Wednesday, May 12, 2010

May 8th, 2010 - Saturday

Blog to be done by Erin Drwyer

Monday, May 10, 2010

Day 90.

I will always love you, Vienna. And I will always love all of you guys for making the trip everything it was.


Friday, May 7, 2010

May 7, 2010 Amusement Park!

Today was a very fun filled day in the great city of Vienna, as well as our last class of the semester! All of us awoke today this morning to take our last final, for Math and Politics. I was a little nervous going into the final because we have had so much information to study. It was relief when I got the test because I looked it over and it actually was not too bad! Hopefully Professor Carl will give me a nice A+ on this final.

After the final we ate lunch, and all of us planned on going to the local amusement park on the subway stop Praterstern, which is only four to five stops away from our dorm. It is not like typical amusement parks as we know from back home in America, because you are able to walk in and just pay for rides, more like a carnival scene, but the park is always there. The weather was kind to us until a few rides in when it started to downpour for about a good twenty minutes.

Before it rained we got to try out bumper cars first for two Euros, and it was a blast. We all had huge smiles on our faces the whole time. The next ride was a crazy one that flipped upside down, had techno music, and went extremely fast. A few of the girls tried it out, and it actually was an intense ride that lasted a good five minutes. At one point Ally and Steph lost change out of their pockets because the ride spins you upside down for a long period of time. After that ride we all went to this ride that is 117 meters high in the air, and you sit on swings while it constantly spins you in a circle! This ride was 5 Euros and was worth every penny. Once we started going up a 1/4 of the way we realized how high we were going to be in the air! It spins you around at a pretty decent speed, and once you reach the top you can see the whole city of Vienna. This ride was such a thrill and I loved every minute of it, and everyone else said this was their favorite ride. After researching about this ride Matt found out that this is the highest flying carousel in the world! None of us had any idea before we rode it, and it is awesome to find out about this. Its construction had only recently been completed at the end of April.

Here is a link about the ride if anyone wants to take a look at it: 23/22755/World%27s_highest_flying_carousel_set_up_in_Vienna

Overall, it was quite the fun-filled day!

May 6th, 2010 - Thursday

This is my last blog of the trip, and I realize that this is the end. This is the last time I will get to write about my feelings and experiences of my time in Vienna. I have gotten to know many of the people here, good and bad. I have experienced a lot of things that will impact my life forever. I have gotten to know the 16 people that we are here with, the good and bad characteristics of their personalities. This has been one of the most influential and most memorable experiences of my life.

I have come to realize that the people that mean the most in my life are the ones who have given me the resources to be here. I will miss the days when I could go to any country that I please and do anything I please. This is an unusual part of my life where I have realized the best in myself and what I do best. I have learned a lot that I will take to heart. I have loved every minute I have spent in Vienna and wouldn't take it back for the world. Even days where I felt homesick, I realized I will have the opportunity to be home whenever I want.

I am in Europe for one time in my life, and I'm going to make the best of it. I have done everything I have ever wanted and made memories that I will be able to tell my kids and that they will be able to tell their kids. I have seen and had the adventure of a lifetime. I recommend this program to everyone and tell them to take the chance to be able to experience the adventure and worries of everything studying abroad has to offer. I have loved the time I have spent here and couldn't imagine not taking this offer. Thank you Franklin pierce for giving me the time of my life.

Samantha Cooper

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

May 5th, 2010 - Wednesday


I am so sad that this is my last blog, as this means the trip has come to an end. Words can't even explain the time I have had here and the things I have learned. I am so beyond fortunate to have been able to have this experience. Vienna is a great city that I will miss dearly! Never in a million years would I have guessed I would have the opportunity to live in Europe and go to school for three months. It is all still so mind boggling!!

I am leaving here, but I have gained so much. Not only life lessons, but I have learned so much about myself and what I can accomplish. I left America with 15 strangers by my side, and I am coming home with 15 close friends. Each person here has brought something different to our group. Erin brought all types of humor to the group. You never know what she will do or say or sing, hahaha. And I love her for it! Then we have Matt: he is the peace maker, a charmer and just a good guy. He always has a smile on his face and likes everyone for who they are. He is a talented musician who plays his guitar 24/7, and, to be honest, I loved listening to him play all the time. Sometimes I would keep my door open in the morning just to hear him play on his guitar. Matt is a very dependable person, and I will hopefully be keeping in touch with him. Then we have Bobby: Bobby is someone who likes to be in charge all the time. I love Bobby like a brother but we definitely have a lot of different views and opinions, which isn’t a bad thing because it made me learn how to deal with people different from me. Overall, though, Bobby is a good person, and I will miss hearing him and Erin fight.

