Location: Salzburg, Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Austria
Sorry about the lack on contact. Am back in Maastricht now from Austria...
I absolutely loved Salzburg! The small town/city had postcard views everywhere you looked with either the medieval castle on a big hill in the background or the Swiss alps. It was so beautiful & everyday was about 23-25 degrees. So good. Even managed to pick up some sun.
I went on the famous Sound of Music tour seeing the Von Trapp houses where the film was made, the gardens that the children & Maria sing "Doe a deer..." in, the lake & mountains where Maria sings at the very beginning, & much much more. Not sure how many of you are fans but it was pretty good!
There were also many really pretty parks & walks which I went to & like in most of the European cities I've been to I walked upon a awesome fresh farmers market.
Holly & I met back up in Vienna for one last night which we spent on a pub crawl, & in the morning we flew (home) to Amsterdam.
That night we met Bede in Rotterdam, the second largest city in Holland & spent the following day walking around the city seeing the sights. That day was 28 degrees & the Rotterdam Marathon (the flattest marathon in the world) was on. We saw the first 30 or so runners finish but it was called off soon afterwards because it was just so hot. Rotterdam was not very Dutch at all but I still really liked the city (the weather may have had something to do with this!). I think it was very badly destroyed during WWII so all the buildings are very modern (& some very ugly). It's all situated around a massive port (the largest in Europe) so everywhere you look there's water which makes everything really pretty.
On that Sunday (15th), we returned home to see everyone in Maastricht & hear about their traveling stories, which was nice. That week the weather continued to be so hot, above 22 degrees everyday, & since then the weather hasn't really dropped.
I returned home last night from Amsterdam after spending a few days up there celebrating the Queen's Birthday. It's nothing like our Queen's B'day long weekend. The Dutch people all dress up in fluero orange & millions of people take the the streets to party. It was so crazy, & the more time I spend in Holland, the clearer it is becoming that these people really just love life & partying hard.
Back to Maastricht for the time being. Might be going on a big roadtrip with a group of the exchange students from Maas from Oz, Scotland, Sweden & England this weekend which should be fun. Now that I'm back up to date with this I promise I won't be this bad again!
Please keep me updated with any news you all have. I have found a job for next year at EY in Transaction Support. I'm going to be starting in February so plans are I'll be home in Sept, have one last summer at the beach, go to India with Clairie in Jan for a month, then start work in Feb. Miss you all.
Location: Vienna, Austria
Have just left Vienna after a quick two day visit. Again, I absolutely love this city. Everything was so so so beautiful. Every street corner had a ridiculously grand building & the city was so clean. People were much nicer than the Czech Republic also which made it nice, & the weather has been over 20 degrees everyday! So good, summer is coming!
Holly & I did our own walking tour on one of the days which was really awesome, although unfortunately I think I'm becoming a little bit desensitized to all of the amazing things I am seeing.
Highlights included the Belvedere art gallery which was so good because of the art work but also the beautiful old palace that the gallery is situated in.
Also the Schloss Schonbrunn which we managed to catch some cute little Easter markets & had a lovely walk around the massive grounds & gardens. There was even a maze made out of hedges which took Hols & me a good 10 mins to reach the end! We were also very amused by some concave/convex mirrors that made us look either really really skinny or fat! These were in the childrens section of the gardens but when you're low on sleep, it's amazing what you'll find amusing! Caught up with some English, Spanish, Swedish & Columbian people from Maastricht while we were there which was fun & had a couple of nights out with them.
Off to Salzburg today for a couple of days then it's back to Vienna for one night, then back to the real world in Maastricht.
Location: Prague, Czech Republic
Am about to leave Prague after three days of exploring this beautiful city. Have really enjoyed my time here, it was really nice to settle down for a while (four nights). The Czech people haven't been too nice to us but it's still been awesome. On Friday we did a four hour walking tour. Saw lots of crazy cathedrals & various Jewish sights (90%-290,000 ppl, of the whole Jewish population was killed in the 1940s), but most impressive was the Prague Castle. It was amazing being situated on a hill with four different chapels, a cathedral, a palace, & various art galleries. It was pretty amazing.
That night we ate a traditional Czech dinner (which wasn't too good) then found a nice little Czech wine bar where we met up with some of Jess's uni friends from Colerado who were studying there. It was a pretty cool little bar being underground with about six different rooms at the end of bendy tunnels.
On Saturday we explored the castle some more & went to the Easter markets. That night Holly & I went on a pub crawl around the 'old town' part of Prague. The people all ended out to be pretty interesting (a quarter of them were Aussies!) & we had a great night out. Tried many of the Czech beers as well as absinthe & we ended up at a five storey club, supposedly the biggest in central europe.
We slept in the next morning & managed to go to the theatre in the afternoon to see 'Mozart? Mozart!' which was a ballet to some of Mozart's music. It was so so so good & only set us back 2 euro. We couldn't believe it.
The following morning we left on a bus to Vienna & that's where we are now!
Location: Paris, France
Have just finished two days/nights in Paris with my Dad. Left Maastricht on Tuesday night within an hour of finishing my exam. Arrived in Paris three hours later (on a super fast train) & got a cab to see Dad at a restaurant where he had a work function. Was so good to have a proper feed & quality alcohol as opposed to the 2 euro red wine I've been drinking the past couple of months!
We had a very busy Wednesday on a hop-on hop-off red, double decker bus! Started the day with the Eiffel Tower which took about three hours to line up & get to the top. Wait was pretty bad considering it was one degree celcius & neither of us were preoperly dressed!
Highlights of the day included the Notre Dame Cathedral & a walk we did all the way down the Champs-Elysees to the Arc de Triomphe. Was particularly nice considering all the flowers are starting to come out!
