January 2, 2006

Christmas Trip: The First Days

Filed under: Travels, Germany — Alex Ravenel @ 5:28 pm

Note: This post is part of a series:
Christmas Trip: Venice
Christmas Trip: Rome, Part 1
Christmas Trip: Rome, Part 2
Christmas Trip: New Years

I made it back to Tübingen this morning after spending the last two nights in Stuttgart. Here’s the first part of the Christmas trip…

Dinkelsbuehl, AlleyThe family got into Tübingen on the 22nd without any troubles. I met them in the airport with Lindsay, who was flying out on the flight they flew in on, and after getting the rental car and getting Lindsay to her gate, we all went to pick up the car from the garage and try to get to Tübingen. I say try because the garage was something of a maze, and trying to figure out the different signs in a car that was about to explode from all the luggage was a bit interesting. Things worked out well though, and after getting onto the autobahn, it was a straight shot into Tübingen.

We got checked into the hotel room at the Hotel am Schloss, a nice little hotel right in the middle of the Altstadt, at the foot of the castle. We got all our bags in the room, and went to walk around the Altstadt. I took them to get a Döner, something they all loved, and then to the coffee/tea/chocolate shop, wine shop, and a few other places, including the castle their hotel room looked out upon. That night, we had an excellent Swäbish dinner at a local restaurant, and then I went back to my dorm room to pack while they went to bed early to sleep off the flight.

The next morning, I went to the hotel to pick them up. We ate breakfast in the hotel, in a nice breakfast room with a view looking over the altstadt and a terrace that would be wonderful to eat on in warmer weather. Then we piled back in the car and got on our way to Colmberg and Rothenburg.

Rothenburg, DoorwayGetting to Colmberg was a surprisingly easy thing to do. Autobahn the whole way, and we made pretty good time. We got to the castle, got checked in, and made a quick tour of the castle before heading onto Rothenburg ob der Tauber. We wandered the medieval streets there for a time, enjoying the Christmas market, drinking our Glühwein, eating our bratwurst, toasted almonds, and crepes, and attempting to go to the medieval torture museum there, only to be thwarted by an early closing time. So we headed back to the hotel and proceeded to eat a most wonderful dinner. Lots of fresh venison, and everyone left the table stuffed.

Dinkelsbuehl, StreetThe next day, we headed back to Rothenburg to see that museum. We wandered there for a couple of hours, and then got back in the car to head to Munich. Rather than taking the interstate the whole way, we decided to go the scenic route and take the Romantic Road, a route that passes through the countryside, winding its way through one medieval town after another. It was definitely the right choice to make, and we enjoyed beautiful scenery the whole way down.

Marienplatz at Night, MunichWe made it Munich in good time, and picked up the keys to our hotel, the Hotel Alcron, from a nearby restaurant since the front desk had closed early. The Hotel Alcron, while not the nicest hotel, has an unbeatable location in the heart of Munich, and the prices are quite affordable as well. There is a wonderfully rickety spiral staircase running up to the whole hotel. That first night, we ate dinner at the Weinhaus Schneider, a small restaurant around the corner from the hotel. We had a wonderful Christmas eve dinner, topped off with good wine and a great chocolate mousse for dessert, in what was one of the best meals of the trip. After the meal, we walked for a bit around Munich, admiring the gothic Neues Rathous in Marienplatz with its massive Christmas tree out front, and eventually ending up at the Frauenkirche, the Church of our Lady, the cathedral in Munich. The bells were ringing loud, signaling the start of the Christmas eve service, and so we wandered inside. There, we sat there and listened to the choir, accompanied by strings, singing through its carols, followed by a bit of the service, with heads craning upwards staring at the rows of massive columns stretching high above our heads. It certainly beat the service back home.

The next day was Christmas. We lazily got up and ate breakfast, then ambled around the town for a while. There is a surprising abundance of large European architecture in Munich, more than one would expect–one doesn’t equate huge architecture like in Paris, Rome, or Vienna with Munich, but it had its fair share. We saw many of the sights, but unfortunately, as it was Christmas, most places were closed. That evening, we ate a nondescript meal at the Wirtshaus zum Straubinger, then walked home, in the falling snow.

