Krystina in Austria
Krystina Lindsey is a junior from Horse Branch, Kentucky. She is majoring in English with an emphasis in Literature and is spending the Spring 2012 Semester in Austria. She is providing updates to KWConnect about her adventures. This page is an aggregate of all her posts, beginning at the top.
Feb. 7, 2012 — Why I’m Going
It’s kind of odd the different things that can happen in our lives that inspire us to do other things. When I was in elementary school, I picked up a rather famous book series (though it wasn’t nearly as popular or even complete, at that point) called Harry Potter. I have wanted to go to Europe since then, and I got my chance in January 2011, when I went on a Winter Term trip to London, studying The Tudors (one of the best decisions of my life). The trip really only made me want to see more.
I decided when I got back that I was going to study abroad for a longer period of time. My friend from high school went to Greece and said it was one of the best experiences she’d ever had. She told me that she was applying for the Harlaxton program in the Spring of 2011; I wanted to go so badly, but thanks to procrastination, I missed the school’s deadline for study abroad grants and such. I still wanted to go, so I began looking around for other programs.
I had heard of the American Institute for Foreign Study before (they came to KWC once or twice), and I went to see what kind of programs they offered. I knew that because of my major I needed 12 hours of a foreign language and I was already taking German, so that was a big factor – only one program offered German.
So, here we are. I’m going to Austria for an entire semester through AIFS. I’m leaving in February and all I know at this point is that I’m terrified, excited and worried. But who wouldn’t be? I’m going to be in another country where they don’t speak English all the time. Oh … let’s hope nothing bad happens.
Feb. 8, 2012 — Welcome to Salzburg
As Chelsea said in her blog, when people talk about study abroad, they never tell you just how hard it is. Granted, I never had extremely long layovers or anything, but I’m pretty sure I pulled a muscle dragging luggage around.
I arrived in London Heathrow at 6:45 in the morning on February 4. I spent two wonderful days in London where I got to go to Platform 9 ¾ AND I found the TARDIS. Sadly, I couldn’t find the Doctor anywhere, but never fear, I shouted for him. (I hope you get these references. If you don’t, you should definitely look them up.)
Now, as I type this, I’m sitting in my dorm room (or as they prefer for us to call them, residence halls) in Salzburg. It’s very, very, very cold and has not stopped snowing since we came from Munich. Of course, despite the cold, it makes for very pretty pictures.
We moved into our dorms yesterday, and I live in a building connected to and run by the Catholic church. It’s called Institut St. Sebastian, and is pretty close to a lot of the shops. There’s a really good Italian restaurant just down the street. I pretty much have failed at trying Austrian food. I know I’ve only been here for two days, but I’ve eaten Italian one day and a Butter Schinken and Gouda sandwich, which was pretty good.
Shopping in Austria is way different. You have to buy your own bags to carry groceries home, so next time I’m taking my backpack.
Today, I had orientation, and afterwards, we went on a city tour. Apparently, a tour of Salzburg includes the mountain next to it L. My legs hurt so bad, and I was so not prepared for that hike. I totally broke down in tears on my way up (but I honestly don’t know if that was from the pain or from homesickness, or maybe a bit of both). HOWEVER, I totally made it up there. And I will go back again and again until I can walk up that mountain without my legs hurting. That’s one of my many goals for this semester.
My other goal is to learn as much German as possible. We’ll see how that one goes too.
Feb. 23, 2012 — Holes in My Boots
Well, as of my last blog post, I said I was planning on climbing the mountain. I pretty much haven’t even thought about climbing it. I have, however, had to walk 25-30 minutes to class every day, and on Mondays, I will be making that trip at least three times. So, that’s almost like climbing a mountain, right? LOL.
My classes finally started on Feb. 20. Classes begin at 8:30 a.m., and we complained about that for all of two minutes before we were told that we only have class at 8:30 because no one wanted to have class on Fridays. So, I don’t have class on Fridays. Boo. Yeah.
It’s starting to get warmer around here. Until about two days ago, it was either snowing or raining. Now, I can walk around in my chucks and a jacket. It’s still chilly, and if we go up into the mountains, there will be snow boots and coats involved, but we’re pretty good in town.
