A Salzgiving Dinner + a note on Mauthausen

The weekend before the actual Thanksgiving weekend we had Thanksgiving weekend. (Logic)

Regardless, we had a day trip to Mauthuasen. On a serious note, nothing can make you more thankful and simultaneously introspective than visiting a concentration/working camp. I was overwhelmed from a spontaneous overflow of emotions that took form in wanting to appreciate everything I was lucky enough to have. I strongly recommend experiencing this at one point. I may or may not have gotten into an argument with our tour guide regarding correlations between american business practices/overseas production facilities and that of work done by those victims in concentration camps but that is a void point. Mauthausen is moving and it was a fantastic way to kick off a weekend filled with thanks.

Sunday, the day of our thanksgiving dinner was fantastic. I dont know what it was about the atmosphere but i have never felt closer to my salzburg family. All 40 of us played some role in the dinner and the decorating amd that in itself was imcredible. We started off the morning with a 5k turkey trot wherein which we all looked like major goofs running aroumd salzburg with turkey headbands.
Dinner was incredible considering i had the honor of sitting beside my hero and the smartest woman ever frau Loos. Dinner began with me so nervous i was shaking and fighting violent urges to throw up as i attempted to demonstrate my intelligence by shakingly introducing topics of art that i may have googled the night before so we would have a plethora to discuss

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Regardless, it was awesome. The best Thanksgiving weekend ever.
Also i center parted my hair! Heres some images for your viewing pleasure:

 

 

 

CUTE.

Prague: Czech the water before you drink it.

 

 

Prague. Prague. Prague.

Cool. Cool. Cool.

This is what I will open with:

 

I may look foolish but actually I am owning that dance floor.

probably not.

but maybe a little.

Prague is/was absurd(ly fun.) I spent the whole weekend mystified by BEAUTIFUL sights/to much absythine/John Lennon stuck in my head all weekend. Needless to say could you want more? no.

you couldn’t.

We arrived in Prague at about 12pm. For those that do not know Prague is in Czechoslovakia its hip and cool and a destination city in Eastern Europe that definitely lives up to its cool factor. (highly recommend)

our hostel:

 

was cool and covered in graffiti and chill.

We dumped our stuff and then wandered into the city where the first place we went was to the Metronome! which as we would find out later that night was actually the lamest aspect of Prague. But we thought it was pretty cool and AWESOME view and it kept the beat of the city? I don’t know. Regardless there was a lot of stairs.

Here’s some photos to distract from the fact that I have nothing else to say:

 

At the Metronome there was that line of shoes mainly converses. Megan tried to jump up and scavenge a pair for herself but was quickly reminded that she has the vertical leap equivalent to that of most 5 year old children.

We also saw what would be the first of many viewings of the clock tower:

you can see the two clocks. The one on the bottom is actually the famous one. Its astrological and people stand around waiting for the hour to turn to see it do something? I didn’t see it as I have zero patience for such things.  Regardless the clock tower is cool and tall and its nice as a centralizing aspect for finding your way around Prague.

After the Metronome we wandered down in the direction of St. Charles Bridge where we encountered these terrifying creatures.

 

Gilmore Girls taught me never to mess with a swan. They are savage wild creatures. This is as close as I got. Some people however, were braver than me and were feeding them bread. They clearly were misinformed about how savage these wildebeests can get.

 

The smile on my face is a ruse. I was actually terrified. In the background of both of these pictures you can see St. Charles Bridge which is famous and cool and really old kind of looks like its crumbling.

 

There are lots of vendors, artists, gypsies etc that takes residence on this bridge. We walked around till around 8ish? and then went back to our hostel to prepare for our pub crawl.

We made lots of friends and I had a great time. I made friends with these CRAZY girls from Australia one of which was named Eleanor and helped me adjust my shirt so that more men would love me? unclear. Regardless they were fun wild and australian great combination heres some pics:

that guy in the gray ralph lauren pullover was from Georgia which Megan thought was cool? unclear.

We had fun.

Meanwhile….Megan who experienced an unfortunate combination of WAY to much absinthe and a 2 hour power hour. foolish.

She ended up here:

 

use your imagination.