MunichThat next day, we had planned on going to see Ludwig’s castle of Neuschwanstein, but as we hadn’t realized that you had to get reservations at least 24 hours in advance, that idea was cancelled. So instead, we went to the Deutsches Museum, the German version of the Smithsonian. Inside are over 10 miles of exhibits, so you definitely had to choose. We visited the aircraft, spacecraft, tunnelling, physics, musical instruments, trains, and, my favorite, bridge building. An extremely interesting museum, and well worth the entire day we spent inside it. And we didn’t even see half of what’s in the place.

The next day, we hopped the train to Venice…

December 15, 2005

Christmas comes to Tübingen

Filed under: Germany — Alex Ravenel @ 3:09 pm

Christmas has hit hard. Several weeks ago, just about Thanksgiving, decorations started going up. Nothing serious, nothing like the jam-packed shopping malls decked out in lights and holiday colors that typify the season in the US, but still, it was coming. And it kept coming. Slowly, things going up one at a time, until a week or so ago when all of a sudden, it seemed like someone threw the switch and the city was fully decorated.

Die FeurzangenbowleThen, last Friday evening was Die Feuerzangenbowle. Die Feuerzangenbowle is both a drink and a movie, and it is quite the custom to drink the drink and watch the movie this time of the year. The movie is here what It’s A Wonderful Life is to the US. The drink is red wine mixed with spices (most likely cinnamon and clove), orange juice, and strong rum. There is then a cone of sugar placed over the pot, which is doused in 54% rum and lit afire. The sugar caramelizes and drips down into the drink, sweetening it. This Friday night, the whole thing was on a big scale. Tuebingen Christmas MarketThere was a movie screen hung from one of the medieval houses on Platz vor dem Haagtor, a small plaza in the western Altstadt, and a massive projector and speaker system showed the movie for the hundreds of people gathered there. And they had the drink as well. A massive pot, further across than I am tall, and with a sugar cone taller than I am on top, was lit afire, with huge blue flames reaching for the sky. I bought myself a cup of the warm drink and stood there, bundled up, watching the German movie. A most excellent experience, and the movie was pretty good—though I’m amazed they managed to make it at all in 1944, with Germany fighting on two fronts and being bombed day and night. Unfortunately, I forgot my camera, so the photo here was taken by Lawrence Tooth, who has generously allowed me to post it here.

Der WeinachtsmanAlso last weekend was the Tübingen Weinachtsmarkt, the Christmas market here. A much smaller, though I felt, more genuine version than the one in Nürnberg. Unfortunately though, it was only that one weekend, which also meant that the market was unbelievably crowded, and it took one about 20 minutes to move 20 meters. I did, however, have the best Glühwein I have had—and it was also the cheapest I’ve had. Some things are just done better on a smaller scale.

December 10, 2005


Filed under: Travels, Germany — Alex Ravenel @ 7:33 am

Nuremberg ChristkindlmarktOn Thursday morning, I got up early again and hopped on another train, this time to Nuremberg. I wanted to see the Christkindlmarkt, the Christ Child Market, Nuremberg’s world famous Christmas market. I got there about 12:15, and after checking into the hostel, headed out, stopping on the way to get some Nuremberg bratwurst, a smaller and more heavily spiced version than a “normal” bratwurst. Nuremberg ChristkindlmarktI was very much in the mood for taking a lot of pictures, and so wandered around, camera in hand, seeing what caught my eye. There more than plenty, with the colorful stalls overflowing with their Christmas wares, all sorts of ornaments and carvings, and the various German Christmas foods, Glühwein and Lebkuchen. There were many people out as well, and I had no shortage of subjects to photograph.

Saint Sebalduskirche, NurembergI headed into one of the churches, the Saint Sebalduskirche. Like most of Nuremberg, it was destroyed during the second world war, but rebuilt using as much of the original stone as possible. While not the most impressive church I’ve ever seen, the inside was filled with a veritable treasure trove of interesting nooks, with carvings and paintings, and all sorts of other things decorating the place.

View from the Castle, NurembergFrom there it was on to the castle. Unfortunately much of it was closed for some reason, but the museum with it’s collection of medieval armor and weapons was still open, as was the main tower. I climbed the stairs to the top, and was rewarded with a splendid view over old Nuremberg, enclosed in its rebuilt city walls, encompassing its castle, churches, and cobbled lanes. The view was aided by the castle’s location, perched on a small plateau overlooking the city.

