Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Traveling Tuesdays

Today: Today we woke up extra early for traveling. We woke up in our comfy beds of The Eden Hotel, eager for a long day of traveling ahead. I'm lying, I don't think anyone was eager to be up at 5:15AM, but it had to be done; so Matthew and I did our best to put on some happy [but tired] traveling faces. We were all aboard the shuttle ready to depart for the train station at around 6:20. By 6:45, we were all avidly awaiting our 7:24 train planned to embark for Berlin. We were all very excited to see what Berlin has to offer.

The train ride to Berlin was pretty uneventful. It took just over ten hours, and everyone was pretty stoked to finally put their feet on some solid ground. The whole group sat together, so it was a great bonding experience for everyone. We all suffered the intense heat of our train, complaining back and forth in order to relieve some of the "cabin fever".

The day before, Matthew and I were fortunate enough to find a nice little Bagel Shop/Cafe a stone's throw away from our hotel. It was moderately priced, and the food was delicious. It turns out the owner of the shop actually was from the United States. He was born in Illinois, and moved to New York City in his teenage years. Ten years ago he moved to Krakow, Poland, where he opened his own bagel shop. It was great to talk with a fellow American! Anyways, anticipating the ten hour train ride today, Matthew and I made the educated decision to get Chicken Tortilla wraps to eat for lunch. I anxiously waited for the mutually agreed time, 11:30, to break out the homemade wraps and feast. Matthew and I were both silent while we indulged in our fresh lunch. The wrap consisted of tender breaded chicken, mozzarella cheese, fresh lettuce, tomato, onion, a little salsa, and homemade pesto sauce with just a tint of lemon. Incredible.

Upon our arrival in Berlin, we embarked on yet another cultural experience. We took a short bus ride to our wonderful hostel, The Circus. We are the maiden guests here at The Circus, and we are very fortunate to be in a completely renovated building, with brand new beds, linens, and redone rooms.

After unpacking our stuff, Matthew, Kunj, Mike, Ryan, and I walked a few blocks down the road to a cheap little chicken restaurant. It was 4,50 Euro for a chicken wrap, french fries, and a drink. PERFECT! Afterwards, we headed out to see what the city had to offer. It was an uneventful day, but we look forward to spending the next three days in this amazing city!


March 29th, 2010 - Monday

Today was our second day in Poland, and we were off to the salt mines. I really had no idea what to picture when I found out we were going to the salt mines, as I had never really heard of them before. When we pulled into the place we had to wait a little while for our tour, but it seemed like before we knew it it was time to go underground. I was unhappily greeted by 300 something stairs that we had to walk down to get to the first part of the tour. What seemed like an eternity of walking down stairs finally came to an end. Then we were on our way for the tour. I would have never pictured salt mines like the one that we were in. We saw sculptures and even a full church underground. It was almost unreal to see. My favorite part of the tour, however, was getting to lick the walls! I was very hesitant at first, but after watching some other people do it I figured it was a once in a life time experience. So I tried it, and it was awesome! You have never tried salt like this before. Then we got to try salt water, and again it was awesome--such a cool experience. Another part of the tour I really enjoyed was a display of gnome sculptures, and we were told that if you smiled at one of them in particular it would bring you luck! I thought it was pretty cool!

Soon enough we were heading back to ground level. The ride to the top was a very, very scary 45 second elevator ride. I was pretty happy when we hit the surface. After the mines we headed back to the hotel and went out to grab some late lunch. After some pizza everyone felt the need for a nap. After napping it was dinner time we went to one of our favorite places in Poland, AWIW, and it was a wonderful last night dinner. We were able to get some amazing Polish food, followed by an even better dessert of raspberries and ice-cream.

After dinner we looked around for a store to find some snacks for the 10 hour train ride ahead of us. But after a little while of searching and not finding anything, it looked like it was time to head back to the hotel. Once we got back it was time to pack quickly and go to bed; we have to be up so early. Ugh! While lying in bed I couldn’t help but think about how much I loved Poland and that I cannot wait to keep traveling!

Salt Mine
PHOTOS by Michele

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Auschwitz- Birkenau 1940-1945

After a really early start yesterday we got to sleep in today. We started our day today at 9am with a nice breakfast at the hotel, before the buses picked us up to leave for Auschwitz. The journey there took us about an hour, which was nice because we were expecting to have an hour and a half ride. As soon as I stepped off the bus at Auschwitz I got the chills; it was kind of creepy. The weather helped set the mood there, as it was a cloudy and rainy. We started our tour, and the sign in the main gate said “Arbeit Macht Frei”; translated in to English it means, “Work will Set you Free”, which I found to be ironic because they were brought there to be enslaved and murdered. Also, the tour guide informed us that upon arrival at the camp the Jews were told the only way out was through the chimney. As we continued through the camp we went to many different blocks. The one that had the biggest effect on me was the one with all the peoples' belongings. We first saw the hair of thousands of women and saw how the Nazis would make uniforms and blankets and sell it as cloth. When I saw full locks of hair in braids I was really shocked and just thought why. In the next room there were clothing, glasses, brushes, luggage and shoes from all the victims, and to see how much there was there hit me really hard. All I could think about was everything I have learned about the Holocaust, and then actually being where the biggest massacre occurred almost brought me to tears. We also went in the gas chamber, and crematorium. Being in there, it was very hard to absorb all that occurred right where I was standing. Looking around at the wall and stuff I could see scratch marks on the walls. I could just picture the people and how much they must have suffered; it was too much, and I didn’t want to stay in there.