SATURDAY

We had breakfast at our hostel and looked a world map and discussed all the fabulous places we would go at a later date and then set off once again to explore prague. We encountered many sights both beautiful and terrifying.

Beautiful:

 

Terrifying:

*yes that is Megan photo bombing this terrifying couple’s wedding photos.

We then went to the John Lennon Wall. As imagine had been stuck in my head basically all weekend it was refreshing to find the root of this problem. This wall is cool! They repaint over it every year to start over. Love it.

 

We found some of the creepy David Czerchny sculptures such as the weird crawling babies that have no face that small children utilize as slides. Prague children are odd.

 

Petrin Hill was awesome too theres a mini eiffel tower and stuff. I had seen the eiffel tower only like a week before so the coolness? of a smaller replica was lost on me. My camera died so no picture evidence.

We are now on top of Petrin Hill admiring the view and realize we have approximately 45 minutes to get back to our hostel change and get back to the old city to meet for our second pub crawl of the weekend. This causes us to steadily jog back which I would describe as hellish.

The Prague Pub Crawl is FUN. We broke it down (intense dancing) at every pub made lots of friends. Megan had recovered from her foolish the night before and had rosen from the ashes as a sort of prom queen amongst our fellow pub crawlers.

Call me maybe, turbulence, hip hop, mosh pit, 5 story club, nicole getting CRAZY, 5 story club *contains oldies floor with people dancing cool and Nicole never wanting to leave it HILARIOUS.

 

What I learned from this weekend is I desperately need to learn how to dance. Its a real problem as showcased in above pictures. I *believe* I can. Then I see photos like these and realize I cannot. At all. Schade.

We also made friends with other people studying abroad in Salzburg What are the chances that we meet them in Prague?! random. regardless Prague is a cool place. There is much fun to be had there.

 

FRANCE: Pretending to be Parisian.

 

Prologue: This blog post is going to be an arduous read. To quote Jack Kerouac when he spoke of his first novel the Town and the City, “I akin the reading experience to traveling the Nile in a row boat.” I can guarantee that I will ramble, stumble along odd tangents, make poor jokes, and genuinely be annoyingly positive (i.e. the Eiffel Tower AMAZING, Hanna AWESOME, Fontainbleau INCREDIBLE.) So keeping that in mind I will not blame you if you decide to in fact pass this one over. If 5 minutes from now (i’m assuming average reading speed) you are hating me and my shatty writing you are out of luck.


FRIDAY

Midterms are OVER. Thank whatever God you believe in and get on the bus we are going to Paris! (yes, you read that right we drove from Salzburg to Paris. DEATH) After an unfortunate 6 am wake up call and an inevitable 4 hour nap we rolled up to our first stop; Ulm. Ulm is the birthplace of Albert Einstein and has a giant church (typical European entity) with the tallest spire in the world. While people were oohing and aahing I was hurriedly scanning for a coffee place. After receiving my necessary jolt we once again boarded the bus (death) and took off to our final destination of the day Metz. Metz was adorable. After dinner at the Ibis a couple of friends and I wandered the city’s small streets, impressive churches, and found a little festival. After sleeping all day on the bus I discovered I was in fact still tired and slept amazingly in my little bed.

SATURDAY

Another early morning and bus ride (death) leads the gang to Reims where the wind chill made it feel as if the temperature was -1,000,o00 (I have apparently lost my Alaskan edge). The cathedral was stunning and the streets/shops were once again adorable (repetitive). We then went on a tour of the Tattinger wine cellars. Saw some cool old bottles and had the winemaking process explained to us (Note to self: learn more about wine). We then got have a sampling where I strategically acquired 3 glasses instead of just 1 (brilliant).

We are finally in PARIS. Immediately, Laura Nicole and I head to the Eiffel Tower. Are there words for the Eiffel Tower? It’s huge, it’s glittery, it’s breathtaking, its everything you imagine (so few things are so that’s an astounding feat). I ate the first of what will be many (WAY TO MANY) crepes and Laura and I got accosted by a gross man. HELLO PARIS

.

SUNDAY

Notre Dame, Saint Chapelle, The Rodin, Napolean’s Tomb, Arc de Triomphe WHOA.

