Saturday, April 10, 2010

It's been a while...

Since my last post over a month ago, I have:
1. Visited a uranium mine
2. Parkoured off the Berlin Wall
3. Waited for an overrated glockenspiel in Prague
4. Written the most terrible sociology essay ever
5. Packed two weeks worth of clothes and necessities into one large purple backpack
6. Gallivanted through the likes of Spain, France, and Italy

That's a lot of stuff to cover! Rather than try and explain this all, I'd much prefer to show you through pictures...

at the Wismut uranium mine... radioactivity!


cool sepia shot of the Brandenburger Gate in Berlin

black-and-white of Pariser Platz near the Brandenburger Gate

big church in Berlin + Fernsehturm (TV tower)

lovely shot of Prague along the Vltava River

famous Prague astronomical clock... wait for it...

Sorry for being a terrible blogger, but I figured pictures would interest you more than me blabbing on and on (it DOES happen!) about my gallivantings of the past month. Plus this gives YOU a perfect chance to talk to me about my travels! Hoping to get spring break pictures up ASAP, though school starts this week, so who knows when that'll happen...

For a full album of my Berlin experience, see below:


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Meißen excursion (pictures only)

Dear Mom, if one day I somehow become a billionaire, I will invest in a set of these for you.

I'll get this set for myself :D

Pretty much the coolest thing ever: an organ made of porcelain!

Monkey orchestra! (Music sold separately.)

Why hello down there, Europe.

Meißen Cathedral

Within the cathedral

Look at that detail, would ya?

Stereotypical view of a European street. Sorry, had to do it.

Little inflated bread child that we were supposed to keep safe all the way home!

Brie cheese on toast... tastes much more amazing than it looks (if you're a cheese fanatic!)

A little something I was able to conjure up in the kitchen... with Carbonari sauce, chicken, onions, and garlic!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Germans are too tall for me.

It's true. I can't reach the top shelf in our kitchen, where the salad bowls are stored, unless I magically grow six inches. That makes the process of eating a salad very difficult. Still, I've managed to feed myself appropriately. In other news, it was legitimately sunny out today, and warm enough for me to want to get my butt off the computer for a few hours and venture outside. I took some time to go grocery shopping, which is a newfound hobby of mine now that I know how to say numbers in German and can understand what the cashier is saying when he rings up my total. It's really exciting, in a mundane sort of way. Trust me on this one.
One of my favorite things about Europe (that I've discovered thus far) is the charming omnipresence of bakeries and cafes. Whenever my taste buds override my good sense and I go into one, I always get the feeling that each one of these tiny shops offering glass cases of sugary goodness is run by the friendly neighborhood baker lady, running around looking flustered while she tries to serve her loyal customers. It's a terrible description but that's the best I can do right now. Of course, I never had a friendly neighborhood baker lady, but there's a first time for everything! Stopped in today for ein pfannkuchen und ein spritzkuchen. The first is basically a jelly donut covered in sugar (yum!) and the second tastes basically like fried dough covered in a sugary glaze. Only more appetizing, because it's a fun shape!
Anyway, I'm looking forward to more days like this, because Dresden is BEAUTIFUL and I can't wait to explore it more on my own! I'll end this with some pictures, because I promised...

Pfannkuchen... smells divine right now! But I have to save it for breakfast...

The Kreuzkirche near the Altmarkt (near my dorm!)

Der Rathaus in Dresden

View from the train on the way to Weimar

In Weimar!

Entrance to Buchenwald

Inside the gate... pretty somber place.

View from the Buchenwald quarry... beautiful, silent, tragic.

Friday, February 19, 2010

So what's new?

Well, we started our German language classes this week. It was kind of nice to get back into the swing of things; we'll definitely need it to get prepped for classes in April. Outside of school, we also had our first cultural excursion yesterday, to Leipzig! It's a cute little city about an hour and a half away by train. Leipzig has a real European charm, just imagine: cobblestone streets, beautiful building facades, narrow alleyways, and street musicians serenading as you stroll by. The city itself is hard to describe adequately, as it must be when you're in a place as culturally rich and easily traveled as Europe. I guess every little town has its charms.
We must have looked quite the sight... thirty-some loud, boisterous Americans causing ruckus through the streets of Leipzig, streets barely wide enough to accommodate us all. Ha, sometimes I wonder what sort of impression the stern, worldly Europeans are getting from us. Dinner came at an Irish pub, a cozy, dimly lit, familiar sort of place. I had a Kartoffelsuppe, a potato soup, served with some type of sausage (which was delicious!) and of course, bread. I think of everything I have experienced here in Germany thus far, my favorite is the cuisine. Anyone knows I love to try new foods, and as of yet, I haven't had a German meal that I haven't enjoyed. For my taste buds, life is good.
Speaking of which, I had doner for the third time the other night, and it was absolutely fantastic! After world peace, my second wish would be that everyone could just have a doner normale, a fladenbrot (flatbread) filled to the brim with lamb meat, lettuce, red cabbage, onions, and tomatoes--and don't forget the special sauce! I think this idea would actually facilitate world peace because of how instantly happy everyone (and their mouths and their bellies) would be. I have already promised my family to treat them to doner if they come visit me. This promise is extended to anyone not already here who would like to visit :-P
Tomorrow, if all goes well, a group of us is going to Buchenwald, the concentration camp, where Elie Wiesel was once a prisoner. Should be interesting, to say the least. Pictures to come.