After we finished this part of our tour we continued to Birkenau (Auschwitz II). This concentration camp was a lot larger in size. The gate into this camp was called the Death Gate. We first walked in and all we could see were the barracks where the prisoners lived and bathed. The conditions that they had to live in were horrible. The toilets where just stone slabs with holes in them, and the space in between each of them was a few inches. As for showers they had a rotation, and it could be up to a couple of months until they got to shower next. The “rooms” the Jews were forced to live in were adapted from field stables that the German army used, but instead of 52 horses, about 400 prisoners where housed there. They slept on three level wooden bunks using paper and other random things for blankets and pillows. As we walked towards the back of the camp we stopped on the spot where the train would bring everyone in, and the selections were made of who survived and who didn’t. This also was a lot to take in because 65 years ago the people standing in the same spot I was had no idea what was about to happen to them; millions of people took one of their last breaths where I was standing. Then we proceeded to the international holocaust monument, which is located in Birkenau, and it had a plaque that read, “Forever let this place be a cry of despair and a warning to humanity, where the Nazis murdered about one and a half million men, women, and children mainly Jews from various countries of Europe. Auschwitz- Birkenau 1940-1945.” After seeing this we also saw the other two gas chambers and crematoriums that the Nazis blew up, to cover up what had gone on at the concentration camps, when they found out they had lost the war. This part was also very hard for me to handle, because as we walked by the rubble my peers and I could smell the burning, which made it very rough to hang around there.

Over all today was a good day. I learned a lot of new things that I didn’t know before, and well I got a whole new prospective on the Holocaust. I have always known of the events that occurred there, but they really did not sink in until now.

PHOTOS by Michele

Sunday, March 28, 2010

March 27th, 2010 - Saturday

Saturday, March 27th, begins our journey to Poland, Germany, and the Czech Republic. We all got up bright and early to catch a train to Krakow, the first stop of a trip that we have been looking forward to since the beginning of our time in Vienna. After a morning of lugging our bags on and off of different subways, we finally made it to our seats on the train that we would be occupying for seven hours. I was so happy that I got a window seat, because I love looking out of the train at everything that passes by. As we came closer to reaching our destination, our excitement was building and the exhaustion that we once felt started to disappear. It is still so hard for me to believe that after only several hours I can be in a whole new country—one that I have never thought that I would be in before coming abroad.

We soon arrived at our beautiful hotel, after of course stopping at the local McDonald’s for a quick burger or drink. After we made it to our rooms and settled in, we found out that the hotel was providing us with a snack, which we were more than grateful for. I like what they consider a “snack”. There was a huge spread laid out for us in the coziest and prettiest restaurant that I have ever seen in a hotel. Platters filled with salads, sandwiches, cheese, veggies, fruit, pastries, and endless refreshments all reflected in our eyes as our jaws subconsciously dropped open out of pure awe and joy. After our stomachs were full from that very satisfying treat, our exhaustion hit us again, and many of us took a needed nap. When we woke up, a lot of us had pierogies on the mind. (Not sure how we were already craving food after that delicious “snack”, but hey, you gotta get some pierogies in Poland.) Fortunately, we found a place earlier with a sign that said “Probably the Best Pierogies”. I like how they didn’t want to jump to any conclusions. Nevertheless, we entered the restaurant, sat at the biggest table, and all ordered our pierogies. And let me tell you, they did not give themselves enough credit—they were delicious! We all sampled each other’s choices and walked out as very happy campers. As we walked back to our hotel on the cobblestone streets, I took a long breath in, breathing in this brand new city that I was eager to find out more about.

