Sunday, August 29, 2010

And then we stumbled across this...

One of the most exciting things about Vienna so far is the outrageous amounts of notable points of interest that you literally bump into while wandering through the city...

For instance, here is the National Library...

And what about this one...the Imperial Palace.

Just a few more - here's Karlskirche (St. Charles Church).

And Vienna's Parliament building.


Oh and of course plenty of these...

- Brandy

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Integrative Studies: 101

Boring Post #1:

We had our first Professional Seminar class this morning and, honestly, it's my favorite class thus far. Good topics. Good discussion. Our professor, who happens to be another accomplished individual (to be expected after the first two - she worked for the UN for a number of years, speaks 4 languages fluently, along with knowing a bit of 3 or so other languages, and teaches at the Military Academy of Vienna, the American University in Beruit, and the University of Vienna - go figure), seems to know her stuff and actually encourages much discussion. We will tour the UN next week along with other international organizations in the weeks to come. Oh, and we only have one book :)

This afternoon entails a tour around the city, thanks to Webster. More pictures to come. We also got our Lonely Planet guide book for Vienna hopefully it will point us in the right direction of what/where to go/see next. We also take requests...

More later. For now, buses to ride, sights to see.


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Climbtopia; Edelweiss Center

Yesterday Brandy, Matt, and myself ventured to a climbing gym in downtown Vienna. I was amazed...

Not so fancy

I've got a mediocre little point and shoot camera with really grainy video capability...enjoy :-)


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

"There is no downward limit to how dumb a question can be"

Things are going pretty wonderfully. After a week of solid traveling we have been to Amsterdam, Leiden, Den Haag (The Hague), and of course are now in Vienna. Right now it’s 10:30 in the morning. This means we have been in Europe now about one hour shy of a full week. Thankfully after the first four of five days of meeting people and having coordinated events all over the place we are finally about to settle down, do some reading, and start figuring out what exactly it is we’re supposed to be doing on a daily basis.

My grand plans today were to wake up early to make some eggs and coffee, and then head downtown to check out the climbing gym I’ve been raving about for the last couple of days. The plan lasted about 2 minutes. I walked into the bathroom to take care of the usual morning business, turned on the light, started what I went there to do, and then noticed I was standing in complete darkness…dammit, the power is out.

No coffee. No eggs. So it goes…

Instead I’m stuck with eating Haribo gummy bears and daydreaming of stopping by a coffee shop on the way into the city. This is the second day in a row I’ve missed my coffee, by the way...truly unacceptable if I do say so myself.

Last night was our first official class in the program. Not too bad really, although four hours is a long time to sit and listen to anyone talk about anything. At the start of class a young lady from the student support center brought up a tray of coffee, cream, sugar, and a bottle of water. Awesome…I can get use to this. Our professor is a relatively high energy little Austrian fellow with a slight stutter and a propensity to confuse people with his examples. His thick accent results in a very distinct and emotive “pow-uh” every time he says “power,” which I find completely amusing. I should add that the title of this post is one of the first things he said in class last night. 

I feel like the first class was a little like getting shot out of a cannon without any pants on (I know that really doesn’t make any sense but I like the example.) What I actually mean by that is we spent 2 hours trying to analyze game theory, the prisoner’s dilemma, and zero/positive sum games without actually touching on the core theories of international relations first. I’m sure it will all come around though, I’m just antsy to get started. 

Speaking of getting is a picture of the books we have to read for the 8 week term in Austria. For your reading pleasure I had also included my last 3 gummy bears as proof of the enormity of this task. 

Off to the climbing gym...cheers.


Sunday, August 22, 2010

Made it!

So here we are! After all the talk and preparation. Our bags are unpacked and we're settling in. So far so good. Now, the next question...where do we find food? Apparently everything is closed on Sundays, not just liqour stores.

We arrived yesterday early evening after a long day of plane rides. The orientation in Leiden went beautifully, besides the long days of, well, orientation. We finally got to meet our cohort as well as the other two. Webster also set up events in the evenings for us - the first night was a wine and cheese night on one of the canals right around the corner from the main campus and the second was a beach bbq (yes, bbq in the Netherlands). Pictures to come soon!

We are about a 10 minute walk to the subway and a 10 minute ride to the center of Vienna. Again, so far so good. When we arrived last night, someone from Webster met us and showed us around downtown. We went to an Australian pub. And it's not a typo. Definitely Australian, not Austrian. The food was good and the beer was fabulous. Our entire group went - our bonding time :)

Today was filled with more running around downtown. JP and I got up and hunted for food around our place. It only took a few minutes to remember that everything is closed. Downtown it is. We found a pizza place where the pizza combinations were interesting and the employees were pissy. Next came the search for the closest climbing gym to us. Found it! JP claims is the cooooolest gym he's seen. They have two main rooms (HUGE rooms) dedicated to climbing. JP's in heaven. The cost, however, is a little depressing.

Back to our apartments we came to take naps and do some reading for school. More to come when more exciting things happen.

Until then...