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April 26th – April 29th: Nothing of interest happened. Just more class. Although I did notice I had three different currencies on my desk, so naturally I took a picture. Points to who can guess what kinds. Here’s a clue: One’s Euros.

Those bills are now spent.

April 30th: We had a Folk Art field trip to an open air museum. So we all took the bus to the Salzburger Freilichtmuseum. Then we walked around for hours looking at old farm houses that were reconstructed, but with the original methods and materials.

Farm House

The houses were really cute but it was a really long, and almost boring day.

Half way through we stopped for lunch and I got a super salty soup. I couldn’t even eat it all.

Sehr Salzig.

May 1st: I had planned on going to Munich, but since May Day is a huge holiday everything is closed. Also the bells outside my building rang for 45 minutes non-stop. It was retarded annoying.

May 2nd: I can not for the life of me, remember what I did this day. Sorry! Here’s a picture to compensate!

Stabilo pens are awesome.

May 3rd: Had classes and had to go grocery shopping because I was down to one kernel of corn in my fridge.

May 4th: Had classes and Zumba later at night.

May 5th: More classssses and then I went to H&M to look for a dress for the upcoming “Mozart Dinner.” I didn’t find one nice enough but I did buy a 10 Euro summer dress.

May 6th: Had classes. Then at night, I had my impromptu birthday party! I wanted everyone to get together this week because a lot of people are traveling on the weekend my actual birthday falls on, because it is a 4 day weekend. So my plan was to have dinner at the Stiegl Keller, which is a giant beer hall with good Austrian food. I was surprised at how many people came out because it was so last minute, but a good 30 people came. I got pork chops and beer. Which was awesome.

There was a delicious blob of horseradish/garlic butter on there.

Then after dinner, we went to a bar carved out of a cave in a mountain. For some reason the bartender really liked me and gave me free shots for my birthday. Then she said we had to come back the next night for karaoke. After the cave bar we moved to O’Malleys. I had a real conversation with a German guy for like an hour, in German! It was exhausting to think so hard just to talk.

May 7th: We took a trip out to Schloss Hellbrunn, which was a summer day palace for an Arch Bishop.

Just a small summer home.

After we toured the main palace, we went to the “one month” palace, which was built in one month because a visitor to the arch bishop thought a small palace would look good in a certain spot and he was going to return in one month. The little palace was up on a giant hill and was turned into a folk art museum.

View from the "One Month" Palace.

After the tour, me and two other girls went to buy dirndls (tradition Austrian outfits, think Saint Paulie Girl). I got one, and it’s adorable. Then later, my roommate and I went out to the cave bar again because we had promised the bartender that we would. It was fun. There was a crazy bachelor party happening, and eventually the groom was only wearing an outfit almost identical to borat’s famous bathing suit. (Please google it, if you don’t know.)

May 8th: Walked around town for a bit, got a vanilla ice cream. Then later I went out to Augußtiner Bräu, which is a giant beer garden, with a bunch of people to celebrate another girl’s birthday. It was super fun and we wore our Dirndls.

Me in front of the Keg in my Dirndl.

May 9th (Today!): This weekend has been Stiegl Weekend in celebration of May. Today they erected the May Pole and had a giant party at the Brewery. Naturally we were there and drinking before noon. Again, I wore my dirndl and so did a ton of other people, so I blended right in. When we first got there, they had just started putting up the giant May Pole, and didn’t get it up until around 2 PM.

No cranes needed.

So to put up the pole, there was about 40 guys (all in lederhosen) slowly pushed up the pole by pushing their supports and then resting them in the ground. This process took forever. After it was up, it was open for guys to try and climb it to win the prize, and give it to their girlfriend. Mind you, this pole is just a tree, with no handles or harnesses and is about 60 feet tall.

This guy made it!

Me, Rachel, Julie and Natalie.

Then later there was dancing.

This dance is called the Schueplattle.

Really it was a super fun, beautiful day. I have never been more in love with Austria.

Frühlingsfest und Prag.

April 17th: Just hung out and ate dinner. Then at night I went to Frühlingsfest (Spring Festival) in the town square. Basically it was an excuse to sit around and drink beer. First there was a little marching band in the town square then they marched up to the Stiegl Keller (a giant restaurant with stiegl beer and food) and everyone sat on the terrace and drank beer and listened to them play. After it got dark, we moved inside and people who knew Austrian dances danced (while wearing dirndls and lederhosen, of course). It was just so cute and Austrian.