Christkindlmarkt, NurembergThat evening, it was back to the Christkindlmarkt. Christmas markets are totally transformed at night, with the lights and the crowds walking around, a choir singing on the stage, and the trees all lit up. I sipped a glass of glühwein and wandered from stall to stall. Unfortunately it was hard to take pictures thanks to the low light, so I put the camera away and just enjoyed the experience. Afterwards, I headed into a bar and sampled a Rauchbier from Bamberg, a beer where the hops are smoked before being added to the brew, giving the whole beer a rich smokey flavor. On the way back to the hostel, I stopped to listen to a violinist on the street playing Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. He was extremely talented, nailing every one of the difficult violin progessions in the pieces. His violin case, open in front of him, was full of money, and not just the normal 10 and 20 cent pieces–I saw several €20 bills in it, and a mass of other bills and larger coins.

Reichsparteigelaende, NurembergThe next morning, I headed to the Reichsparteigelände, the infamous Nazi Party Rally Grounds everyone knows from the images of the massive ranks of troops all hailing Hitler like a God. The grounds were bombed heavily during the war, and so there isn’t much left of them. Much of it has been turned into parks and such now, but enough remains to get a good view of what they were. Make sure to check out the pictures, I have a comparison of what they are now to what they used to be.

As always, there are tons more pictures in the photo gallery. Check them out. You can work your way through them chronologically starting here.

December 7, 2005

A bit more about Berlin

Filed under: Travels, Germany — Alex Ravenel @ 7:14 pm

I feel like I left a lot out of my Berlin post, but rather than keep editing that monstrosity, I’ll just post the random points here.

-I met several cool people. Joseph, an Australian, I met in the bar the first night, and again on the walking tour. Cool guy, with a razor sharp wit. Living in Dublin and working there for a while, in Berlin on vacation. Also, several other Aussies. There are more Aussies in Europe than Americans I think. And Japanese. Tons of Japanese there. And for some reason, they couldn’t work any of the locks in the hostel. Maybe the keys turned the opposite way from what they were used to? It was kind of funny to watch them try, it’d take them about 3 minutes to open any locked door. It’d be interesting to know what was so different…
-Everyone spoke perfect English. It was maddening, I couldn’t get in a word of German. As soon as I opened my mouth (and I like to think my accent is pretty good), they immediately knew I was American and started speaking perfect English to me.
-Unfortunately, I didn’t get to sample any of Berlin’s infamous nightlife. I was tight on funds, and paying €10 cover to get into a place and pay for overpriced drinks isn’t gonna stretch that money too much. Besides, clubs sketch me out, and I had tons of stuff I wanted to do during the days, not spend the days sleeping off a hangover. And not too many clubs are likely to let in a lone guy in jeans with unkempt hair.
-I really can’t recommend Brewer’s Berlin Tours enough. This tour rocked. The guy was funny, witty, knew everything, and the tour was cheap, to boot. I was very impressed. But what should I expect? The guy has been leading foot tours of Berlin since before the wall came down, and worked for the British embassy in Berlin for a long time. Be warned though, it ran on longer than the advertised 7-8 hours–we were out there for 10. Worth every minute though.
-Berlin is surprisingly cheap. Especially for a city. Pleasant surprise…
-I wasn’t impressed with the Berlin subway system, despite the good things I had heard about it. It was slow, there weren’t enough lines, and it was impossible to change lines. It took 20 minutes to get somewhere that you could walk to in 20 minutes. And expensive–single tickets cost €2.10. London and Paris have it whipped, though Rome is lightyears behind.
-There were lots of good international restaurants, especially Thai or Vietnamese restaurants. I ate in this one that was incredible, and cost me €5 for an entree. And they had this wonderful sweet and sour sauce that was unlike anything I’d ever had…
-The Döners in Berlin were different. Different kind of bread, more of a focaccia and less of a pita. And the Sharfsoße was curry based, not chili and garlic based. I’m not sure which I like more…
-Both the American and British embassies were guarded like fortresses, especially the American. They had massive concrete roadblocks blocking every road near it, with guardhouses and police all over, not to mention a serious wall surrounding the embassy proper. And this is right in the middle of Berlin. The British embassy was a little more classily protected, with these cool retracting roadblock posts in the street that would sink into the ground to let a car through if need be. But whoa, you’d think this was Saigon, 1975. They were building a new American embassy right next to the Brandenburg gate, complete with 18 inch thick reinforced concrete walls.