Next is Murielle. Murielle is the oldest one, the senior, the math major. She is the quiet one and an observer. She is a very good person who just likes to watch the people around her, and I could only imagine how many good laughs she has gotten from our group. She never ceases to surprise me with the things she says and how she will just break out singing and dancing. I am going to miss seeing her in the early morning smiling and singing. Good luck Murielle in the real world!! Then there is Ryan. Ryan is kind of quiet, too, but just likes to have a good time--a good guy that I wish I had gotten to know better.

Then we have Mae and Cristina--I put them together because they are always by each others' sides, no matter what. Cristina is funny and loves to just go out and experience new things. Mae is the quieter one of the two, but in no way is she shy. Mae is a beautiful girl who also likes to have a good time. They won't let anyone bring them down from having a good time, which I admire. Even though at the beginning things might not have started out so well with them, I love them so much and am so happy to have met them.

Another pair that just makes me laugh thinking about them is Mike and Kunj. These two together are characters! Mike is the calmer one of the two and will always be there for you, no matter what. Then we have Kunj (kunjybear); he is the crazy one. You never know what he is going to do or say, but you know whatever it is it's going to be hilarious. Living with these two has given me so many stories to tell people. Being around them was never a dull moment, and I am truly going to miss them! I have to say thank you to them as well. They made me realize that its ok to kick back and do whatever, since we are only young once!

Then there is Sam Cooper, another person whom I wasn’t really close with or really talked to all that much. She is the tough one, the one who doesn’t take crap from anyone. I just started to really get to know her as the trip was coming to an end, but I will say she is a good person. I learned that she is someone who is there for her friends 100%, which I like about her. I know I'll be seeing her around next year.

Then we have my favorite twins in the whole wide world, Chrissy and Ally. I can't even begin to explain how much these two make me laugh. Even though they are twins they are so very, very different. Chrissy is the crazy one; the things that come out of her mouth are ridiculous sometimes, but she never keeps me from laughing. She can make the best facial expressions, too. Ally is a little quieter and not as wild, but also can make me laugh so hard. One of my favorite things about Ally is that she will say something that she thinks is funny and then laugh at herself. Put these two together and just watch them interact, and it’s a brilliant comedy. My favorite memory is watching these two have a fight, a loving sister fight. As they are yelling at each other they are laughing at the same time but just kept repeating how mad they really are. Then watching Ally tear through Chrissy’s closet and take clothes back is even funnier. I would have to say I have become the closest with these two and am excited to spend the summer with them. (They live only 10 minutes from me.)

Then there is the lovely Christina Gallo. She is honestly the nicest person you could ever meet and always has a smile on her face. Christina is someone that I love to be around because of all her positive energy. Christina is another one here that I have become extremely close to and will be staying friends with once we return to America. And then we have Kate. Kate is someone that you can trust and know that she always has your back. She is the one I consider the most dependable of the group and will defend any of us no matter if we are in the wrong or not. Kate makes me laugh with things that she says or comes up with. I love going out places with her because she makes me feel safe. I have always had trust issues with people, but I have to say that Katie has made me gain back trust for people. I will miss her dearly but know she won't let me off the hook that easily, hahaha. She has already told me that, because she won't be able to annoy me first thing in the morning when I am all crabby and hating life over the summer, she will be sending me texts saying “good morning sunshine” when she goes to work...can't wait for that.

Last but not least is Sam Bizon. I was fortunate enough to share this experience with my best friend. I have known Sam since freshman year when we were roommates, and we have been best friends ever since. Sam brought calmness to the group and nutrition, hahaha. She always has that “can do” attitude and is friends with everyone. I love her to death and being here has made our friendship even stronger. Overall, we have become one big, giant dysfunctional family, but I wouldn’t pick anyone else to share this experience with. I will truly miss every single one of these people. I love you all and I can't wait for us to share stories with everyone.

I would also like to thank Carl and Michele so much! You two should truly get some award for putting up with all 16 of us! Thank you Carl for everything, and I am so glad that you were the professor that I got to come on this trip with. Even if your jokes really aren’t that funny. Thanks Michele for all the hard work you put into everything. We never would have had such a good experience like this with out you. You two will truly be a part of all our lives now and forever, because we will all remember this trip and will be talking about what an awesome professor we had and how much his wife did for us.

