Ich habe keinen Bock.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Hundertwasser Haus

The Hundertwasser Haus was built by an Austrian architect who was bored with architecture. The floors inside aren't flat, but have little hills and curve up to meet the wall. It's kind of refreshing after seeing so much Baroque architecture.


Um, so Beethoven is buried in my backyard. Okay, not really, but kind of. A lot of other famous composers are buried here too. So we visited them. Ironically on Veteran's day.


Schoenbrunn was the ruling family's summer home in Vienna. TH palace is beautiful and has some pretty gardens, a zoo, garden mazes, a playground, a few museums, and now a Christmas market out front. I have been several times, and it is one of my favorite places here.

Paris Day 2

Our second day in Paris we went to most of the major churches- we saw Sacre Cour, La Chapelle (filled with stained glass), and Notre Dame. ON Notre Dame we climbed up the towers, which was really cool. We saw the bell and all of the gargoyles. We also met a guy from Provo. Small world, once again. For the afternoon a few of us went to Versailles, which was also quite large and extravagant. We walked through the palace, the hall of mirrors, and then we took a little train ride through the gardens. That night we went to the Arc d'Triumph and then to a little crepe restaurant. We crashed at our hostel (Kind of a hole) about midnight, and got up at 4am to fly back to Vienna!

Paris Day 1

One of the great things about being here is it's so easy to go anywhere. Seven of us went to Paris for the weekend, and we had two full days there. On the first day we went to the Louvre, the Orsay, the Rodin, and the Eiffel Tower. WE pretty much ran around the whole city. I think the Orsay is my new favorite art m useum- it's just full of Monet, who is my favorite painter.


Flying back to Bratislava we had a nine hour layover in Milan. So we bought bus tickets and went downtown for a few hours. There isn't a whole lot to do in Milan, but we saw the Duomo (bad picture though it is) and ate same amazing gelatto. There was also a very large number of mcDonald's there- I went almost nowhere in the city and I counted 7 of them. In one ritzy mall there was a nice McDonald's. And then turn 180 degrees and there's a Prada store. Strange.

Ancient Rome

Ancient Rome was a lot of fun. We went to the ROman forum and climbed all over the really big old Roman rocks and columns. We saw the coloseum, the pantheon, and the mouth of truth. For the mouth of truth, you're supposed to put yuor hand in, and if you're a liar, it eats your hand off. SO there's me being eaten.

Mosoleum (?) and Lunch

Our first day, after listening to the pope, Jessica and I (after getting lost from our group- which turned out to be better in the end) found a little Italian sidewalk restaurant. I think "cute" is the best word for it. After that we went to what i think was the Mosoleum (it was called something else too, but I can't quite remember) and from there was a beautiful view of the city.

The Vatican

The first of November was All Saint's Day, a National Holiday, so we got a day off of school. And since we only have class three days a week anyway... 11 of us went to Rome for five days. And it was warm! It snowed here in Vienna when we were gone and it hasn't snowed since, so we went just at the right time :)
We went to the Vatican and heard the pope speak the first day. he came out and spoke leaning out of his little window. The Vatican museum was amazing, and you can see me in the little courtyard there. There was SO much art there, it was really image overload for my brain- I couldn't take it all in.
St. Peter's Basilica was HUGE! I couldn't believe it. We went to mass while we were in St. Peter's. It was sweet.

Ambassador's Reception

So here's a picture from the reception at the begiining of October, with me, Lexi, and our host mom, Frau Alfons.

Venice Pictures

Well, I know it's been quite a while since I went top Venice, but the internet is working! (That's almost as rare as seeing Schwarzenegger walking the streets of Saratoga) So i am posting. Finally. I have them.

Well, so I know it's

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Church in Prague

We stayed in Prague until Sunday, and we had the opportunity to attend church there. It was probably one of the best Sundays I have had. There is only one ward in Prague, and about a fourth of the members speak English, so the missionaries translate for the congregation. In Relief Society our teacher spoke French, so there was a later to translate into czech, than a missionary to translate into English, and if someone asked a question or had a response, it went all the way back the other way. For the closing hymn half of us sang in English and half sang in czech, which was beautiful.


I'm really sorry I haven't been able to update for a while- I canot even begin to describe how busy I have been. So on October 25th we left for Prague. Prague was so BEAUTIFUl. It wasn't bombed during the war so there weren't a lot of repeairs that had to be performed.
Prague had some great food- I think I ate 10,000 calories/day there. There was also this little crepe place we found that sold crepes for $1 in about 20 different flavors. It was by the metro stop we took to get anywhere, and I ate a total of 8 (24'') crepes in the few days we were there. The lady who ran the stand started to recognize us and laughed when she saw us. Prague also had some really good music. One night we went to a concert as a group and we were the only audience members. There was a violinist that was one of the best i have ever heard (about as good as Joshua Bell, for a comparison). I also went to a concert the next night, and it was held in the National Museum. The National Museum was where the beginning party scene in the first Mission Impossible was filmed, and we sat on the steps in that entry way for the actual concert.

