Here’s my September update of what I’ve been doing in Europe!
My first full month in Berlin has passed, and along with many opportunities of learning about German culture, I’ve had some chances to get out of Berlin as well.
The German election was on the 22nd of September. It was quite an opportunity to see and compare the German voting culture to that of America. The most noticeable evidence of the election was the abundance of signs everywhere along the streets. There were also frequent small political rallies at many of the places I went. It was interesting, in the days leading up to the vote, to see the various newspaper articles and scandals. I watched part of the TV Debate between Merkel (CDU) and Steinbrück (SPD) and followed the “middle finger scandal,” where Steinbrück fell under heavy criticism after posing for a picture pointing his middle finger. In the end, perhaps not surprisingly, Angel Merkel’s party won in a landslide and controls the Bundestag (parliament), which chooses the chancellor. Thus Merkel will be chancellor for the next four years.
My classes have been going well; they are relatively easy as far as tests and subject matter goes (the German being slightly more challenging) but they often tend to be more work than I would like, considering where I am and what I could be doing! I have to read a novel or section thereof each week for my Berlin: History, Memory, Literature class, in English. We have to watch a movie late every Monday for my German Film before 1945 class. For both of those courses I also have to write an 8 page term paper with research, in English. For German I’ve had to already write 8 pages between two essays, in German. I also had to read a novel in German; I chose a play by Schiller called “Maria Stuart,” about Mary Queen of Scotts, and had to give a verbal book report presentation on it. Every other Thursday we have a trip to somewhere in the city with the class. So far we’ve visited a modern art museum, the Berlin Jewish Museum, and had an outdoor tour of street art on a very rainy day. (Overall, the weather isn’t that different from PA; last week was cloudy with rain some days, this week is supposed to be sunny. It is indeed colder here than in the US already; it feels like mid-October at least.)
As all this was going on, I spent my weekends traveling around Berlin, and also outside of it for the first time. The first weekend in September, I went with a group from the FU-BEST program to the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp north of Berlin. We spent most of the day looking around the area. Most of the buildings are torn down, but in those that survive, one can see either exhibits on certain aspects of the camp’s history, or reconstructed rooms that display what life was like there. The camp had been used as both a Nazi concentration camp and as a Soviet prisoner camp after the war.
The next day I visited the Neues Museum in Berlin with friends Kayla and Greg, which displays some impressive Egyptian artifacts, and artifacts from other cultures as well.
On Sunday the 8th I went to visit the Holz’s in Woltersdorf, about an hour east of Berlin. They are my grandma’s cousin’s family. We had been in contact by e-mail, and were able to set up a time to meet. We had lunch and they took me on a walking tour of their town, which is a popular resort for Berliners because of its location on the lake. Afterwards we had coffee and homemade plum cake, talked about differences between American and German culture, and showed each other pictures. It was a nice visit, and we plan to meet again sometime soon.
The next weekend, Greg, Kayla and I made a last minute decision to go to Prague (last minute in that we planned it only a week before.) We traveled by train, about five hours, from the Berlin main train station to the central station in Prague on Friday the 13th (but we did not experience any bad luck). We left at 6:45 AM and arrived in the city at about noon. We went right away to a bus tour of the historical city, which included a stop at the Prague castle on top of the hill overlooking the city.
We tried to eat at a traditional Czech restaurants while we were there to experience the culture. My favorite dishes were Svíčková na Smetanĕ, which was beef in a vegetable gravy with bread dumplings, the area’s local Kozel beer, and Trdelníck, which is a traditional Czech/Hungarian baked good.
We got up at 8 AM the next morning and took a tram 20 minutes from our hotel to the medieval city center. Our self-designed tour included a walk across the Charles Bridge, which is a well-known bridge constructed during the late 1300’s. The bridge offered a beautiful view of the castle and the city along the river, and was one of my favorite spots in town.
We also visited the Jewish Quarter where we saw the Old New Synagogue, which was built in 1270 and is the oldest active synagogue in Europe, but spent most of the day around the Old Town square, which is surrounded by buildings like the town hall, built in 1364, and the Týn Church, built in the early 1400s. Along with it we saw the Astronomical Clock on the town hall tower, installed 1410, which has a show of moving sculptures every hour.
We didn’t go inside many buildings but spent most of our time enjoying the beautiful weather, while navigating the narrow winding streets of the Old Town. We also stopped at an “Ice Pub,” which was a bar totally lined with ice, except for the floor and ceilings. The tables, cups we drank from, walls, and sculptures around the room were all formed out of ice blocks. Consequentially, the room was very cold; we were given special coats before we entered, and not allowed to stay in more than 30 minutes.
