19 July 2009
19 July 2009
18 July 2009
17 July 2009
There was really just one thing left to do before leaving, visit the UN and the IAEA1. So we made off for the northeast end of Vienna. On the way we managed to find Puntigamer, an Austrian beer that my friend Marissa suggested we look up.
Our host was nice, but very optimistic about the United Nations efforts. I wish we still had the League of Nations if only for the reason that it had a cooler name.
We made our way back to the hostel, collected our things, and then raced2 to catch our next rain to Budapest.
It so happened that Charlie was also coming in from Switzerland right around the time we were leaving. I was secretly hoping that we would see Charlie and kidnap him. Unfortunately, we didn’t see him.
We got into Budapest late at night. We stumbled around while trying to find an ATM so I could get some Forint3. We finally managed to find an ATM and withdraw some money. A short subway ride later, we at our hostel.0
16 July 2009
Yesterday, Quinn and I made an awesome discovery: you can rent bikes for free1 in Vienna! You pay a one-time €1 charge to register, and then can borrow a bike for up to an hour for free. The second hour is €1, the third hour is an additional €2 and so on. But, if you return your bike and wait at least 15 minutes, perhaps visit a museum or grab something to eat, you rent again with the first hour being free!
We biked to the Hofburg Imperial Residence and Palace of the Arts where we saw several amazing exhibits in the Ephesus Museum (which was amazing and informative to see after just recently being to Ephesus)…
We got a quick bite to eat before catching a tram to Zentralfriedhof (Central Cemetery).
15 July 2009
Essentially wandered around Vienna all day. Saw some churches. Then back to the hostel for happy hour. Met two Irish girls and another from Canada, Caitlin, who’s a Political Science and Environmental Studies major at University of Ottawa.0
A quick note on the order of posts for my trip: they are not guaranteed to be in order and are almost definitely not guaranteed to be posted on the day they happened. To find out which day a particular post is referring to, look at the second line of each post…there will be a date, such as: 15 June 2009. That’s the date the events occurred on.
To find out where I am right this instant, visit the blog (if you’re an RSS/email reader) and look for the Dopplr box, or just visit my Dopplr Profile.
Questions, comments, concerns? Leave a comment (preferred) or shoot me an email (not preferred).
14 July 2009
Today, I did nothing. And it was great. It was nice being in a, somewhat, familiar settings and just being lazy and sleeping in, watching TV, and getting laundry done (although, that was more of a challenge than I was hoping for).
After Remo and GÃ¼nther got back from work, we walked around and had some dinner before departing for our train to Vienna.
We actually tried to get tickets for our train to Vienna before dinner, however the station was closed. So like all good travelers we winged it and ended up just talking to the conductor and buying tickets from him, which worked well enough. We shared a couchette with some fellow travelers from the USA, although they were much older.0
13 July 2009
L’Abri in the Morning
Traveling to Arbon through Interlaken
Finally met up with Remo and GÃ¼nther after a slight train mix up1. I’ve forgotten how funny Remo and GÃ¼nther are. After a wonderful dinner, we watched Burn After Reading at the Open Air Kino mit UBS2 in English with German and French subtitles3. Final note of the day: Food is expensive in Switzerland. It was about $12 USD for a McDonald’s Meal.0
11/12 June 2009
L’Abri was the shelter for my journey. After traveling for over five weeks, it was time to stop for a moment (although I wish it could have been more). It was great to see Quinn. It was even better to have some great conversations with some amazing people at L’Abri.
I was able to finish a book I have literally been try to finish for almost two years and have started, stopped, and restarted several times, The Language of God by Francis Collins. I read over 150 pages in two sittings, morning and afternoon.
The Language of God is a decent book, not great. From an engineer’s (or scientist’s) perspective, I found it lacking in detail. However, I assume such omission was not a matter of ignorance, but rather an attempt to make the book more acceptable to a general audience. I would have liked something more on par with Stephen Hawkins’ A Brief History of Time in terms of science content.
I also began reading Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis and upon finishing the preface, immediately wished I had read this eons ago.
It was nice to be on a schedule, having set times for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It was nice having a time set aside for me to just ponder. And it was actually nice for me to have my computer locked away for a littler while, and something that I should probably do more1.
As John, the Swiss L’Abri “Director” noted in his email to me about my request for refuge at L’Abri, “A couple of nights is not very long to deal with theological questions, but perhaps it can serve as a beginning.”
The few nights I was there were a good start for me and a reminider of what I need to focus on. It also reminded me why I want to retire to Switzerland, perhaps even Huemoz.
I took some time to meditate on my trip. Where I had been, what I had seen, and what I wanted it to be about. I looked at what my current plans were and decided that they would not do if I wanted to make it with my sanity intact…not to mention, perhaps actually enjoying the trip.
Thus, I also sat down and refigured the rest of my trip. I wrote down the cities I was planning on going to, researched them some more, and then wrote down an even smaller list of cities. Thus leading to Itinerary v0.5, which I now present to you with the applicable changes:
Still pretty intense, but nowhere near the pace Charlie and I had going for Turkey and Greece. Most of Austria was gutted, because I didn’t have any real interest in going. Based on my prevoius experience, three nights and four days seems to be a good amount of time to spend in a city; and more importantly, an amount of time that I’m willing to spend and not feel like I missed it or spent too much time there.
In Arbon, we’ll be hanging out with Remo and Gunther, who you may remember from my last trip to Switzerland. They are two brothers who live in Arbon and are super funny.
So, to all the amazing people I met and had the opporunity to talk with at L’Abri, and who managed to find this blog and read this far down, a heartfelt thank you for taking me in. It was pretty much just what I needed, and I shall return.
I’m also thinking about switching to a system where I only check my email three times a day ↩
10 July 2009
I’ve made the first real deviation in my Europe plans today. I broke off from Charlie and Andi this morning and took a train (three actually) to the tiny village of Aigle (which is pronounced “Eegg-le). I’m now waiting for a bus to take me up the mountain to Huemoz, which is near Villars. It is there that I will find L’Abri. As in all cases, I have expectations of what L’Abri is. As in most cases, I’m sure my expections will need to be refigured.
I think this break will do me good. I can feel my mind slowly going bonkers. I’ve been exposed to at least 8 languages, Russian, Estonia, Ukrainian, Turkish, Norsk, Greek, Italian, and now French. I’ve also covered countless kilometers, and spent six nights travling and not in a real bed of any sorts…seven if you count the kitchen floor in Rome.
Despite the fact that Rome and Florence were a bit slower than Greece, I need to find some direction. Not only for my trip, but for me. And I’m hoping that L’Abri will help point me in the right direction.
I have no real plans to journal during the trip, which I think is a bit odd since I would suspect most people would use this as a time to journal explicitly.
I’ll see you on the other side.0