Not that excellent of a picture, but you get the idea.

April 18th: Just relaxed and did homework.

April 19th – 22nd: Nothing of interest. Just had classes. I think I did go shopping one of these days because I wanted some spring/summery sandals. I ended up getting a black and white striped shirt, a high waisted floral print skirt, the sandals and a headband at H&M. It was a sweet deal. I think I spent less than 25 Euros for all of it.

April 23rd: Woke up at the crack of dawn to be on bus to Prague, Czech Republic at 6:30 AM. Yes, I had to be there at 6:30. So I had to wake up at 4:45 AM, needless to say, I was dead tired. The bus ride was a killer 7 hours, but I slept a lot of it. So we got to Prague a little after noon and went on a walking tour of the city. It was mostly boring, but our tour guide pointed out just about every building that was Art Deco, it must have been her favorite, but I thought it was neat too.

The most art deco-y building ever. Which was also a concert hall.

Just about every cool building in Prague was being restored or worked on in some way so there was scaffolding on everything, which was lame. Super lame for photographs too. (See left). Our tour guide was full of history, which is good, but I am far more interested in the random fun facts. Once, when we were stopped and she was talking about god knows what, I saw an old dude with a cane struggle to bend down and pick up a discarded cigarette off the street and try to light it. I was amazed that this guy was so desperate for a cigarette and thought “Well, this is Eastern Europe.” Then we kept on walking and went to the Jewish district, town square, clock tower and then finally back to the place we started. The tour lasted about three long hours, and then we had a little time to change and get ready for dinner. Which was, for once, bought by our program. I think maybe to give us a little treat because this was our last weekend trip with all of us together. Dinner was actually really good. We went to a place called “Al Capone’s” which is hilarious to me that half way across the world people still think he is cool.

April 24th: Our program had nothing planned for us so we had the entire day free. Lauren and I went exploring. We wanted to go up to the Prague Castle so we made our way over there. On the way we passed by the clock tower again, and there was a massive crowd waiting to see it chime (because it was noon).

Clock and scaffolding.

Crazy crowd.

Then we made our way to the Charles Bridge and we bombarded by a million people wanting to sell us crap. One guy tried to sell us a boat ride, we said no, but I wanted to take a picture with him anyway.

That is my skirt from H&M!

Then we walked across the bride and hiked up to the Castle.

Me on the Charles Bridge.

I didn't closer because I didn't want to get thrown in Czech jail.

After poking around the Castle a little, we went to the St. Vitus Cathedral which is like two steps from the Castle entrance. This is probably my favorite church I’ve been in, to date. It was just huge and awe-some. Hehe.

The stained glass was wunderbar.

After all that we stopped in a million stores on the way back to into town. I got a hat!

I finally found the perfect hat.

I also got a bunch of silly stuff. Then we went back to the hotel and changed for dinner. Actually, I didn’t change. But, we regrouped for dinner. We went to the Art Deco concert hall (see above) and ate in the restaurant in the basement. It was really good food, but super salty, I had goulash and Czezh dumplings.

Czech out this foodz.

Then after dinner we hit up a jazz bar and hung out.

April 25th: Had to get up early once again for the bus. Not as early, but still. On the way back to Salzburg, we stopped at a preserved medieval town, Český Krumlov. We had a tour but this time it was short because we didn’t have much time there.

There was a natural moat around the city, which was really just the river doing a crazy circle.

After the tour, I ate lunch at a cute restaurant  with a fire pit in the middle of it. It was the most awesome food ever, and pretty cheap. I also had a real Budweiser beer, which was stolen from the Czech Republic.

I don't remember what the Czech word for beer is.

This was awesome. I was so full.

There was veggies, potatoes with homemade sour cream, a potato pancake, a grilled sausage, turkey, beef and pork with mustard and homemade horseradish. It was my favorite meal in Europe so far. After lunch, we got back on the bus and I fell asleep almost immediately from a food coma. Next thing I knew we were only an hour away from home. Basically, Prague was pretty damn cool.

I want to keep up with my log of days, so I don’t forget what I did.

April 8th – 11th: Just had a lazy weekend before classes started back up, did some homework. Watched movies with who ever was in my building.

April 12th: Started classes again, everyone was excited to see each other and the main phrase of the day was “Oh how was your break!?”

April 13th: Had class and Zumba. Zumba is getting more and more intense, my legs felt like jello when we were done.