Christina Gallo

Saturday, March 27, 2010

March 26th, 2010 - Friday

This is for March 26-Beginning March 27

Blog done by Ryan

Thursday, March 25, 2010

67 Eggs in My Basket

I believe it is safe to say that everyone is getting a tad bit anxious to leave for our big trip on Saturday. We are all starting (or really should be) to pack and get ready. Today was also a swimming day for us, which was fantastic; no one was there. What a perfect way to unwind at the end of a busy day. The main event however, was the Theresianum Easter egg hunt. All the students living at the academy got together before dinner and were put into groups of three and then sent off in all directions to find the delicious chocolate eggs and bunnies, and, in Ally's case, very cute little chocolate sheep (which we're hoping she eventually eats and does not keep as a pet). After some time, the bell rang, and we were to count how many treats we found and give the total to Martin. The group with the most treats each won a big nutella-filled chocolate egg as its trophy. It was fun and a little pathetic to see how competitive we all were for some chocolate. All in all it was a good day, and I cannot believe this trip is already half over.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Wednesday was beautiful, sunny day in Vienna. I knew that after my two wonderful math classes in the morning that I would not wait too long to go out and enjoy this weather. I made sure to get my work done and to complete my plans for spring break before I ventured out in the city with Erin. I did not have anything grandiose in mind, simply because I want to save my money for the next weeks of traveling. Erin and I decided to walk around and to explore places we’ve never been to.

As I have been noticing, this city is very beautiful when it’s sunny. There always seems to have more things going on. For example, we’ve seen a group dancing, clowns…. Even the people walking in the streets seem to be kinder and happier. Erin and I stopped at one café to get coffee and dessert. We unfortunately didn’t know it was not a place for coffee and dessert, that we had to eat a main meal. So we were very surprised after the waiter told us that they are not the kind of place that serves only what we wanted. We found it strange that he told us that, too. Anyways we ate our not-so-good dessert and even joked about the waiter on our way back “who knows? Maybe he was concerned for our well-being? Or perhaps he knew we would be disappointed by the dessert, so he attempted to cover it with a meal….!!?!”; we know Austrians a little better now, so it was not a big deal to us.

I love the city when it’s sunny, and I enjoyed my peaceful walk with Erin. I can’t wait to visit other parts of Europe next week…

blog by Murielle

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Best Days

Second day back in Vienna since a weekend in Amsterdam with my's. It feels good to be back; this little 15 x 16 room truly feels like home (though I do look forward to getting back to my real home in Bow, New Hampshire, as much as I love the life in Wien).

I woke up for stats this morning, which was alright, because our great professor was gracious enough to cancel class the previous day after a majority of us had had a late night/early morning of travels via Eurail. After stats I made some toast and tea for the roomie and me, then it was off to Math and Politics. Once we all finished German class with our SECOND favorite professor in Vienna, Doris, it was time to plan out our day on this beautiful afternoon. It was about 60 degrees today in Vienna, and the rest of the week promises to be the same--gotta love spring! Especially in a beautiful city like Vienna.

I hit the city with Bobby around 3 PM to run a couple errands. We both had to send all our Amsterdam postcards to our friends back home, as well as pick some groceries at the best grocery store in town, SPAR! Once back at the Theresianum, we thought we would work off all the deserts we ate while in Amsterdam by going for a jog through the city on this gorgeous, spring day. We jogged to Stadtpark and back; it was good run. While on the run, Bobby and I saw the craziest thing; a bicyclist was crossing the street, naively thinking that no one was coming down the road, when, in fact, there was a motorcyclist traveling down the strasse. Bobby and I looked at each other, in shock as to what was about to unfold. The motorcyclist swerved and clipped the front tire of the cyclist, the motorcyclist caught himself before falling, but we couldn't say the same for the cyclists. He fell but got up right away, luckily, and everyone turned out to be okay. Despite the scrapes and bruises taken by both parties, everyone walked away from the scene, with all their limbs intact. It definitely made the jog a little more eventful.

We returned to the Theresianum, showered, ate dinner (pretty delicious fish), and then attended the weekly, Tuesday group meeting. We received the itinerary for the upcoming trips to Krakow, Berlin, and Prague, and were excited to see the the plans for the days ahead of us. After a fun time sorting out some Czech Republic & Poland currency among the group, it was time for our nightly SCHWIMMEN! Bobby and I always enjoy ourselves at the Theresianum Akademie pool, challenging each other on the diving board to do the craziest dive. We were delighted to have our two French friends, Solveig and Claire join us at the pool, making the night that much more enjoyable.

Now, here I sit, writing this blog, thinking back as we reach the half way point of our trip to Europe. I am sure I can speak for everyone in this group that we look forward to the days and experiences that are in our future. These are the best days that we have been waiting for!

Monday, Monday.

Monday was our first day of classes back from our lovely four day weekend, ending with a not so lovely train ride back. Christina, Katie, Sam, Ally, Erin, Steph, and I all had enjoyed a wonderful long weekend in Rome, which we all loved, minus the travel days. Our train left Sunday night and we were all hoping that we could just pass out because we had been roaming the city all day. We were so wrong. Our cart was so packed that the aisle was lined with other travelers, many who had just run in the Rome marathon. Not only was the car packed, the air condiontioning was broken, and the car smelled horrible. We spent most of our 13 hour ride listening to music and trying to watch movies, but we were so uncomforatable that nothing seemed enjoyable.

