics.

After going through the player’s tunnel we came very close to the football field. If you were wondering why those constructions are on the field, it is because there is not a lot of sun and the grass is provided with light instead.

After the tour we visited the shop once again and I was astonished again about the variety of products they sell – I just bought a cap in the end, otherwise my credit card would have started to cry (and it was already close to crying when I arrived in Bangor). As a good owner, I have to care about my credit card.

We continued our Manchester football experience at the National Football Museum in Manchester city center. The way to the museum entrance already offered something for the football nerd: a series of floor plates of famous players, have a look at the photos below.

The National Football Museum offers three floors of exhibitions, entertainment and learning. At the very beginning on the ground floor of the museum we could take a photo with two trophies, which I will not show here since I am on it and I do not like myself on photos 98% of the time. 😉

There were really sooo many things to see, I do not know where to start and where to end. I will try to summarize what the museum shows and what I found particularly fascinating. It features the history of the English football national team, history of the Premier League, World Cups, Champions League, the Wembley Stadium and many artistic representations of football.

One of those artistic representations are a series of painting of famous coaches as superheroes: Guardiola as Batman, Mourinho as Superman and Klopp as…yeah weeeell…I do not know what he is. I assume it is Iron Man, guess with me. But I think it is ok if we say Klopp as Klopp.

Another one is the photo below, which shows a number of famous players in a very particular way. Cultural Studies people out there, please analyze it in terms of the Circuit of Culture – especially representation and identity – and use it for teaching, isn’t it awesome?

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After visiting the National Football Museum we had a bit less than two hours left, so we went through the city and saw a very crowded Market Street with a bunny I had to shoot a photo of – see below – another Chinatown with a giant arch and a restaurant where people had to wait in front of the restaurant because it was so full – I have never seen this before, ok maybe once in Austria, I just don’t get it why people wait so long if they are hungry? – and a very impressive Manchester City Council and Albert Memorial. A very exciting day in Manchester ended at 6pm when we got on the bus home to Bangor. I believe it could not have been a better day in Manchester, at least to me.

I want to conclude this blog post with a brief paragraph on my football experience in Bangor. The university has a women’s team and I am very glad that I can participate in the trainings of the team, which are the best in their league. Training takes place every Monday in the evening and I have been there two times so far. We play outside on the football field, which is synthetic grass. As you can imagine it was a bit difficult for me at the beginning to get used to it, I have never played on synthetic grass, I have never played on such a huge field, I have never played outside and I have never experienced playing after a leg injury – all of it as an adult of course. And – I have never played against people who have maybe in average about 10 years more experience than me. I therefore have to be realistic about my expectations, I don’t have any problems with respect to stamina and running – which I am hugely surprised about – but I can’t expect to score five goals every week. I continue trying to do the best I can and learn as much as I can, I enjoy playing a lot – even with the given weather conditions – and I am sure I can develop a lot if I keep being confident and motivated. 🙂 And to be honest, I have to play, otherwise I will return to Austria as a not so very thin person – yes that was euphemism – because of the many different kinds of sweets and food they sell here. 😉

I hope you liked this blog entry – I did my best to convey my passive and active football experience in Bangor and Manchester. The trip to Manchester was a real pleasure – I want to return soon, especially to discover the many shops they have there – and playing football every week is one too. Not many Austrians can say they play(ed) football in the United Kingdom. I can. 😀

Best wishes,

Alexandra