Friday, July 2, 2010

Wohnzimmer und Amerkianisher Länderabend

Last night, most of the girls went to a bar for drinks. The bar was called Wohnzimmer, which in German means Living Room. It was absolutely adorable! It was decorated like a grandmother's living room with antique furniture, paintings on the wall, and tacky wallpaper. They also had candles on every table. It was nice to have girl time :)

After the bar, we all headed to the Gutzkowclub, the bar at the bottom of the other dorm. Every Thursday, they celebrate a different country with music, food, drink specials, decorations, and a presentation. Last night was American Night! We had chocolate chip cookies, pulled BBQ pork, and macaroni and cheese. YUM! All of the Americans on the trip showed up to celebrate! We belted out to Third Eye Blind, Blink 182, Miley Cyrus, and N'SYNC. Everyone was dressed up in red, white and blue. Some had their hair spray painted red and white. One person was so patriotic that he wore a Speedo with a bald eagle on it to show his pride. Funny, but I think everyone would agree with me when I say that we saw a little more of him than we wanted! What a fun night!


Canoeing down the Elbe

Last Saturday, we spent the day canoeing on the Elbe River. What a workout! The next day, I could barely life my arms, and my lower back was sore. But it was so worth it! We took an hour long train ride to Königstein where we started out, and paddled our way down to Pirna, a city closer to Dresden. It took us about 5 hours, including a pit stop at a cute little festival. Turns out, we were actually crashing a wedding! The weather was beautiful, or should I say, das Wetter war schön! The sun was shining, and it was pretty hot out too. Just about everyone got sunburned. The 30 of us who went were split up into 4 boats of 7 or 8. Along the way, we had numerous mini races and huge water battles. We even battled it out with some Germans. It was the most fun I've had in a while.

After we got back to our lovely city, a big group of us went to a bar called Bärenzwinger to watch the America v Ghana game. It kinda felt like a cave, hidden in a huge wall. Very cool! It was fun to watch the game together and root for our country. We were all bummed about the turn out, but we still had a good time.

Speaking of the World Cup, here in Dresden, they play all of the Germany games on a huge screen alongside the Elbe. Tons and tons of people show up for the Public Viewing. A bunch of us went to join the frenzy. It was crazy packed with people all dressed in German gear. It was fun to be in the huge crowd,cheering on Deutschland together. When Germany scored the goal against Ghana, the whole crowd went wild, jumping up and down, screaming, blowing their vuvuzelas!

Another group paddling down the Elbe.

A German clown!

Some weird sail they had at the fesitval/wedding.

A view down the Elbe.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Semper Opera

On Friday June 11th, we attended an opera at the Dresden Semper Opera House. The weather was perfect: sunny and 70s. Everyone was looking mighty fine, all dressed up for the event. The opera we saw attended was called Faust. Here is a link to the plot. The opera was in French with German subtitles. Basically, it was pretty hard to follow. At the end most of us had no idea had actually happened and were shocked when we read up on the plot. Even though we had knew a little from body language and the tone of their voices what was going on, it was still really amazing to hear the voices of the singers. They were absolutely amazing. The way they could project their voices in the room without the use of a microphone was astounding. The orchestra was also phenomenal. I feel so lucky (and cultured) to have been able to attend this event.

At the end of the opera, we ended up clapping for, I swear, 10 minutes straight. The singers were a little greedy I'd say, and just kept coming back out for more applause. By the end, my hands felt like they were gonna fall off. We were so relieved when the curtain FINALLY came down. I was so sick of clapping!

Semperopera, Dresden

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Last Leg of Spring Break: Crete!

Tuesday afternoon we were dropped off by our hostel at the port, and we took a ferry back to Heraklion, Crete. The ferry departed late, and we were terrified that we would miss the last bus from Heraklion to Rethymno, which was where we were staying that night. We made it with 6 minutes to spare! After an hour bus ride, and walking around a little off course, we found the hostel at last. The hostel we stayed at was the youth hostel, but we were the youngest ones staying there. Most of the people there were middle-aged. Hmmmm. Since we arrived late, around 10:30, we had to maneuver in the room in the dark. Lights out at 10? Youthful people don't go to bed that early. Anyways, we all stayed in an 18 person room together. Right when I was about to go to sleep, one of our roomies starting snoring so loud (even louder than my parents, YIKES). Finally, after someone woke him up, I fell asleep.