When we finally arrived back in Vienna we were all so tired no one could even show any excitment to be back. Seeing as we had not slept at all on the train, half of us ended up missing class to sleep, while the other half champed it out and attended. After some much needed nap time and lunch, Ally and I went off to see a painting she needed for her class. When we got to the museum we found out it was closed, but it was such a nice day we really did not care. When we got back most everyone was just lounging around still tired from their journeys and trying to unpack. It was a good day for some rest and relaxation, only to have to pack up once again and leave Saturday.

Monday, March 22, 2010

March 21st, 2010 - Sunday

Blog to be done by Erin Dwyer

Sunday, March 21, 2010

March 20th, 2010 - Saturday-Amsterdam Excursion

Our journey to Amsterdam, Netherlands, began on Thursday March 18th with a 12 hour train ride on the good old Euro Rail. Once we arrived in Amsterdam we began exploring all through out the city and got lost on several occasions. Getting lost is inevitable, but it helped us see the city, until we finally found our hostel after being given wrong directions from many different people. Our hostel was called "The Heart of Amsterdam" and was right in the middle of the Red Light District.

The location was great because you could step out of the door to find everything you need in sight. We got a much needed night of sleep Thursday and woke up Friday morning refreshed and ready to venture out once again in the city. On this day we got to see the Heineken Factory Tour, which is also known as the "Heineken Experience". We all had a blast at this brewery tour; they even had a virtual ride where you are a beer bottle going through the filling process and packaging. It was a very creative ride; it would even spray water at you when the bottles were being cleaned. Finally Saturday, my blog date, was actually Cristina Tyris's 21st birthday. Bob, Matt, Kunj, and I met up with the girls and went out to help them celebrate Cristina's birthday. Their hostel was about a 15 minute walk from ours, but it was in a very good location. After finding the girls at their hostel we all grabbed a bite to eat and explored the area by their hostel by going to different spots. Overall, it was a very enjoyable night, and we all had a great time hanging out with each other. The weather during the whole trip was overcast with rain, so that was one downside.

We left Sunday morning to find out that our train had left 45 minutes early. We ended up catching another train at 12:15 to Frankfurt, Germany, where we had a 3.5 hour wait for our next train to Munich. That train ended up being a half hour late and packed to the point where we had to sit on the floor for a few stops. After that we caught a night train that was not comfortable to sleep in. We eventually made it home at 6am, with Statistics class at 8am! Amsterdam is a place that should be on your list to see if you ever want to travel through Europe!

by Michael Niesen

Friday in Rome

We woke up determined to see St. Peter's Basilica and the Vatican. In Italian it is called, Basilica Papale di San Pietro in Vaticano, and is located in the Vatican City. St. Peter's Basilica has the largest interior of any Christian church in the world, holding 60,000 people. When we arrived we were awe struck at the magnificent architecture that stood before us. People from everywhere stood in a line that looked like it was a mile long to enter this beautiful place. We quickly got in line and thought it was going to take hours to be able to see the inside. While waiting, the surrounding area had so much to look at, it seemed as though the line moved faster than we had originally expected. We saw some of the famous Swiss guards outside wearing their colorful uniforms. The inside was just as, or maybe even more astonishing than the outside. Pristine marble figures of angels and saints were everywhere you turned; even the floor was styled. I caught myself staring at everything in sight. It was a place that I will never forget. I felt honored to have walked in and experienced it.

by S. Cooper

Friday, March 19, 2010

Thursday, March 18th

Today I arrived in ROME!! After a long 14 hour train ride we were finally in Italy. Even though we were all exhausted and would have loved to nap we were just way too excited. We walked about five minutes from the train station to our hostel. We dropped our stuff off but had to leave because check in wasn’t until 3pm, and it was only 9am.
We took off to roam the city. It was beautiful; we were located close to everything. There were tons and tons of vendors everywhere and pretty cheap places to eat. After an hour of roaming around Erin’s cousin Sarah, who is studying in Rome, met up with us and was a nice tour guide for us. We ended up at the Coliseum. What an unbelievable site; never in a million years did I think I would get to see this! It is even more impressive in person! We were all just so happy to have the opportunity to experience being there. Walking back from the coliseum we stopped at the roman ruins and took tons of pictures. It was so cool!

After all the walking, Sarah took us to the best gelato place...she wasn’t kidding. This place had every type of gelato you could imagine. I had a chocolate and baileys crème gelato. It was so delicious and was only 3 euros. After we all finished our gelato we had to say bye to Sarah because she was heading to Amsterdam, and we went to the hostel. We got settled in our rooms and took a short nap, then went downstairs and had the complementary pasta dinner that the hostel served. Which was also very good. After dinner the seven us got ready for our first night out in Rome...