I also need to thank my parents. Without them none of this would have ever been possible. I am truly lucky and so fortunate to have parents like mine.

To anyone who Is looking into studying abroad: don’t overanalyze, just DO IT! It is the best experience of your life. Yes it is scary at first, but believe me its worth the homesickness that you might feel at first, and it's defiantly worth missing a few FPU parties! JUST DO IT AND DON’T THINK TWICE ABOUT IT.

Well its cinco de mayo, so we are celebrating it by going to eat some of Vienna's Mexican food. Hope you all enjoyed reading our blogs. Here we come, AMERICA.

Stephanie Gilbert

May 4th, 2010 - Tuesday

If I were to begin to share everything that has happened to me and the people in this abroad program, I could probably write a book. This has been the best, dirtiest, most liberating experience of my life. I have had some of the funniest moments of my life here. I have met the strangest people and done some things that I will probably only tell a few people in my lifetime. I hope that everyone who hasn’t had the opportunity to go abroad does it, and does everything that is thrown at them.

I'm left with a sense of accomplishment and can't wait to move onto the next chapter in life.

I want to thank my parents for giving me a bigger piece of the world that I ever thought I’d see or experience. And I want to thank Stella, Carl and Michele for all of the hard work and effort that it took to work with us. It’s been the adventure of my life! I will never go a day without thinking about something that has happened here.

I also want to say that I was lucky to be with a great group of peers. I am so happy to have met all of you and cannot wait to spend my last year at Pierce with you all.


Mae McGlone

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

May 3rd, 2010 - Monday

Our time here in Vienna is slowly coming to a close. Slowly, I notice people packing and tossing out clothes that have been worn to their last thread. Everyone is either crashing, finding they want to spend their last days here in Vienna focusing on end of the semester work, while others are out and about not wanting to waste a second of the time left here in Europe. It is sad to think that in only a week our time here in Vienna will be a memory that we can only talk about, look back through pictures and journal entries written. We have all experienced a truly once in a life time opportunity, we have formed friendships and memories stronger in the three months in Vienna than we have with friends from home and school.

Cristina Tyris

May 2nd, 2010 - Sunday

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.

Katie Dougherty

It's my party, and I'll cry if I want to

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.

Bobby Greggerson

Saturday, May 1, 2010

April 30th, 2010 - Friday

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.

Ally Billingsley

Friday, April 30, 2010

April 29th, 2010 - Thursday

April 29th was a great day: it was my birthday. Today we woke up 9:30 for math and politics class with Carl, and then I took nap. Then all the BROS went to the park for the day. First we just laid around and got our tan on, which was nice and relaxing. After an hour or so of relaxing, we decided to play Frisbee, which was a blast. But every now and then someone would over-throw it, and it almost hit a couple people, and they were not too happy.

When we left the park we stopped for a couple of birthday drinks, which was great because we got to sit outside in the sun and just chill. For dinner we went out to the Mexican restaurant and sat outside and enjoyed a delicious meal with our macho, which is a specialty drink they have there. Later that night a group of us went out into the city for a couple hours. We had to return early to be prepared for our Vienna Across the Ages final at 9am. Overall, I was really happy that I got to celebrate my 20th birthday in Vienna with all my great friends.

Kunj Shah

Thursday, April 29, 2010

April 28th, 2010 - Wednesday

monument tour and Imperial Crypt.

blog to be done by Christina Gallo

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

April 27th, 2010 - Tuesday

Belvedere tour

by Ryan Stipetic

Monday, April 26, 2010

Monday, April 26

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.

April 25th, 2010 - Sunday

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

Saturday in Vienna.

April 23rd, 2010 - Friday

Friday was our first full day in Paris. Ally, Katie, Christina, and I had already set out a game plan of what we would be doing the night before. We all woke up pretty early to shower and get ready for the day. As we left our hotel and headed for the Eiffel Tower, we were drawn into Sephora, and ended up getting our make-up done and buying more than we should have.

After getting all done up we continued towards the Eiffel Tower. As we approached it we were all in shock by its size. It truly is so beautiful to see, and it didn't hurt that that weather was beautiful that day, either. After finally reaching our destination we took many pictures and then got in line to head to the top. We got there early enough that the lines were moving pretty quickly, which was awesome. The first elevator brought us to the second level of the tower. When we got out it was so windy and cold, but the views were incredible! We did a little shopping and then got in line to head to the top. The elevator ride was a little scarier than the previous one, but still very exciting.