April 14th: Had class and then later a lot of people met at O’Malleys to celebrate Lauren’s belated 21st birthday. It was super fun. Lauren was such a trooper the next day and went to all her classes.

Lauren and I

April 15th: More classes, nursed a hang over.

April 16th: Woke up early and went with my folk art class to Innsbruck, the capitol of Tyrol. Before we got into the city we went to Schloss Ambras Castle. It was pretty and there were wild peacocks! Well, maybe not wild but… roaming peacocks.

I named him Capt'n Crunch.

Then we went into the city and had a tour. We saw the Golden Dachl (Golden Roof). Apparently, only one person has stolen one tile off the roof. I’m surprise that it happened only once.

The roof is real gold.

Then we went to the Folk Art Museum. Which was the reason for this outing. There was a lot of stuff to look at… and it was just mostly overwhelming.

Lederhosen and Dirndl

Then after the museum we had free time so Lauren, Liz and I wanted to go to the Swarovski Crystal World. Samantha Brown from the Travel Channel went here, so naturally, I had to go too.

This was an accurate representation of how weird the inside was going to be too.

Lauren was excited to see crystals.

Crystal World was awesome. It was weird… and very odd, but super cool. There was a mirrored dome that made you feel like you were inside a crystal and they had the world’s largest jewelry stone, which was larger than a basketball. This was my favorite thing. A christmas tree designed by the late Alexander McQueen.

Then after the museum, of course, there was the hugest Swarovski store I’ve ever seen.

This store was huge.

Crystal Dress

I wanted to buy this couch/chair/settee.

After we spent too much money on crystals, we got back on the bus and came back to Salzburg. Basically, Swarovski Kristallwelten was awesome.

More later,

Emily

Ihr habt Fragen.

I wanted to do something other than a daily log for a few posts, so I asked on Facebook and Twitter for anyone to ask me questions and now I’ll go ahead and answer them. Clearly, some were thinking on a more intellectual level than others, but non-intellectual questions are perfect too.

Questions (in the order asked)

1. How are the toilets and toilet paper and how do they vary from place to place?

  • Toilets are not super different than those in the US. Although my toilet in my apartment has a giant button to flush and the tank is hidden in the wall. Most toilets in Europe have two flush buttons, a big one and a small one… for… well… different sized flushes. The strangest toilet I encountered was in Italy. The seat had weights in it, towards the back and near the wall, so when it was not in use it would flip up. You can imagine the difficulties with trying to put toilet paper on the seat so I could actually use it. Another crazy toilet was at a McDonalds in Italy. After you used it, the entire seat rotated and was sprayed with a cleaner. It was quite high tech. Thankfully, I’ve never encountered a truly disgusting toilet.
  • As for toilet paper… its not much different, just less soft.

2. What are your 3 highs and your 3 lows about being away from the US?

Highs:

1. Traveling and seeing the World.

2. Getting better at German.

3. The drinking age. (hate to say it, but it is awesome.)

Lows:

1. Missing my family/friends.

2. The expensiveness of things here.

3. Not having an oven or tv. (Again, not that important, but you try living with out both of those.)

3. How does the US compare to the other countries you have seen in regards to: perceived happiness/cheerfulness of the people, individual wealth, views on promiscuity/sexuality, etc. – Are they more conservative or liberal than americans?

  • To answer this, I’m only going to compare Austria and the US, because if I did every country I’ve been to it would take forever.

Happiness: To an outsider, Austrians seem pissed off or cold all the time, but generally I would say that they are just as happy as Americans. They put up a front because of their history; in WW2 times Austrians did not want to socialize in public, when they went out they just wanted to do whatever it was they had to get done and get home because they never knew who was listening or watching. I promise I’m not making this up, I’m taking an Austrian culture class.

Individual Wealth: Compared to America as a whole, Austrians are less wealthy. Individually compared, they are about the same or just slightly less wealthy as Americans. Austrians work only 35 hours a week, but their minimum wage is much higher than in America and Austrians are savers, not spenders. Also, the poorest of the poor compared to the richest of the rich is a much smaller gap in Austria than in America.

Sexuality: Austrians are much more open on taboo topics in general than Americans. Sex is included in this.

