Thursday, July 30, 2009
On Wednesday, most of the girls I hang out with were going to go on a hike, which wasn’t happening for me. I was talking to some people at breakfast and they mentioned that they were taking a day trip to Munich to do a bike tour. How could I pass up an opportunity to do another bike tour??! We had an AMAZING time!! We went on the Mikes Bikes tour—the same company we did the one in Amsterdam with. I am happy to report that I did not wreck which is impressive seeing as how we stopped at a beer garden! Just kidding! I got to see a completely different side of Munich, learned a lot about the history of Bavaria, saw an old, naked man in the English gardens, and met some really cool people from Denmark and California! All together… successful day!In a few minutes two of the girls I have been traveling with (Abby and Berri) and three other girls that we have been hanging out with (Lydia, Kim, and Erin) are heading off to Paris for the weekend! I am unbelievably excited! We have lots of stuff on the agenda! I’ll fill y’all in on all of it on Monday!
Last weekend we set off for
At some point on the train to
We finally got to
After literally no sleep, the next morning we ate breakfast at the cute little restaurant that literally smelled just like my house! Cue homesickness… After that we ventured off on a bike tour which is obviously our favorite way to see a city! It was really cool!
The next day we had to catch an early train back to
Its crazy how much coming back to
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
We walked around the city for about half the day just looking at everything and getting our bearings. We eventually found the Heineken museum and we went on the Heineken Experience. Dad, you will be proud to know that I tried the beer and I can now appreciate the taste… kinda.
After the Heineken Museum, we grabbed some dinner and went to the Anne Frank House. Having experienced Dachau last weekend, I have to say that Anne Frank impacted me so much more on a personal level. I grew up reading her diary and there it was, right in front of me—the actual pages she wrote on, where she wrote it, and where she hid. It was so much smaller and darker that I could have imagined it to be. And from the outside it is just so unsuspecting... The part that really got to me was in the museum there was a video of an interview with Otto Frank (her dad—he was the only one of the whole group that was hiding that survived the concentration camps). He was talking about how he and Anne had had a really good relationship and they talked a lot, but it wasn’t until he read her diary that he realized what deep thoughts she actually had and how self-critical she was. That was not the daughter he knew, and he made the point that how parents can never really ever know their children. For some reason, that was when I started balling…
After that we ventured to the Red Light District to have a look around. Wow, that was one of the more interesting nights of my life. Needless to say it was very uncomfortable, eye opening, and, ummm, weird… I didn’t smoke anything while I was in Amsterdam, but if I was going to it probably would have been best to do it then. I guess I’m just an uptight, prude American. Lol…
The next day we went on a bike tour of the Dutch country side! Even though it was raining we still had lots of fun!! We saw a big windmill that they use to keep the ground from being flooded. A man lives in the windmill to make sure things are always working. We also went to a small, family owned cheese and clog factory. We got to meet and feed the cows whose milk was used to make the cheese, and then he told us all about how the cheese is made! They don’t pasteurize the milk, which is a little gross, but hey, the cheese was really good!!! The guy also showed us how they make the wooden clogs! I got a small pair that they made there. Too bad I didn’t get some to wear… I feel like I could start a wooden clog trend! After the factory we rode through a big park and just around the city!
Since the intense shock I had the night before didn’t kill me, the universe thought it necessary for me to have two near death experience on the bike tour. (I’m exaggerating but just go with it…) The first… I mentioned it was raining and I was wearing flip flops… My foot slipped from the peddle and hit the ground basically making me crash to the ground and thoroughly scraping my leg from my ankle to my knee. Its looking a lot better now, but it hurt really bad then! The second… There aren’t buses in Amsterdam, but trams that run on railway tracks throughout the city. We were waiting to cross the street and I literally can 2 inches from being flattened on the front of one! SCARY!!!After the bike tour we went on a canal cruise on a boat. Thomas, one of the guys in our group, was dead set on getting on a boat while we were there… and he succeeded! It was lots of fun. Our tour guide told us all about the city and the water ways. Maybe even more entertaining was the bachelor party going on in the back of the boat! They would holler at people on the sides of the canal as we passed, as we were passing through the Red Light District, a very large, old woman decided to respond to the hollering by flashing the whole boat… Oh Amsterdam..
After the boat ride the group was going to head back to the Red Light District, but I decided that a veggie burger from Hard Rock, a long bath, and sleeping in those huge beds was much more attractive to me!
There was a casualty of the trip though. My camera case went missing on the way back, and the general consensus is that I was pickpocketed. The irony is that I thought my camera case was safer than my wallet against pickpocketers, so I had put my driver’s license and credit card in there. Great… But everything has been remedied… It is just stressful!
I am back in Innsbruck now. This week is midterms so every one is trying to be a little more studious. We went to a lake yesterday and tried to get some studying done there, but we failed!
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Sunday we went to Eagles Nest, which despite the amazing views, did not warrant a second trip. It was cool though, because we got to see what remains of Hitlers actual house as well as where Gorring and Grubel's houses were too.. However spending 12 of 48 hours on a bus is a little too much!
On Tuesday we went TOBOGGANING!! It is basically a one man roller coaster. There are these little carts on a narrow little track that winds all the way down this HUGE mountain. You have to take a cable car up to the top and then they strap you into the little cart and off you go! There is a joy stick kind of thing that lets you brake or accelerate. It was terrifying, rickity, and probably the most fun thing ever!!!