The next morning we grabbed breakfast in a little square near our hostel and headed to the bus station to head to our final destination: Plakias, a small town on the southern coast of Crete. The bus went through the mountains. It was beautiful and scary at the same time. Once we got there, I fell in love with the cute little boardwalk, endless restaurants, and gorgeous beach. We headed to our hostel, which was about a 5 minute walk from the beach in an olive grove. The atmosphere of the hostel was "chill" for lack of a better word. Everyone was really laid back. A hammock hung between two palm trees. Citrus trees lined a grass area. The rooms were little bungalows. It was a very different (but awesome) experience. None of the rooms were locked, or even had lockers. At first this seemed a bit unnerving, but after staying there, I feel like there really was no need for locks. Everyone was trusting of one another. Basically, they were all hippies!

Plakias Beach

Chris, the manager of the hostel was really nice. He gave us tons of suggestions on things to do: hikes, beaches, restaurants. We stayed in Plakias for three nights, and this was definitely my favorite part of our trip. Our stay felt like a real vacation. We had no plans and just went with the flow. We spent a lot of time laying out on the beach and exploring the area. We ate dinner outdoors with a view of the ocean, and went to all the little beach shops. It was just what I was hoping this vacation would be.

The last day of our break, (Saturday) we stayed in Heraklion so we could catch the early morning flight back to Berlin. We stayed in a gorgeous hotel that was close to the airport. We spent our last few hours in Greece eating Gyros (pita rolled up with meat, fries, and a yogurt sauce) and hanging out by the hotel pool. We left early the next morning, and the owner of the hotel was nice enough to make sure there was fresh coffee and juice for us. We said our goodbyes to Greece and headed back to Deutschland.

First Few Days in Greece: Breathtaking Santorini

Early Friday morning, I took a bus with 6 others to Berlin. We spent two days there before our flight to Heraklion, Crete Saturday evening. In Berlin, we saw an amazing break dancing group perform by the Brandenburg Tur. We also visited the Terror Museum, which was dedicated to the forms of terror and humiliation implemented by the Nazis during WWII. We ate gelato on a patio outside, visited the Currywurst Museum (whichi turned out to be too expensive do we just went to the shop) and saw the Sony Center lit up at night. At the Sony Center, they play movies in the original language, so we were thinking about seeing Iron Man, but decided against it in the end.

After a good time in Berlin, it was finally time to go to Greece! We met 2 more people from our group but when we got to the gate, we were informed that our plane had a flat, so we were delayed an hour. Finally, FINALLY, we were in the plane and on our way to Greece. We arrived in Crete at 10pm, but it was 11pm due to the time change. It was so warm even at that time. We got taxis to the hotel we stayed in, and after dropping our things off, we got Gyros for dinner. They tasted like heaven and were really cheap too! We only spent a night in Heraklion, and woke up early for a ferry to Santorini Sunday morning. At 8am it was already so hot. Here is the first glmipse of the ocean in Crete:

The ferry lasted about 2 hours, and we got lunch at the port in a little restaurant with outdoor seating. I had Spinach Pie, YUM! The hostel picked us all up in a little white van, and we were off climbing the mountains of Santorini to the other side of the island to a town called Perissa. There we rented ATVs (four wheelers) for the two days we would be there. They were so much fun! We were able to get from one end of the island to the other in just over an hour. They were so useful and easy to drive.

Santorini was one of the most beautiful places I had ever seen. Everywhere we drove, the views were breathtaking. We had amazing weather the entire time, and it was a great few days there. We visited all over the island with our little ATVs, hitting just about everywhere. We saw the red beach, the black beach, the light house, Thira and Oia. Here are some of my favorite pictures from the island:

Our ATVs

Oia at Sunset

The Red Beach

Me in Thira

April & May

Can't believe I haven't updated this thing in over two months. Here's a little summary of what's been going on:

Engineering classes started the second week of April. Tuesdays I have class until 6pm and Thursdays I have class starting at 7am. Gah, it hasn't gotten any easier yet.