We got the the top and it was much warmer than the second floor. This part was in closed with windows all around, and there was even a champagne bar. After looking at the views again we realized there was a stair case to take you to the very top, so of course we climbed. Being on the very top of the Eiffel Tower was so surreal and so hard to explain--I do not think I could describe the feelings we had. It was something that I will never forget and one of the coolest things I have ever done. Then we started our descent. Seeing the tower from the bottom make you appreciate how high it really is.

After leaving the tower we made a quick stop at our hotel to drop off our bags, and headed towards the Arch de Triumph. Another amazing building in Paris. Much like we did at the Eiffel Tower, we just stared in amazement. We hung out there for a good chunk of time and then headed out to dinner. My Friday in Paris made me fall in love with the city and all it has to offer.

by Chrissy Billingsley

Friday, April 23, 2010

April 22nd, 2010 - Thursday

blog to be done by Errin Dwyer

Thursday, April 22, 2010

April 21st, 2010 - Wednesday

April 21st was a beautiful day, and Professor Kroll took us around Vienna to see two important churches: St. Stephens and St. Charles. Roughly every other Wednesday our Professor takes us around the city to talk and show significant monuments, buildings, sculptures, etc.

To start off the sightseeing we all hopped on the subway to Stephensplatz to see St. Stephen's Cathedral, a Gothic church that dates back to the 12th century. The cathedral is amazing to see in person, and I encourage anyone who ever travels to Vienna to make this a must-see on your list. Professor Kroll talked to us outside of the church for a while about the construction and how the city has to replace blocks from the Cathedral, which is the reason why it looks black in some areas and white in others. After being outside for awhile, we gathered inside the Cathedral and were given a tour of the inner part of the church. In order to go into some sectioned-off areas of the inside part you need to pay a few Euros.
After seeing St.Stephan's and learning about the history, we traveled to Karlsplatz to see St. Charles, a Baroque-style church. We did the same approach as St. Stephan's, first gathering in front of the building to learn about the structure and history, then touring the inside. This church is brighter, and has two victory poles on either side of it, with a green dome sphere on the top. Once we got inside we found out that Vienna has been spending 10 years remodeling it and has spent a large amount of money in this effort. Another thing that was interesting was that the bottom moulding is pure marble, but the other parts of it are fake, called French "stucko". The stucko feels nothing like marble, but does look similar from a distance. After learning about that we were able to go up to the top of the dome because of the construction taking place. This has never been allowed, because the elevator is new so most people will not be able to do this in the future once it is taken away when the restoration is complete. It was amazing, but scary, to be at the top, and you were able to see the whole city! Overall it was a great experience, with Professor Kröll providing a wealth of information.

Michael Niesen

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

April 20th, 2010 - Tuesday

Instead of relating this day's events, I thought I would share my unique experiences from later in the week:

Before even coming to Austria I had always wanted to go to Ireland and Switzerland. I had saved the place I wanted to go the most for my last big trip during my time here in Europe. Switzerland’s amazing scenery has always left me wanting to take a trip there. I asked anyone if they had wanted to go, and no one was interested. Finally Erin said she wanted to go with me, and our planning began. We had a lot of the same interests and thoughts on what we wanted to do while we were there. I had bigger plans of crossing out some things on my list of things to do before I died.

We got on a train without directions to our hostel and realized it when we got to the train station. Not really caring or letting our carelessness bring our mood down, we got on a late night train and waited for morning to see out the windows. Drifting in and out of sleep, I finally saw daylight and looked out the window. I was awe-struck. Speechless, I kicked Erin to wake her up and pointed out to the snow-capped mountains and bright blue lakes. We got off the train and picked a bus that was going to the same town as our hostel and hopped on. The roads were narrow and on the side of a steep mountain. We sat, not knowing where to get off or how to get to our hostel, but we didn’t have a care; we knew we would get there.

Arriving in Iseltwald, a small town with farms and fields of animals, we immediately fell in love with it. We found our way to our hostel, a lodge on a lake with a view of the Alps, and checked in. My eyes were drawn to the signs for paragliding, hang gliding, bungee jumping, and other activities. I asked about them, and we were soon signed up to go paragliding and canyon jumping directly after. To kill time before being picked up to go hang gliding we went on a hike that had the most gorgeous views. Erin was nervous but willing to do anything I was up to doing.

