Posted on July 13th, 2011 at 8:14 PM by admin
The one day excursion to Quedlinburg and Thale was unfortunately our last and as our luck would have it, it rained AGAIN. Luckily not the whole day though. We had a nice morning and early afternoon in Quedlinburg touring the city and having a lazy lunch. That night we went to Thale and took a chairlift up to see the famous Rosstrappe (hoof print in English). The Rosstrappe itself was less than exciting to me but the view from that spot was pretty spectacular. We ate at a restaurant up top as well and of course we had to have another flaming liquor before returning back to the bus to listen US women’s soccer team kick some butt!!!
Cute couple in a cute lil town!
Sinking ground = crooked house!
New friends from the conference 😛

The view from Rosstrappe!!!

Posted on July 7th, 2011 at 4:46 PM by admin
After 2 years I was finally able to see my “German son” again. I call him that because he lived with me for a  year between 2008 and 2009 while taking part in the Congress Bundestag Youth Exchange or CBYX Program. I had taken part in this program in Germany back in 2005- 2006 and wanted to be a part of providing that opportunity for someone else. Now back to the trip. The seminar in Leipzig afforded me the chance to visit Thomas in Koblenz, where he is currently living and studying. I was also excited about meeting his parents for the first time in person. We all spent an entire day together at the Bundesgarten (BUGA), which is a festival of flowers that is held in a different city each year in Germany. We saw so many beautiful flowers and arrangements. It was also a spectacularly sunny yet breezy day. His parents were very generous with me — I felt taken care of that day!

Just some of the flowers at BUGA Koblenz

Thomas and I together again at last 🙂

 

Amazing view of where the Rhein River meets the Mosel River

Posted on July 2nd, 2011 at 4:46 PM by admin
Our first official excursion of the conference was to Dresden and Meißen, Germany. I had been to Dresden before but this cold, rainy, windy summer day made the city seem foreign to me. We had a brief city tour for about as long as we all could take it. The wind rendered my “travel” umbrella broken and useless which led to me buying a new expensive cheap “travel” umbrella that may or may not make it through its next trip. Having said that we still saw some neat sites and had a lovely dinner including a flaming liquor!

This picture doesn't do this building in Dresden justice....

Meißen is a small town that I had never heard of before this trip. Unfortunately due to the unceasing poor weather we spent most of the time in a museum, but it was quite a museum. I’ve been to many of them in Germany and Europe in general but this one had a stunning mix of amazing frescoes, unique architecture and elaborate decorations.

What amazing ceilings! Awesome museum 🙂

 

Outstanding architecture and decoration in this historic building of a museum

Posted on June 25th, 2011 at 10:21 AM by admin
After my year abroad in Austria I decided to attend a conference in Germany about foreign language testing practices and standards. Admittedly I really wanted to get home already but since I was selected to participate in this 3 week conference at no cost outside of some meals and transportation to and from, I figured I could handle getting home just a little later.


My host mom in Leipzig was about the same age as my 86 year old grandmother and this woman is still living it up I gotta say. She told Sylvia (another participant from the conference who was also being hosted by super-grandma) and I that she couldn’t understand people who get old and feel lonely because she still has a circle of friends of over 30 people that she’s known for 30-40 years. Although struggling with a slight hearing problem she was otherwise impressively sharp and active.


Our first official conference day consisted of a nice lunch and a tour of Leipzig. Our tour guide reminded me of just how inappropriate eastern German humor is from an American perspective. I certainly had a good laugh along with a lot of memories of my days living in eastern Germany back in 2005-2006. We ate at Auerbach’s Keller which is famous for its supposed part in inspiring Goethe’s Faust, which we read in our German Literature and History class in my first semester in Austria. We were to have 2 full excursion days (one to Dresden and Meissen and the other to Quedlinburg and Thale) during the conference as well as a free weekend, on which I went to visit my “German son” in Koblenz.

One of the rooms at the famous Auerbach's Keller

The National Library in Leipzig is shaped like a book!

Over the 3 weeks I met several like-minded teachers and lovers of German language and culture.  It was refreshing to see that other such people exist! At the end of the conference I realized I would definitely miss these people that I had come to know but I also know that our careers may bring us back together again. But until then…Alles Gute!!