The first weekend we got back, most of the engineers got together. It felt really good to see everyone. I didn't realize how much I missed them! That Saturday most of us went on a river cruise down the Elbe to a little town called Pilnitz. There was a palace there with a beautiful garden/fountain. The weather was pretty crappy that morning: typical Germany, raining, cold, etc. Thankfully, by the time we got to the palace, the clouds cleared away a bit and we saw the sun! Yay! The trip took a long almost all day, and later that night we celebrated the bagillion April birthdays we had among our group. Note: cheesecake is NO replacement for birthday cake.

A week or so later, I had about 15 people over for chili. Megan and I made a huge batch from scratch. I found out that I get so nervous being a host! I was so ancy leading up to everyone's arrival. Hopefully it'll get easier. In the end it was a success! Everyone loved the chili! Here's a picture of our masterpiece:

The night of May 4th was a TU Dresden annual Nachtwanderung, or NaWa for short, which means "night wandering". That night, TUD students bar hop to the different student clubs, which all have special bands, etc. Shuttle buses run specifically for the event to each of the clubs. A pretty big group of us participated in the school event. It was a lot of fun, and we met a lot of Germans along the way! Our German was put to good use!

Sprinkled within April and May, we had a few really beautiful days here in Dresden. We filled it with good ol' barbecues, playing frisbee in the Großer Garten, and walking around the Old City. We also took a trip to the Saxon Alps, which is a huge hiking area about an hour train ride from Dresden. Our student train passes cover the area so the trip was free. The guys went bouldering here, and the girls that tagged along had a picnic and hiked the area.

The last two weeks before I left for Greece were jammed packed with homework, exams, and getting ready. It was absolutely insane, which made vacation taste even sweeter.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Quick Update!

I've been really bad about posting lately! I've been super busy these past two weeks. We've been to Berlin and Prague the past two weekends. Stories and pictures to come!

On another note, Friday morning I leave for Spring break!! YAY! We bought our Eurail passes today, and all of our hostels are booked :) Now all that's left is a paper and a midterm exam!

Here's of list of where I will be traveling:
London, UK
Amsterdam, Netherlands
Brussels, Belgium
Paris, France
Madrid, Spain
Salamanca, Spain
Barcelona, Spain
Bern, Switzerland
then back to Dresden!

I can't believe it's already here! Ahh!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


Saturday night, my German roommates Tim and Lucas cooked me, Rachel and Cassidy a German meal! We had homemade schnitzel, which is a pounded piece of pork that is then floured, dipped in egg, then in breadcrumbs, and fried. It's kind of like a chicken cutlet, but with pork instead. We also had some boiled kartoffel (potatoes), a really tasty mushroom sauce, sauteed mushrooms and onions, and mixed veggies. Everything was amazing, and the schnitzel was sooo good! I even liked the mushrooms, which was a big deal because I don't like mushrooms. We were very impressed by their cooking! It was nice to have a homemade German meal :)

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Hi Ho Hi Ho, It's Off to Work We Go!

Thursday we went to a Uranium mine in Pirna, about a 25 minute train ride outside of Dresden. We go to wear these intense mining outfits. The first layer was a pair of long underwear and high socks. On top of that, we wore some blue pants and matching blue jacket. We then wore a second, really heavy jacket. Then we got some sweet hard hats and yellow rain boots. Everything was so heavy, I felt like I gained 20 pounds just by putting on the clothes. Before we went into the mine, we were given a red belt that had a light and an oxygen tank on it. This thing was like 10 pounds by itself, it was so heavy, I could barely pick it up. I felt like such a wimp. Once the weight was distributed to my hips, it was much lighter. Go figure :)

After finally getting all of our gear on, we went 200 meters under ground to some of the tunnels in the mine. The elevator to bring us down was so rickety and a little scary, but being in the mine was really cool. The mine is actually no longer being used to harvest uranium. Ever since the fall of the Berlin wall and the collapse of Soviet control, the mine has been working on cleaning up the mine in order to fully shut it down. We learned about how they flood the mines with water from an underground spring, then run this water through a series of purification methods in order to return the water to the Elbe River. Overall, it was a really fun trip!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Disco Pogo

Possibly the best techno song here.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Meißen: Porcelain, Cathedrals, and Fimmel

Yesterday, we went to Meißen, a small town outside of Dresden. There we toured the first porcelain factory in Europe. All of their porcelain is still made by hand, and we were able to see how they made it. Imagine putting all of those little flowers on that tea pot! I really wanted to get something from there, but everything in the store was ridiculously expensive. All I could afford was a postcard.