That’s it for now–I’m off to bed so I can catch a train to Nürnberg tomorrow morning to see the Christmas market and such…


Filed under: Travels, Germany — Alex Ravenel @ 6:42 pm

Kaiser Wilhem Gedaechtnis Kirche, BerlinThursday morning, I got up early and caught a high speed ICE train to Berlin. Even on such a fast train (155mph at times), it still takes about 6 hours for the journey. This doesn’t bother me too much though–I’d much rather spend time on a train than in a car or airplane. Trains are much more comfortable, have more to look at out the window, are much less of a hassle, and you can get up and walk around. I really wish we had a good train infrastructure in the US. Anyways, I got to Berlin at about 2PM, caught the subway to my hostel, and checked in.

Brandenburg GateI stayed in The Circus hostel, and was quite impressed. Very comfortable, clean, and relaxed, and often felt more like a hotel than a hostel. Unfortunately, being winter in Germany, it was already getting dark out, but I headed down to the Brandenburg Gate to have a poke around. I got a few good pictures, and then walked down the street to the Reichstag. The Reichstag was very impressive, and much larger than I had imagined, but unfortunately due to the low light (at 4:30 in the afternoon, it was pitch black), I couldn’t get any pictures, so I headed back to the hostel to find somewhere to eat. They pointed me to a very good and very cheap Thai restaurant, and I was very pleased.

Berlin, Monolithic ArchitectureThe next morning, I decided to go on a walking tour of Berlin. I’d heard several good things about Brewer’s Berlin Tours, and that they were an excellent way to get some insight into the tremendous history of Berlin that you can’t find in a guidebook. They were right. The tour was led in our case by the owner of the company, Terry Brewer, a grizzled old British guy who has lived in Berlin since before the wall came down. We all met up in the freezing cold outside, myself dressed in two pairs of pants, three shirts, my wool overcoat, a hat, and gloves, and proceeded to walk around Berlin for 10 hours. Terry was an encyclopedia of knowledge, pointing out tidbits of information about seemingly random buildings as we walked by. Berlin, EastHe seemed to know everything, and buildings that you normally wouldn’t have take a second look at turned out to have some very important history behind them. The tour was also a good way to get a feel for the city, and see how it was layed out. Most of the standard sights, like the cathedral, Brandenburg Gate, and the museums, were all in the East–in fact, I think I was only in the West a couple of times during my whole visit. Despite this, most of the old Soviet buildings have either been torn down and rebuilt or totally overhauled thanks to the appalling condition the Soviets had left them in, War Damageand you oftentimes wouldn’t even know that you were in the old East Berlin. Even 16 years after the wall came down though, the city is still shrouded in a blanket of construction. Everywhere you turn, buildings are covered in scaffolding, draped in construction covering, and watched over by several towering cranes. The joke used to go that you couldn’t get a crane in Europe because they were all in Berlin. Imagine a city that was isolated, neglected, and abused for 50 years, only to suddenly spring into the daylight, and that is Berlin. Despite this, they conserve some of the past, and one can see a few buildings that still show bullet and shrapnel damage from the war–such damage is even visible on the Brandenburg Gate.

NefertitiAnyways, the next day, I went back to the museums to go inside and spend a bit of time in them. First up was the Egyptian museum. Currently housed in the Altes Museum because it’s normal home is under the shroud of reconstruction, it was an interesting display, but I must say I was somewhat underwhelmed. I think the problem was that the viewing space was possibly smaller than the normal location, and so not as much was on display; regardless, it felt that just as I was starting to get into it, it ended. Not to be phased, I headed down the street into the Pergamon Museum. The Pergamon is a museum in the vein of the British Museum in London. And given that the British Museum is by far the best I have ever seen, I was quite pleased with the Pergamon. While certainly not as large as the British Museum, it was nonetheless impressive. Ishtar Gate, DetailIn it are the Ishtar and Miletus Gates, the latter under reconstruction to repair damage sustained in WW2. Also of interest, the Berlin Kore, an ancient Greek sculpture I had to learn about in my Greek Archaeology class and immediately recognized upon seeing, pointing out the details to myself before even the museum recording playing in my ears could say it. An excellent experience, and similar to what I experienced in the British Museum. After this, I went over to the Berlin Cathedral, and after listening to a bit of a choir concert, walked up to the top of the dome and admired the view of Berlin. By this time, it was getting dark, so after quickly walking through one of the Christmas markets, I headed back to the hostel to find some dinner.

Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, DetailThe next day, my last final day, was considerably more quiet. I got up early and headed over to the Reichstag with the intention of climbing to the top of the glass dome, but arrived to find a massive line out the front and stretching into the field in front of the building. Everything was like that that day–the tour bus crowds were out in force. You could see them, busses pulling up to sidewalks in front of all the sights, and the tourists disembarking like locusts to swarm all over things, rudely talking loudly, shoving for better camera angles, and generally just being obnoxious. I saw people loudly walking into the War Monument (wearing hats as well), laughing and playing tag in the Monument to the Murdered Jews of Europe, and generally doing disrespectful shit. So I headed off to an internet cafe and passed the rest of the day drinking coffee and surfing the internet. A quiet end, but better than dealing with the tourist hordes.

The next day, up early and then back home. Not much to write about there.

Door to the BunkerI must say, the best (though somewhat morbid) part of the trip however, was finding the location of Hitler’s bunker, the place where he spent his last days before killing himself and being burned. There’s an eery sense about the place, made all the more so because there is nothing marking the spot and no tour book guiding you there–the German government refuses, perhaps rightly so, to put any sort of monument or marker there for fear of it becoming a rallying point for Neo-Nazis. Terry showed us the spot, which I later managed to back up with a bit of Googling. Apartment--HitlerToday, an apartment building and parking lot stands on the spot. Part of the bunker was torn up to build the apartments, but a significant part of it still remains, and you can see the inconspicuous locked steel doors leading down into it. There is a children’s playground right about on the spot that Hitler is supposed to have been burned, making it even more creepy. All the people living there know what they are living over–seems rather creepy to me. I’m not sure I’d like my children playing on the ground where that man was burned. But nonetheless, my curiosity for history made the place supremely interesting to me. It’s not too often you can stand on the ground where the most infamous figure of the last century met his end, with not a soul around to make a noise.

Anyways, make sure to check out the photo gallery. There are tons of photos up from the trip beyond was is shown here.

December 5, 2005

Back from Berlin

Filed under: Travels, Germany — Alex Ravenel @ 5:09 pm

I’m back from Berlin. A very good time, and a very interesting city. I’ll have a long post coming when I get a bit more time, tomorrow most likely, but in the meantime, pictures are up.

November 30, 2005

To Berlin

Filed under: Travels, Germany — Alex Ravenel @ 2:42 pm

I’ve decided to take advantage of my 5 day weekend and am going to Berlin tomorrow. I catch a high speed ICE train from Stuttgart tomorrow morning, putting me in Berlin at about 14:00. I’m looking forward to this; I’ve been getting a bit stir-crazy in Tübingen, and feel like I need to get into a real city. Besides, with all the history there, I suspect I’ll be quite happy. I’ll be back Monday night.

Also, I added a bit of code that now shows my most recently posted image on the right sidebar. Make sure to check it out anytime you see something new.

November 27, 2005

Another Sunday, Another Ruhetag

Filed under: Germany — Alex Ravenel @ 8:30 am

Today is Sunday. Sundays, all over the Western world, tend to be a bit quieter than the rest. People get up late, go to church, do things with the family, maybe do some yard work, and generally just take it easy. Lots of stores have reduced hours, usually opening late and closing a bit early.

They take that to a whole different level here in Germany, though. Sunday in Germany is a Ruhetag, meaning quiet day. They take that literally. Nothing, save a few cafes, is open. The busses barely run. Every shop, every single one, is closed. The towns quite literally shut down for a day. Need groceries? Tough. Need something to do some work on your room or in the yard? Tough. I’ve never seen a place so quiet as Germany on a Sunday.

Germans are very big on the value of family, and this is the major argument put forth for why Sundays are so quiet. They take the day to take time with their family, many of them going for hikes on the excellently maintained trails in the woods. Conversely, as empty as the streets are on Sunday is as full as the trails are. Many Germans are fiercely protective of this Ruhetag, and argue that it is the best day of the week, and that the American way of Sunday being just another shopping day is terrible. I agree with them somewhat, and think that I would enjoy it as well–except for one problem. My family is 3000 miles away, and so Sundays for me are a day to sit in my room, bored, and figure out what I’m going to do for the rest of the week. I can’t easily get into town, can’t easily visit friends, and certainly can’t get much of anything done. As such, I’m somewhat split on the matter. I think Sunday Ruhetage are great, but like most of the foreign students, I just get bored.

