January 22 and 23, 2010
Well we arrived at Frankfurt airport at 6:30 am Germany time (11:30 pm Colorado time) after a long day of traveling starting at 3:30 am on Jan. 21st! Colorado left me with a absolutely beautiful sunrise. The flight was great, there were not a lot of passengers so we got to spread out over two seats! I watched "My Life in Ruins" on the plane to get me in the Europe mode (the warm one!). I met one of the girls that attends Salzburg College with me at our connecting flight in Philidelphia so we sat near each other on the plane. :)
After getting our baggage and trying to find our group at "the meeting place" which ended up being an actual place we set out for our adventure of Germany right away - driving to Köln! We arrived at our hostel which was wonderful compared to what I was expecting! Our school is comprised of 30 students (26 new semester students like me!) So we all went out into Köln and at lunch in the train station then walked up the 533 steps of one of the towers of the Köln Cathedral! This was amazing seeing as most of us had not slept for over 24 hours at least! We just kept thinking that the top would be soon! lol. The view from the top was amazing and definitely worth the leg burning! We received tours for that day and the next on different aspects of city which were so interesting! (look for the link to my fliker for pictures and descriptions!) Who knew that Roman sewers could be so interesting right? :) One of my favorite things in Köln was the St. Maria church. Just so beautiful! We were greeted both mornings by traditional German breakfasts - a roll, butter, meat (usually a salami etc.) and cheese. Very different! Our group found a great local feeling bar that we visited twice - the people were so nice helping us talk in German. It was a fun time to get to know each other.
January 24th, 2010
After staying two days in Köln (Thursday and Friday) we hurried off on our bus to Bonn see the Museum of Federal Republic of Germany which was an interesting visit about Germany post WWII. Our tour guide was great and had many personal stories about her family to add to the tour, like how her father was not allowed back into West Germany and put in jail after the separation was partially opened because he had a large beard and refused to shave it off and look like his ID picture!
Then we drove to Worms (pronounced with the W as a V) and visited a synagogue, the Luther memorial, and a historical Jewish cemetery. It was very interesting learning about this religion on a deeper level and seeing how their faith played such a large role in our history. We walked through the cemetery while the snow was falling and it was SO beautiful. I learned that instead of putting flowers and gifts on the graves they put small rocks on them, I am not certain why but it was an interesting new fact!
From Worms we bused to Heidelberg making his our 3rd stop of the day. Here we spent the night again in a youth hostel.
We toured Heidelberg on a walking tour of Old Town again with snow! I had been here before with my Grandma, Grandpa and Mother when I was in 8th grade but it looks so different and beautiful in its own sense in the winter! It just looks like to is in a fairy tale book! We saw the largest wine barrel in the world! It was so large I could not even believe it - the height of a house! Apparently the barrel was built because every wine maker had to pay a tax and they brought their share of wine to the barrel for the Elector! We had free time to walk around the town and we went to a cafe and had hot chocolate that was amazing! Definitely not Swiss Miss! It had froth and the chocolate had been a melted chocolate bar we are sure! What a great way to warm up - then we had lunch and had homemade broccoli soup. Ummm - Just no words to describe how delicious! Then we visited historic Rothenburg, walked the streets and ate one of their signature fried dough pastries! We drove to stay in Nürnberg for the night in a hostel.
January 26th, 2010
After a horrible night of sleep we all slowly walked down to breakfast and off to a walking tour in again the snow of Nürnberg. The night before German students staying at the hostel had been very very loud all night screaming and fighting on our floor despite the management coming up to talk to them! On the boys floor it seemed to be the same except the medics had to come for a boy cause a fight broke out! But it was neat because we stayed in the old Nürnberg castle as our hostel! It was beautiful!
