So with the end of the second week we all decided that it was time to explore a bit of Germany. All four of us bought Eurail passes so Alex went to meet a friend in Stuttgart and Max, Lisa and I decided to take the trains up to Heidelberg, a historic city in Baden-Württemberg, Germany. It was a pretty nice trip since we were able to use the 1st class cabins and even got our own cabin room on the way back.
Heidelberg itself is incredibly beautiful! We were staying close to the old town which is primarily a pedestrian area with the old Univesity, Lutheran churches and a Castle that overlooks the entire village.
Getting up to the castle was a trek in itself. Apparently the city prefers stip slanted brick roads rather than staircases. The hike up was gorgeous but at times it seemed easier to climb up on one’s hands and knees. Once at the top, it was obviously worth it. The castle is partially in ruins, but you can still go into the well-preserved courtyard with a balcony that looks over the city.
It was pretty cool to be able to look out over the city and the breeze was really nice after the hike up. Afterwards we spent the afternoon walking through the ruins and then returned to the village to see the old university and the churches. Dinner was probably the best part of the day since we found a biergarten and basically got our own terrase to sit and eat sausage and sauerkraut for two to three hours. It didn’t really get dark until 11 pm so we went back to our hotel to drop off our stuff then returned to the village to see what the Heidelberg night life was like. It was pretty cool since all of the monuments, especially the castle, were lit up at night. We were walking along the river when a group of people just started setting off fireworks. Overall it was a pretty fun night of night hikes, pyrotechnics and discotheques.
Our train on Sunday wasn’t until 4 pm so we had plenty of time to wander around some more in the morning. Max and Lisa went to the church to see what Germany mass was like while I went to see the new part of town and the Unversity.
People were really active Sunday morning. We saw even more people hiking and there were tons of people rowing on the river. We met up in the afternoon and went on one final hike before getting on our train to come back here to Geneva.
That was basically our trip to Heidelberg! Next time: Dark Matter, Lyon and Fête Nationale!
Starting college can be a big transition. You’re moving to a new place, starting a new school and classes, and faced with making new friends in an unfamiliar environment. And, of course, there’s that whole “becoming an adult” thing. But, you’re also leaving a lot behind. Every new beginning means that an old chapter must come to an end. Leaving behind our friends at home may seem difficult, especially if they’re going to be a long distance away from you during the school year. Something I made sure to do was to spend a lot of time with them during the summer after high school. Of course, going to college doesn’t mean you’ll never see your friends again, or that you will no longer be friends with them. Good friendships will last if you put effort into them. It may seem hard initially. Coming into Caltech, it’s a sharp adjustment and many are caught up in the excitement of Orientation, Rotation, and starting classes. It may be hard to remember to check your phone frequently and to make time for phone calls and such. Rest assured that if you have other friends going to college, they’re probably going to go through similar things you will. In this transition period, it can feel like you’re going to immediately lose touch with people that mean a lot to you.
Let’s face it: the US loves being just a little different from everyone else. The obvious example? Units of measurement. As an international student from Canada, even I have no clue what’s going on half the time when my friends talk to me and use these weird nonsensical units. And I’ve literally lived on the border between Canada and the States for all my life. After a year here, I’ve finally got a sense of how the two systems of measurement compare and how you can more easily get your bearings with these weird units.
After a year spent in “soft-lockdown” at home in Atlanta, and as Caltech students prepared to finally return to campus, I was aboard an eight hour flight towards Edinburgh, Scotland. Since my junior year plans were interrupted by the virus who shall not be named, I’m spending my first term of senior year studying abroad through the Caltech - Edinburgh University International Exchange program. I’ve only been here just over a week yet have been exposed to so many new people, perspectives, foods, and classes.
When the announcement was first made that fall term was going to be online, I started talking to friends and looking for places to live. We were debating locations around the country: California, Florida, New York, etc.. there were plenty of options. Then it suddenly hit me, what is stopping us from going to Hawaii, covid numbers were better and a two week quarentine would ensure that numbers stayed down… I proposed this to my friend and we agreed it would be an amazing experience, but we didn’t want to get out hopes up. A month or so later we still haven’t decided where to live, Hawaii seemed too far and too difficult to plan. But we couldn’t get the idea out of our heads. We spent some time looking into plane tickets, places to stay, etc… and it actually didn’t seem so impossible after all. A couple weeks later and we were arriving here on the big island!