Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Monday, May 10, 2010
Friday, May 7, 2010
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
Today I went to Salzburg. It is one of the places that was on my top 10 places to go while I was over here. I’m so happy that I made the decision to hop the train in the early morning to see such a beautiful place. When I was younger, I had watched the “Sound of Music” and had heard that the tour was really neat to go on. So, I figured that I am only in Salzburg once, even though I wish and hope to be again, and I should just take the tour, so I did.
I had a bit of time before the tour started, so I could explore a little bit of the other parts of town. On my way to the bus stop, I went into the Mirabell Gardens. An orchestra was warming up for a show later that day, and it was really cool to hear traditional Austrian music while walking around looking at all the beautiful flowers and fountains. The bus tour was great. They took us to a bunch of different scenes from the movie, including the two places used for the front and back of the Von-Trapp residence, the gazebo and the wedding church in Mondsee. “One of my favorite things” about the whole day was going into the Lake Regions where some of the scenes from the beginning of the film were set. I grabbed a quick sandwich for our lunch stop and was able to sit on a mountain overlooking one of the lakes.
After the bus tour ended It started to thunderstorm. I walked in it for a little while trying to take in as much of the city as I could before I had to catch the next train back to Vienna. Riding on the 3 hour train ride in soaking wet jeans and shoes was not too much fun, but definitely well worth the wonderful day that I had.
Today was my birthday. It was a great day, all the way through. I woke up around 10 am and made french toast. It was great to sit in the room and enjoy a delicious breakfast at my window side, sun gleaming and birds chirping. Spring is in full bloom here.
After enjoying my breakfast, I took a quick shower and then worked on my History of Math paper. At around 3 pm Matthew and I went to Stadt Park [City Park] to throw the frisbee and enjoy the weather. We lounged for an hour or so, and then it began to rain. I had my camera with me, and Matt brought his guitar, so we met our French friends at a classic Viennese cafe for drinks. As a group of eight, or "acht" in German, we enjoyed cold beers, coffees, and desserts. It's really an experience to be around others who can speak upwards of four other languages. They all speak English, French, and German fluently, and some even speak one or two others.
Later that night we went to a social gathering at a city friend's house. It was great to meet new people, and make awesome memories with the people I've gotten close to here.
Today was such a great day, and it really makes me look back at how great of an experience I've had these past three months. The group as a whole has gone through a lot together, and we have had a great time sharing the experience with each other. As the semester wraps up, I wonder if I'll ever see any of the European friends I've made here again. This has been a true once-in-a-lifetime experience that I was fortunate enough to be a part of, so I'm just grateful for the time spent here. I look forward to returning home to my friends and family May 10th. It's been nice talkin' to ya.
Saturday, May 1, 2010
Friday April 30th
So this being my last blog I decided it would be a good chance to reflect on my time in Europe. Coming into this trip I would have never imagined all of the things I would see, the places I would go, but most importantly the bonds I would make with the people I came with. The past three months were not always easy, of course: people missed home, friends, and family, and people got on each other’s nerves here. But it always worked itself out. Looking back on all of the trips we took, it seems like Greece was years and years ago. I would have to say, though, that Greece was my favorite group trip. Everything about the trip was amazing, and everything about Greece was breath-taking! The sights, sounds, and it didn’t hurt that in February it was about 75 there(: As the trip went on travel became a large part of our everyday life. It was all about class and then travel--no down time--just see everything; it was amazing.
Places that I had never even heard of like Bratislava or places I never thought I would be to like the Eiffel Tower, everything was like magic. Sometimes the trips didn’t seem real: did we actually just spend 3 week exploring Europe?! Going to Poland, Prague, Berlin and Ireland, it almost seemed too good to be true. Sometimes it was hard being with the same 16 people all day every day, but I wouldn’t have changed anything about it except the long train rides.
As our trip is coming to an end, all I can think about is how lucky I am to have had this experience. I mean, some people live their entire lives and never see anything of what I have seen in these few, short months. I am a very lucky girl. So now it’s time to try and pack up 3 months worth of memories, gifts, and clothes, and back home I go.