We were picked up in a van and brought to our jumping point. We were 3,000 feet above ground and had our lives in our crazy Swiss adrenaline junkie flyers' hands. Erin was first to run off the side of the mountain. The wind picked her up and brought her higher and higher. I was excited to go next and soon ran off the cliff as well. The wind picked me up, and I soared higher and higher into the sky. The houses looked like tiny dots, and the view of the Alps was stunning. Feeling brave I let my guide do some tricks in the air called roller coasters….. after almost throwing up with a smile, we began to land. The lake was bright blue from melting glacier water, and I couldn’t have felt more peaceful flying high above the ground with someone I had just met.

After my time in the sky we landed safe and sound on the ground and thanked our two new flying friends. We said our good byes and waited to be picked up again to go canyon jumping. I couldn’t believe I was just 3,000 feet above this ground and saw the picturesque scenery of Switzerland that I had always dreamed of seeing.

Next on our list was to do a type of bungee jumping called canyon jumping. On our van ride up to the cliff we would be jumping off of, we met more friends. We began talking with two guys that had just graduated from Ohio State. We shared stories of our past travels around Europe and enjoyed our time together. After the short walk to the cliff we signed our lives away in case something went wrong; I was picked out of the group to read the waiver to everyone. I hide my nervousness under my excitement. After volunteering to go first, I felt like it was too late to say, "hold on I need a few minutes before jumping over 150 feet attached to a rope." The guy that strapped me in could tell I was nervous and counted, 3..2..1. Without any hesitation I was already running to the edge before he finished saying two. After free falling for over a hundred feet (only 4 seconds, but the longest four seconds of my life) the rope finally caught and I felt my weight catch. Then the swing pulled me over a fast moving creek with jagged rocks sticking out of it. I swung for almost a minute between two canyons. I couldn’t have been happier. The sheer thrill and excitement made me want to do it all over again. After everyone had gone, the inventor of canyon jumping (the harness and idea) decided to jump with our group. Watching him do a front flip off the edge really impressed me. That guy was fearless.

Our trip didn’t end there. We spent the rest of our time out in the sun, soaking in the magnificent sights, souvenir shopping, and thinking: where can we go next? We decided we would do one last trip on our way back to Vienna. We decided on a destination to Paris. Arriving at the train station and saying we wanted to go to Paris, we were laughed at. The lady at the train station told us that everything was booked because of the volcano eruption that had happened. This was the first time our light-hearted travels had been affected. After a general consensus of ending our trip we decided to head home. She laughed at us again and told us it wasn’t possible to go to Vienna. I stood dumbstruck in front of her. After a long talk of declined possibilities we decided to go to Salzburg for the day before we went back to Vienna.

This trip was so unplanned and carefree that I loved every minute of it. We had ideas of what we wanted to see and where we should go, but nothing compares to doing something crazy and last minute. This trip that lasted only a weekend was a dream come true for me. I would not change any minute of this trip, and I know this was the perfect ending to the perfect trip of a lifetime.

Samantha Cooper

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

April 19th, 2010 - Monday

blog to be done by Stephanie Gilbert

Monday, April 19, 2010

April 18th, 2010 - Sunday

Today was a nice, spring day. I woke up early and spent the morning watching my new favorite TV show "Glee." It's very clever and funny. It makes me think about high school a lot. I can't believe I am going to be graduating in one year. Four years... and so much has happened. I feel like my life is catapulting by, and studying abroad has really put a lot of things into motion. While I watched Glee, I sent out some emails. Looking for an internship is hard when all you can do is contact people online.

After lunch I went into town with Ally, Chrissy, Christina, Steph, Sam, Kunj and Mike. We explored around and got a lot of dried fruit. I know the girls bought some jewelery, but I had to try my hardest just to look and save some money. Jewelry is a major weakness for me. Kunj, Mike and I got hungry--so we took off for kebabs and falafel wraps. The hummus had just been made... it was so good. I am definitely going to miss the food around here. I mean, I miss American food... but here everything is just a little tastier. After we sat and ate, we went grocery shopping and then just walked around and enjoyed the spring-time. It's gorgeous right now in Vienna.

The tulips are all blooming--it's making me wish I had been able to go back to Amsterdam and Holland. I bet the tulips there right now are incredible.

Photos by Michele

We also went to the Symphony at night! They played one of mine and my roommates favorite classical songs: Carmina Burana. I was so excited to hear it live. I was also amazed at the young boy choir. They sounded so wonderful, and powerful. And they were all such tiny people! I liked having the opportunity to get dressed-up too. I won't lie, I love an excuse to put on a pair of good high heels. I haven't had too many chances of wearing my favorite pair, and I got to last night.