Sunday morning we browsed at an open air market and spent the rest of our time in the Old Town Square watching the people and entertainers performing in the forum. Our train left at 2:30 so we didn’t have time for much else that day. Overall Prague was very beautiful and interesting because of its old buildings and foreign culture. The only disadvantages were the sense that it was a poorer, more dangerous city and that the Old Town had a lot of tourist-trap, boardwalk type shops with lots of crowds.
The next weekend I visited the absolutely beautiful city of Dresden, traveling alone. At first it was a little lonely to go by myself, but I ended up loving it because I could do whatever I wanted whenever I chose. The weather was cloudy but the city was still magnificently beautiful, largely because the entire skyline of significant baroque buildings is directly along the river and can be viewed perfectly from the other side. Although Dresden was heavily damaged during World War II, all of the significant buildings have been restored—some totally rebuilt to their original dimensions, and others repaired from their shells or whatever was left after the bombings.
I was in Dresden from Thursday night, the 19th, to Sunday afternoon. Since I had plenty of time, the atmosphere was very relaxed. I spent Friday walking around the city and on the old bridge, and also along the bank of the Elbe River directly across from the Altstadt which afforded an excellent view. There was a Fall Market at the Altmarkt square, which I also spent a long time browsing, sampling the foods of the area and buying some folk crafts. I also climbed to the top cupola of the Frauenkirche, a famous church, and later sat on the bridge watching the city light up during nightfall.
On Saturday I spent most of the day in the city palace of the Saxon kings, which included treasure rooms and museum exhibitions of Saxon armor and relics. I climbed to the top of the palace tower, after which I explored parts of the New Town on the other side of the river. Sunday I went inside the Frauenkirche, which was very impressive, and sat along the Elbe to watch the city, before I had to get on my train for the two hour ride to Berlin.
The next weekend, which was last weekend, I visited the Tiede family, which is more relations through my grandmother’s other cousin, for a few days. On Thursday the 26th I met them at their daughter’s apartment near central Berlin. We had dinner and made plans for the rest of the weekend.
Before I could go to Templin where the Tiedes live, I had to go with a school trip to Potsdam for most of the day Friday. We visited two castles, Schloss Cecilienhof and Schloss Sanssouci. Cecilienhof was the site of the Potsdam Conference after World War II, where Stalin, Churchill and Truman discussed the future of Germany, although most of the plans they made there were never carried out. Schloss Sanssouci is a very lavish palace built in the 1740s for King Fredrick the Great of Prussia.
In the evening I rushed back to meet the Tiedes. They drove me to their house in Templin, which was under two hours north of Berlin with the autobahn.
Saturday morning we drove me around Templin to see the area. Templin is a walled city dating from the 1200s, although most of the city was destroyed by fire multiple times since then. The entire wall still stands, though, which was interesting to see, and it is situated between several very beautiful, placid lakes. In the afternoon more of the family came over for coffee and cake, and to meet me and talk about the family. The Tiedes visited America 20 years ago, when I was 1, so they remembered me and know a lot of the family back home. We usually keep in close contact with letters as well.
Sunday morning I went with the Tiede’s to church, which is a Baptist church in Templin, with a service very similar to mine back home. It was Erntedankfest, a harvest holiday reminiscent of Thanksgiving, but much less elaborate. The church had a picnic afterwards and themed its service around harvest and thankfulness. After some more cake and coffee, I traveled back to Berlin by train with my third-cousin (granddaughter of my grandma’s cousin), who needed to make a transfer there because she was on her way to Cologne the next day. It was a very warm get-together which reminded me of our family gatherings back home.
Stay tuned for more pictures! Most recently I uploaded some from my visit to the Reichstag (the German capitol) with its transparent dome, and my little visit to Oktoberfest in Berlin.
Right now I’m preparing for my week long Fall Break. I’ll be traveling to visit friends north of Essen for the weekend, after which I’ll be going to Amsterdam for a few days and then London for the rest of the week and weekend. I’m looking forward to the trip, but in the meantime I have some mid-term tests to take.
I’m Martin Groff, a Junior English Literature and German Double Major studying for the Fall Semester in Berlin, Germany at the Free University (Freie Universität). Over the next few months I will periodically post how my experience overseas is going. I arrived at the Berlin-Tegel Airport on August 20th. Kayla, another LVC student, and I landed at around 8:10 AM. We found our luggage and figured out how to get a cab right outside the airport complex.
