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Prepare to Queue

Clarissa Grunwald
May 14, 2016

Thursday, May 4th, was something known as “Father’s Day” here in Berlin. This is not to be confused with American Father’s Day, where kids give their dads presents and everyone goes out to dinner or whatever. This is German Father’s Day, when middle-aged men get flat-out wasted and disappoint their families. I think it’s also a religious holiday or something. Anyway, I didn’t have school.

With a four-day holiday ahead of me, I decided to take a trip to Britain, where my friend Juliana was studying in Bath for the semester. (In the photo in my first-ever blog post, she’s the blonde one in the middle-left with the really good eye makeup who looks way too classy to be hanging out with the rest of us.) It was her last weekend abroad, but she was somehow willing to spend part of it with me. 

So I visited London and Bath. And on that note, here is some retrospective advice for myself. Given the constraints of linear time, it’s not particularly useful advice for me anymore, but that doesn’t mean I can’t post it on the Internet.

1.     The stuff about British people and standing in line is so real. Oh my God is it real. Be prepared to see queue-related stereotypes affirmed in big-screen Technicolor with a soundtrack of a lady yelling “Next” over and over again in a Cockney accent.

2.     London Gatwick Airport isn’t in London. When Google Maps tells you London Gatwick Airport is located an hour outside of London, assume it is telling you the truth.

3.     When you buy your plane tickets, ask yourself if you really want to wake up at 3:00 in the morning to catch your flight back. Answer yourself honestly.

4.     There’s a time zone change. This is the sort of thing you should really Google before leaving.

5.     Just because you can’t understand what someone is saying does not mean they are speaking German. Stop yelling “Bitte?” at the British people. It does not benefit anyone.

6.     Buy a stupid Underground ticket. Yes, you can probably just walk there, but do you actually want to?

I did make some good decisions. For instance, I visited the Tower of London, which I 100% recommend. I also took a free tour that was offered by my hostel, which turned out to actually be super interesting.

I’m also incredibly grateful that Juliana was there, both to save me money by letting me crash on her futon, and to take me around Bath, which is a gorgeous and really historically interesting town, with oodles of gorgeous Georgian-era houses and Roman ruins right in the town center. Visiting Juliana also meant I got to do some things I probably would not have done solo, such as have brunch in the Pump Room, which is this fancy British tearoom, and eat dinner in a pub filled with drunk rugby players.

So, you know, the full British dining experience.

I flew back to Berlin early Monday morning, and immediately had class. It was not my greatest day. But I’m glad I found the time to visit Juliana, and see some cool new places, and learn how to queue. 

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Clarissa Grunwald

<p>Writer, composer, musician. American student with a terrible sense of direction set loose on Germany. After years of telling people that I love to travel, this is my first time actually leaving the country.</p>

Destination:
Term:
2016 Spring
Home University:
Franklin & Marshall College
Major:
English
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