While we were there we stayed in prison every night. Well, it was a hostel that used to be a prison, at least. We were underground and our bedroom doors were huge steel jail doors that they had painted bright colors (everything was painted in bright colors) in an attempt to make the place look freindlier, i guess.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Friday in Budapest

Friday morning we went to the Museum of Fine Arts in Budapest. There was a Rembrandt exhibit and a Carvaggio exhibit. It was just off of Heroes’ Square, and I was happy we got to see the square again. I think I enjoyed it more than I have other art museums in the past. We were there for several hours, and afterwards we went and saw the Opera House. It looks much like the one in Vienna.
Afterwards, we went over to the Buda side and took a cable car up to the castle. We wanted to go to the Labyrinth, but we were lost, so we ended up seeing much of the Buda Castle as well. After getting directions from at least five different people and wandering all over, we finally found the Labyrinth. The Labyrinth is a bunch of man made caves all under the castle and the side of the hill that the Hungarians waited out sieges in. They also used them to house many of the people during WWII bombings. And they were creepy. Low ceilings, extremely damp and humid inside, not very much lighting, and of course, they added eerie music that sounded like you were going to go sacrifice someone to the gods when you heard it. I kind of felt like I had walked into a movie. There was also part it that had no lighting whatsoever and you had to feel your way around the winding caves. That part was a little scary. The oddest part, though, was that there was a random fountain of one in one of the dead end areas. I still can’t figure out what it was doing there.

St. Stephen’s Basilica

The largest church in Budapest is that of St. Stephen. It, too, was decorated in burgundies, olives, and golds, but the marble was white and the windows were large, and the way the light came into the cathedral was no less than heavenly. It was very different than many of the other churches we have seen. Inside they had the right hand of St. Stephen, all shriveled and preserved in formaldehyde. Kind of gross, but the church was beautiful.


On Thursday morning, we were instructed to meet at parliament, but until then the morning was ours. We decided to sleep in a bit (as that is a very rare occasion on this trip), and then we headed down to parliament. To get there we had to take the Metro. The Metro is their subway line, and though it is the oldest on continental Europe, I think it is still one of the most primitive. The cars looked like old boxcars, and they were very beat up. The first time I saw them I was scared to get in them. They were not smooth at all: they went really fast and they jerked a lot. They are also the place where the most pick-pocketers are, so you had to be extra careful.
We decided to get off the Metro a stop early and just enjoy the day on our walk down to parliament. It was a beautiful day- we have been very lucky with weather this whole trip. When we arrived at parliament, we knew we needed to get around to the back, (since that was where we were meeting), but we really weren’t sure how to go about doing such. There were gates and fences everywhere, but we finally found an opening. Before we knew it, we were surrounded by Hungarian hippie-looking people camping out in tents decorated with “what democracy really is” signs. Yep. We had walked right into a protest. Apparently it’s been going on for three weeks, but that most of it had calmed down. We weren’t the only tourists in the area, though. WE made it through, met our group, and took our tour.
The parliament building is HUGE. It is so ornately decorated inside, all in beautiful colors of burgundies, olives, and golds.

Elizabeth’s Bridge!

Yep. They named a bridge in Budapest after me. He he. I thought that was pretty sweet.

Capital Hill (I think…)

The last stop of the tour was at a place that I think was called Capital Hill. They had their version of a liberty lady statue up there, and it was a very good view to take pictures from. There were also these old army artillery things that looked like they were from one of the world wars.

Fisherman's Bastion

Our next stop on our tour was Sleeping Beauty’s castle. Well, okay not really, it was Fisherman’s Bastion, but for all it was it could have been. There wasn’t a whole lot to it, other than Matthias’s church up behind it, but it was some fun architecture. I don’t remember a whole lot about what our guide told us about it, since we were there at 4pm and I was wistfully thinking of a nap. But it was really fun to see the architecture and just to be there.

Heroe's Square

After the church, we hopped back on the bus and started on a city tour. Budapest is hard to see only on foot, so a lot of it we just saw from the bus. The first stop we made was at Heroes’ Square; here there is a tomb for the unknown soldier, several statues of kings/rulers, and statues symbolizing labor, war, peace, and victory. My favorite part was that there was just so much space, and I had fun spinning around and feeling the cool breeze.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Serbian Orthodox CHurch

We arrived on Wednesday about noon, and we were given an hour before our tour to eat lunch. I took off with Stephanie, Marinda, and Jessica, and we weren’t really hungry, so we went to explore instead. Budapest is a large city (2 million), so we explored fairly close to the bus. We found the University Church, a very dark gothic church, first. But after a little bit more wandering we found a Serbian Orthodox church. It was kind of out of the way, and it was on a little back street. There was something about it that was just cute. So we went inside and there was a Hungarian worker who told us all about it. It was seriously damaged in WWII as well, but the foundation has been there since the middle ages.


Okay, I think this is weird. I have been to Hungary- to Budapest. Who does that? Salzburg? Sure. Venice? Absolutely. Budapest? Nope. But it is a beautiful city. Budapest was originally three (but mostly two) cities named Obuda, Buda, and Pest, all separated by the Danube river. Buda was the nicer part of town, but now they are all one city. I learned a lot about what the city went through, and to be honest I am amazed it is still a city at all. It seems almost every place we went we heard that it used to be different, that the building was bombed so much in WWII only the foundation remained. Communism has only been gone for 15 years or so, and the effects can still be seen. Budapest is similar to Vienna in some ways, but Vienna is much nicer because of how long democracy has been in place. People in Budapest are still trying to get back on their feet after such a terrible government. It made me all the more grateful for what I have and for what I didn’t have to go through.