Saturday, February 13, 2010


As I attempt to ward off hunger for a couple hours until "real" dinnertime (Nutella on bread works wonders for this!), I've decided to upload a few pictures that I've taken throughout my week here. Today there was a neo-Nazi rally in the city, so I stayed indoors, as I'm not positive I could pass as a German. Just trying to stay safe, though the danger level probably wasn't too high since we were all invited by the program coordinators and RA's to participate in the counter-demonstration...

The first one is one of the buildings on the Technische Universitat Dresden (TUD) campus... not all of the buildings are so picturesque, but that one was kind of cool.

Here's the view from my dorm room:

The Academy of Fine Arts. Fine indeed. Or, "the lemon squeezer".

The Frauenkirche, Dresden's most famous attraction:

And just a street view in the older part of the city... very pretty!

That's all for now, folks!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Safe and Settled?

Today marks my third day as a resident of Dresden, Germany. The BU program students (at the Engineering ones) have been running all over the city for the past few days, setting up bank accounts, getting registered with both the city and the school, scavenging for food, and the like. That, coupled with the fact that we didn't get internet until last night, has prevented me from an update until now. Which is fine with me; three days seems like a good point at which to take a little break and tell you all about my adventures:

Germany is an interesting place, to say the least. At first glance, walking down streets or through the mall, you might not even be able to tell that you were in a different country (aside from the lack of signs in English). It's not like the people look too much different, although many of the Germans have a very unique sense of style, particularly in the hair and piercing departments. But everything is so methodical here, and it's the little details that really get you. For instance:
1. Germans don't cross the street when the little red man is lit up. Even if it might be safe to cross, if there are any cars at all in sight, we must wait for the green man. Shellykins would probably do well here ("Guys, there's a car coming!" "It's a mile away, Michelle.")
2. Germans separate their trash into paper, plastic, biodegradable, and who-knows-what-else.
3. They are very finicky about cleanliness. My first conversation with my suitemate next door went as follows:
"Hi, I'm Angie. I'm a new student here."
"Hi, I am Kurt. I just cleaned the bathroom. We take turns every two weeks."
4. Everything in Germany (or Dresden at least) seems more well-thought out and efficient than any American counterpart. Anything to do with the straBenbahn (that's one of those weird B-looking things that I can't use here apparently), which is their local tram system, is a classic example. Clean, quiet, and controlled; that's what it's all about.

The city of Dresden is beautiful, by the way. Just imagine what it would've looked like had it not been firebombed to smithereens in WWII. We have the Elbe separating the city into two, the Frauenkirche (Church of our Lady), der Zwinger, and the Semperoper, all of which we were able to see on Monday, our first night there. Unfortunately I didn't have my camera, as it was a spur-of-the-moment decision to see all these places, but I will post pictures as soon as I can. Or if you're in that much suspense, GoogleImage it. It is amazing!
The dorm in which I now reside is pretty close to one of the more commercial parts of Dresden, where you can find the Centrum Galerie and the Altmarkt Galerie. The malls here combine regular shopping/department stores with random grocery stores splotched here and there. I like it.
For next time I promise to have pictures (whether or not I will be able to upload them is another story, given the 5GB internet traffic quota we have in the dorms). Walking tour of the city on Friday!
Miss you all back home in the States. Or in other European countries.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

On the Road

As the light fades now at 4:36pm, I am heading to New York City. It's the beginning of something very new - in fact, it's the take-off point, quite literally, for a period of almost six months that I will be spending abroad in Dresden, Germany and gallivanting around the likes of Europe. I'm not armed with much ammo; two large suitcases with room to spare for all the fun trinkets I may find while abroad, and my handy dandy purple backpack.
It's weird how fast this moment has come... I remember everyone groaning when we had to apply wayyy the hell back in June for this program. But I'm now glad that we had this much time to wrap our heads around the idea of being in a foreign country (where most of us don't speak or understand the language!) for half a year. It's a bit surreal that this is actually happening - and to me, of all people. This is the kind of stuff that only happens in movies!
It was hard to leave my family, my friends, my school, and the city I've come to love over the past year and a half. But I'll have friends with me, and friends will certainly be made, and I'm sure I'll find another city to love just as much (but in a different way, of course!) I don't know how many people, if any, will actually follow this blog, but I wholeheartedly believe in living vicariously through others. Or at least keeping updated with their journeys... the choice is yours.
But I promise the next posts will not be nearly as boring or pensive as this - I have places to see and people to meet, and food to eat! Plus pictures will keep our short attention spans entertained, eh?