Check out this amazing video detailing a trip to Chiang Rai, featuring Beth Schumway from Valpo!
Check out this amazing video detailing a trip to Chiang Rai, featuring Beth Schumway from Valpo!
Hello all! I hope everyone is having a great begining to their year and to my college friends, I hope you all are having a great semester! This post will be on the adventures of Vienna, Austria and Prague, Czech Republic, with a break at the local SSV Reutlingen soccer team! First off, if you want an extremely beautiful city with a diverse group of friendly citizens, then Vienna should be on your list of places to visit. Vienna was beautiful, and not just the outside of the buildings, but also the inside. Myself along with Morgan, Raechel, and Shelby from our group made the voyage and we were able to visit the Kunsthistoriches Museum along with a trip to Schonbrunn Palace and St. Stephans Cathedral. Our first thoughts upon arrival was how good the water tasted. This may sound a little strange at first because how can water have a taste other that how water tastes, but let me tell you, whatever it is, you can taste it. The water comes straight from the Alps right to your tap faucet. Moral of the story is, feel free to just take a glass and drink the water straight from the tap and it will be some of the best water there is to taste. We did not just sit in our hostel bathroom drinking the water while we were there however, we did make a trip to the Kunsthistoriches Museum. This is basically an art museum featuring collections of art from the Habsburg’s own collection.
The decorative style of the inside of the building alone was incredible. The inside looked so intoxicating to the eye that I almost forgot there are art expibitions here. The art was fantastic and I would highly recomend giving it a visit. We also had the opportunity to visit Schonbrunn palace which was once the official palace of the Habsburg family. We did not go into the main palace building because of time, but we were able to walk around and outside the palace. We wondered through the palace garden located in the back of the palace and it was breathtaking.
After a morning stroll through the garden we decided to give St. Stephan’s cathedral a go. Unfortunately by the time we got there, there was a service being held so we could not make our way up to the altar.
This marked the end of our journey around Vienna so we started our way back when…we discovered how beautiful the city is at night.
All in all, Vienna was hard to beat when it comes to beautiful scenery and decadent desserts.
After we came back to Reutlingen we decided to stay back and rest because on Saturday March 7 we attended a SSV Reutlingen Soccer game! The game was a lot of fun (although there were probably a grand total of 250 people at the game) but the atmosphere was still fun (plus this was payed by the program so that is a huge plus) and the SSV were victorious over Revensburg!
Our next excursion took us along the Vltava river to the wonderful city of Prague! Going to a country that doesn’t speak German as its primary language was a little nerve racking at first, but everything worked out and we learned a little Czech! A little overview of our trip was taking a trip to the famous and biggest attraction in Prague, the Charles bridge! And also a trip to the Prague castle where we were able to see the changing of the gaurd!
The view of the city from the castle was incredible as well! Also the view from the Vltava river wasn’t to bad.
We also took a stop in old town and saw the astronomical clock!
After having unbelievable amounts of fun, we called it a trip and made our way back to Reutlingen. Prague was a great city with excellent traditional bohemian cuisine. Czech was a little scary at first, but we got by no problem with German and English. We did not experience any feelings of being unsafe throughout Prague, but tourist season can be a little different so just make sure to be safe with your money and belongings and you will be fine. I would love to go back to Prague but alas, there is still more to be seen! Speaking of that, this Friday marks the start of our spring break! My roomate and I will be attempting to travel for 17 days straight with just a backpack full of clothes! But hey, this is how memories are made! I hope all of you have a great rest of your day and I want to thank you all again for giving this a read! Until April, this is Austin P signing off!
This past weekend, I went from tourist to tour guide when a friend of mine stayed in Paris for the weekend. It was only for two days, so I showed the essentials of Paris:
The Arc de Triomphe
Going up the Eiffel Tower
Notre Dame of Paris
Sacre Coeur and Montmatre (Artist Hill of Paris)
It was most interesting to see just how complacent and normal Paris life has become for me, with the comparison of another person experiencing life here the first time. I had forgotten how big of a shock the packed metro system was or the ever-present stairs to climb in and out of the metro. Most importantly, I started to notice my progress in French, with his commentary of being impressed by my level of speaking.
From March 12-15th, six of us Valpo adventurers flew northeast to Norway! We landed in Oslo late at night and trained west to Bergen the next day. It was an amazing trip and the scenery was breathtaking.
We watched a Division Three profession soccer (futbol) match with Cambridge’s team. Unfortunately York was victorious.
We’ve been in Namibia for a little over a week and a half now. A lot of it has been settling into our new home and doing the (necessary) safety talks and orientation like activities. One of our activities was exploring Katutura, the nearby township, with local college students. The students are part of a group called the Young Achievers and are just an incredible group of people. Our tour guide/student person turned out to be a really cool kid who was also a ton of fun to hang out with during the week and whatnot. So far, minus a few moments of strangeness, adjusting to the city has been both exciting and easy; I’m glad I finally have an address to call home.
This week we started our internships as well. I’m currently working in the Ministry of Education with FAWENA, a non-governmental organization, that helps address the educational challenges girls face in Namibia. FAWENA stands for Forum for African Women Educationalists in Namibia. One of their biggest initiatives is to provide financial support to girls in order to encourage their continuation of schooling. They also partner with communities to create supportive community initiatives to encourage young children to stay in school. To be able to travel throughout Namibia and study in Southern Africa is such a blessing; but to be able to gain experience working alongside Namibians and learning more about their educational policies is extremely fascinating.
Since classes and internships have started, I’ve had a more than a few reminders that I’m actually here to go to school and work. It’s really hard though when my classroom is a living room filled with comfy couches and there’s a tempting pool ten feet away. Also since settling in I’m getting to know my fellow travelers better which I’m grateful for. They are all pretty cool and this semester is going to be so much fun.