After the porcelain factory, we went to a beautiful cathedral nearby. The view across the river was incredible. We also got some Meißen Fimmel, which is an inflated piece of bread. The story behind this bread is that the Prince's messenger would always get drunk in Meißen and forget to deliver the message to Dresden. To fix this, the Prince decided to give the messenger this frail piece of bread, and if he did not arrive in Dresden with it still in tact, off with his head! Our mission was to protect our bread until we ourselves got to Dresden. Unfortunately, Eric Markwith broke his almost immediately. Later that day, waiting for the train I got so hungry that I decided to eat my bread. It bread didn't even taste that good.

Sunday, February 21, 2010


Thursday we took a two hour train ride to Leipzig. The train we took was amazing! Unlike the MBTA Commuter Rail, you didn't need to shout to have a conversation with the person next to you. Plus, the ride was really smooth. I love German transportation!

Once we got there we grabbed some lunch in the Hauptbahnhof (main train station) and then headed to the Zeitgeschichliches Forum, which is the Forum of Contemporary History. This museum was about East and West Germany in the aftermath of WWII, with a focus on the German Democratic Republic (GDR) which was under Soviet rule. Our tour guide grew up in the GDR and was 18 when the wall fell. It was a very different experience to hear history from a first hand source, to hear this woman talk about her own childhood. She lived through the times we were learning about.

After this museum, we went to an old Stasi headquarters which had been turned into a museum. The Stasi was the Secret Police of the Soviets. We couldn't find out where to buy English headsets, so we decided to just look around without them anyways. After this museum, we went to an Irish pub for dinner, then headed back home.

Rachel and me next to a piece of the Berlin Wall.

Friday we started our sociology class. We have two different professors, and see both of them for 90 minutes. I'm glad we don't have one long 3 hour class. Both of our professors also spent their childhoods in the GDR. It was interesting to hear their stories as well. It made history much more personal.

So for the past few nights, a few of us girls have really wanted to go to Nu Beatzz, and dance club in the Neustadt. Each night, something comes up, and we don't end up going. Last night, we were actually on our way, and then we couldn't find it! From the looks of it, we may never end up going there :( On the bright side, we found this really cool bar called Groove Station. They play live music every night and have pool tables and fooseball tables. We've been there twice, and so far so good.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Costumes and Jelly Donuts

Today was Fasching, a German holiday that occurs right before Lent. People dress up in costumes, kinda like Halloween. Even the people that worked the dining hall dressed up! Following German tradition, our professor brought us these jelly donuts called Pfannkuchen. It was light and airy and rolled in sugar. YUM! She told us that one of them was filled in mustard, so we were all afraid of biting in to them. Apparently this is a little joke German parents play on their children, and none of them had mustard. Speaking of jokes, we also learned that when German children wouldn't eat their soup, parents would tell them about a boy who didn't eat his soup then died. A little graphic, no?

On another note, we started planning our breaks today! We booked a flight to London, and then from there we'll travel around France, Spain and Italy for the first break. Then off to Croatia and Greece for the second. SOOOO EXCITED! :D

Monday, February 15, 2010

First Day of Classes

Today was the first day of classes. We had Intensive Beginning German from 9:20 to 12:40. I learned how to say the alphabet and some phrases for introducing yourself. It was a little challenging, especially since I haven't had classes in about 2 months! We had a half hour break somewhere in between and a few of us decided to go to the student cafe the teacher mentioned. It took us practically 15 minutes just to find it! The building used to be a prison, so the floor plan is crazy. We had to go down a few flights of stairs, many winding hallways, and finally found the secret staircase, which wasn't actually that far from our classroom after all.

