Sunday, June 6, 2010

Sleeping Beauty's Castle and Hofbrauhaus! Awesome Weekend!

Monday March 8th, 2010
I had my first exam in Salzburg today in Economics. I tried to study for the past few days but they were filled with inefficient studying because of my shoulder. So I went into my test with the 17 pages of typed notes from that course and hoping I knew everything. It was five essay questions, which I think hurt me in the end because I knew most of them but on one of the questions I wrote about the wrong treaty, everything was correct information except I wrote about the wrong treaty. So fail. My highest chance was to get a 4/5. Bummer. When I walked up the walkway to home, I saw Bea waved at me from the kitchen window. There is a plus. Then had dinner with Emily and Jane and Skyped (which happens every night!) :) 
Tuesday March 9th, 2010
Today I spent the whole day freaking out about my German test tomorrow. All I could think about was all of the very low grades I got in high school in Spanish! I am not a foreign languages type of person - it just does not click in this brain of mine. So every spare moment between classes was spent trying to remember verb conjugations and such. Yup that just about consumed my whole day!
Wednesday March 10th, 2010
Today I took my first German test, and I think it went fairly well considering I thought I would get a flat out F. I knew a few things so that is always positive isn’t it? lol. But we have a vocabulary quiz next week that can be extra credit for our test grade. I love my German teacher Jasmine! The relief of having my Economics test and my German test over was so liberating. :) After classes Kimily, a classmate and I walked down to the market in downtown Salzburg and bought a pretzel the size of my face to split for a snack before dinner because we would be home late for dinner that night. Salzburg University has a buddy program for their international students and they have invited the Salzburg College students to participate, so we went to meet our buddies. Mine wasn’t able to come that night but I had a great time talking with other Austrians for the first time since I have been in Salzburg. It has been so hard to talk to Austrians and find people my age that it was really refreshing. We all met at the Augestiner’s brauhaus and had a great night learning about each other. I talked most of the night with a guy that is going to be a secondary English teacher and a guy going into social work who works at a center for disabled people. In the end I was invited to come to the disabled center. Hopefully it works out and I can go see what it is like! That would be amazing! 
We found out that Kimily’s buddy worked at Dachau for his civil service duty. It is always so interesting to find out what people do for their civil service duty if they don’t go into the military. I had a discussion with him about the United State’s role in Iraq and Afghanistan. He said that the United States was wasting lives and money. When asked if there were to be a second “WWII Holocaust” or situations like the Darfur holocaust what he believed that the Austrian military’s role would be if there would be a role he said it would be to give ideas to the people on how to resist. He said that the Austrian military should only provide goods to the people and not participate in any fashion with military force. When I asked him what the “ideas” that the Austrian military would provide to the people to combat the rapes, and murders of thousands of people. He could not give any suggestions. I asked if he believed that communication alone could solve these problems and he said yes. I thought this was an interesting response because personally I do not see how “using words” to tell someone not to rape you is practical. He believed that if the people of Sudan needed military assistance that it was not necessarily the responsibility of the Austrian military to help, even though they would be asked. It was an interesting response, it seemed that he believed that the only proper role of a military is to give verbal instructions and to provide goods. To me I wonder why Austria has a military, should it not just be considered an aid relief organization? The Austrian military is not there to help assist in protection of others from his point of view. It was a cold walk home but a good end to a few stressful days. :) 
Thursday March 11th, 2010
Today I spent the whole day rearranging my plans for my two study traveling break. The unrest in Greece just has not decreased and most of the public transportation is shut down. And as I would be traveling alone, I decided it would not be a good thing to be lost in Greece alone, with no public transportation, and a language that a triangle, and zig zags are suppose to mean something! So one week until I leave and I am re-arranging my entire trip. I think I will stay longer in Romania and go to the Suceava area where they have painted monasteries from the 14th century! Looking at tours and finding hotels - while canceling everything in Greece. Oh fun time! Ahhhhh. Also tomorrow our school goes to Munich for a day trip so I have to pack because a few of us are staying the weekend. Should be fun though. All I have heard about Munich is how wonderful it is. :) 
Friday March 12th, 2010
Today our class headed out to Munich in the morning from the Salzburg train station. When we arrived Emily, Lisl, Brent, Brittney, and I went to our hostel to drop off our weekend bags before going to the school field trips. I had booked our hostel for Munich in the madness of this week and thought I had booked us at the Easy Palace - honestly who names a hostel that? - and Emily knew where it was and we walked there. Later to find out that was not the hostel I had ended up booking at, we were staying at The Wombat. Which was just down the street near the train station. The place looked so fun with its bright colors and nice staff when we walked in, we dropped off our bags in the luggage room and headed quickly - cause we were now late - towards the art museum so that Emily could go with her class. 
I on the other hand was not in any of the courses that had formal field trips to Munich so I got to come along free and choose an art museum I wanted to go into for free. I went to the Neu Pinaothek art gallery. It had some really pretty paintings from Flemish painters, lots of Orthodox iconography and large scale paintings. It was good to have gone I enjoyed the iconography but can’t say I would go back again. 
After that I ate my sack lunch from Bergita on the front steps of the museum and watched people. Emily and everyone would not be done with their tours until around 3 so I still had 3 hours left to do something! So I decided to just wander down a side street to find the Moderne Art Museum. The architecture of the building was really neat, as it was covered in thin cylinders of bright warm color hues! I went into their gift shop to see if I liked any of the postcards to see if I wanted to pay an entrance fee. The work was really weird but I decided to go look because I did not know of anything else to do for the next few hours and it was only 5 euros. 