Politics: Austrian politics are insane. There are both liberal and conservative parties along with two others. Austrian government and pretty much everything else is completely split between the Conservative and Socialist party. So, there are Conservative schools and Socialist schools… Conservative jobs and Socialist jobs… Conservative football clubs and Socialist football clubs. Austrians don’t have to declare as being part of a specific party, but doing so opens a lot of doors and closes a lot of others. Compared to America, this is crazy different. So I wouldn’t say that Austria is more liberal or conservative than America, but once an Austrian chooses a side, they stay there.

4. How are the men over there? Hella fine I assume?

  • I’ve seen some pretty attractive men… and some very unattractive men, so… the same as everywhere else?

5. Ratio of stinky to normal people?

  • I was worried about this at first before I actually got here. I’ve never really gotten close to people to know a good ratio… but there was one really smelly guy in Italy on a train. Although, next weekend I’m going to Prague and I hear the farther east you get, the worse this becomes.

6. Are there rude comments to you/about Americans?

  • No one has ever been rude to me in Austria or Germany. Once in Italy, I think… but I try and blend in as much as possible, many people in Salzburg automatically assume I’m Austrian. As for Americans, I’d say people here are less… affectionate. They think most Americans are… of a lesser class.

7. With regard only to language barriers, how have you – a native English speaker, and an American – been treated by locals of the countries you’ve visited?

  • I’ve had no problems in every country I’ve been to, except Italy. Everyone else speaks English fairly well, but not Italians. They are lazy about learning languages, I’ve heard. There is a stereotype that the French are rude to non-french speakers, but I didn’t experience this at all. Again, the only rudeness I encountered was from Italians.

8. What were your perceptions of certain cities/countries before arriving, and how they lived up (or didn’t live to them). (Specifically: Paris, Salzburg, London and Florence)

  • Paris: I wasn’t expecting much. I thought it would be a lot smaller than it is. I am slightly indifferent towards Paris, but I think it was because of the weather and the short amount of time I spent there, so I can’t really say about Paris.
  • Salzburg: Again, I didn’t know much or expect much. I was just going into the program expecting nothing, so I wouldn’t be disappointed or shocked when things were different (which is how I just usually go about life…) I was expecting freezing temperatures and snow, which was definitely lived up to. But overall, Salzburg is amazing. I love that I live here, and not any other city I’ve been to. It is honestly the most beautiful, charming and vibrant city I’ve seen.
  • London: I was super excited for London, mostly because I love the Tudors and the Royal Court life. London did not disappoint at all. It was fun, had great food and a million things to do. I would love to go back.
  • Florence: Let me just say that… Florence was the worst. I was expecting this cute Italian town with lots of things to do and great food. All I got was gypsies, rain, and The David. (The David was pretty cool, I will give it that.) I will not go back to Florence, and wouldn’t recommend it to anyone.

9. Every country does things differently – in what areas are these countries better than America, and vice versa?

  • One thing that really sticks out in my mind for Europe as a whole is city planning. I don’t know if this is because Europeans are forced to have better layouts because their countries/towns are so ancient and can’t change much of the city or because they are just more clever, but every European city I’ve been to has been easy for me to navigate (maybe I’m just a human GPS?) and has absolutely no wasted space with out me feeling crammed. In America, I feel like we waste so much space and have poor planning and this perplexes me. (Mom and Gary, you’ve heard my thoughts on this.)
  • One thing America has going for it is the service industry. When Americans go out and spend money, they are expecting decent to great service, no matter what they are doing. Europeans could care less it seems and I think going out to dinner is just not worth it at all here. I am missing me some Fridays. Haha.

Oh, and the last three questions were by Gary… so read his blog “The Average Bear.” Click to the right on my “blogroll.”

This post is lacking pictures. So here is one for good measure.

This is Ileana in the BMW Museum in Munich, Germany. This is also a completely unrelated picture!

EDIT: I got two more questions since this was posted, so here they are.

1. I’ve heard many Europeans consider themselves more educated, more aware of other cultures, more politically informed, etc. than Americans. Is the perception true or false? Is the reality true or false?

  • I’ve heard this theory as well, and have seen it here. Again, I can only really give my views on Austrians because I’ve spent most of my here. I do think that Austrians think that they are more aware of other cultures and are more politically informed, but I don’t think that they think they are more educated than Americans. Sadly, I have to say that the reality is true. The education systems are very different than in America but I would say that they are on the same level. Not all Austrians study at the university, but if they want to have any job or vocation that requires some basic training, they have to go to a special school to learn these skills. Even to just be a waitress, they have to go to school. Also, in grammar school and even kindergarten, children learn German and English and speak both almost perfectly. Austrians are absolutely more aware of other cultures than Americans, but this is purely because America is just so huge and has limited contact with other countries. Austria, on the other hand, is in central Europe and has constant contact with both the west and the east. As for politics, Austrians are crazy about them. Not only are they informed on their own politics, but America’s as well. For some reason its really interesting to them and they will always ask Americans what they think about certain people or subjects.