Also, I finally got my cell phone! Yeaahhhh! Facebook chat has been our soul means of communication when we aren't together, so this will make things much easier :)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Human Chain

Yesterday was the anniversary of the bombing of Dresden. On February 13th, 1945, thousands of people died and Dresden was literally flattened after the fire-bombing. On this day every year, a group of neo-nazis gather in Dresden, and "mourn" their losses, and praise the rebuilding of Dresden. Since this year was the 65th anniversary, the police expected 6500 Neo-Nazis to gather in the city. There were police everywhere! A group of us decided to join our RAs at the anti-neo-nazi demonstration. Thousands of people held hands and made a human chain on our side of the river during the ringing of the church bells. The ringing signified the length of the bombing of the city. After the bells stopped, we all cheered! The amount of energy and love at the demonstration was incredible. It was an amazing thing to be a part of, and something I will never forget.

Here is a picture of the Frauenkirche after the bombing. Being in this beautiful city now makes it so hard to imagine Dresden in ruins. It's utterly amazing how the city was rebuilt to look like it was before the fire bombing.

Tour of Dresden

Thursday night, we went to Neuestadt, which means "New City" in German. This is where most of the younger people in Dresden live, and where the big nightlife is. When we got there, we went into Paradise bar, which turned out to be a gay bar! After that, we ended up at Jim Beams, which ironically was an American bar. We then met up with the other group, and ended up at Katy's Garage, a club where we danced the night away!

Friday we had a bus tour of Dresden. The city is beautiful, especially Altstadt, the "Old City". It was freezing and snowy that day. My socks got soaked, but that's what I get for wearing clogs in the snow. I didn't think we'd be walking so much! Here are some pictures I took!

This is the top of the Museum of Fine Arts, known affectionately as the Lemon Squeezer.

This is the Frauenkirke, or Church of Our Lady. It's an Evangelist church. When it was rebuilt after the bombing, they were able to use some of the old stones. The black ones are the old sandstone, and the light ones are the new. They used technology and satellite to determine where the original stones were. Very cool!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Ich spreche kein Deutsch

I finally got my internet set up. So much has happened in the past few days!

I arrived in Dresden on Monday morning, 10am. We were picked up from the airport by our RAs, and were only given enough time to drop our bags off when we arrived at our dorm. My suite is very nice, it seems to be one of the newer buildings here at TUD. I share a bathroom with my neighbor, and there are 8 of us who share the After dropping our things off, we had orientation throughout the day. My RA showed us around our area. We are right in the shopping district, which is super convenient. All I have to do is walk across the street whenever I need something! We also live within walking distance of the old city, which is the most beautiful and historic part of the city. That night we went to the Gutz, which is a student run bar in the basement of the dorm where the other BU students are staying.

The past two days have been more orientation. We went to IKEA last night to get things for our rooms. Today, we had a tour of the TUD campus, hopefully I'll remember where everything is once classes start! I'm beginning to understand the Straßenbahn, the train system here. (the ß is pronounced as ss) It's so much more efficient than the T in Boston.

Some things I have learned so far:
1. Germans are very clean, more reserved, and skinny!
2. The beer is fantastic.
3. It's difficult to order food when you don't know the language/ what you are ordering.
4. Ich spreche kein Deutsch (I don't speak German)

Saturday, January 16, 2010

First entry!

I can't believe that there are only 3 more weeks left until I leave! Time has gone by way too fast. It's just beginning to hit me that I will soon be living in a different country for six months. I can't seem to find the right words to express how I feel as the date inches closer. It is certainly a bittersweet moment for me. On one hand, I know I'll miss my family because we're close. I know it'll be hard to say good bye for such a long time. On the other hand, I am excited beyond belief. I know that I am about to embark on an incredible and unique journey. I have the feeling that this is one of those big decisions that shape the rest of your life, and I can't wait to see how this semester will pan out!

On another note, I will try to update here as much as I can while I'm in Dresden. I know I won't be able to talk to everyone as much as I'd like, so I hope this blog gives you insight on what my life is like in Germany! Wish me luck! I'll miss all of you ♥