Things are looking up already. Though it looked gloomy when we missed one of our connections, we still had enough time to get to the airport and after a relatively smooth flight (the flight attendant yelled at me because my camera was on during landing) to Ireland. Our Hostel is quite cute, and the bunk beds don't squeak when you touch them, so all is well in that department. We pretty much dropped our stuff and went exploring, since we still had most of the day. Killarney is fairly small, so we were able to do a lot of the center of town (which boasts 25+ bars in a 400-yard radius). It was actually sunny for parts of the day, i.e. not during one of the four separate rainstorms that we walked through. Ireland is a very thrilling place, and I'll tell you why. Every other country we've been in: Coca Cola Light. Ireland: Diet Coke. Not like in the States, but better. I heart Ireland. So we walked around for a while and the we took a lovely walk though the Killarney National Park to the Ross Castle, Caislean An Rois in Irish, (at which point the sky opened up and poured) and then went back into town for a traditional Irish meal. By the way, did I mention that we came to Ireland for International Bailey's Day? We ate at Murphy's Pub (I had roast lamb... excellent, just so you know) and then we received complimentary shots of Bailey's Toffee Liquor. Tomorrow we're going on a bus tour of the Ring of Killarney. It should be quite beautiful, except that there's going to be a windstorm and showers. Oh well, we'll dry off eventually. Like back in the States.
I am down to thirteen days left in Europe. In addition to a three day trip to Ireland (everyone get your fingers crossed and keep them crossed for the next week) I have a day trip to Nuremburg and a day trip to Frankfurt planned. Plus you know, 11 hours of Economic Policy, 10 hours of Jewish Life and four hours of Finance and their respective exams/40 minute presentations. And packing. And deregistering with the city. And meeting with the people in charge of my program. And ResLife. And the House mother. Excuse me while I go bury my head under a pillow and go to sleep for the next thirteen days. Haha, just kidding. it will be fun. Much better than the 17.5 (!!!) hours that I have to spend in transit between Marburg and Richmond. On the way over they showed House on the plane... I hope that it's not the same episodes. Wish us luck on getting to Ireland!!!
Well, France didn't work out. Life goes on. Amanda and I decided to go to Frankfurt for a day of shopping on Friday and to Weimar on Saturday. Friday, it rained. We went anyway. And, like the mall-deprived people we have become, were completely over-stimulated by the flashing lights, pretty colors and, well, stuff. So in four hours of shopping we bought... lunch. I got a Christmas gift, and she got a pair of tennis shoes. Fairly unproductive overall. On the way back though, we made a discovery. When my dad came over, on the way back from the airport, we took the wrong train. Well, as it turns out, we didn't. There were two trains that were connected and then broke apart at Gießen. We were just on the wrong part of the train. We were quite impressed with ourselves for finally figuring this out. On Saturday we got up and left for Weimar at 7:43. We got to Weimar around 1:00 PM, and had lunch at Subway. Closest I've come to a real diet coke in three and a half months. I don't know how Subway managed to avoid the crap "Coca Cola Light" taste, but it was much more satisfying. The bus to Buchenwald, which was a concentration camp, only came once every two hours, so we had to wait until around 2:30 to get there. Once there, we hit the highlights, because it closes at dark. We were really lucky because it was the first clear, sunny day (freezing) day in ages, and we got to the memorial right at sunset. The memorial is the largest in Germany and was quite stunning. I'll include a link to pictures at the bottom. Then, from 4:30 PM to midnight, we tried to get home. We took the wrong train and ended up with hour or 45 minute layovers everywhere. So we ended up traveling around 13 hours for 2 hours at the camp. I thought that it was worth it. Amanda lost her phone on the way back, but whoever found it has contacted her, so that's good. All in all, a good weekend!
Exchange rates: $1=.67 Euro, 1 Euro=$1.48.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I had hoped to say that from France, but no such luck. Here's what happened. Well, we had seven train connections to make, beginning at 4:11 in the morning and ending where we pick up the bus at 8:00. First train, great. Second train swell. Fast forward to the fifth train. There was a mysterious accident. We don't know what happened. I think it blew up. Enter: Bus ride to other train station, followed by a 60 Euro taxi ride, only to discover that we missed the bus by around five minutes. These things happen. To have taken a taxi to the airport would have been another 170 Euro (approximately) bringing our total cost to around 300 Euro before we even got there. So we came back here. And fell asleep. Waking up at 3:00 in the morning tends to take it out of you.