It was a good night. I hope I have the opportunity to go back again, as 3 days won't be enough. I am so happy I went with Erin, Sam, Ally, Chrissy, Kate and Christina. We all had so much fun and became a lot closer. Good bonding time!

by Stephanie Gilbert

Thursday, March 18, 2010

March 17th, 2010 - Wednesday

Today we went to a Monastery about half hour from Vienna. This was for our class Vienna Across the Ages, though the teacher of the class did not attend. When we got there, my initial reaction was that it was a very, very striking place. The architecture was beautiful, as are most things in this country. I still am always amazed thinking about the people who worked on these structures, without modern technology.

Our tour started, and at first I was a little bored. But as we started getting deeper into the building everything got much more intricate and interesting. Most of the things were religious, and covered in gold leaf. There was one sculpture of Jesus and Mary, where Mary was frowning from one side and smiling from the other.
I think my favorite part about the trip, though, were the stained glass windows. These monks back in the day, figured out a way to create stained glass--but when the light showed through it… it was white! Dang! That was pretty cool. I also loved all of the ceilings, but I find myself loving all of the ceilings. Who knew they would be so cool? There was also an extremely large barrel (the biggest in Austria) that was used for storing wine. I wish I had been around back then when they still used it!
Another exciting thing that occurred was my best friend from home is here! She flew in last night. Lydia, Cristina and I are planning on leaving for Amsterdam tomorrow! Cristina is turning 21 and it’'s Lydia’'s spring break, so celebration is definitely in order. Our friends from the group (Kunj, Mike, Matt and Bobby) will also come along. I have good feelings about this short trip!

I also get to see family that I have there. I know it means a lot to my mother that I get to visit them; she has not seen them since she was living in Europe. I hope that they are just as excited to meet me! They'’re taking us three girls (Lyd, Cristina and me) to a famous pancake house in a small village in Holland. Could life get any better?

by Mae McGlone

PHOTOS by Michele

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

March 16th, 2010 - Tuesday

Today was the day that Mae and I have been waiting for, for weeks. Our closest friend from school, Lydia, landed in Vienna today to spend her spring vacation traveling around Europe. We spent the day showing her the area surrounding the Theresianum and eventually the “Bahnhof,” where she bought her ticket to Amsterdam for this, my birthday weekend. After she was settled with her ticket, I took her to her hostel in Keplerplatz. We eventually found the street the hostel was on only to then begin our search for building number 16. After seeing that building 11 followed building 17 we stopped at the corner to ponder over what could have happened to building 16, the most important building on that street for us. After several minutes we settled on the idea of walking across the street and asking the employee in a local café. The man in the café looked at us, looked where we had just walked from and pointed…we had been standing under a giant sign displaying her hostel and building 16; we convinced ourselves that they need to start numbering the buildings more obviously.

Lydia was quickly settled into her hostel, and we headed back to the Theresianum to meet Mae for a sushi dinner; it’s amazing how popular Chinese/Japanese food is in Vienna. As the day crept into evening, we decided to go into town to start off my birthday weekend, as well as St. Patrick’s Day. The night ended early for me, knowing that the next morning we would have to be up to visit the Monastery, celebrate St. Patrick’s day, and leave on an 8am train to Amsterdam the following day. My birthday weekend in Amsterdam is what I have been looking forward to most, and I hope whichever one of my classmates has the blog for that weekend is part of the trip, because it’s something you are going to want to read about.

by Cristina Tyris

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Monday, March 15, 2010

Today was the usual Monday in Vienna. The weather was a little bit chilly, and really windy. We went to classes, then some went to museums and others just walked around. A good majority of the group went to the train station to reserve tickets for the upcoming four-day weekend. I personally am really excited for that. A few of us are going to Rome then. In the afternoon, a couple psychology majors went to the Freud Museum, located in Sigmund Freud’s former residence, and came back saying it was a cool experience. After dinner, the students in the statistics class were busy studying for tomorrow’s exam, along with doing other homework.

Freud's Office
Signing in at the Freud Museum.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Sunday: An "I don't have to run" Day

Today was a leisurly day here at the Theresianum. We slept in and enjoyed a fabulous lunch of baked chicken, rice, and stuffing. There was also a banana custard pie, with hardened chocolate coating, for dessert. After our meal, Matt and I took our usual walk up to the candy store to purchase some homemade chocolates.

We had awakened to a bright and sunny window this morning, but don't let those golden rays fool you; it's still under 50 degrees here. With the wind whipping down the street, we were grateful for our scarves. After getting the usual chocolate fix, I sought refuge in our room. The past weekend gave Matt and me a good chance to clean the room, neaten everything up, and even put up some new posters. It's been a month and five days since we have gotten here, and it's nice to have the feeling of home in our room.