Ends up that I saw the school group in the same museum and that I found Emily! The museum ended up being very cool, with not just pieces of white canvas on a wall considered modern art. :) Some of my favorite things was a room that was dedicated to the story of a boat battle done with neon colors and royal blues where the ships were drawn like a first grader. Another was a room with giant roses painted, three in each color set with a poem written on them. The poem was so pretty and what was even cooler was that the handwriting was not perfect - you could see the man’s misspellings (probably a dyslexic based on the fashion he misspelled repeatedly) and his natural handwriting. It was nice to see a piece of artwork that had not been photoshopped to perfection. There was also, a wax sculpture of a mother that had just give birth to a child and the child was laying on her stomach. It was just so realistic it was crazy and the expressions on the faces were priceless, I just could not stop looking at it! The last thing in the museum that caught my eye was a full room movie experience with six T.V.s that had a documentation of a journey of some men through the shores of a random island and a lady who drug them down stairs. It was the weirdest thing and Emily, Lynn and I stayed in there forever trying to figure out what the story was about! We were so mad when it ended and we still did not understand! :) Oh modern art!
After the museum Emily took me to see a church that had “the Devil’s footprint” in it. The story goes that when the church was being built that the Devil was so upset that he stomped his foot into the ground and left the dent. Just a little something fun. :) After that Emily headed off to meet her boyfriends family that lives in Munich to visit for the weekend and I headed to the hostel where I met Lisl, Brittney and Brent after a much needed nap and headed to the famous Hofbrauhaus! What a wonderful time! We found it just as we imagined with old men dressed in lederhosen and women in busty dirndls! haha. It was fabulous. We all ordered schnitzel and a beer. They went for the one liter mugs and I ended up 1 litering it with two 1/2 liters of budweiser in the end. I was impressed Brent and Lisl did two liters! It was a night full of laughters and stories. So glad that I got to spend a weekend with these folks, they are just up my alley. :) We walked back to our hostel while it snowed! 
Saturday March 13th, 2010
We set out to see the famous Disney castle, Neuschwanstein  in Fussen, Germany in the morning. We took the 10am train to Fussen arriving about noon. When we got to the train station we saw Alex a classmate waiting for a friend to meet him to go to Dachau. I love how the world can be so small sometimes! :) We bought a Bavarian train ticket which is just about the best thing ever. It is up to 5 people on one ticket for 30 euros total for all day travel anywhere in Bavaria. No wonder I love it there, great beer, great food, great travel, great castles and nice people! We had a picture perfect train view of the breath taking mountains and snow covered fields with little cottages on our way to the castles. We arrived at, I would have to say one of the most sketch train stations thus far. We had no information on what to do next but assumed we would follow the mass of people onto buses and hoped they were the ones to get to the castle. We lucked out! We arrived at the Castles. There are two castles at the location of Neuschwanstein and the castle before it Hohenschwangau Castle where Ludwig the II spent most of his life. We saw both castles starting with the Hohenschwangau castle, we had a tour which you have to get and the lady was the dullest tour guide I have ever encountered. Except for the part where she would randomly burst into laughter - lol that was entertaining. :) The castle was beautiful and filled with Swans! He grew up going to Swan lake and gained a slightly odd obsession of them which can be seen in his castles! The name Neuschwanstein means New Swan Castle! We had some time before our next castle tour so we took pictures of Lisl and the Lisl hotel that was located at the bottom of the hill between the castles! She was so excited! haha. :) Then we went into a shop to eat up time, where I was so excited to stumble upon finding a Stein bear. My mom had bought a Stein stuff animal bear for when she had her first child when she was in Europe. I absolutely love that bear to this day. :) So I decided to continue the tradition and bought a little white bear for my first kid (that will be in the far future if anyone was wondering!) Oh and yes I know that white is the worst color for a kids toy, but it had the cutest face! 
We then headed off to the famous Sleeping Beauty castle. And just like a princess would we and Brent went up to the castle in a horse drawn carriage! Yup it cost us a crazy 6 euros but the horses were so cute, and you just have to ride in a carriage at a Disney castle right!? Also I might mention it was bitter cold. :) The castle was built for Ludwig the II who invested many hours into designing and investing money into this castle only to live in it 172 days before dying! He drowned in the nearby lake with his psychologist that also drowned. Nobody knows if it was suicide, a murder or an accident! He died 3 days after being classified as insane. The coolest thing about the building was that at the top of the spiral staircase the pillar turned into a palm tree that was elaborately painted with the leaves on the ceiling and the sky above it royal blue sky with gold stars! Wagner the opera writer was one of Ludwig the II’s favorite people, so many scenes from his opera’s are depicted in the art of the castle. Also there was a theatre on the top level that had a very beautiful nature setting on the stage! Overall it was really neat!
We hiked down from the castle and stopped at a little cafe for a waffle and blueberries while our hungary Brent ate a whole schnitzel! haha. Then we scrambled to find a bus back to the train station, as it was getting dark. We barely caught the last bus, we were worried because somehow we ended up being by the castles and could not find anyone near us! We got to the train station and had to wait 45 minutes for the next train in the completely sketch train station! We finally got back to Munich and ran to the Hofbrauhaus for a beer and schnitzel before it closed! 
Sunday March 14th, 2010 
Sunday morning we got up and headed out to find breakfast forgetting we were not in America and that nothing is open on a Sunday. Sooo ... we were American and ate at McDonalds! The only thing open we could find! We watched the glockenspiel at noon turn with knights on horseback and dancers! Such a fun thing to see! I couldn’t believe how large the figurines were! We also got the privilege to see a group of traditionally dressed children sing in front of the glockenspeil! :) Then guess where we went for lunch? Yup. Back to the Hofbrauhaus for a beer and this time sausage before getting on our train back to Salzburg! Such a fabulous weekend! Couldn’t have asked for a better group of people to have done it with! 

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Capri by Courtney Tracy is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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