Friday, April 30, 2010
Thursday, April 29, 2010
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Monday, April 26, 2010
In exactly 14 days, our trip will officially be coming to an end as we fly over the ocean towards Logan airport, back to Boston. Our last remaining weeks will contain so many emotions, and though it all seems we are ready to head back, there will be hesitation to leave this place that has become so close and familiar to us. This week is the birthday week. Three birthdays to be exact, so it is a time of celebration. Happy birthday to Steph, Kunj, and Bobby. Next week will be the, "oh dang, do I really have to pack all this up again" week. I wouldn't trade this experience for the world. And as for the world, well, I want to see more of it now that I have gone on this trip. I have made this place my home with a group of people so dysfunctional and so amazing, they are nothing less than family to me now. Fortunately, there are two weeks still left so I must make the most of it. This will include: ice-cream pizza (yes you heard right), Budapest, a boat tour of this beautiful city we live in, and for me personally, many more trips to my favorite place here, the Belvedere.
Thank you Vienna for opening my eyes, and thank you everyone for keeping my eyes open.
Since this blog entry is my last one, I thought it’d be nice if I dedicated it to my reflections on my experiences abroad. I have to say that it took me a little bit longer to love Vienna as compared to the other places I’ve been to in Europe. I think part of that is due to the fact that I had to view it as a place I would be living in for the next three months. The first time I got out in the city, I questioned a lot whether I would love here and be comfortable, instead of just seeing it for what it is. Now I love it!! I don’t feel like going back yet.
When I signed up for this program, my expectations were that I would turn out to be less scared of being in new situations, and that I would deal better with the change that occurs with them. I’m just a very, very cautious person (like Bobby once said to me), and I rarely engage in something when I’m not sure of the outcome. If I manage to imagine what it would be like, what I do next is that I keep breaking it apart to find where I would fail. That alone made me feel that I would not be able to handle it. Then since, I only count on myself to clean my mess, I just end up not doing it when I feel it might be too much. During this trip, I have not only come to the recognition that this is what I do, but I think I’m now a little bit less like that. I’m more willing to experience something new without having the development contained in my mind. I feel like I trust myself to be able to handle whatever comes my way a little bit more.
In summary, regarding self-discovery, this trip opened my eyes to not only things I need to improve about myself, but also to qualities that I already have within me. The past few years I neglected thinking about what my strengths are because I would always be focused on my imperfections and self-improvement. It is with this recognition that I think I’ve come to trust myself with myself a little bit more.
Although I want to relate every detail of this trip that contributed to my inner self, I know it would be impossible to do that. I could try to relate my awe moments, but there are so many. All I can do is just say that there were and that my pictures cannot even translate everything I’ve experienced in that moment. I enjoyed and loved most of the places I’ve been to. I now have a long list of things to look into by what I’ve been able to see. I could go on forever, so why not stop here. Big thanks to my family, bisous!!!
Sunday, April 25, 2010
Friday, April 23, 2010
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Sunday, April 18, 2010
Saturday, April 17, 2010
Friday, April 16, 2010
After being fortunate enough to travel to nine different European cities, you begin to get an understanding for the cultural diversity that Europe really has. I would say that Vienna has been by far the safest, cleanest city we saw while we were here; so I am grateful that we spent the majority of our time here in beautiful Austria.
After our run-in with the Gypsy, we went to our favorite gelato place for [who would have guessed it] Gelato! We enjoyed the nice weather outside, and returned to the Theresianum by 4 pm. We lounged until dinner at 6, and then finished our homework by 9. Our average Thursday night here consists of bargain beers and wine, accompanied by great friends and experiences. We have thoroughly enjoyed our trip to Europe, and we will definitely bring back great memories and friendship. It has been just over two months here, and we look forward to our last twenty five days here.
Thursday, April 15, 2010
After lunch we all started to get ready to head out for our tour of Schönbrunn. As we were walking up to the building all I could think about was how beautiful it was and massive! As the tour started we were taken though so many beautiful rooms and told that anything gold was really 24k gold. The rooms were breathtaking! Every room was so different, yet they all had some common themes. Many of the rooms had a wood and gold color scheme. But my favorite room of them all was Maria Theresia's private room. It had a blue and porcelain theme with over 200 drawings done by friends and family. It was so beautiful! On the tour we also learned so cool facts like Maria Theresia loved to gamble and always won! There was even a room strictly for gambling.
I would have to say Schönbrunn has been my favorite place that we have visited in Wein so far--everything about it was beautiful. Unfortunately, because it was so rainy, we did not get to go outside and see the breathtaking gardens. But everyone agreed that we would go back on a nicer day; we even found out there is a zoo there, too. So in the near future we will be returning!
After we got back to school it was dinner time. Everyone ran back upstairs to take their rainy, wet clothes off and then back down to get some food. After dinner we all hung out and played cards. It was a very low key night, but a nice one too.
by Ally Billingsley