2. What’s the altitude of Salzburg and was it hard to move around when you first got there?

  • The altitude of Salzburg is 1,391 ft above sea level (Chicago is about 583 ft, for reference). I didn’t even notice a difference, so nope it was just the same as home to me.

Coming up next: My trip to Innsbruck and Swarovski Crystal World!

Viva Italia!

March 31st: Got back from Paris around 7 PM.

April 1st: Bummed around.

April 2nd: Did my laundry, got ready for Italy.

April 3rd: Left for Florence, Italy. I went with Erika and her mom, who was in town visiting. We rented a car, which turned out to be a Mercedes-Benz A Class. We left around 11 AM, and didn’t get into Florence until after dark, we were all tired so we just ordered some pizza and stayed in.

April 4th (Easter): We woke up to go do some sight-seeing. First, we went to The Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore, also known as the Duomo. It was pretty impressive, but not beautiful, I thought. We also, could not figure out how to get inside.

Tourist Central.

So, we couldn’t get in, and we decided to find somewhere to eat. We went to like a little Italian cafeteria. It was pretty good, not amazing.

Chicken and Raviolis.

Then we wanted to go see “The David” at the Accademia di Belle Arti. There was a giant line, so we waited for about an hour then finally got in. There was a lot of art, but nothing really interesting because they don’t want anything to outshine The David.

I took a picture with my phone, so I wouldn’t get yelled at. The sculpture itself was huge, I had no idea it was that big. His right hand is bigger, because the right hand is supposed to be the hand of God. Interesting. Near the end of the museum, I was looking at something, then I looked up and saw Will, who I went to France with, and his family. It was hilarious. Small world. Afterwards, we were super tired and just wanted to relax at the hotel, so we went back and watched the second Twilight movie, Eclipse.

April 5th: We woke up and had breakfast at the hotel. I had cold cuts and a yummy bread. Then we headed out to the Ponte Vecchio, which is just a big bridge with shops on either side. It was basically the #1 Tourist Spot of Florence. There were so many people just trying to sell you crap. Mostly umbrellas, scarves, pictures of Michael Jackson or little wooden letters on wheels. It was silly.

Rich Stuff.

Lining the Ponte Vecchio were a million gold shops, filled with millions and millions of Italian gold chains. I should have stocked up, but didn’t. While we were walking, Erkia and I wanted some real gelato, we we went into a place that was cooking waffle cones outside. We were enticed by the smell. So we went up to the counter and they were really rude and pushy, the guy just said “what do you want!?” really fast, so I just ordered one scoop of vanilla. He handed me the most giant cone I’ve seen and told me to step around to pay. Then the girl said that it would be 15 euros. I was shocked! That was just ridiculous. I would have handed it back but I had already licked it. So, that was by far, the most expensive ice cream of my life.

I was swindled!

It wasn’t even the best ice cream ever. I think the gelato from Massa (in Forest Park, near Peppino and Johnny’s) is just as good, and Ben and Jerry’s can still hold their own. After the Ponte Vecchio, we walked back to the Duomo and saw that they were letting people in, so we got out of the rain and went inside. It was nothing to write home about, so I won’t. After the Duomo, we packed up the car and headed to Cinque Terre in the Italian Riviera. It was only about a two hour drive to Riomaggiore, one of the five villages that make up Cinque Terre. When we got there, we checked in and then walked around the village. It didn’t take long, it was literally one main street, and thousands of alleys to get lost in.

The main drag.

We ate dinner in a small restaurant near the ocean.

Looks are deceiving… this was not as good as it looks. I was pretty disappointed, it was mostly bland.

April 6th: Woke up, walked around then hopped on the ferry to go to one of the other villages, Manarola.

I wanted to stay on the ferry longer... it was beautiful.

Manarola was really similar to the village we were staying in, maybe even smaller. So we took our time and hiked up to the top of the town, which was work because it was like hiking up a mountain.

Tiny alley.