Today I spent a lot of time reflecting on my trip thus far. It really seems like we have just gotten here, but in fact, we are a third of the way through our Great European Experience! It blows my mind when I really think about how fast time is flying by. Classes have been interesting, the food has been good, and for the most part I feel like everyone has really grown accustomed to living here. The internet keeps us connected to our loved ones back home, and we're simply enjoying the time we get to spend here.

I also noticed through the absence of over half the group, how much of an impact we have on each other. It wasn't the same being in the Theresianum without the whole group being here. It was nice to hear everyone coming back from their trips this morning. Everyone arrived home from his or her travels, high in spirit, rich with experience. As Christopher McCandless said in the 2007 film, Into the Wild, "The core of man's spirit comes from new experience.” This is derived from the ideas in Thoreau's book, Walden, and I think it exemplifies our lives here in the EU perfectly.

I look forward to the countless new experiences we are undoubtedly going to encounter here in the next two months. It's been nice talking, Cheers! Smeg

Saturday, March 13, 2010

March 13th, 2010 - Saturday

So today was our first full day in Bratislava! We all rolled out of bed around 9:30, went down to breakfast, and ate something quick. After breakfast we decided to explore the city. Right as we walked outside we realized that the weather was not going to cooperate with us. It was windy and rainy, but that did not stop us at all. We went into the historical district of the town, and it was so beautiful. I couldn’t help but think to myself that this is what I thought all of Europe was going to look like: wide open cobblestone streets, pretty window shops all lit up, and the most beautiful churches. It took my breath away how beautiful this city really was. As we walked around I began to notice the same statue of a man was all over the city. He was in different poses, of course, but it was the same guy in a top hat. Then I remembered that I had read something about him in the elevator and why he was all over town. It was so fun to take pictures with all the statutes. After walking in and out of some shops and getting some gift, there was a break-down of communication, and Sam was no longer with us. So we did what we thought was best and went back to the hotel. Luckily Sam had thought the same, and we found her sitting at our room door!

After the six of us were reunited we decided to take a quick nap before heading back into the city at night. We all soon woke up, and Kate, Sam and Erin went off to explore a castle that we had seen earlier, while Christina, Chrissy, and I stayed back to get ready. Once we were ready we decided to go out while the other three girls were still exploring. We ended up at this awesome café with huge leather couches and decided to get dessert before dinner(: It was delicious, and it was awesome to chill in the window and people-watch for a little while. After we ate it was time to go meet up with the other girls and go to dinner! We ended up at a Mexican restaurant, and it was delicious.

After we ate we decided to go back to the hotel and have some drinks there. While there we met up with some guys who were in town on a “holiday.” It was really great to meet some new people and hang out with them. As the night continued we decided to go out into the city to see what the night life had to offer. We ended up at some disco night club, and it was so fun! It was the downstairs of some bar, and the six of us girls literally danced the night away. It was so great! As early morning rolled around we all decided to head back and try to get some sleep, as we had an early check out the next day. When we got back to the hotel our British neighbors were sitting out in the hallway because they had been locked out. So we chatted with them for a bit and then it was off to bed!

It was really great to be able to plan a weekend get away by ourselves. For a lot of us it was a very new and exciting experience, and even a little scary making sure everything worked out. It turned out to be so great, being on a trip that we had all planned together and experiencing a whole different culture in a place so few of us had heard about. It was such a wonderful get away; I cannot wait to do it again!

Ally Billingsley

March 12th, 2010 - Friday

Today I started of my day at 8:30am with statistics. After that Mike and I were set to leave for Brno, Czech Republic, to visit our friend Jim. After class we hopped on the subway to began our adventure. Our bus was set to leave at 11:35am; however, we arrived there and stood outside in the cold for an hour but the bus didn’t show. So we called the company, and it turned out that the bus had gotten in to an accident on the way to the stop, and they would not be able to send another one until 2pm. After hearing this we were a little discouraged and went to get some lunch and returned to the Theresianum. After waiting for two and a half hours we finally began our trip to Brno. The ride there was really comfortable. We had snacks and a movie on the bus we took, and the ride was just over an hour and a half.

When we arrived there we were greeted by our friend Jim, and he took us to his house. I felt right at home; his mother had prepared sandwiches and other little snacks for us. Then Jim took us to meet up with his friends. This was really interesting because we got the full experience of the local lifestyle, unlike when we travel to other countries not knowing anyone and usually end up at the tourist spots. We also went to a store called Globus, and that was real nice. They had everything there, like Wal-Mart on steroids. It was nice because we don’t have any stores like that in Vienna.

For dinner Jim's mom cooked us some of the best spaghetti I have had in awhile. Later on that night we went into the city and went to all the local spots where all the kids our own age hangout. It was really cool to meet kids there, and many of them spoke English. It was like being back at home, so I really enjoyed it. I really liked being in the Czech Republic for one of the most fun weekends I have had here. I can’t wait to go back for another weekend.

