For me, this month was fairly uneventful. I was fully back in work mode, getting more familiar with my new job whilst continuing on my learning curve.
I had a couple of outings this month, and ended it with a trip to Berlin for my friend Jasmin's 30th. February has begun with a trip to Oxford for work. I'm a little annoyed that I forgot my camera, so any photos I take are with my phone. But it's nice to be back here (I visited for a day trip a few years ago) and I'm staying in a lovely flat walking distance to the city centre. Added bonus is that I'm travelling back to London on my birthday and I've got a sneaky half day off as I'm free once I've dropped the students off on their walking tour! Woo!
Here's my last month in photos.
I went to a late opening at the Royal Academy this month. They had a masquerade ball, which was a lot of fun. Although I didn't get particularly dressed up, it was still great to wander around the place in the evening. My friend and I saw the Jean-Etienne Liotard exhibition, some lovely street food and enjoyed a little bit of music by the band Don Kipper.
I also joined snapchat at the end of last year, and although I haven't quite got the hang of it just yet, I'm having fun messing around with it! (That's where this photo is from!) I really like the geotags (the one above is from my house in Southwark).
As I mentioned on my last wanderings post, I gave myself a present this year of a 3 month book subscription and the first one arrived at the beginning of January. I got through it pretty quickly, and it was just the sort of book I enjoyed (they chose this from my preferences). I finished the story on the plane to Berlin, and so I left it (as I didn't want to carry it home) in the hostel there. Although I like to keep books, I know that it's generally a bit wasteful as I don't tend to re-read any of them - the only exception for me so far is Memoirs of a Geisha. So I left it in the Generator Berlin for someone else to discover.
My latest book just arrived, and although I'm currently reading something else, I'm excited to start this one too. Obviously based on my enjoyment of Agatha Christie (again preferences) it's a mystery story by Dorothy L Sayers. Hopefully I'll finish this before the final book is delivered at the beginning of March!
As I said in the intro, I went to Berlin at the end of January. I've visited once before, when I was interrailing after university and I loved the city. Although it rained whilst we were there, I can say that it's still on my list of top places I've been. I also got a photo whilst there posing by the big lego giraffe outside legoland. It's clearly been rebuilt since 2007 though, because there was a lot less room between the front legs this time!
I enjoy going back to places I've been before, especially since I've now got quite a lot of travel experience. On that first trip, way back when, we rocked up in new cities without a guide book, no map or hostel reservation. All we had was an address of a hostel we'd noted down in the city before using an hour's internet at an internet cafe. We picked up maps (and advice) at the train station and winged it. I don't really travel like this anymore, and realise that's not the best way to maximise your time in any place, especially if time is limited to a couple of days.
It's also interesting to me how different my experiences of places are. Second time around in Berlin, we bought fruit beers at a little shop on a tube station and ended up drinking them in our hostel room and never making it out to any clubs. We ate in a lovely (but not cheap) restaurant which we discovered online and was a short walk from our hostel and explored areas of town where my friend had lived for a few months previously. On my first trip, we went on the organised pub crawl, took a cycling tour (the following day; hungover) and ate on the cheap. I don't really think either way is better than the other necessarily (except for the hangover part) but just different and so much to do with how I live my life at this age. I don't go to clubs at home, so why would I suddenly be compelled to go to one in Berlin?
Places that I visit now, for the first time, will definitely leave a different impression on my than they would have, had I gone when I was 22 and on my first independent trip. I suppose the important thing I want to remember is that, that is ok. I don't need to drag my tired bum to an underground techno club that I'm not going to enjoy, or have my dinner in a cheapo fast food place, because I want to have a good time in the place I'm visiting. Of course, if that's your thing then that's fine too!
and now... I'm in Oxford! I've been here 3 days, and mostly been working as I'm overseeing the arrival of one of our Spring semester groups. It's been fun though, and I've so far visited the Eagle and Child pub (where CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien used to hang out), New College, wandered around the most famous sights (Bridge of Sighs, Radcliffe Camera, Bodleian Library) and also took a quick trip to Narnia (obvs). I'm going to try and check out a few other places in the next week, whilst also working (!) and writing as much as I can of my dissertation! Thankfully I have a work laptop for the week, as my Macbook has died and needs to go into Apple hospital when I get back to London! :-(
::Up next for February, I'm turning 31 (eek), starting lent (giving up meat again?) and studying, studying, studying! What does your February look like? ::