“Supposedly” Sunday is the day of rest but apparently the catholic church does not believe that this is applicable when in Paris. Naturally, we began our Sunday at Notre Dame and attended mass along with 300+ asians. The mass was in French and I spent the entire hour counting the amount of times the priest began making nondescript gregorian chant sounds. unclear.

Regardless, Notre Dame Cathedral is obviously AMAZING. and COOL, and AWESOME.

We took adorable pictures in front of it

Sidenote: how cute/Parisian is Hanna Bauer?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From Notre Dame we strolled to the most amazing church I have ever seen. Saint Chapelle was literally incredible. There are no words.

Then we strolled to Saint Chapelle. Stop here. I cannot emphasize ENOUGH how incredible this church is. I don’t remember the whole history behind it (consult wikipedia if you’d like) because I was to busy trying to stop my jaw from hitting the floor.

the stained glass is insane. this picture doesn’t even do it justice. After gawking for an obscene amount of time, the Shell and I wandered through the latin quarter and found a delightful Parisian restaurant to have lunch at. It was yummy and delightful conversation then we met back up with everyone else and headed over to Musee Rodin, the first of what would be MANY museums on this trip.

We saw the Thinker which was pretty cool. The Rodin museum had a lot of cool art in it however the thing that encapsulated my full attention and while others wandered the museum I stood right here

and fantasized about how this staircase was an essential aspect of my future home. I have the color scheme all picked out already so I am going to need to start cranking out a trashy book, hey if some dumbo can write 50 shades of grey and make TONS of money I can very easily do the exact same thing. I won’t even build the rest of the house who cares about that. I will have a bed and this staircase and i will be the most happy of all the people.  oh and of course a dog.

After the Rodin Museum a small group of us and the ,magical, Frau Loos went to Napolean’s Tomb. completely absurd. I mean really…its a giant GIANT room with a HUGE tomb in the middle…

I was confused by it because I never got the low down on whether his body is actually in it? So I just kept imagining Napolean’s *tiny* decomposing corpse in it. gross.

I hastily departed from that museum? tomb? I don’t know and went on a MAGICAL adventure around Paris with 4 of my favorites

we discovered the most beautiful view with the eiffel tower in the back which apparently is not such a secret considering not just 1 but 5 brides were taking wedding photos there. STUNNING

 

we then wandered through a super great park where street urchins were playing soccer and flying/fighting? with kites immediately making me begin to talk incessantly about the Kite Runner much to the chagrin of my comrades.

We walked down Champs Elysees which is absurd and packed and has lots and lots and lots of stores. I frankly don’t get why people rave about it…unless you want to drop 5,000 euro on a Louis V handbag after waiting in line for an hour. If thats the case then more power to you and you’d love the Champs Elyseess.

Heres a picture of the Arc de Triomphe:

 

We got back to our hotel after this via metro and we embarked on what Father Mark declared would be the best part of our Paris trip….(foolish). I put on pajamas kicked back and laughed at everyone who tried to take pictures of Paris while we are driving by in the bus. (equally foolish) So ended our first total day in Paris.

Monday

blah blah blah insert post about exhaustion regarding early morning wake up and terrible breakfast buffet with horrid coffee.

We go to Fontainebleauuuuuu. Fontainebleau. The lesser known castle/palace/home? of Napoleon. Versailles tends to get all the attention (more to come) but Fontainebleau is quite nice. Its old, its big, the gardens are absurd and you can SEE where Napoleon? Ferdinand? someone’s wife gave birth to some aristocrat of importance. WOW. The furniture is so heinous I wanted to light it on fire but otherwise I found strolling through Fontainebleau quite relaxing and nice. Unlike Schonnbrunn Palace in Vienna I was having no daydreams of my past aristocratic lifestyle here (I am clearly very very very not French esque) and I may or may not have farted in the ballroom. (classy)

 

After the morning at Fontainbleau we all broke apart and I went to Shakespeare and Co with some comrades. It was beautiful and awesome. and nerdy. all my favorite things. Michelle got so entranced that we lost her oops. Regardless I sat on a bench that Oscar Wilde sat at and bought a copy of Naked lunch (nerd moments abound)

 

Loved it. We wandered through the latin quarter shopping la la la but I was in nerd book heaven and couldn’t focus on anything.