Me and one of the other girls here walked around town and tried to get ourselves lost. It didn’t work. Still, we stumbled upon a store that sold incense, perfume, and all sorts of ‘oriental’ things. (I don’t know about you, but I don’t consider Egypt part of the Orient. But the name of the shop had ‘Orient’ in it, so…) I got a really pretty scarf and some AMAZING perfume.
Let me tell you, Europe is expensive. I bought snow boots back in the States, and walked so much in them that I got holes in the bottoms. Of both of them! I had to buy new boots, and they cost about 65 euros. Doesn’t sound bad, but lemme tell you how much that is in dollars: $98. I about croaked when I saw that on my bank account. I can’t find it in myself to be too angry; getting those boots kept me from getting sick because I had holes in my boots.
Next time … travel plans!
March 2, 2012 — Travel and Fasching
I’ve also been traveling. My roommate Rebekah and I went on this tour with Andreas (our cultural coordinator/director/person/thing) and five more of our fellow program attendees to Berchtesgarden and the Lake District (Salzkammergut). Berchtesgarden is near where Hitler’s second base was located (after Berlin, of course), and his main area, the Eagle’s Nest, is still there. It was kind of cool, but I would like to go back and actually see the Eagle’s Nest. Right now there is just too much snow for anyone to trek up the mountain to see it.
Because we went to Berchtesgarden, we had to journey into Germany. You’d think that driving into another country would be a big deal, but it was no bigger than driving across the Ohio River into Evansville.
A bunch of people have already started planning their Spring Break trips, but I haven’t the foggiest idea where to go. I’m tempted to pack my backpack full of clothes, buy a train ticket to the first place I see (and can afford) and just go. Backpack around Europe for a week or so, and then come back and ‘recover.’ But nothing is set in stone.
Oh! Fasching! Fasching is what the Germans celebrate instead of Mardi Gras; it’s been described to me as the German Halloween (because it wasn’t until about 10-12 years ago that the German-speaking people even began celebrating Halloween). I dressed up as a zombie, and my friend Allison dressed up as a “pretty pretty princess” (her words, not mine) and we went out. It was a lot of fun, plus I met Gandalf, as well as some very interesting characters.
Krystina, her friend Allison and a group of Italians they met at Fasching.It’s beginning to be difficult to be away from home. It feels like I’ve been gone for at least a month, and I’ve only just started my third week here. By the time May rolls around, who knows how long it’ll feel like I’ve been here.
March 20, 2012 — Travel Plans
Well, I’m officially 21, but before you freak out, People At School, I had a test at 8:30 the morning after my birthday, so not a lot actually happened. I finally figured out what I’m doing for Spring Break, so be prepared for some EPIC pictures!
Now, as of my last blog post, I said I was going to discuss my travel plans, but I don’t want you all getting too jealous, okay? (This means you, Joey.)
First off, we have a two-week Spring Break (or Easter Break as it’s called here) and it officially starts on April 2, but a lot of us are actually leaving on March 30, when four friends and I will travel to Budapest, Hungary. From there, we have a flight to Brussels (Belgium), and we’ll take a train from there to Paris. PARIS!! I’m so excited about going to the Moulin Rouge!!
On April 3, we’ll go back to Brussels to hang there for a day or so until we head by train to Amsterdam, where we’ll wait until our flight to Rome on April 8. As of right now, details are still iffy, but we’re kind of crazy for flying into Rome on Easter Sunday. Okay, I believe crazy may be an understatement.
We’ll be in Rome for a few days, then go to Florence before we finishing our week in Italy in Verona, on our way back to Salzburg. (Just FYI, I’m planning on going to Venice this weekend – March 24.)
I’m starting to really miss home, but I’m also becoming more comfortable using the train system. This happens when you have to travel to Munich by yourself. (But really, it’s no big deal. Two hours on a train is do-able). My birthday was really hard because I got a package from my mom that included a card that sang “In My Daughter’s Eyes” by Martina McBride, and I won’t lie when I say that I started crying hardcore. At least I was in my room, right?
But regardless, I’m SUPER excited about my break, and I can’t wait to have gelato in Italy!! (Really, I mean, YoLo, you’re good and everything, but you aren’t Italy.)
If I’ve managed to walk off quite a few pounds, I feel like I’ll put them all back on in Italy.
Here are a couple photos from recent adventures:
April 26, 2012 — Spring Break Travel (Part 1)
Spring Break, how do I love thee, let me count the ways. Okay, so it was more of a love/hate relationship. It started out spectacularly and then ended on a rather sour note.
