26 April, 2007

Sorry everyone

Ive kind of lost it in terms of blogging. I didnt keep up properly, and now I will be home in less than 3 weeks. So, rather than try to fulfill my lost cause, I will fulfill each and every one of you that asks upon my return. Ive had an amazing semester that has taken me all over western and some of eastern europe. I am still amazed at the places Ive seen and the places I still intend to go in my life. My favorite country has been Austria followed by Slovenia then Portugal. My favorite foods are Rösti and Wienerschnitzel (enjoyed with a great beer). Last weekend I hiked alone in the Jungfraujoch Bernese Oberland region and I will never be able to replicate how I felt washing my face in an alpine stream, lying in a bed of ready to melt snow and waking up to watch the sun rise of the Monk and Eiger Peaks 3 hours after it should have risen. I love the Alps and I will miss them as soon as I am home, but for now, I miss home and the people there.

19 April, 2007

Newer albums for those without Facebook

Lisbon and Sintra, Portugal

Bled, Slovenia

Copenhagen, Sweden, Berlin


Enjoy facebookless family and friends

16 April, 2007


First of all, Happy Birthday to my good sister on this April 16th. She is turning the big 25, some would say she is at the half of her half-life. Second, let me apologize (it seems I start every post by apologizing) for not posting about Slovenia. I am very late, and since Slovenia, I have been to Brussels, Copenhagen, Malmo Sweden, Berlin, and Dresden. So, Finally...Slovenia.

Slovenia was one of the most beautiful places I have been so far. And it rained most of the time I was there. Mark, Kyle, Molly and myself arrived in Bled around 7Am on a Friday after a 12 hour night train from Geneva with a stop in Zurich. The hostel, which was run by the nicest Slovenian family picked us up from the station and immediately we knew that Slovenians were the nicest people ever. They cooked us a huge egg breakfast (something I hadnt had inquite a while) and then drove us into town(we werent in Bled, we were in Selo about 15km out) and gave us a tour of the town. Bled is a small village perched on a beautful lake in a valley of the Julian Alps. On one side of the lake is a large cliff with Bled castle on top. In the center of the lake, there is a tiny island with room enough for only one church.

Our first morning, we hiked to the castle and were welcomed with amazing views and an even more amazing monk, Andre. Andre ran a wine cellar out of the castle and helped me complete one of my Euro-goals. Sabrage. Sabrage is the art of chopping a champagne bottle's top of with a sabre, a sweet party trick. I did it on my second try and we enjoyed the champagne bottle at 1030 am that morn.

Over the rest of the trip, we enjoyed amazing Slovenian food (for really cheap), we participated in the Slovenian National rafting Competitiong (no joke), took a boat to the island church, rang the bell in the chapel for good luck, and slept better than I ever have. Either the Slovenians put rohypnol in their dinner food, or they make the best damn beds ever.

Soon, I will cover the past week in Scandinavia and Germany.

04 April, 2007

Pesach in a foreign land

Passover started monday night. I celebrated with the Gross family, a nice French-Ashkenazi family living on the border of Switzerland. They however did not provide the seder, but brought me to their friends house. Their friends were Moroccan-Sephardic and I attended the Chabad-Lubavitch service before the 9 PM seder started. Herve Gross (the patriarch of the family I was with) had never been to this Chabad, and knew only his friend whose house we would be dining in. Odd, then, that when we walked in, I knew 2 people in this Chabad. 1 was Stephen, a Canadian student who I was unaware was Jewish and in living in the John Knox Centre where I live. The 2nd was a Cornell student studying through BU whom I met in Gryon during a ski trip. Small world.

Anyways, the seder was hilarious. Most of it was in French or Hebrew, but the funny part would be when mabe 4 of the guests would be readng from different parts all arguing about where they were in the Haggadah. Eventually, one of them would yell the loudest, and instead of doing it over, they would be finished and we would dip the greens in salt water, or whatever part we finished. It was a traditional Moroccan feast as I am told and we had fish balls, lamb, and a gamut of other amazing foods that I grew full over. Long story short, I got home at 2:15 because they eat and drink too much here. Chag Sameach

02 April, 2007

Posts and Posts and Posts and...

It appears that I am several weekends behind on the posting. I still need to update ye on Venice, Padova, and Portugal. But, I want to talk about Slovenia as quickly as possible so I will give the shortened versions of Italy and Portugal (besides, I already gave you all my pictures anyway).

Padua, IT with Amy and Kevin
60,ooo Student University of Padova, Romeo was exiled there, crazy night life, Spritzers are the drink of choice, Kevin's friend Bart led us around, the city is divided between ugly and beautiful. I had fun.

Venice, IT with Amy and Kevin
Canals, canals, glass, masks, Murano, boats, canals, walking, canals. There really isn't much to Venice, we only made it a day trip, I've been there before and its a tourist trap. Just a lot of nice walking.