Laura, Nicole, and I went to meet our friend Michael who was making a special trip to Paris to meet us from Nantes where he is studying abroad for the semester. unfortunately his train got delayed which caused the three of us to wait FOREVER at the world’s stupidest 3 way train/bus junction thing. After waiting a long long time (only for Michael would we wait this long) we went to Sac de la Cour which is not only an AMAZING church but is also where the riff raft of Paris hang out, drink, and look over an INSANE view of Paris

the walk up is long and arduous (much like this blog post) but worth it. the little streets are wonderful and the Paris that you dream about when you think of Paris. I imagine that the Sac de Cour streets are where Audrey Hepburn would hang out cute and very chic.

we get back to our hotel with the intention of going to bed. BUT WAIT. we have a message from Michael he is in Paris and wants to meet us! we get redressed (upon arrival we had immediately taken our bras off) and hit the streets once again to meet Michael once again at the Arc. HAPPINESS

 

TUESDAY

Welcome to Versailles. Where you are hit, pushed, and trampled in a vicious battle of the fittest to get the best view of Maria Antoinettes bed. MARIA ANTOINETTES BED. THE VERY BED SHE SLEPT IN. AHHHH.

no.

just no.

Versailles was what I imagine hell to be like. You are in a maze. You are being pushed in all directions. You are too hot and scared. You try to get your map out and find that it has been taken by someone. You are fighting waves of nausea. You claw your way out of what is the most absurd mansion/prison ever where everything (walls, bed spreads, chairs, floor) is the same very intense pattern that gives you a headache. You are sweating profusely. All you want is a crêpe and a minimally decorated room to sit in.

Here is me before I entered this torturous palace. (which is deceiving by the way because its INSANE from the outside and you are so excited until you realize the hell you have entered.)

 

Once I made it to the garden I felt better I found a bench I found a Megan and I was able to walk off my anxiety.

 

But really ultimate happiness was leaving Versailles. I also just realized that these pictures are very deceiving considering there is truly no one in the backgrounds of any of these. DO NOT LET THESE FOOL YOU. I don’t know how this happened considering Ferdinand couldn’t have built a palace/home? big enough to make you not feel claustrophobic with tourists in.

whatever. i’m done with that

we then went to the musee de Marmont which was the cutest museum EVER. and inside of what is now my favorite home I have ever been into. the staircase there was also incredible! we weren’t allowed to take pictures and they were very very strict about it. I think they could sense my intense desire to snap a photo of the staircase as I kept shifting my eyes to the guards and back to the staircase ready to whip my camera out should they choose to look away for a second(they didn’t) and they must have misinterpreted my odd behavior as wanting to steal a painting because I got asked to please move to the next room. NO guard I don’t want a stupid monet. I want that staircase.

Hanna, Erin, Chelsea and I then went thrifting. Awesome. walked to Eiffel Tower again. Awesome.

then went BACK to the Sac de La Cour bought some AWFUL 2 euro wine. gross. and drank wine while looking at the Paris skyline.

 

life is pretty cool.

Wednesday 

So begins the grueling day of museum touring. The Louvre for 3 hours and the Musee de Orsay for 3 hours. I am wearing comfy shoes I am ready to pretend to know things about art.

Venus is cooooool. a powerful chick. she is sexy and awesome and helping to abolish the patriarchy. you go girl. Work that hollow bronze cast.

I also “saw” the Mona Lisa.

 

yep.

I liked the Orsay better. We weren’t allowed to take photographs there but they had a painter there that painted exclusively prostitutes. I thought that was cool and counterculture and cool. (eloquent)

I then went thrifting (again) and bought an awesome cardigan and dug through many bins in hopes of being like the lady from the New York Times that discovered a Hermes scarf for a euro there but we all know that doesn’t happen to normal people. BOO.

I then had what was the greatest dinner EVER with Hanna and we ate typical Parisian food YUM and talked for like 4 hours and I educated her about fish. it was awesome and great and FUN FUN FUN.

Thursday

We leave Paris and I am sad.

 

Paris was a good time. Its hard not to have a good time in Paris though. Its a cool city. *shrugs* I now need to run for like days in order to work off all my crepe calories.