Thursday, May 21, 2009

I've been slacking on my updates...

I'm so sorry for not updating the blog sooner! I've been so busy doing stuff that I kept forgetting to let everybody know about it. I'm just going to stick to giving a brief synopsis of what I've been up to because there's too many details to write about all of them.

Last Weekend's Adventures: I posted some videos from Saturday night's activities. I can't even begin to describe how much we had at the Constellation. It's a festival being put on throughout the whole summer until October as a way of waiting for and celebrating the opening of the Centre Pompidou-Metz, a HUGE museum being built that will be the largest modern art museum in France. It's a super cool looking building! Last weekend was packed full of activities, and there will be other events scattered throughout the summer. Scott, Patrick, Brian, and I went Saturday to see 4 things: the machine dance (see video below), a Japanese electronic art show, fireworks, and a techno performance. We had a blast! We ended up walking to and from Metz that night so we got back fairly late.

Of course, we had to get up early the next morning for out train ride to Trier, Germany! We were all pretty tired. I was definitely a bit anxious about using the train system and my Eurail pass for the first time, but everything was pretty easy. We were able to travel all around throughout the day without any issues. I took a nap on the train but that's not surprising. Trier is the oldest city in Germany and has some pretty cool Roman architecture. I've actually been there before with my family. Fun fact: my dad went to Trier in 4th grade for a school field trip! I was pretty excited to go back, mostly because I just love Germany! We walked all around the city seeing things like the Porta Negra (an old Roman gate), Roman baths, an amphitheater, and a few cathedrals. We also walked along the Mosel River for a bit.

One of the funnier moments in Trier was when we ran into an American couple in one of the cathedrals. Scott somehow got to talking to them, so I went over to join in and see what was up. It turns out they were touring through Europe on their way to see their newborn grandchild. Well, the funny part of this story is that the husband had taken a picture of me moments before to show how different Europeans dress. He thought I looked super European and wanted to show others what "we" looked like! Haha, he was definitely suprised to find out I was an American. The guys and I laughed about it afterwards because I took that as a compliment of course!

Also, I made sure to introduce the guys to eis, German ice cream. For those that haven't had eis, it's like a mix between ice cream and sorbet. It might be hard to imgaine that, but trust me when I say it's AMAZING. Patrick got the 4 € spaghetti eis; it was so ridiculous. They have noodle shaped eis and put raspberry syrup on it so it looks just like spaghetti!

We covered all of Trier fairly quickly, so we decided to head over to Luxembourg City for the afternoon. Why not right? You can do that sort of thing when you're in Europe. Within one day, we were in 3 different countries! We spent about 4 hours in Luxembourg. We spent most of our time exploring the lower level of the city that's more secluded from the tourist sites. There's lots of old ruins there and beautiful paths to explore and bridges to cross. We were all so proud of ourselves for getting off of the beaten path.

That was pretty much the story of my first weekend in Europe or at least the condensed version!

Back to School: The first few days back to school were pretty normal. I made a ton of train reservations for my next month of traveling. One time, I decided to go for a run and reserve a train route at once, so I ran to the station to make my reservation. I made it there and back in time for class! I've learned a lot about the train system and using the Eurail. I always use Deutsche Bahn to find train routes and then print off or write down what I want and take it to the station. Lots of kids have had trouble making reservations, but I find that if you go alone, be very polite, and try to speak a little French then you'll be all set. Like I said, I haven't had any problems yet! I'm heading to the French Riviera this weekend! The Cannes film festival and Grand Prix will be going on while I'm there!

I had my first set of homework due this week. It's pretty easy to get work done here though because we have lots of free time during the week. I'm trying to make sure to get everything done during the week, so I can focus on enjoying my travels on the weekend. I wrote my first "essay" in French; it's actually more like a conversation but WHATEVER :P

Yesterday, I didn't have class becasue we took a field trip to the Maginot Line and Lorraine American Cemetery and Memorial, the largest American WWII cemetery in Europe. My first field trip in forever! It was a good experience. I almost froze to death in the Maginot Line. It's an underground fortress and line of defense built by the French. Unfortunately, the Germans were smart and just went around it during WWII. It was very cool though and super technologically advanced. As an engineer, I was very impressed. The cemetery was a fairly somber and eye opening experience. There were so many graves. I had a lot of respect for the men buried there and was glad there lives were honored so well after death. The cemetery was very beautiful and well kept.

After we got back from the field trip, I went on an 8 mile run with Taylor around the Metz countryside. It was a beautiful route! I can't wait to do it again but that probably won't be until next week. We can't run that far everyday. Anyways, that's the update of what I've been up to. I'll keep you all posted!


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