We left on March 30 for Budapest, Hungary. It was beautiful there!! BEAUTIFUL, I tell you. The history was all rather fascinating. The group I travelled with went to the Terror Museum. Don’t get any ideas, friends. I’m still terrified of scary movies; this museum was about the reign of terror in post-WWII Hungary. Needless to say, most Hungarians probably hate Russia. (Well, most of Eastern Europe probably hates Russia.)
After Budapest, we flew to Brussels, and immediately went to Paris. Probably the first and last time I will be on a first class car on a train. It was wonderful: free WiFi, free food and super comfy seats. In Paris, I’m pretty positive that I hyperextended my right arm. (In fact, today is April 26 and my arms are still kind of numb. That can’t be good, can it?)
And I pretty much dislike Paris. I’m not big into French (finally figured out it is because their language doesn’t sound angry. I like my angry sounding languages: German, Russian, etc.) and I also wasn’t completely stunned by things like the Eiffel Tower. It was pretty, and it was tall. I was more fascinated with Montmartre and the Moulin Rouge.
Unfortunately, there are no pictures of me with a cancan dancer, because Moulin Rouge tickets were like €100, so that was super out of my budget. I did enjoy quite a few crepes, but I didn’t try any escargot.
After Paris, we went to Brussels, and stayed for two days. SO MANY FRIES AND WAFFLES!! (Side note: French fries are not, in fact, French, but Belgian.) It was nice, but by this time, I wasn’t happy with the people I travelled with and was ready to apparate to America (or even back to Salzburg).
Amsterdam. I want to go back to Amsterdam. We only spent a day there, and it was a cold and gross day, so for a city that the author John Green seems to adore, I either can’t see it, or wasn’t there long enough to absorb the awesome that resides there. I tried to go to the Anne Frank house, but the line literally wrapped around the building … way too much of a wait. Plus, as I mentioned, I was freezing.
On Easter Sunday, we flew from Amsterdam to Rome, where the city proceeded to mess with us for the entire trip. We were tired and exhausted of traveling, plus it got down into the high 30s, low 40s, and we were staying in camping villa. That’s right, friends, I went camping. Sort of.
I still saw all the classic sights: Roman Forum, the Coliseum, Trevi Fountain, etc. I was super excited to see the Vestal Virgins (which, if you’ve read Maureen Johnson’s 13 Little Blue Envelopes, you’d understand). AND THERE WAS SO MUCH GELATO!!
The last day of Rome, we were going to take a train to Florence. I have been in love with Tuscany ever since watching Under the Tuscan Sun when I was like…12. Unfortunately, Rome just did not want me to fully enjoy Tuscany. We missed the first train we could take to Florence; the second train was missed because a Gypsy stole the phone of the one of the girls I was traveling with, and finally, we got to go to Florence. We enjoyed maybe three or four hours of sunlight, but never fear, it was GORGEOUS! I really want to go back!
Next time … back to Salzburg, plus Prague!
May 3, 2012 — Spring Break Travel (Part 2)
After that, I went back to Salzburg. Two girls I was traveling with went to Venice, but I had already been, and I wanted to relax. So I traveled all alone back to Salzburg and on the train ride from Florence to Venice, I met this nice guy from Venice and these two Russian girls. Oddly enough, they had blonde hair and blue eyes and were named Natasha and Olga. Way to be stereotypical, ladies.
From Venice, I had to take an intercity bus to Villach, and then a train to Salzburg. That’s a lot of traveling. I left Florence at around 9:30 a.m. and arrived in Salzburg at around a quarter to six. But I’d still rather be on a train than an airplane.
This last weekend (April 20) I was in Prague. Prague is a wonderful place, and honestly, I don’t really remember much of it. But I think that was because I’d been traveling SO MUCH! On Sunday, I went to Cesky Krumlov, which is the film site for movies such as Hostel and Hostel 2. It was also extremely beautiful.
Now I should really get back to my papers. I’ve got a 6,000-7,000 word paper due on Mozart for my Music in the Age of Mozart class, a five-page paper due on Oedipus Rex and a 700-word review on a movie set during WWII (I think I’m going to do Boy in the Striped Pajamas, but I feel like quite a few people will pick Sound of Music.) (Another side note: I’m so sick of the Sound of Music. If I hear I Have Confidence one more time, someone may get a spork in their arm.)