The taxi took us to the FU-BEST building, which is a part of the Freie Universität’s scattered campus. I hardly got any sleep on the plan so I was fairly exhausted by this time. We had to sign in with the program and get our pictures taken for student visas. Then our host families came to pick us up.
My host mom, Christina, lives in a large house in the suburban neighborhood of Zehlendorf, a part of Berlin (like Brooklyn is a part of New York City). She has two daughters, Anya, who is the older one and visits often, and Katriana, who is living with her mother temporarily as she moves between apartments. We speak German almost all the time, although all three of them can speak fairly good English as well, among other languages.
I have my own room and private bathroom on the third floor of the house. Christina has one cat, and Katriana, who is currently living on my floor, has two.
Christina cooks dinner for me, and provides breakfast as well which is usually light, but I eat lunch at the school. The FU-BEST building, where my classes are for my program, is too far to walk to, in the next town over, Steglitz. There is an S Bahn train station about a 10 minute walk away, the Sundgauer Straße connection, which I take three stations east to Rathaus Steglitz. Then I walk 10 minutes (or take a bus) to the FU-BEST building. So overall, including waiting for a train, my commute is about 40 minutes. However, with my student ID, it’s completely free.
Geographically my homestay and the college are both in the south-western part of Berlin, in former American/West German territory. With the S Bahn or U Bahn (subway) I can get to pretty much any part of the city center in under an hour, again, for free.
To get to the Mensa, the dining hall on the main campus of the Freie Universität, I take a bus from the FU-BEST building about 10 minutes to the area of Dahlem. Then it’s about a 10 minute walk to the main university building, where the dining hall is. Unlike at LVC, where we have a meal plan and scan our card to enter the buffet area, at the FU, we pay for each thing we buy individually at the end of the buffet.
There is an endless amount of stuff to do and see in Berlin. In the days immediately after our arrival, we had to devote one day to doing paperwork for a student visa, but the rest we used for FU-BEST organized tours of the city. On the Friday after we arrived, the 23rd, we were given a river tour along the River Spree of the city. The Spree goes right through the center of old Berlin, so we were able to see most of the famous landmarks from there. After the boat trip, I went with some friends to the Charlottenberg section of the town (the western end) and found what is so far our favorite restaurant, the Charlottenberg Ratskeller (in the basement of the Rathaus, or City Hall of Charlottenberg), which serves traditional German food in a beautiful traditional German atmosphere at a good price.
The first Saturday I was here, we took a walking tour of the city that included the Brandenburg Gate, several memorials, the famous Unter Den Linden street, with significant old buildings like the Berliner Dom cathedral, Alexanderplatz, with the famous East German TV Tower, Gendarmanmarkt, and Potsdamer Platz, a very modern commercial center of the city.
Whenever I have the chance, I meet my friends at an S Bahn or U Bahn station and we go to a museum or some famous area of the city.
On Monday we took German placement tests (part interview, part written) and started our other classes. My German Cinema Before 1945 class starts at 4:30 in the evenings Monday and, with the required movie viewing afterwards, goes until about 9 PM.
German language classes are every Monday through Thursday morning from 9 AM to noon. After this class we always go for lunch, and depending on my schedule for the rest of the day, I go home to study.
My Berlin: History, Memory, Literature class is 1:30 to 4 PM on Tuesdays. As long as I keep on top of my work during the week, I don’t have much to do during the weekends.
I’m most often at the Rathaus Steglitz area, which has one of the biggest shopping streets in the world. The stores tend to be smaller and more specialized here, and there are lots of cafes and snack/baked goods stands. Overall it doesn’t usually feel like a totally different world from the United States; mostly small things, like car models, electric switches and outlets, number of rings in the binders and size of the paper are different.
Today felt like October would in Pennsylvania; the leaves are already starting to change. According to Christina, it is likely to be bitter cold starting towards the end of October, and we will likely get snow in November.
So far I booked trip to Prague, Dresden, Amsterdam, London and Vienna, and will be going on a FU-BEST organized trip to Strasbourg and Paris… but you’ll hear more about those trips later!
We head to the incredibly beautiful Milford Sound for a morning cruise. While we were there we took a look around the area and even got to take a long hike on the Routeburn Track.
Arrive in Queenstown! Spend the day exploring the town and scheduling activities and then headed to the ice bar, Sub 0, in the evening.
