Europe 2006

Holy Trinity Brompton

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I originally typed most of this up about two years ago. I never finished it and it’s been sitting in my draft posts ever since.

One of my good friends, Liz, is studying abroad in London this semester and mentioned that she was going to go check out a church that someone from UPC recommend. I asked if it was Holy Trinity Brompton. It was.

I think people from UPC enjoying going on pilgramiges to Holy Trinity Brompton.

I decided to finish entry and post it:

06 Aug 2007: Dateline London

I took the Tube down to South Kensington Station, hopped off and walked over. The outside of Holy Trinity Brompton looks like as you might imagine a traditional church front. But walk inside and everything’s revamped, including the service. It’s even more casual then UPC Sunday night. What amazes me though is that I knew 5 of the 7 songs we sang. Is there an email that goes out to all the churches that says, “All right, here’s the list of songs we’re singing. Add your songs to list and pass it on!” ?

Alright, it’s me again, back in the present (so to speak).

I don’t know if I was going to add any more to this post, so I’ll leave it as it. I think the only other thing worth mentioning is that we (well, Mom) talked to the paster after the service was over and introduced herself as a member of UPC. They chatted for a while about Alpha.


Zürich Airport

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Dateline Zürich, Switzerland.

I’m at Zürich airport right now. My flight takes off in about an hour. I fly to Frankfurt on Air Berlin and then switch to United and fly to Dulles, Washington, D.C.

I go through customs at Dulles and then hop back on United and fly to Denver with a touch down of around 7:30pm Mountain Time.

The trip will take about 11 hours in my time, but over 18 hours in real time. I’ll also be going back 8 time zones. Fun.


Last Day in Europe

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Dateline Arbon, Switzerland.

Well, today is my last day in Europe. I decided to take it easy. I’ve spent most of today catching up on all the writing I’ve been wanting to do, but have never had the time or haven’t felt motivated to do.

I finished writing about Italy:

I also started the section on Switzerland with Remo and Günther.

Photos are still uploading as I write. The upload speed is slow, but not much I can do about it. I should have around 360 photos when this last batch gets finished.

I’ll be spending some time over the next few months tagging all the photos and writing little things about them, so the Europe 2006 tag isn’t done yet.

Heard from our house/cat sitter today. Dunstand is doing well, which is good.

Only 10.5 hours until I leave for Zurich to catch my flight. Wow.


Swiss Mountain Tour

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Dateline Arbon, Switzerland.

Remo took us on a tour of Switzerland today. Well part of it at least. We saw St. Gallen, a mummy (yes, a mummy) at a really old library in St. Gallen who’s name is escaping me at the moment, the famous Swiss Mountains, picked up Günther, then drove into Austria, had dinner, drove back, and now I really should go to bed.

Tomorrow’s my last day. I think I’m going to take it easy before my long journey back.


New English

Heh. Duane sent this to me. It’s rather appropriate given that I’m currently in Europe right now.

The European Commission has just announced an agreement whereby English will be the official language of the European Union rather than German, which was the other possibility.

As part of the negotiations, the British Government conceded that English spelling had some room for improvement and has accepted a 5- year phase-in plan that would become known as “Euro-English”.

In the first year, “s” will replace the soft “c”. Sertainly, this will make the sivil servants jump with joy. The hard “c” will be dropped in favour of “k”. This should klear up konfusion, and keyboards kan have one less letter There will be growing publik enthusiasm in the sekond year when the troublesome “ph” will be replaced with “f”. This will make words like fotograf 20% shorter.

In the 3rd year, publik akseptanse of the new spelling kan be expekted to reach the stage where! more komplikated changes are possible.

Governments will enkourage the removal of double letters which have always ben a deterent to akurate speling.

Also, al wil agre that the horibl mes of the silent “e” in the languag is disgrasful and it should go away.

By the 4th yer people wil be reseptiv to steps such as replasing “th” with “z” and “w” with “v”.

During ze fifz yer, ze unesesary “o” kan be dropd from vords kontaining “ou” and after ziz fifz yer, ve vil hav a reil sensi bl riten styl.

Zer vil be no mor trubl or difikultis and evrivun vil find it ezi tu understand ech oza. Ze drem of a united urop vil finali kum tru.

Und efter ze fifz yer, ve vil al be speking German like zey vunted in ze forst plas.

If zis mad you smil, pleas pas on to oza pepl.

Update: Added title


Remo and Günther

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Dateline Arbon, Switzerland.

About 10 years ago, Remo stayed with us in American for five weeks while he was studying English in a program hosted at Seattle University.