Flowers in the main square

Posted on June 24th, 2011 at 4:34 PM by admin
One whole school year has now gone by and I must bid my home in Salzburg adieu. There were many moments that I felt like the year wasn’t going by fast enough but now that it’s done it seems like it did go by fast after all. I can’t say that I miss living in a shoebox but I had adapted. What used to be a nerve racking 15 minute walk to the doener stand at the train station across the street from my dorm is now no longer possible and therefore my doener cravings will not be fulfilled.


Although it was a tough load I will miss taking so many linguistics and foreign language classes and of course my friends in Salzburg that I barely got a chance to know since I was always so busy studying. I will miss this culture that cares so much about our environment and that puts such high importance and value on friendship especially in comparison to my home land. I will not, however, miss the lack of customer service. I know that it is acceptable for many who are raised within the culture but I must return to my roots for that “the customer is always right” feel that I can only seem to find in the good ole US of A.


In any case the beauty of Salzburg’s landscapes and the comfort of its quaint yet diverse atmosphere did capture my heart and in my last weeks I went out to photograph the city one more time before heading off to Germany for a conference and then moving back to the US for the foreseeable future.

Sundown from Kapuzinerberg

 

Historic downtown just after sunset (Hi Toni!)

Sunset out my window over the main train station

Posted on June 5th, 2011 at 8:46 PM by admin
Since our school program’s trip of the semester this year was Berlin I made my third appearance in this very large, diverse and historically very interesting city. We went on a long weekend during the public holiday of Christi Himmelfahrt (also known as Ascension Day). My religious beliefs are questionable but I sure wish we had this holiday in the US! Anyways, we went to many museums as well as spending nearly 4 hours on a river tour. I definitely could’ve gotten off after 2 but I’m sure it helped my tan to stay the extra 2. It also have me a chance to have a a ginormous glass of beer. As far as musuems go we went to the Alte Nationalgallerie (Old National Gallerie), the Pergamon Museum and the New Museum. I took thousands of pictures of course.

The group in front of the Konzerthaus at Gendarmenmarkt

Berliner Dom (Berlin Cathedral)

Bode Museum - one of the only museums we didn't actually go inside

Awesome paintings at the Alte Nationalgallerie

How real does this painting look?!

Got to say another painting from one of my favorite artists - Monet

I found this picture very interesting - the title was something like Hell Island if i recall correctly

Loving the sculptures with babies 🙂

My favorite part of the Pergamon Museum was the Islamic art collection

 

at the Neues Museum -> walk like an egyptian 🙂

The hostel we stayed in was very close to a lot of the downtown monuments but the wifi had some serious issues. In fact, my number one complaint about Berlin is that there is no Wifi that works like anywhere in the downtown. I walked around for hours one day trying to find it and I ended up a very frustrated Julie to say the least (and I will say the least..lol). Well i’m going to keep it short because I have a lot of pictures to post and I think they speak for themselves for the most part.

Posted on May 29th, 2011 at 5:16 PM by admin
As much as I wanted to go from the moment I heard about this excursion through the university, I truly didn’t think I could make it happen with my crazy end of the school year exam preparations.  But at the last minute it all worked out. The trip consisted of a nice loop starting in Salzburg and going south to Werfen to see the ice caves and castle, then to Piesendorf for a great hostel in the mountain-filled countryside experience, and last but not least to Halstatt (in the Salzkammergut region) to see the world’s first salt mine and this beautiful lakeside city with a long and interesting history before heading back to Salzburg.


I was in my heaven with all this great landscape to shoot but I must admit that the ice caves were the only disappointment. The lighting was so minimal that you could hardly appreciate all the ice and they did not allow pictures of any kind, which I found fairly unjustifiable. It was an interesting experience though to get to the top of a mountain in the summer time and have it be snowing!  Love it! The castle, on the other hand, was very tourist oriented. Everyone was dressed up in their mid-evil attire and despite our large group’s wandering habits, did their best to entertain us. Although the weather was not ideal (too calm) we were even able to watch a bird show with a variety of birds. Being so close to the birds yielded some great pictures, but due to the lack of wind, I presume, one of the birds came awfully close to my head during its take-off. Stupid me didn’t flinch as I was determined to get a great picture out of it. Probably not the smartest move after we had just been given a safety speech about how dangerously fast these birds are.  Luckily the gust of wind that gushed over my head was the only thing I felt, although I admit I was a bit shaken up afterwards!