We toured the old town and learned a lot of history about the medieval city. We eventually drove to another part of Nürnberg and went to the Nazi Party Rally Grounds Exhibition "Fascination and Terror" which was very moving and interesting. It talked about Hitlers rise to power and his reign. Very educational, and I learned a lot about his influence of the people through his architectural desires. We listened to accounts of people that went to Hitler rallies and even today they make it sound like the best thing in the world. A very interesting perspective! Once done with Nürnberg, we drove to Salzburg. A four hour drive that was filled with the movie "The Sound of Music!" lol.
January 27th, 2010
We arrived the night before in Salzburg and met our lovely host mother Bea. She is a grandmother with a fiance Hans that lives with us and their HUGE fluffy cat named Begeria. :) I live with two other fun girls, Emily and Jane - but we all have our own rooms. Our host mom had homemade Austrian cookies waiting for us in our rooms. (She made little rum ball cookies that could get you a DUI!) We had a wonderful homemade dinner and chatted with her and her daughter and grandson that helped pick us up from the Salzburg bus. She lives in the cutest Austrian house and still has all of her Christmas decorations up! Yeah! The view out my window is of part of the mountain and the side street and back yard. It is beautiful in the snow!
We walked and rode the public bus a bit in order to get to school today. Bea went with us to make sure we made it ok. Our school is across the river (Salzach) from our house and supposedly a 20-30 minute walk ... it has taken the three of us girls 45 minutes every time so far! I guess we need to work on our fast European walking. :) We had orientation today learning about some Austrian customs like always close your door, ask to go in the refridge - no matter what, and to conserve everything because they love the environment. In the afternoon we went on a walking field trip through the town with one of our teachers Dr. Kecht who is an (Austro-American) so that we will begin to know our way around town. After a long day of adventure we came home walking (a big adventure as it is a big city - at least from this country girl!). We were greeted with homemade asparagus soup (oh so yummy) to warm us up and a spicy goulash. I love the drink she always gives us it is a natural cherry concentrate that we mix with water. Best juice ever!
Our host mom and Hans wanted to celebrate our arrival so we sat down for a nice chat in their lowly lit family room with champagne. We talked and they tried to have the 5 of us drink 2 bottles of champagne. Bea told us there is an Austrian saying " You can walk on one foot!" lol. Then we all went up to our rooms and slept! It is very cold here so I slept with leggings and an under armor under my p.j.s!
January 28th, 2010
We again had class and this time we walked by ourselves. An adventure once again, I will be so glad when I can actually figure out how to walk to school without a map! We had our first Austrian Culture class, which was filled with history for the first day. Our school is partially built into the side of a mountain. The kitchen where our school cook Brigita cooks is inside of the mountain! The building is four or five levels tall and of course the first classroom is on the 3rd floor and up. So lots of stairs and walking every day! We have Culture class in the library on the top floor with a distractibly beautiful view out the windows of the homes and mountains and river! I went on a hunt to get a cell phone that works here - it took an hour long walking trip to the train station but I now can be connected with the world here! Lunch is served every day at school and is home cooked. Gosh these Austrians know how to cook! It is like Thanksgiving every day. (I don't have classes today, but I am walking to school just for some of Brigitas cooking for lunch!) We had a walking tour in the afternoon for 2 hours (cold!) about the history of Salzburg. We learned that Salzburg loves Mozart, but nobody really thought much of him until he was known throughout Europe and that he really hated Salzburg! lol. I bought an Christmas ornament out of straw of a beautiful star as that is the traditional ornaments here. :) Then we walked back home (a total of over 4 hours of walking in below 0 c degree weather!). We did some homework then at 7pm (prompt - everything is very prompt here ... buses come on the increments of 9 not 10 but 9 here!) we had homemade onion soup and a fish curry (that interestingly had bananas, carrots, fish, curry, and green beans in it... not sure if it is may favorite... the bananas throw me off!) Then off to bed.
January 29th, 2010
So far it has been an amazing learning experience! Lots of traveling so I am looking forward for real classes to start next week. :) Sorry this was so long but this week has been busy! We will be having a host parent welcoming party at our school tonight and I think that is it! Today is my dad's birthday (at least my Austrian time!) So HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD! Love you!
Capri by Courtney Tracy is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.