Got the amazing opportunity to do the Shotover Canyon Swing, aka the highest cliff swing in the world. Beautiful canyon and an absolute adrenaline rush! Check out the link below to see the different kinds of jumping styles and have an opportunity to see what it’s all about! I would highly recommend this to anyone looking for something extreme to try!
I jumped solo both times I went and did backwards and gimp boy goes to Hollywood styles.
We also had the chance to eat at Fergburger while in Queenstown. Huge and delicious hamburgers with condiments unique to the Fergburger!
A cold and rainy morning is what we wake up to on the day we were hiking Fox Glacier. What was bound to be an amazing experience didn’t get off to a great start, but once we started hiking it all clicked that I actually had the opportunity to hike a glacier. It’s something incredibly unique and an event I am happy to look back on and know I did.
Today we were able to do some shopping in Hokitika, the jade capital of the world. We were able to pick out some amazing jewelry pieces for our family members and bought pieces from a man who makes his own jewelry. He picks out the jade rocks, polishes them, and then carves them into jewelry pieces and other pieces of artwork. He was even hired by the US Navy to make necklaces for our sailors! Amazing opportunity and unique pieces!
We then made a pit stop in Punakaiki to see the pancake rocks.
Finally we made it to our final stop of the day, just outside of Nelson. We stayed with an amazing family, Wendy and Blue, who gave us a taste of home when we were on the road for so long. We had a great time staying with them and we were incredibly lucky and thankful to have them open their home to us.
Today we got to kayak the Abel Tasman! Beautiful area and fun experience!
See the geological center of New Zealand, just outside of Nelson. Then, drive to Hanmer Springs to stay the night.
Spend some time walking around the quaint town of Hanmer Springs and then back on the road again to Christchurch to return our camper.
We were up early for our last day in the South Island, catching a flight from Christchurch to Auckland. Once we got back to the capital city, we spent the day walking around and taking in the country’s busiest and largest city, but don’t get confused, it’s nothing like New York City. After dropping off our luggage with Ashley, our kiwi friend who lives in Auckland, we all headed out to enjoy the city. After a long last day, we took our last bus back to Hamilton where we finally were able to be home! It was an absolutely incredibly journey and I was fortunate enough to spend those two weeks with a great group of people.
Hello all ! After many technological issues, I have finally established a solid internet connection in mein Wohnungszimmer. I can now blog from the comfort of my single room in Würzburg!
I recently returned from a short weekend trip in Munich. The two hour train ride only mounted our excitement. After spending about a week in a mid-sized German town, it was time for the big leagues. Munich is a city that is about ten times larger than Würzburg, with a population of about 1.4 million proud citizens. Add the almost 5 million visitors YEARLY (most for Oktoberfest), it’s safe to say that this is a very busy, bustling area of industry mixed with old-fashioned buildings and culture. Talk about an interesting combination!
On the first night there, after settling into our Hostel-Hotel — which was far nicer than I imagined it would be — we made our way to the English Gardens, a gigantic park that rivals New York’s Central Park. In the heart of this green labyrinth stands the Chinesischer Turm, which is essentially a gigantic pagoda surrounded by outdoor booths providing people with traditional food and drink. There, I had my first Weissbier, which is what Munich is known for. It was absolutely delicious:) We sat around listening to the music and voices permeating the air, and spent the remainder of the night taking in this environment.
Saturday was filled with much sight-seeing, and in the afternoon, a few of us traveled to Dachau, the infamous city of one of the most well-known concentration camps. The town is only a half hour away from Munich’s main train station. Never having been to any sort of Holocaust memorial before, it was a very sobering experience. Most of the buildings are open to the public and virtually restored to what they resembled during WWII. Each place was filled with testimonials, artifacts, and historical information all surrounding the town and camp. It was definitely worth the trip. Despite the sadness that weighed down on our hearts, it was good to finally recognize and reflect on these events from not so long ago.
We returned on Sunday, exhausted from our travels. Most of that day was spent recovering. But Monday brought a pleasant surprise: all of us felt a new-found sense of direction for this town we temporarily are calling ‘home’. Finding stores on side streets isn’t nearly as difficult, and German conversation occurs much more readily. It’s an exciting development for all of us:)
Today was the closest to home I’ve felt since arriving. During an early-morning tour of the town, our group passed a Nunnery that a sister was unlocking. She overheard bits of our tour and inquired if we wished to come inside. We agreed, and as she was opening the door she asked where we came from. Upon our response, she told us that many of her sisters came from outside of Philadelphia… Huntingdon Valley, to be exact! The exact town I’ve lived in all my life. Sister Teresa and I spoke for a while about it, and it was really a ‘small-world’ experience that I’ve never internationally experienced. I loved every second of it:)
That was much more long-winded than I expected. So I’ll let you all go for now, and I finally found my camera cord, so pictures will be here within the week !