I was 10, Brian was 7. The year was 1996.

At the very end of his stay, Remo’s twin brother, Günther, stopped by.

Our family kept in contact with Remo for a while, but time and distance got the best of everyone and contact was lost.

Until a little less then a month ago. We have a book that everyone who stays at our house signs. They fill out their name, address, phone number, and a short little note, if they like.

Using the powers of the Internet and Skype, I was able to track down Remo and Günther. This actually turned out to be pretty easy as the hadn’t even changed phone numbers in the 10 years since they visited the United States.

Today we saw them for the first time in 10 years. It was pretty cool.

Remo found us a great hotel to stay in. We moved in, had dinner, and talked for hours about everything.

Tomorrow we’re going on a tour of Switzerland.


Greetings from Agnone

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Dateline Rome, Italy.

A really long day today with lots of traveling.

Took a train from Florence to Rome (1.5 hours)

Rented a car and then drove to Agnone (3 hours)

Investigated Agnone, where my mothers, mothers, father was born.

Learned they make world famous bells in Agnone

Drove back to Rome (3 hours)

Found hotel (1 hour)


We fly out to Switzerland tomorrow afternoon.



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There was a reason why our family never took really long vacations: we don’t work well together after only a few days together. That and I’ve been away from everything I know for over a week now. This generally isn’t an issue, but I’ve had nothing to cling on to here except for my mother for the first 5 days (and I really don’t care to cling on to her).

Dad and Brian getting here was a welcome relief, but not as much of one as I had hopped. I’m still having to figure out how to work in a foreign country without anyone from my peer group and it’s hard. I suppose in the end, this will all be good for me. But I really just want to go home now.

I’m done walking around, I’m done only being able to utter short words in foreign languages, I’m done playing tourist. I want to go back to a world where I can use my cell phone to talk to people, have access to high speed Internet on a whim, go climbing, go skiing, drive around with no destination for less then $8/gallon.

I want to be able to look at my watch and know that I’m back in my timezone. That when I wake up 9am, the NYSE has already been trading for 1.5 hours.

I have gained a greater appreciation for America. To realize that the rights I have don’t exist anywhere else, even in places like London where the police can search your bags before you board the Underground on a whim.

Update: Cleartext’d


Random Notes on Italy

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Dateline Florence, Italy.

On English
Italy is the first country that I’ve been to on this trip where English was not the primary language. However, it is interesting to note how many people speak English, both the local Italians and many foreigners who don’t speak English as their first language.

In many ways, English seems to be the universal language of the world. I find this somewhat surprising as a majority of the world does not have English as their first language.

Words in Italian
Despite the fact that I really could get around without learning any Italian, I’ve tried to pick up some basic words and phrases:

Florence => Firenze
Hello (and Goodbye) => Ciao
Thank you => Grazie
You’re welcome => Prego
Print => Stampa
One => Uno
Two => Due [doo-eh]
How do you say…in Italian? => Come si dice… in Italiano?
Hello (on the telephone) => Pronto
Hour => Hora
Beautiful = > Bella
You often see the phrase “Ciao Bella” on shirts, which translates to “Goodbye Beautiful”.

I’m sure I could also have used most of what I remember from Spanish and that would have sufficed.

All the restrooms have pull cord in them. In case you fall down, you’re supposed to pull it to call for help. Funny thing is, the cords are placed way up high so they’re out of the way and there’s no what you could pull them if you were to fall.

All the streets in the city center are made of stone.

Illegal street peddlers
There are lots and lots of people who have carts to sell their goods from (think of the Mexican side of the US-Mexican border in San Diego). However, there are also lots of people who just peddle goods in the street. They almost always peddle the same things: knock off purses (Louis Vuitton anyone?), knock off watches, and prints.


When the police come, they have to quickly pick up their goods. However, it appears that the police turn a blind eye and will wait for the merchant to pick up his stuff before walking by them.

Vespas, cars, and parking lots
Vespas are every where. They really are, I almost was run down by one. Not many luxury cars can be seen on road, however a quick look into a garage reveals where they are.

Internet Cafe Prices and Laws
Rick Steves says that Internet Cafes can be found for €4/hour (€3/hour for students), we found the best Internet cafe (in terms of quality) for €1.50/hour for everyone. I also saw another one offering Internet for €0.99/hour.

Just walk around and you’ll find something. As I mentioned earlier {link that, please}, Italian law requires that owners collect user information before allowing them on the Internet. I did go to one cafe where all they took was your name, but everyone else seems to abide by the rules.

I’m sure I’ll have more notes and thoughts on Italy later.