Have not changed since last night.
It is now 9:30 in the evening, and in just six short hours, Amanda and I will be leaving our apartment to spend something like eight hours traveling to France. We're going to Montpellier, which is the fifth largest city in France (according to their website... since it's not listed on maps as a major city, we're not sure if we're buying it). It's quite exciting.
Today in conversation class we had to fill out withdrawal from the University papers. My goodness. I only have a little over three more weeks here. Time flies when you're having fun, I guess. And there is a ton of stuff to do before I leave. We're going to Ireland next weekend and then the weekend after that we're going to Nuremburg and Frankfurt for the world-renowned Christmas festivals. They're really supposed to be quite something. And around all that, I have to pack (:-/), de-register with the city, meet with my house mother, get my housing deposit back, and, well, pass my classes. Should be a busy couple of weeks. Anyway, Bon Voyage!
1 Euro = $1.48
This is pathetic (until I come home and get to change my euros for American bucks. Then it will be okay).
I can't even describe how much I miss Barcelona right now. We spent more time on the beach, had great food, and I got to go to the Maritime Museum and the Picasso Museum. Absolutely gorgeous. We got on the plane in tee-shirts and sunglasses, only to be greeted in Germany by rain, wind and extreme cold. It snowed the next day, and has snowed twice more since then. A bit insane.
Amanda and I have planned two more trips before I get home. The first is to Montpellier, France. We're flying there and spending two nights in a hotel. Total cost: 50 Euro. This will be next weekend. The weekend after that we're flying to Ireland and staying in Killarney for two nights. Total cost: again, 50 euro. It's quite hard to beat that.
This weekend is going to be a lazy weekend, which is pretty awesome. I haven't had one in a while, and I'm pretty excited about it. Yesterday I got my hair cut, and it looks amazing. Ericka did a really, really good job on it.
Hola! (Approximately the amount of Spanish I know)
One ten minute cab ride. Two one hour train rides. Standing around for 45 minutes. A one hour and ten minute bus ride. Standing around for 45 minutes. A two hour flight. Standing around for an hour because the bus was late. And an 80 minute bus ride later.... we made it to the Hostel. In Barcelona. Heck yeah. I'm with Ericka, Nick and Jessica and so far, I love it. Yesterday we explored some, found dinner, and pretty much crashed from all the traveling. Today we got up, walked through the city center and spent something like three hours on the beach in the sun. It was gorgeous. I may have a sunburn. More to come later, I just wanted to let everyone know that we got here okay.
$1=.68 European cents
1 Euro = $1.46
It's been about a week since I last blogged. On Thursday my dad came over. Despite a few problems (like luggage theft) his flights went pretty smoothly. He claims that it is because on both Icelandic Air flights, he put money in the available envelopes for crippled Icelandic children who want to travel. Good karma. We got back to Marburg in the evening and got dinner, unpacked (Thank you for the presents Mum, Grammie and Aunt Beth!) and more or less went to bed. The next day we walked around Marburg (we went to the castle and the old city and did most of the touristy stuff). Unfortunately for my dad, we were unable to find much by way of hardware stores. We did look though. The next day we went to Köln to see the chocolate museum and the Dom, which is an incredibly large cathedral. The last time my dad and I were in Europe together, we climbed to the top of St. Pauls Cathedral in London. This time we did the Domin Köln. 509 steps. I'm not sure how much my legs really appreciated this tradition. On Sunday he flew out again, and I got to do homework and go to a tutorial at night. And then yesterday came the genius realization. As of this coming Saturday, I'll have been in Germany for 3 months. And I have not gotten my residential visa yet. And the office is closed on Tuesday. And I'll be in Barcelona on Saturday! Oh no, oh no! I could be detained in Spain! (Totally my fault, by the way). So I contacted the people in charge of my program, and 14 worry-filled hours later, they called back to say that they had gotten an exception for me and I could go get my Visa today. I am now legally in Germany. Yay! What a good day. Off to Barcelona tomorrow at 5:00 AM!
1 Euro = $1.44