All in all, the day and night were nice. Exactly what I would call a overall nicely blended day of relaxation and excitement. 20 more days until we go home... I can't wait to hug my mom, dad, sister and two dogs. Oh, and definitely anticipating my first Dunkin run... coupled with a good bag of cheetos and/or goldfish.

by Mae McGlone

Sunday, April 18, 2010

April 17th, 2010 - Saturday

Today was one of my favorite days as a group so far. We decided to take a break form the organized tours and venture to the Berlin Zoo/Aquarium. The Berlin Zoo is known throughout the world for the variety of animals that live there. The Zoo did not look like any other Zoo I had been to in the United States; there were no obvious cages holding the animals into a closed area. Instead there was a surrounding moat that gave the animal more of a feel that they were in their own habitat instead of caged in a zoo. We stuck around for feeding time and got to witness lions, tigers, and a panda feast on their late lunch. It was a breath of fresh air to do something in Berlin that wasn't a structured tour or museum, but instead something that those living in Berlin do on weekends. I look forward to the rest of our weeks of traveling to Prague, Paris, Rome, Venice, and eventually back to Vienna. This backpacking excursion has been an eyeopening experience and to think this is only the beginning.

Cristina Tyris

Saturday, April 17, 2010

April 16th, 2010 - Friday

Blog to be done by Katie Dougherty

Friday, April 16, 2010

April 15th, 2010 - Thursday

Today, Thursday the 15th of April, was a great day of exploration and experience. It started off with our regular classes, and afterwards Matthew, Michael, Kunj and I took to the streets of Wien. Our first stop, the post office. While at the post office, we encountered one of the most peculiar scenarios. While exiting the post office, we saw a Gypsy woman walking quickly with a plastic bag in one had, and some other odds and ends in the other. As she approached the entrance to the post office, she locked eyes with us, and preceded to reach into the plastic bag and pull out a small caliber semi-automatic pistol. She quickly placed it down right up against the post office wall, with the assistance of the sidewalk. Leaving quickly, she walked a few hundred feet before she abandoned the plastic bag of who knows what. It was something you don't see everyday here in Vienna. In fact, it is very rare to ever see something happen that's irregular in Vienna.

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.

Smeg Bobberson

Thursday, April 15, 2010

April 14th, 2010 - Wednesday

Today started off like a normal day in Wein: it was still raining like it has been the past few days. Today we had our first Math and Politics exam, and for me it was my first one of the semester. I guess it had to happen at some point. So instead of class we just took the exam. It was not as hard as I anticipated it to be, which was a pleasant surprise. After the exam everyone retreated back to their rooms for a brief, rainy-day nap or to watch a movie, but that didn’t last for long. Before we knew it, it was time for lunch; but lucky for us it was Wednesday candy bar day!

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

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

April 13th, 2010 - Tuesday

Today was April 13th, and it is the official end to our spring break. I have really enjoyed traveling around; however, it is nice to be back in Vienna. We really didn’t do much today, we all got back and are really tired. So, most of us spent our day in bed catching on sleep. Mike and I just returned from Paris, a sixteen hour train ride back. We took a night train, and it was not so good. We had beds, but I found it too, too small.

Kunj Shah

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

April 12th, 2010 - Monday

blog to be posted by Christina Gallo

April 11th, 2010 - Sunday

Today is the end of spring break and all the traveling we did over the past 2 weeks.

It is a travel day for everyone to meet back in Vienna. I had to check out of my hostel by 10:30, so I decided I would catch the 10:00 train back to Vienna. The full train ride plus layover was about 13 hours. I first took the train from Amsterdam to Frankfurt. I was only there an hour, so I didn’t really get to see any of the city--from other people that went there is wasn’t much to go see any ways.

After that I had the long straight shot back to Vienna. I slept for most of it because the train wasn’t very crowded, so I just took up the 2 seats and lounged out. Besides sleeping I read my history of math book for our report. The book is on the mathematician Euler, and it contains a lot of formulas. Some of the stuff I can’t follow, because it is more advanced calculus than I have ever done, but I am still able to get through most of the book.

I finally arrived back in Vienna at 11 at night. When I finally go back to the school I went straight into my room and crashed on the bed because I was so tired from the past weeks of traveling.

Ryan Stipetic