Another dinner that night with more French champagne before a well deserved good nights sleep.
The next day we went to the Musee D'Orsay which was filled with the likes of Monet, Renoir, Manet, Matisse, Van Gogh & the list goes on. It was absolutely fantastic & definitely a highlight.
We had lunch in Montmatre before seeing the Sacre Coeur & breifly stopped off at the Moulin Rouge. Dinner & a show costs 150 euro. Spenoes!
Fell asleep on the way to the airport then had to say goodbye to Dad (won't see him for another few months) then hopped on a plane to Prague to meet up with Holly & Jessica (US).
Happy 22nd Al Bal...
Hope everyone is well.
Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands
Arrived home from Amsterdam yesterday. Popped up for a couple of nights with Hols & James & also met up with Bede, the guy I was with in Cologne. We mainly went up for the Air concert but also got to see a few of the sights & have a pretty big last night.
Air was good. A very different concert being such slow music. & a very mixed crowd, we were surrounded by 30 & 50 year-olds! Walked through the red light district on the way home which was pretty crazy. I've never seen anything like it. All the buildings have full body length, glass windows & all the women/she-males stand in the windows with underwear on & try to lure ppl in. I didn't enjoy it much, particularly seeing really young girls, but in Amsterdam as a tourist I guess it's a must.
Managed to do a little shopping on the Wednesday before going to the Van Gogh museum which was really well done. Spent about two or three hours there, he has such a crazy life story. Later in the afternoon I visited the Anne Frank house which was really really worthwhile. It's amazing to think about how many people know about her story. Her diary has been printed in 22 different languages! Walking around the house was really strange. It was quite small & amazing to think that the whole family had to stay silent for so long. She writes so well for a 13 year-old & there are quotes from her diary printed all around the house. It's sad reading her simple thoughts on war & Jews & seeing how bluntly true they are.
Had a night out at a pretty good Dutch club that night which ended with us going to bed at about 6:30 & waking up at 10 just before check-out. Slept on the train home & am now back in Maas for about five days, have my exam on Tues then am going to meet Dad in Paris that night.
Hope everyone's well.
Location: Laax, Switzerland
Arrived home late last night from my little snowboarding trip with James & George (two Aussies), Michael (from Switzerland) & Vikki (from Sweden). Had such a lovely time. There was not a cloud in the sky for three of the four days making photo opportunities endless! Riding down the mountain you'd occasionally just have to stop & take in the 360 degree views of the amazing mountains.
Laax is a resort, three hours by train from Basel, & it's attached to two other resorts. So the skiing area is pretty large. It was very different from Canada in the the runs were no where near as steep & the European black runs would only just be a blue run in North America. It was still awesome though.
There was a freestyle snowboard/ski comp called the Brits (English) on the week we were there which meant there were many young people around & extra activities on which made it fun. One to mention was that Stanton Warriors played in the club IN OUR HOTEL! It was an added bonus.
Went out for dinner on the last night & had cheese fondue which put me straight to sleep. It was quite sickening being really rich cheese with something quite alcoholic in it. Wasn't such a fan!
Anyway, week was awesome & again I'm exhausted. REALLY need to get stuck into my uni work now! Am starting as soon as I've finished this!
Hope Sydney's good. Happy Birthday to Fliss & Tals. I wish I could've been there girls.
Location: Berlin, Germany
Have just arrived home from a four day weekend in Berlin. I absolutely loved the city (as I have the whole of Germany). I learnt so so so much about the history of Berlin & Germany & was absolutely amazed at the strange viewpoints that so many Germans have had but more so by how recent some of these thoughts are (e.g. that the wall was only knocked down in 1989!).
On our first day, James, Holly & I went on a Cold War/Stasi tour. The Stasi's were the East German spies having information on 1 in every 6 East German! There were many crazy crazy stories about this group & basically they became absolutely obsessed in documenting EVERYTHING, even when whatever they were documenting was totally irrelevant! We also saw some cool contraptions (e.g. hidden cameras) that were very James Bond style.
That night we had the Killers concert which was so good. One of the best concerts I've ever been to & it was all the more fun to party with around 6000 crazy, young Germans. Met up with Jess & Adi (two American girls) as well so we had a nice little group of 5.
On the Sunday Holly & I did the New Berlin free walking tour which was definitely a highlight. The city is so beautiful & clean & has so much crazy history that we both found this tour very worthwhile. There are memorials around every corner, a highlight probably being the holocaust memorial (see photo). There were some wierd suggestions as to what the memorial should be such as one extreme one being to smash down the awesome Brandenburg Gate & leave the pieces scattered all over the floor! Neither of us liked this suggestion!
In the afternoon (at sunset) we went up the TV tower which was built by the East German leader to prove that East Germany could build awesome buildings just as well as any of the westerners. It's not a very attractive big thing but it had awesome views. The city seemed to stretch out for miles as there are little, to no, high rise buildings.
The following day we visited the Jewish museum which was a really new, really well set up museum about Jews in Germany. It was very interesting, particularly the part about Jews leaving Germany in the 30s. Again, I learnt so much....
Other activities included the Reichstag (city hall) which also has so much history but I won't go on about cause this is starting to sound like a lesson; & also the Checkpoint Charlie museum which was full of amazing stories about smuggling East Germans to the West & about the inhumane ways that the East trapped their people.
We also fit in a little bit of shopping & checking out the bar scene in Berlin. It was such a great weekend & I returned home extremely tired.
I hope you are all well. I'm off to the Swiss alps to go snowboarding for six days tomorrow! Don't be too jealous!
I hope you're all well. I'm missing Sydney when I have the chance to stop & think & am not looking forward to all the uni work I'm going to have to catch up on! Also really want to learn German!