Most of the day, we just relaxed in the sun by the ocean. We were sitting by the ocean, and I wasn’t wearing sunscreen at the time, so I put my sweater over my face so I wouldn’t get burned. Then, this crazy Italian granny pointed at me and cracked up. I don’t know what she said but I thought it was funny too. For dinner, we went to a different restaurant, but I was again disappointed. I got pesto gnocchi, and I’m sad to say that Antico Posto is better. Maybe I just wasn’t in a good part of Italy, but it was saddening.

Green Blobs.

After dinner we just sat around drinking Chianti and Lemonchello. I felt like I was in the movie “Under the Tuscan Sun.” (I was actually in Tuscany!)

Sunset in Riomaggiore

Look familiar? That’s because this exact shot is in Scanlan’s Windows to the World. Craziness.

April 7th: Drove back to Salzburg. I slept most of the way. All in all, Italy was great, but just not like I had thought it would be. Now, though, I feel like Austria will always feel like home.

March 29th: First day in Paris. So, our “15 minutes from the center of Paris” hostel, was actually in a not too nice suburb of Paris that was about 40 minutes from the city center. So to get to Paris, we had to take the RER into the city, which I thought was comparable to Chicago’s Metra/Amtrak. So, really it wasn’t so bad. The first thing we saw was Notre Dame. Which was one of the first gothic buildings to use flying buttresses. Hehe, I just wanted to say buttresses, but it is true. So, we waited in a giant line to get inside, and luckily it was free entry. When we finally got inside, there was mass going on! I was so surprised that they would let in thousands of tourists with their flashing cameras when mass was taking place. I didn’t like it so I high tailed it out of there. The outside of the cathedral is beautiful though.

Didn't see the Hunchback hanging around....

Then we walked along the river to the Louvre Museum, which was quite a walk. So we bummed around while Will figured out how we got tickets, and he comes back only to tell us that the Louvre is closed on Tuesdays! So, we decided that eating lunch was an ok substitute.

Da Vinci Code anyone?

So for lunch I got a crab quiche.  It was quite yummy.

Then after lunch, we saw some statues and eventually made our way to the Arc de Triomphe. The Arc de Triomphe is in the center of a GIANT ROUNDABOUT OF DEATH. There were seriously hundreds and hundreds of cars speeding around the Arc. I had no idea that the entire thing was so…huge.

Erika and I

So we walked through the underpass to the Arc and bought tickets to go up it. After Paris, I never wanted to walk up another stair in my life. To get up to the top, it is 284 steps, 90% of those 284 steps were in a tiny ass spiral staircase. Needless to say, by the top I was dizzy and about to keel over. The french knew how tough it was to climb up it so as soon as you got to the top, they had couches all over.

Tiny Arc in the Arc.

Inside the Arc, there was a small museum where you could see the details of the artwork on the outside of the Arc. The really cool part was the very top, because it had amazing views of the city.

Eiffel Tower from the Arc.

Then we climbed back down the million spiral staircase steps, and once again, dizziness ensued. Then Erika and I wanted to walk down Champs-Élysées and see all the shops, and maybe do a bit of shopping. After about a block of us walking, it started pouring, and we quickly ducked into a McDonalds. (How convenient!) We got a cup of tea and some cookies and tried to wait out the monsoon, eventually we just got bored and went out to brave the rain. We lasted about 20 feet. We ran into an alley and decided that we were too tired and soaked to do anything else, so we went back to the hostel. Then, at night, we decided to head out and try to go up in the Eiffel Tower. We got there and were instantly hassled by street venders selling light up, mini Eiffel Towers.

The Real Deal.

So we got in line to buy tickets, and were only able to buy tickets for the second level, not the top. The top was closed due to it being dangerous because of the high winds. We took the elevator up, walked around, and then walked down the endless stairs. After the Eiffel Tower we went back to the hotel and crashed.

March 30th: The first thing we did was go see Les Invilides/Musée de l’Armée to see where Napoleon is buried. Erika and I pretended we were Austrian when we bought our tickets, so we got in for free. A lot of museums in Europe have free admission for residents of the European Union. Before we saw dead Napoleon, we poked around a WW2 exhibit.

Military Millinery?

After the WW2 stuff, we walked into Napoleon’s tomb. I don’t think the French loved anyone more than they love Napoleon. The actual tomb is on a basement level and you walk in on the first floor, so you have to look down to see the tomb. They did this, so even in death, the people would have to bow down to Napoleon. Crazy!

This thing was huge.