Lisbon, PT with Ashley and Kevin
Amazing. Like a Portuguese version of San Fransisco. Hilly, tram cars, golden gate bridge, nice people, best seafood I've ever had, good public transportation system, fun night life (drank something called the Hemmingway Special), Fado is a spanish guitar-opera thing with a beautiful sound that is in almost ever bar in Lisbon.

Sintra, PT with Ashley and Kevin
Lord Byron called Sintra an "Eden". So true. Unbelievable architecture over gardens. One garden was sprawled on a hill including caves, over lakes, lookout towers, grottos, rivers: all to mimic Dante's Inferno. Crazy awesome. Good Porto in Portugal, surprising?

PS. I shaved my beard.
Here is the album.


28 March, 2007


So, let me please apologize for my lack of blogposts the past few weeks. I have absolutely no excuse. However, it has come up to bite me in the ass, as now I have to update the past 3 weekends (time is flying by) of Gruyéres, Lausanne, Neuchatel, Basel, Venice, Padova, aaaaand Portugal`s Lisbon and Sintra. Wow. 3 weekends, 3 countries, 4 languages, 8 cities, 12, 19, 39... That is alot of numbers.

Let us start from the beginning. Basel, Neuchatel, Gruyéres, Lausanne. This was all one weekend broke into 2 days as day trips. No expenses for hostels, just food, drink, and whatever museum or castel we wanted to see. Basel was...interesting. We ate at a restaurant called Gifthüttli, which means Poisin cabin, but it was amazing. In my love for Rösti, I hate a huge platter adorned with a sausage, just the way I like it. It is a very pretty large schwiezer-deutsch town (swiss-german). I posted the pictures in all my links, so people should be able to see the beautiful Rathaus and the Rhine R. By the way, this trip was with Kevin, Molly, Amy. Before we headed home (as it was only a day thing, 3 hours away), Kevin and I wanted to grab a brew at the oldest Brewpub in Switzerland, the Fischerstube that serves their own Ueli Bier, quite delish. On the way home, we decided to walk around Neuchatel and watch the sunset over Lake Neuchatel. Its a rather quaint french speaking town, known mainly for their university. The lake is nice although the swans get rowdy if you try to feed them granola, so dont.

The next day we headed out around 8 for an arrival in Gruyéres around 11. Its an intensly small town with only one road, perched on the top of a hill in a green valley flanked on all sides by alps. Very beautiful. This time, the roster was supposed to be the same as the day before, with Amy, Molly and Kevin. However Amy decided she was quote unquote tired. So last minute, I convince Meghan to steal Amys Eurail pass, which they dont check IDs with, and we headed off for the Swiss Cheese capitol. First stop: the swiss cheese factory. We took a tour, and our tickets to get in were none other than pieces of Gruyéres cheese, aged 6, 8, 10 mos. old. The 8 was the best. After the tour, we hiked up the hill to the actual town walked the one street to the end, where we discovered(knew it was there) a sweet castle. Amazing mountanous and valley views, a theme I am beginning to see a trend of in Switzerland. Everywhere. After the castle, we went to a bar outside of the Giger museum. Ahh the Giger museum. We did not pay the 8CHF entry fee, but it may have been worth a laugh. HR Giger, the swiss surrealist who envisioned Alien and Species movie series has a museum in Gruyéres dedicated to fantasy eroticism. Weird. The bar however was cool, and was fashioned with mold casts of alien spines everywhere. They made up the ceiling, the chairs, table legs. There were mutated baby heads coming out from the wall, all in all a wholly odd experience, but one worth having. After this, we headed home around 4 and stopped in Laussanne to get some Kebab, walk around, have a drink, and watch the sunset over Lac Leman. Tres beau. This blog post will get incredibly long if I include all 3 weekends in here, so I will cut it short and do the other 2 soon.

I have just realized the extent of my travels here. By the time I reach the USA, I will have hit Switzerland, Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, Austria, Germany, Slovenia, Belgium, Czech Republic, and Hungary. 11. Damn. This weekend is Bled, Slovenia, I cannot wait.

22 March, 2007

All of my pictures in one big bang (thanks to CERN)

Hopefully this will work...

-these are my trips to Padua, Venice, and the Geneva Auto Show

-these are day trips i took to save money to Basel, Neuchatel, Gruyeres, and Lausanne

-spring break in Sicily, Florence, and the CinqueTerre

-Salzburg and Vienna, Austria (so far my facorite country)

-Luzern, Bern, and Madrid

-Orientation Week in Geneva and around Lac Leman.

Now, of course I have taken more pictures than this, but this is all that I have posted on facebook, which means the others are either confidential, or not as good of pictures (or both). In any case, this is a new method of sharing my pictures with family that are sans facebook, so I am not sure if it will work. I encourage people to leave comments as to the pictures and the funcionality of the links. Soon I will update on Padua, Venice, and my upcoming weekend in Lisbon, Portugal.