One day we did a Staff/Student retreat in order to get to know one another better. It was basically “emotional team-building” and it was interesting. Each of us got something different out of the experience but I think it’s safe to make the blanket statement that we all know a little more about each other (which was the goal so yay!). There also were horses and cats and some Baboons running around so that was pretty fun and I met a super great dog.
It’s been a good couple of days getting around Windhoek and on Tuesday (TOMORROW! EAK!) we are off to our Urban Homestay. I’m pretty excited and have high expectations after my last, incredible experience in Soweto, South Africa. It’s also kind of nerve-wracking since we are spending 5 days with these families and the staff keep stressing how we’ll be getting “out of our comfort zones”. Honestly, what that means.. I couldn’t tell you. I can’t wait to get to know my family and get to learn more about Namibian culture and life. There’s so many things to do and opportunities and I plan on taking advantage of every second. Stay turned for posts about my Home Stay, our Trip to the coast in a few weeks, and some more “Things I’m Learning”. I’ll leave you with this awesome double rainbow we saw after a rainstorm. Africa is the coolest.
Last weekend, six of us travelled to Scandinavia to see fjords in Norway. When we came abroad and someone told us that we would have the chance to go any place in Scandinavia, we probably wouldn’t have believed them. And looking back on it, I am so glad that we went. It was one of the coolest and most unique trips I’ve ever been on.
We flew into Oslo on Thursday night, and on Friday morning, took a train across the country to Bergen. We wanted to see fjords and there are a lot of fjords in Bergen. The train was six and a half hours long, but it didn’t seem that long because we had gorgeous scenery the entire way. A lot of the way through, we saw many little mountain towns. But when we really got up into the mountains, all the trees disappeared and we found ourselves in a frozen tundra where everyone travelled either by skis or by snowmobile. It was a beautiful ride, and didn’t feel long at all.
Bergen was an amazing city. We got there in the afternoon, and took a tram up a mountain to a scenic overlook over the entire city. We wandered around the mountain on trails until sunset, where we watched the sun go down over the fjord and the city. It was a gorgeous sunset. For dinner, I had the BEST fish soup I’ve ever tasted. It was INCREDIBLE, and a wonderful way to end the evening.
We spent Saturday in Bergen before training back to Oslo. We walked along through an old castle in Bergen, and walked up to the top of what looked like it may have been the remnants of the castle keep. It had a great view of Bergen, and we spent an hour up there, taking pictures. After that, we wandered around the town before our train left, and all bought hats to let everyone around us know that we were tourists. But they’re really warm and will keep us very happy in the frigid Valpo winters.
Our last day was spent in Oslo. We walked to a castle that was built in the 1700s. Most of the buildings weren’t open, but the grounds were open, and we got to climb on top of the walls and walk around them. We also got to see a woman riding her horse around the grounds for awhile.
We were all so sad to leave, because it was such a beautiful place. We were very lucky to have good weather the entire trip, and it was amazing to see a country that not many people think to go to, and where the culture is so incredibly different from our own.
A group of Valparaiso Law School students traveled to Israel and Palestine over spring break to study Humanitarian Law. The following pictures were taken by students and posted on their travel blog, which can be found here.
On Sunday March 1, I took a day trip to London. I wanted to take some time off and stroll through the royal parks of the city. I explored Regent’s Park and Queen Mary’s Gardens. Then I went to Hyde Park and rented a Barclay’s bike and road around the lake. It was brilliant outside. Later that evening I went to a Hillsong London service which was really cool and the lead pastor of their Sydney campus was there.
So, in the 48-hours that I spent visiting my friend Paula in Bratislava, Slovakia this past week, I am positive that I ate just as much as I would have in a normal week. It was all delicious
When I arrived in the evening, I was greeted with vegetable croquettes and a potato-vegetable salad that my friend’s grandmother made. Then, I was given a large glass of Kofola, a less sweet Slovakian soda that was very delicious.
On the next day, we went sightseeing (or better put, sight eating) in downtown Bratislava. First, we ate a hearty traditional breakfast of bread, egg, cheese, tomatoes, peppers, tea and coffee. Then we went to downtown Bratislava and ate a delightful pastry filled with walnuts.
After that there was a brief pause in the eating whilst we saw the castle in Bratislava and the Parlament building. After that we headed to a Soviet era WWII memorial located on a hill and on our way back to the city center, we ate some cookies that we purchased at a convenience store. After seeing a bit more of the city center, we headed to lunch. We ate at a restaurant called Slovak Pub and it was honestly one of the best restaurants that I have been to all semester. There we each drank a large mug of Kofola and split a samping platter of halušky, a potato dumpling served with sheep’s cheese and onions. This dish was fabulous, I absolutely loved it and was thrilled to have found a traditional dish that could be prepared without meat. We also had the dish in pierogi form and with cabbage, which were both equally delicious. The pub was covered in traditional Slovakian folk art and clothing and had information about Slovakian historical figure Jánošík, a real life Robin Hood figure from the 1700s. Later after realizing how tired we were, we headed to a tea room and enjoyed some delicious freshly made chai tea.
After the tea room, we headed home and were greeted by Paula’s grandmother with pasta in a mushroom sauce. Equally delicious we enjoyed it, but were able manage only a bit after our day full of eating. On the final day, I ate another hearty breakfast and was sent off with a bag full of bread, cheese, Kofola, and many other Slovakian sweets.
They say that the best way to first get to know a new culture is though the food, and based on that I was lucky enough to get to know a lot about Slovakia. Ďakujeme to Paula for showing me her city and a bit of her culture!