Willkommen nach Würzburg!
Welcome to Wuerzburg! I apologize in advance, if anything is spelled incorrectly. I am sitting in an internet cafe located in the heart of the town, and the keyboards here have quite a few of the letters swapped around (such as the ‘z’ and ‘y’. I think I finally have it down, though).
The reason I did not post is because the internet in my apartment is still not up and running, but this is not a huge issue here. This town is a beautiful place, and I have spent the past couple of days exploring every inch of it with the other three students from LVC. Contact with the outside world seems to be less of a priority here, especially since we’re almost constantly on the move.
We all arrived in Würzburg from Frakford on Monday, fighting jetlag but very excited to be where we were. The first day was spent unpacking in our apartments and becoming aquainted with the nine other students involved in the program. They study at Hillsdale College in Michigan, and are equally excited to be here.
On Monday night, we all had dinner at a place called the Bürgerspital zum Heiligen Geist. Known for the traditional wine and delicious dishes, the Restaurant is almost seven hundred years old! It was an enjoyable night as we began to soak in this new culture.
The next morning marked the beginning of classes, and in order to immerse us into the culture and mindset of the town, the Professors prepared a ‘scavenger hunt’ for us. Basically, we went around using only German to find various landmarks around town, and learned about their historical or social significance. It was very helpful and beautiful. The town has various styles of architecture, and the impressive buildings (many with religious connotations) are a marvel in itself. I’ll post some pictures once my laptop is up and running.
As the days have passed, places are becoming more familiar, and asking for directions isn’t as awkward. I feel as though we are all starting to become more comfortable here.
Tomorrow, we travel by train to Munich. We are all spending the weekend there, right in the center of town. I will probably not blog again until I return, but I’m sure it will be an incredible experience! The city does have 1.4 million citizens, so there should be much to do over there.
We start off the day with taking our first camper showers in preparation to go to Larnach Castle. Being in the campers only a few short days meant that we hadn’t become familiar with how everything worked so as the boys all hopped in and out of the shower quickly, Tori and I had some more difficulties with showering. It takes a lot more time and water for girls to wash their hair properly so since we weren’t sure how much water the camper tank held, we decided to play it safe and use buckets of water that we filled from our water bottles. There was about an inch of water at the bottom of the bucket for us to attempt to soak our hair and put shampoo in it. While we struggled for a quite a while, the boys thought it would be a great idea to laugh, take pictures, and video our unsuccessful hair washing experience. Eventually with some help, we were able to wet our hair enough and then shampooed outside. We then took our showers in freezing cold water because no one could figure out how to use the water heater. By this time, with all the chaos that had just occurred, we were off to a late start with our plan for the day.
Finally, we made it to the castle and took a tour of the outside gardens first. All the gardens surrounding the castle were Alice and Wonderland themed, with the Queen of Heart’s chair in one spot, a statue of Alice in another, and the Cheshire Cat statue in one of the trees. The gardens were cool, filled with many unique plants that I had never seen before. We then headed inside to see the castle and learn more about the Larnach family. The estate was very beautiful and kept in pristine condition, just as though the Larnach family still lived there.
We were then off on a long drive and eventually our campers became separated. My camper got lost after taking a wrong turn and we had to drive 50 kilometers on an unpaved road in order to get back on track. Eventually we were back on the right track and arrived at our destination. Unfortunately, we were supposed to meet the other camper much earlier in the day to see Purakaunui Falls but we only arrived after it became dark. We decided to spend the night here and see the falls in the morning.
Lots of driving and sightseeing today! The best way to share my South Island experience at most places is through pictures because words cannot accurately describe these wonders. We were up early to see Purakaunui Falls.
Next we drove through the Catlins National Park to see McLean Falls
Then we drove to Cathedral Caves, caves that can only be accessed at certain times in the day. When it is high tide the caves are filled with water coming in from the sea, but when it is low tide they are able to be walked through.
We made our way to Curio Bay as our third attempt to see penguins during the South Island trip. After spending two ours in the cold and rain, we finally did! We saw them in the evening as they were returning to their homes on the beach after a long day of hunting. The other camper was there earlier in the morning to see them getting up and going out to hunt. We were able to see the yellow-eyed penguin, the rarest species in the world.
