Tag Archives: Jews

Another Visitor, Another Roommate

Recently I got back in contact with some friends I met in high school when I went to Northern Ireland for the summer. I found out that my friend Andrew Hamilton had been studying in Poland for the last few months. He was planning to do a bit of interailing this summer and when he found out that I was in Vienna, he made sure to come visit. So, Andrew arrived just hours after sending Hallie on her way back to the U.S. We were both surprised when we arrived back at my place to find out that my “extra bed” that I had offered Andrew was already occupied. Surprise! New roommate. They had told Diana when she moved out that I wouldn’t have another roommate, so I wasn’t prepared. Oh well. She seems nice. Her name is Paulina. She’s from Canada and she’s here for the summer to study music.

After figuring things out a bit, I had to, unfortunately, do homework. So, Andrew explored the city on his own using the map I gave him. Hours later he came home and we hung out in Billy and Joseph’s room until Billy got home from Scotland. Then we went to bed and Andrew slept on my floor (poor guy).

Andrew and I at Schönbrunn

Andrew and I at Schönbrunn

The next morning Andrea and I took Andrew to Schönbrunn Palace. That makes twice in one week. Except this time we explored the gardens more than I have in the past. Then I had to say goodbye to Andrew because I had to go to class and he would be leaving that night while I was nannying. During class Billy left early for a doctor’s appointment to check up on his appendix. They decided surgery was necessary and took out his appendix that night. His parents flew his brother in and we all went to go see him at the hospital the next day. I brought him plenty of Star Trek episodes to watch, but he still hasn’t gotten to them yet. That night Verena’s sister Marion gave us an architectural tour of Vienna–entirely in German. We started at the UNO city and got to go up to the top floor of one of the buildings to overlook the whole city. It was beautiful! This photo taken from the top of the building looks toward the city center. The large street that crosses the bridge continues through the to the other side of the city and our dorm lies only two blocks off this main street.

The View from UNO City

The View from UNO City

The tour ended at the Museums Quartier where the Architecture Center of Vienna was having a small party with cheap hot dogs and cheap beer. My new roommate Paulina and Billy’s brother Ben met us there. After spending some time at the architecture party, we moved to the center of the MQ so that Ben and Paulina could get the full MQ experience.

The next morning after visiting Billy again, I headed out to the 16th district to get more footage for my district project. I walked through the graveyard and tried to make it up to the palace, but I didn’t have time. I had to head back to the city center because we had a tour at the Jewish Museum. Our tour guide was interesting….. abrasive is probably a better word. She was trying to get us to interact and discuss, but it just wasn’t working. She showed us a screen print of some guy and we had to guess who it was. After minutes of awkward silence and forced guesses, she told us who this obscure Viennese Jewish man was and was appalled when we had never heard of him. I guess I just don’t know enough about Jewish culture. Note to self: Fix that.

This morning Andrea, Sarah, Joseph and I tried to go on a tour of the Ottakringer Brewery, but we misunderstood the website. Tours are offered daily, but you have to schedule one. So, we went to a Bier Garten instead and drank some Ottakringer and ate some delicious food.

Now it’s time to watch the Sound of Music before heading to Salzburg tomorrow morning. I’ve never seen it before!

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Filed under Austria, Vienna

Prague Blogue

Prague Castle, Saint Vitus Cathedral and Charles Bridge

Prague Castle, Saint Vitus Cathedral and Charles Bridge

This weekend our class had a field trip to Prague. Sadly, Billy was in the hospital for his appendicitis and wasn’t able to go, but we were thinking of him the whole time! The rest of us woke up bright and early to catch the train on Friday morning. We arrived in Prague around lunch time and set out exploring. Andrew, Sarah, Rebecca and I found a cool market and then took a walk through Old Town. We were head bent on getting to the castle, so we made our way there pretty quickly. We paid to get into the castle and stood on the balcony where martyrs were thrown off, saw the dungeon where prisoners were held and tortured and visited one of the oldest churches in Prague. We also explored the most beautiful Gothic church I have ever been in, St. Vitus Cathedral. Sarah was very excited because Vitus is her mother’s maiden name. After visiting the castle, we went to an outdoor wine bar and shared some rose wine while enjoying the view of the city.

Looking through the grape vines toward the city center

Looking through the grape vines toward the city center

Then we were in a hurry to get back to the hotel so we wouldn’t miss dinner! We had a group dinner that night (paid for by the program, thank God!). Andrea and I couldn’t decide what to get, so we split two dishes. Being a bit courageous, I ordered the rabbit and Andrea got the veal. It was actually quite delicious, but Andrea had a hard time eating because she kept thinking about a cute little cotton ball bunny.

The next morning we had a walking tour of Prague with our whole class. Our tour guide’s name was Susanne and she was so knowledgable and funny. She took us through Old Town, Josefov (the Jewish district) and back up to the castle. We were a little bummed that there was so much overlap from our wanderings the day before, but it was nice to have someone explain what we were seeing. One of my favorite parts of the tour was watching the famous Prague Clock do the procession of the disciples when the clock struck 11:00. Apparently many tourists come expecting so much more, but it was still interesting. After the tour, we headed to the Art Nouveau cafe for a cup of coffee and a slice of cake. This is the first cup of coffee I have ever enjoyed! I ordered Argentinian coffee, which is coffee with eggnog in it. I also added a couple packets of sugar to make it delicious. Afterwards, Sarah, Rebecca and I dragged Joseph and Andrew into a little shopping. That night we went on the famous Prague Pub Crawl that ended at the largest dance club in central Europe. It is five floors and each floor has its own music. Rebecca and I ended up walking home after the sun rose with her high heels in hand.

The next day I headed out with Ethan and Bobby, who were both pretty exhausted from the night before. They were in “follow mode” so I led them around the city. I took them back to the market I went to on the first day and then across the famous Charles Bridge where we touched the cross for good luck. We went to a bagel shop for lunch and ate our bagels in a park with a live band playing in the background. Ethan tried to take us to the woods where they have a miniature version of the Eiffel tower, but we couldn’t figure out how to get there. So, we crossed the river again and headed to the Dancing House, a building designed by Frank Gehry, the same guy who designed the building for the Experimental Music Project (EMP) in Seattle.

Frank Gehry's Dancing House

Frank Gehry's Dancing House

Then Ethan, who is Jewish, wanted to head back to the Jewish district so he could buy his own Gollum figurine. We walked along the river the whole way there and then got caught in the rain. So, we decided it was time to head back to the hotel, get our stuff and head to the train station.

I decided that Prague is one of my favorite cities that I have ever been to. I love Gothic architecture and it is plentiful in Prague. The hills also make it more interesting. I hope to go back sometime.

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Filed under Czech Republic, Prague