Blog by Kunj

Friday, March 12, 2010

March 11th, 2010 - Thursday

This morning I woke up to snow falling by my bedroom window. My first thought was, "No, not another cold day!", but then I realized how pretty it really was. A very light dusting of white powder covered the cars and sidewalk, and there was a feeling of tranquility in the air. Plus, there was no time to be grumpy--I am in Vienna and need to love every second of it!

The day started off with Math and Politics at 10am. Being a psychology major, I really don't have much experience with the subject, but tried to keep focused as best as I could. After a pretty satisfying lunch of rice and veggie patties, four other rugby players and I got ready to teach some younger students about the game. We were all really excited to talk about the game that we love so much, but also a little nervous to be talking about it in front of a class of thirteen-year-olds. Once we got to the classroom, we were surprised to see that everyone was very attentive and interested in what we had to say; some of them knew more about the game than we had expected! Once we went over some of the rules, positions, and other aspects of the game, we all bundled up to go outside and put our lesson to the test. We were all so happy to see that all of the kids really enjoyed playing with us--all of them wanted to be the first one to try to kick the ball or be part of the scrum. After a lot of laughs and fun, it was time to go in.

Being outside with those kids and being able to interact with them, teach them, and share something that we are all so passionate about was a real gift. We were all in high spirits walking to the cafeteria for dinner, and all agreed that we would jump at the opportunity to do it again.
As we all crawled into our beds for some much needed rest (we would be going to Bratislava, Slovakia, the next day for a weekend trip), I looked out my window once more and felt very content to be looking into the city that was becoming more like home.

PHOTOS by Michele

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Back To The Land Of The Living

Sorry, but I didn't know you couldn't upload Documents to Blogger; so you won't be able to see the PowerPoint. But there are a lot of nice camera shots of the same thing in Matt's Video. Search for it on YouTube, if you want.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Here's to You, Tim Toupet

So today was the first day of Mathematics and Politics, and Carl got everyone's hopes up during the lesson, as we all believed we would be traveling as a group to either Amsterdam, Barcelona, Paris, or Florence; however, those were just pawns in his game of deceit and we all realized he was just trying to teach us about math. The example did keep our attention, though, and we ended up covering a lot of material. But the real fun started while we were in German class. We all knew something was up when Doris had with her a boom box. The lesson flew by as usual but towards the end she handed us a sheet of lyrics titled, "Fliegerlied" (meaning Flyer song). We first heard Doris sing it to us, rather beautifully if I might add, and then we translated the lyrics to English. It turned out to be a pretty happy song, and I started to think that maybe it was a little too happy. Then the music turned on, and a man started singing the song. After two tries the entire group was singing along and dancing, having such a good time with it. Someone said it best, That Tim Toupet (the man responsible for the song) is like the European "Wiggles". No matter, it was a perfect way to end class, and shortly after a few were downloading the song when we arrived back at the dorms. It felt good to be reunited with our inner child. Tonight was also a pool night, so we all shlept down to the pool for a little while; it was especially beneficial to me, because I learned how to swim (properly). Again, bringing back my childhood. Who knew that everything interesting that happened today would all be during our lessons? It pays to go to class, kids.

Monday, March 8, 2010

March 8th, 2010 - Monday

Today is our first Monday back in Vienna. After statistics at 8:30 am, we all headed to Hofburg Redoutensale museum. Professor Kröll was waiting for us there. I technically did not have to go since I am not taking Vienna Across the Ages. However, since I hate having the feeling that I might be missing on something, I went. I even brought a little notebook with me. I was determined to have a good time at the Museum.

As shown by the pictures, a lot of the stuff we saw was Royalty-related. At the beginning of the tour I was pleased to see the different crowns from different periods, and all the gowns. However, after spending 2 hours straight on my feet, my idea of ‘good time at the museum’ did not turn out quite well. I was tired and stopped taking notes, even pictures. I wish the tour had been shorter. I even started thinking about the kids from Prof. Martin’s class who told me they only love museums when they go by themselves. When they told me that, I thought to myself, “poor little kids can’t handle museum tours…hahaha” lol. Well now I understand them.

After that, my day ended well!

Danke schön!


PHOTOS by Murielle

PHOTOS by Michele

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Sunday funday

Slept in really late this morning, after a really fun (late) night with Mike, Bobby, Mae, and Cristina at the popular Wien dance club, Flex. Instead of going to lunch at the Theresianum this morning, Bobby and I thought we would go out to the city and get something. For our budget's sake, we ended up agreeing on some good ol' American food, Burger King. It was quite cold in the city today; we were teased with some 50 degree weather a couple weeks ago and now these 30 degree days are taking us by surprise. I just want it to warm up! Nonetheless, I always enjoy a walk in this beautiful city.

After strumming on my 6-string for a little bit, Bobby and I decided to begin writing a script for a little, short film. It is starting to come together really well; the title is "the Magic Gloves." I will say no more as of now! You should all be very excited, trust me.