There were some other tombs around but none as impressive as Napoleon’s. After the giant crypt, Erika and I walked down Champs-Élysées and got some food. Then Erika and I took the metro to Sacré-Coeur Church on the top of Montmartre. Sacré-Coeur is the highest point in Paris and gave us a great view.

Sweet view.

Then after it started pouring and got really cold, we headed to the train station to catch a train back to Munich and then home to Salzburg. We made it to the train station just fine, the problem was that the stupid French booking lady booked our Paris to Munich overnight train on the wrong day, but our Munich to Salzburg train was correct. So we rebooked a new train for 7 AM the next morning. We were hoping to rough it out at the train station for the night, but it was impossible because they closed down the station and kicked out everyone around midnight. So we wandered with our luggage for about 10 minutes, and then we cracked and got a hotel room for the night. Then the next morning we got on the train and went home.

And so concludes Spring Break: Week One.

March 25th: Had my last classes before break and packed for the night train to France. The plan was the Will, Erika and I would take the night train to Nice, France and meet up with Tom and Curtis at the hostel. So the three of us left for Munich around 6, then got on the train heading towards France. We had about 4 changes all together. The first train was from Munich, Germany to Bologna, Italy. It wasn’t so bad, we didn’t have a sleeper car though, so we didn’t actually get any sleep really. Then at like 5 AM, we got on our second train in Italy. As soon as we sit down, three Italian guys start staring at me and talking to each other. I had thought the “crazy Italian men don’t ever leave women alone” stereotype wasn’t all true, but this instantly proved me wrong. I could not have looked less cute too. I was super tired, travel worn and wearing sweats, so really I don’t what their motivation was. Anyway, one of the guys kept trying to get me to sit with him while the other was blowing kisses and pretending that I was breaking his heart because I so beautiful. Because I was so tired, and had never experienced such ridiculousness, I was cracking up and giggling, which of course, only made it worse. Luckily, they had to get off the train before we did. All of the other trains were uneventful and we finally made it to Nice in the afternoon. So after we checked into the hostel, we hopped on the tram to the city center and bummed around a little. First we went and saw some monastery (I can’t remember which because we didn’t go in) and then we walked around the monastery’s gardens, which were so pretty.

Secret garden - esque.

After the monastery’s gardens, we just walked around the beach and the city center.

Pretty Garden Arches.

Beach of Pebbles

Then we decided to climb the Colline du Château to get a view of the entire city. I just about had a heart attack climbing the million stairs but I think it was worth it because at the top there was a waterfall and paths the lead you to other great views of Nice.

The pebbly beach view from the almost top of the Château.

The Harbor and Port Lympia.

After we climbed back down we just walked around the beach area and the main parts of the city, while waiting for Tom and Curtis to arrive. Finally they got in around 8 PM and we all ate dinner at our hostel and went to sleep, because we were all exhausted.

March 26th: The gang and I went to a local market in the main part of Nice, which is apparently there everyday.

I bought some lavender soap for 2 euros.

While we were at the market, Erika and I wanted to try some Socca because I had seen Samantha Brown eat some when she went to Nice. So we waited and waited for the pan of it to be done, and then the woman gave it to other people when she clearly knew we were waiting for it. Super lame, so we didn’t get to try any. Then we all stopped for lunch at a cafe. I asked in very broken French if they had Croque Monsieurs and the woman said yes and brought me a crepe with ham and cheese in it. I laughed, but it was good regardless.

I was the only one at the table who didn't order pizza.

After eating, we decided to spend the rest of the day on the beach. It’s not sand, but pebbles, but they are all smooth so it doesn’t hurt to sit or lay on them.

Boys being boys.

March 27th: We went to Monaco! It only cost 1 euro to ride the bus from Nice to Monaco. The bus ride was probably about an hour and the bus stopped right near Monte Carlo and the Prince’s Palace of Monaco. I thought we were in the capitol of Monaco while we were there because we saw the Palace where the Prince lives, but then I learned that the entire Principality of Monaco is considered one city and is really just a “city-state.” Craziness.

View of Monaco from the path to the Prince's Palace.

The bluest water I've ever seen.

March 28th: We had a train to Paris around 5, so we just planned to do a few things. First, we went to the Russian Cathedral. It was small, but neat.

Russian-y.

Then we stopped for a croissant and coffee, which was delicious and then laid in the gardens until we had to go back to the hostel, get our bags, and head to the train station.

Park for Lounging.

I will save Paris for another entry. :)

More later,

Emily

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