The view from atop Hohenwerfen (The Werfen Castle)

Not your average summer day in a castle...

Puttin' on the breaks!

The salt mine in Halstatt was very entertaining even if we did have to wear some unusual clothing to get in. Inside we heard many “cheesy,” yet entertaining stories, about the history of the mines, got to ride on a little train out of the mine, and even saw a pretty impressive light show. After the salt mine we went on a city tour where we learned how the people of this city solved a lack of space problem for burying their dead. They have a room full of bones and skulls. And the skulls were fired up like pottery and decorated. Kinda freaky but not a bad idea, right?

The whole group on the boatride to Halstatt!

So many great views on the boat to Halstatt

 

Halfway up to the salt mines we got this great view

 

Salt mine light show - there's a first time for everything!

 

Space efficient way to honor the dead

 

View of Halstatt from the salt mine gondola

Posted on May 14th, 2011 at 10:34 PM by admin
For my birthday I decided to take my first full day off of schoolwork in…I don’t even know how long. Quite possibly since the semester started?  I didn’t sit around and watch TV though. Oh no. I went hiking with my friends Josh and Brandis. Brandis traveled all the way here from Milan, Italy where she is studying so I had to make sure to show her a good time. Seeing as how I didn’t quite make it the last time I tried to climb a mountain, I thought this time I would just try to descend one. 6 hours later I realized that that isn’t necessarily any easier for me. My poor friends listened to me whine and complain for the last 2 hours or so of the approximately 8 hour adventure. So I’ve decided I just shouldn’t ever go on a hike that takes more than 5 hours. Yup that’s my new plan! I think…but don’t quote me on it!

This view left me speechless 🙂

This little bridge somehow made this picture great

When we started the hike we couldn’t see 5 ft in front of us and I was pretty disappointed as I had seen pictures of the amazing view at the top of the mountain. We even had to hike a few hours with our umbrellas out, but about halfway down it started to clear up and the mountain revealed to us its momentous beauty.  We veered off the path for a bit to check out a stream that caught our attention. And when we got to the bottom we were greeted by many farm animals that I couldn’t help but take pictures of. Josh tried several times to pet one of the cows but the cow was not having it!

This chicken had quite the swagger

The cow that got away from Josh...

After that crazy long hike we showed up like 1.5 hours late for my birthday dinner (whoops!) I even had a couple beers. It was WILD!  Thanks to everyone for that special day. It was exactly what I needed!

Posted on April 29th, 2011 at 9:13 PM by admin

Weather = bad, Amalfi Coastline = still good!

Our final day on the tour was on the Amalfi Coast. As luck would have it the rain came back and the views were a bit hazy.  I still got some great shots but I had to imagine how it would have been on a clearer day. After taking some above the coast shots from just off the highway, we went into the city of Positano. It was really neat to see an old city literally built on the  lushly covered mountains and limestone cliffs of a jutting coast line. This city also had some wonderful flowers blooming. The pictures came out especially nice as they were accumulating water droplets from the days’ on and off showers. 

Learning the benefits of shooting just after rain showers!

There is certainly no space going to waste on the Amalfi Coastline

April 29

Capri, Italy
Posted on April 29th, 2011 at 7:55 PM by admin

loved this angled rock formation with the pure aqua marine blue water

look at all the little boats lined up on the shore!

The next day we headed to the island of Capri (with the emphasis on the first syllable). The perimeter of this small island is only about 10 miles. We of course went around with a local guide to see some of the views and all kinds of tropical fauna. Afterwards we grabbed “Caprese” salads and paninis and got on a boat that went around the whole island. It was either that or visit the Blue Grotta and see nothing else. We stopped near a few caves — the Green  Grotta for instance. We also passed through the lovers arch (too bad I was loverless at that moment). I really would’ve liked to have seen the Blue Grotta but time just didn’t allow. Regardless I was able to take many a great picture on the boat ride as well as enjoy the cool wind on a sunny day.

Our group all aboard and ready to cruise around Capri

What a beautiful island...

Speechless...

Dad stopping for a fresh lemonade