November 25, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving; The First Snow

Filed under: Germany — Alex Ravenel @ 6:11 am

For all the Americans, yesterday was Thanksgiving. It’s a bit hard being away from home during one of my favorite holidays, and many of the other Americans here felt the same way, so we all got together and organized a bit of a dinner, with everyone being responsible for one or two dishes. I personally was responsible for making biscuits and sweet potatoes, both of which came out pretty well. Everything was ready by about 5, and we all dug in, everyone eating until we hurt. The aftermath was a sight to see–everyone leaning back in their chairs, moaning, with hardly a dent made in the food. I think it’s safe to say we made too much. We managed to rustle up a couple of people to eat some of the food, including the Brits from the Beer Pong post, and a couple of Germans on the floor, all of whom valiantly dug in in an attempt to dispose of some of the food. Unfortunately because no one really has much of a refrigerator and tupperware here is very expensive, everything basically had to be eaten, or it was getting thrown out. By the end of the night, we’d put a pretty good dent into it. And besides, it was fun explaining to the Brits and Germans what this holiday was, and why we were all eating until it hurt. Pain, I tell you, Thanksgiving is about pain.

First SnowAnyways, as I was leaving later that night, I walked out the door and was almost blinded by a deluge of snow. Yep, the first real snow was last night. There wasn’t too much, I think there was about an inch outside my window this morning, but it’s wonderful to watch it come down anyways, on Thanksgiving no less. I’m hoping for more snow, including some that sticks around, in the coming weeks. I’m also debating going somewhere this weekend. I’d like to go somewhere with some snow, but that might have to wait seeing as I have no proper shoes to walk in the snow with since the downfall of my boots. I have a new pair that Lindsay is bringing me when she comes in a couple of weeks.

November 19, 2005

Beer Pong

Filed under: Germany — Alex Ravenel @ 6:00 pm

Didn’t think I’d be naming a post “Beer Pong,” but there’s really no better way to describe this one, so here it is…

Beer PongLast night was one of “those study abroad experiences.” One of those things you never thought you’d be saying actually happened to you. Until it does. What started with just a few Americans playing a bit of beer pong to pass a slow Friday night soon turned into a multinational debaucherous event. The cast of characters:

  • Dima, a Ukranian. Note to self: Ukranians hate being called Russians. Especially when they are very, very drunk. Sorry, we were drunk too.
  • Paul, a Brit. And his friend Al, also a Brit. Moment of the night with them: walking down the side of the interstate with party kegs in hand because we ran out of beer and had to go to the gas station for more. Al dropping one and watching the thing roll down the side of the interstate. Sketchy hitchhiker girls laughing at this. Keg almost exploding when we get back to the dorm.
  • Alejandro, a Spaniard. Not the most outspoken guy, but we had a fun discussion about how big the USA is. This, or Bush, seems to be the most common conversations to have with Europeans. If you want to have a long talk with a European, bring up one of the two.
  • Gerard, an Austrian. I’d hung out a bit with this guy before. Pretty cool character. Has these huge tattoos on both arms. And a lip ring. Looks very much like the “modern” German youth.
  • Kiel, Karen, Julie, Cameron, and Markus, all Americans–or Canadians. Same thing.

Anyways, proceed to the Europeans wondering what this strange game was. We quickly explained, while playing a “demo” round, and then started to play two games on the same pingpong table. The Americans started out winning, but they caught on real fast. Sorry, we tried to represent, but they weren’t having it. There were several impromptu wrestling matches through the night, generally involving the Brits. And at some point, Kiel tried to give someone a highfive, but that person missed and smashed him in the face, giving him a bloody nose. No problem, stop it up with some tissue paper and keep on going–while lighting the tissue hanging from his nose on fire. Hey, Blackbeard-style distractions are legal.

Anyways, good times were had by all. It’s a lot of fun to hang out and drink with so many people from different places. It’s definitely a good experience, meeting and talking with so many different people. And while I don’t normally like to get drunk like that, it was worth it. Besides, how many people can start of a conversation with “So this one time, I was playing beerpong with this Ukranian guy, this Spanish guy, and these two Brits…”

I posted more pictures on Flickr. I’m trying Flickr as an experiment. I don’t want to flood my proper photolog with poor, random shots, but I know a lot of people want to see these random shots anyways. We’ll see how it goes.

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