Hall in Tirol:
Yesterday my German class took a field trip to a little village near Innsbruck. It was sooo picturesque! Our tour guide Janine took us to lots of historical places there, but most interestingly to the church where they have this huge collection of relics (aka human bones) on display. It was the weirdest church I have ever seen!!
Alright.. y'all have been debriefed.. now on to AMSTERDAM!!!!
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
A whole freaking lot has happened this week.. so bear with me..
The BBQ on top of the mountain that I mentioned in my last blog was super fun but super sketch at first. When the guys showed up with their vans we were kind of freaked out. Mama always told us not to get in the car with strangers.. but we did anyway and it was way worth it! Caitlin coined our group's name.. 'Capital T's.' 'T' of course standing for THRILL!! We saw some amazing views and met some really cool Austrians who are also kind of sketch but that might just be an Austrian thing.Classes:
Classes started last Monday! My classes are really interesting! I dropped Food and Culture (but before you think I'm crazy, believe me, it was tons of work and went way too in depth. Besides.. there was going to be very little sampling.. LAME..) German is a heck of a lot of work, but I have already learned so much!! I think it will end up being a good experience. History is AWESOME! My teacher has had a really interesting life, and his lectures are really fun!
After class last Monday, our activites director Manfred took us on an impromptu little tour of Innsbruck. We learned how to Prost! (Cheers!) correctly-- You have to make eye contact or it is 7 years bad sex-- and we learned a little history about the building in Olde Towne that we walk by everyday!
After class last Tuesday, we had to go to a hiking lecture so that we didn't underestimate hiking in the Alps. Apparently the weather can go from perfectly sunny to snowing in a matter of 30 minutes up on the mountain!! On Monday of this week, we went on our first hike up to Rumer Alm which is like 1250 meters up the mountain. It kicked my hiney!! I am still sore!! We also learned that Manfred is a dirty, rotten liar. He said that this was the easy hike...but it wasn't. He also said that it would last about 2 hours.. It lasted FIVE HOURS! I kind of wanted to die...
Last Tuesday night we went to a soccer game! SO EXCITING! The Wackers (that would be us), which is apparently German for Braves, were playing Hamburg is a preseason game. Hamburg was supposed to beat our hineys, but WE WON!! We were sitting in what would be the equivilant of the student section with a whole bunch of soccer hooligans! It was AMAZING!! They were all doing chants in German, few of which I am pretty sure was their versions of 'Who's That Coming Down the Track' and 'If You're Happy and You Know It.'
We had our railpass orientation last Wednesday and got our Eurail passes! Afterwards we made the trek to the train station to get our passes validated and to book our cabin on the overnight train to AMSTERDAM!!
Friday night we went to a revolving sushi bar. It was probably the funniest meal I have ever had. Our waitress spoke German with a Japanese accent and very little English. We asked her to take our picture and judging by the product she was also half blind. She also felt very strongly that we clean our plates and would pick up our food and put it on other plates.. HILARIOUS!Dachau/Munich:
Last Thursday we went to a rather graphic lecture about Dachau, the concentration camp we went to on Saturday. The Dauchau trip was extremely emotional and really horrifying. We learned about the human experiments in Barracks 2 and about the prisoners living conditions.
I feel like it say so much about the human will to survive that anyone survived those conditions. I will now personally punch anyone in the face who says that the Holocaust didn't happen. Its just ridiculous. I think the thing that horrified me the most was the lack of remorse on the Nazi side. Even after the war, instead of begging for forgiveness at their trials, they were beging for time to write up their scientific reports on their human experiments. It is just disgusting..
Alright, I know that was a downer..I'm sorry
Bye for now!
Sunday, July 5, 2009
That night we had an orientation and then we went to a lot of the local pubs. One is called Hoftgarten and it is literally in the middle of a park. Its was crazy. It reminded me of a bar like in Panama City. Apparently its beach week, but I'm not going to lie, I was a little disappointed at how Americanized it was. We did go to one beer garden that we super chill and really relaxing!
The next day we were able to sleep in and get over our jet lag. We had a really relaxing day and were able to explore the city a little bit more. We kinda of got our bearings and figured out where to get like the basics. We climbed up into the Zum Turm tower which was absolutely beautiful! We had this amazing view of the city and the mountains. We also were able to see the ski jump from the Olympics which looked awesome!
That night we had the Opening Ceremony. It was really shawnky and fancy. We all got dressed up and listened to speeches from the Academic Director, the mayor of Innsbruck, and a representative from the government of Tirol (the state we are living in). It was very cool. I think the highlight of the night though was meeting President Mike Adams, UGA's president. He was so personable and was very willing to just have a normal conversation.
After the ceremony, we had dinner where we ran into a very nice Austrian who studied abroad at UNO during his undergrad. After dinner he showed us around to the pubs where the REAL locals go! It was much, MUCH cooler than the pubs we went to the first night!
This morning we had our walking tour of campus and figured out how to get to our classes. We have had a pretty chill day and everyone seems to be resting up for classes to start tomorrow. There is a get together tonight that is up the mountain that we are taking cable cars to, so that should be lots of fun!
I will try to keep y'all posted as best as possible, but computers and internet are hard to come by! I don't think that I will have a chance to post any pictures until I get home so yall are just going to have to watch 'The Sound of Music' and imagine how beautiful Innsbruck is!