After a long and exciting day, it was time to head out to our last stop for the night in Invercargill in preparation to head towards Milford Sound the next day. We stayed at a holiday park for the night which was absolutely amazing, hot showers, a place to make food, and wash our clothes. After almost a whole week in a camper, there’s nothing that can be better than that.
Our goal for the day was to meet up with the other camper in Te Anua. So after an hour delay due to camper problems, we weren’t off to a very good start. We first made it to Bluff, the southern most point in the South Island.
Quick pit stop there and then another quick stop at Fraser Beach, which in my opinion was one of the most beautiful places in New Zealand.
We made a short stop in Te Anau and got some New Zealand pies (pie crust filled with minced meat and cheese is the most traditional). From here, I was able to drive the camper because Christian had been driving the past days without a break. I learned to drive a manual car before, but hadn’t had practice for a few years so what a great opportunity right? There were just a few technical difficulties in the beginning with adjusting to driving a manual vehicle, a camper, and doing that all on the wrong side of the road. Luckily the rough patches were smoothed over quickly and it was an easy drive after that.
Made a quick stop at the Mirror Lakes.
And then on to Cascade Creek to spend the night.
Unfortunately, we didn’t make it in time to meet up with the other camper, but it was ok because we had a Milford Sound cruise the next morning and we would definitely have to see each other there.
I’ve finally started counting down to single digits: in nine days, I leave my home and travel to Würzburg, Germany! In the last few days I’m home, I hope to spend a bunch of time with family and friends, while figuring out if I have everything I need for the month-long trip.
Having never left the United States before in my life (or even traveled west of Pittsburgh!), I am equally ecstatic and nervous for what is coming. It still hasn’t really hit me that in two weeks from now I’ll be an ocean away from everything known to me. But that makes this even more exciting.
Bye for now,
We start off the day picking up our campers and were luckily upgraded to two six-person campers instead of the two 4-person campers we ordered, and as we all found out later this was a very good thing. We then hit the road and stopped for groceries when we realized that the other camper had some technical difficulties with their bathroom. So after waiting around in the local mall for a few hours, our camper used the wifi for the last time before actually starting our South Island adventure. Finally we heard that the other camper was fixed and so we set out to all meet up in the small town of Timaru. We then travelled around looking for a camp site or a holiday park to stay at and finally found a holiday park, however the prices were really expensive so we decided that we would just find a place on the side of the road to spend the night. After a while of driving around trying to find a spot where we could fit two campers, we found a spot close to one holiday park and figured we would just ignore the small no camping sign. Driving through the night in towns that you don’t know also makes everywhere seem scarier so we fell asleep believing we were in a “shady” area just outside of the town of Moeraki.
When we got up the next day and walked outside, we realized there was no need to worry the night before. We woke up next to a few houses right next to the beach. After taking in a nice morning view, we were off in search of a lighthouse that had penguin and seal viewing areas. We successfully found the lighthouse after a long drive with the campers on a gravel road, a very bumpy ride. After taking some pictures of the view near the lighthouse we made our first attempt at seeing penguins. Unfortunately, we were too late to see the penguins go out into the water and way too early to see them coming back in for the night so our first attempt at penguin viewing was unsuccessful. However, once we make a walk down to the seal viewing area we were not disappointed. There were seals everywhere! Many were out sunbathing when we saw them so they were just laying out on the rocks and some of the younger seals were playing in the little pools of water that were made in the rocks from the incoming tide. Once we had our fun taking tons of pictures of the seals, we packed up in the campers and headed to the Moeraki boulders. These are just huge boulders that are on the one beach so it’s a pretty incredible sight to see, but my most favorite parts of being at the boulders was seeing dolphins in the ocean. They were coming in and out with the tide so we were able to see them riding in with the waves and jumping in and out of the water, pretty special to see because dolphins typically aren’t that close to shore. After a while, we were on the road again and heading for Dunedin. Only a few hours on the road and we arrived in search of Baldwin street, the steepest street in the world. Everyone ran or walked up the street which is quite the accomplishment and then headed back down to the campers so we could head into the town a bit more. Dunedin is a beautiful city and is full of amazing architecture; it’s difficult to correctly describe the buildings in words so enjoy the pictures below!
After a relaxing evening enjoying the beautiful city of Dunedin, we made our way just outside of the city to Sand Fly Bay where we stayed the night in preparation to visit the Larnach Castle in the morning.