30 October 2009

Two Week Break - Italy

By the second week of break, I was getting a little tired of travelling, but we still had Florence and Rome left to go. The first day in Florence, we met three other students: MinYoung and David from Univerisity Notre Dame, who were studying for the semester in London, and Billy, from D.C., who was taking the semester off from school to backpack through Europe. We had all gone on the free city walking tour that our hostel sponsored and when the tour had ended, we had the option of going back to the hostel or going to lunch at one of the places our guide recommended. We were all pretty hungry and cold, and I'm not sure we actually found the restaurant the guide told us about, but in anycase, we ended up all having lunch together. We hung out together for the rest of the time after that, seeing Michelangelo's David statue, shopping in the markets, watching the sunset over Florence, eating alot of gelato, and enjoying Italian pizza.

Rome was overwhelming in its size, the rain we had, the number of motorcycles, the amount of marble used...and so many churches and ancient ruins! We travelled down on Wendesday to Rome with MinYoung and David and spent the first day with them at the Collosseum, the Palatine Hill, and the Roman Forum. The next day we visited St. Peters Basilica, the Vatican Museums, and the Sistine Chapel. It was very exciting, being able to see all these wonderful things that I had only read about in books. It was history and art, come alive.


Florence Pictures:http://picasaweb.google.com/Smilegirlerin/1920102009Florence#
Rome Pictures: http://picasaweb.google.com/Smilegirlerin/21To23102009Rome#

Two Week Break - Hamburg

As a break between travels, I took a train from Stockholm down to Hamburg to visit our family friends, the Albrods, for a couple of days. I had visited them earlier in the semester, too, but it was nice to see them again. My excuse was I had to gather more research for my German State project, but really, I love just hanging out with them and practicing my German, which they are patient enough to listen to. I spent the Friday exploring downtown Hamburg, visiting two museums and four churches and walking from one end of the city and back several times. Besides Reutlingen, where I now live, Hamburg is the city where, when I arrive, I just go *sigh* ahh...home. :-)


Hamburg Pictures: http://picasaweb.google.com/Smilegirlerin/Hamburg#

Two Week Break - Ireland & Sweden

For the first part of our two week break, Hilary, Jon Larson, and I headed off to Ireland and Sweden. We took a flight into Dublin and stayed there only one night and a day. That seems like a really short time for one city and it is. But we still saw all the sights around the city: Trinity College, the Guiness Storehouse, St. Patrick's Cathedral, etc. It was really expensive to stay in downtown Dublin, so I was really happy when we took a train west over to Killarney. Our hostel in Killarney was nice and homey - and cost 10 euros less per night. Killarney is a very tourist-y town. Right behind the main church is the entrance into Killarney State Park, which is where we hiked around on Sunday. It rained most of the day, but that didn't stop us. We took the trail around the lake and over to Ross Castle, a renovated tower castle from the days of the Irish chieftans. It was really cool. For dinner we had some warm (expensive) Irish home cooking and sampled local brews.

Stockholm, Sweden, was one of my favorite ever places to visit. It was absolutely gorgeous while we were there. Blue skies, clear of clouds, and the trees had just bloomed into their beautiful fall clothing - reds and yellows and oranges. It was really cold, but that just meant we took frequent breaks for hot chocolate or coffee, ha. In the three days we were there, Hilary and I : took a boat tour around the city, walked over its numerous bridges, strolled along the water, antique-shopped in old town, visited the VASA ship museum, got lost in the north side trying to find a restaurant, and spent an evening in the Nordic Museum learning about Swedish history. It was fantastic! I would definitely go there again. I hope you enjoy the pictures!



27 October 2009

Dresden ~ October 1st to 3rd

For only two and a half days in Dresden, Jon Larson and I packed alot in! We arrived in the city late on Thursday evening and walked from the train station to Old Town where our hostel was located. We hadn't had dinner yet, so we wandered around until we found a Tex-Mex restaurant (go figure!). We shared some really awesome french fries and tried a local beer, sat there and chilled......and then we went to bed. The next day we walked all through the old town and new town (across the river). We found out later we had pretty much done the walking tour that the Rick Steves book recommends - 3 times! It rained alot, so we spent most of the day in the Zwinger palace's four art galleries: Old Masters, Armory, Sculptures, and the Porcelain Collection. Entrance to all of them was only 7.50 for a student pass, which is pretty good. I liked the Armory and the Old Masters the best, especially since I got to see a few Vermeer paintings(he's one of my favorite painters). We tried to go to the opera in the evening, but they were totally sold out, it being the premier night for La Traviata. Kindof disappointing, since apparently it was the only thing going on at all in the city that evening, other than a really weird looking play. So the evening was "exciting" - we just sat and read books and then slept. The last day we went to the VW Transparent Factory. Its this big glass building factory that produces luxury cars, with one shift a day...pretty to look at, but kindof a waste of money because of that. Then we had a long train home.......

there's more Dresden albums after this one too, so make sure you check the rest out!