Tonight, Bobby and a couple of guys we know who attend the Theresianum Akademie are going to the restaurant/pub, Four Bells, for their special Sunday deal, all meals 5.50 euro! Can't beat that, it's bound to be a fun time.

Until we meet again, peace & love.


Saturday, March 6th

Saturday was a pretty quiet day for us here in Vienna. Most of us were awake and ready for lunch at 11:45, which was pretty good. After lunch Christina, Sam, Mike and I ventured off to go shopping. Mike needed hair clippers, and we needed to get out of the Tressiaunum. We ended up at what looked like a huge department store named Muller. When you first walk in you are overwhelmed with how many different perfumes and colognes they have. So we went off and tried to smell all of them. After conquering all of those we looked upstairs, which was mostly DVD's and other tech stuff, and another floor was all kids toys. When we went all the way downstairs it was like a collection of everything you could need on a day-to-day basis. Soon after we left and hopped on the subway en route to Billa. On the way there Christina and I spotted a bagel shop, so of course we had to go in and get one. They were so good and gave us a little taste of home. After the grocery store we headed back. For the rest of the day we just lounged around waiting for dinner. Saturday was a pretty relaxing day; hopefully I can get some work done on Sunday :)

Christine Billingsley

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Friday, March 5th

I’m still reeling from my trip to Athens. It’s been hard to get back into the swing of things. Athens was like a fantasy in a lot of ways. Gorgeous weather, blue skies, ancient temples, friendly people… (cheap drinks). I’m trying to get back into the groove of school work and Vienna. Culturally Vienna is significantly different from Athens. Vienna feels safe, guarded, put together, organized, and the people come across as significantly emotionally unavailable. In Athens everything felt more alive. The people were raw, passionate, and even a little desperate as a result of the poverty being more visible. It’s good to be home in Vienna, but the memory of Athens is never far from my mind.

Today I woke up a little earlier then usual in order to prepare for my History of Math presentation. I presented with Sam Bizon about 17th century mathematics. I specifically focused on Galileo’s life and success as a mathematician, physicist, and astronomer. I also spent time explaining the ancient view of the universe that Aristotle proposed, which suggested that the earth was the center of all things and everything else in the universe revolved around the earth in perfect spheres. This ancient model of the solar system was particularly interesting because it held a concrete sphere for God in the Universe. Although Galileo didn’t invent the telescope, he created his own unique model. Through systematically looking at the sky with his telescope he was able to disprove that the earth was the center of astronomical motion. I also presented on the beginning of modern mathematical notation and the Decimal Fraction of Simon Stevin. I’m not sure if everyone else found it interesting, but at least I did.

I spent the rest of the day reluctantly unpacking, cleaning my third of the room, and relaxing. I worked on catching up on reading, especially for my directed study. I also spent a large part of the evening mapping out my spring break with Sam and planning small weekend trips to nearby countries and cities. Planning these getaways is turning out to be a lot harder then I thought it would be. Prices fluctuate significantly depending on the websites, so it’s a constant battle for the cheapest price and looking out for hidden fees and taxes.

After working on future trips I e-mailed my advisors at school in order to secure my classes for next semester. I also e-mailed friends and family back home and filled them in on how amazing my trip to Athens was and how excited I am to see so many other cities in the upcoming future. I look forward to the parts of myself that every trip will awaken. I can see things coming together now, and I can feel the dots connecting. It’s an odd feeling knowing that I’m in the middle of something that’s changing my life forever… and if I ever get a little homesick it always comforts me to know that I’m never more then a subway stop away from a McDonalds.

Erin Dwyer

Thursday, March 4th

This was the first "real" day back from our amazing trip to Athens, Greece. Wednesday was a day to relax and to also get back into "Vienna" mode, if you will. Thursday was the start of classes again for those of us who have Statistics; the rest got to sleep in. Our transition back into Vienna was slow because we had to come back to depressing cold weather, when we had all just been in beautiful, sunny 70 degree Athens. Even though we all may not like the weather, Vienna is our home, and we are all settled in. We also know how to get around the city pretty well now. Thursday was also our second class of German, and it went very well. We learned greetings, and we had to pick a partner to write a quick description about to be presented to the class. Even though we have only had a few German classes, I have found it helpful to the point where I am picking it up rather quickly. I think the hardest thing is trying to interact with the people and understanding what the cashiers say to you for the price of your order. If they did not have the digital display, we would all be in trouble! After German class we had the pool available to us, from 8:30pm to 10:30pm. Mostly everyone on the floor took advantage of it, and we all went down to swim in the indoor pool. Besides that, nothing else is really new. We all are very excited to start traveling again. Traveling through Europe will be an experience that we will never forget, and we will have photographs to help us look back and tell the story.

Michael Niesen