11 December 2009


well, Bavaria actually. I traveled with Amanda to Munich (known as Munchen to those who actually live there) last weekend and it was a BLAST!!! We flew over on Saturday, with a short stop in Zurich- the swiss have airtravel down right. We flew with Swiss Air, which was fast, friendly and efficent, as well as completley non-stressful. There was also free Swiss Chocolate, Yum!!! When we went through passport control in Zurich, it was painless and very fast (after landing and deboarding - it only took us about 15 minutes to be on our next flight and ready to go). After arriving in Munich, we stopped by a grocery store and bought fressh Weisswurst (white sausage) the most typical and regionally specific Bavarian sausage. We also picked up some Bretzen (pretzels) and a type of sweet mustard - which completed the meal. It was delicious. I dont usually eat mustard, but it works so well with the delicate Weisswurst and pretzels that we ate a whole small jar of it. On Sunday, we traveled by train to Strasbourg, Austria birthblace of Mozart and known for its beatuiful alpine setting. It was seriously like riding a train through a postcard. We walked around town, visited the various christmas markets and climbed to the Hohensalzburg Castle (a huge fortress on top of a crazy tall mountain in the middle of town). We also stopped in at a wonderfully old coffee house and had coffee and sachretorte (a famous Austrian cake) which was lovely and richly chocolately.

On Monday, we went into Munich and wondered around the town, visiting christmas markets, the residence or main palace of the city, drinking Gluwien (mulled wine) and eating great sausages (including the nuremburger bratworst with sourkraut) and a fantastic wild boar gulash. All in all a beautiful winter adventure. On Tuesday, we had a huge brunch prepared by Amanda's great friend Christina and her mom (who also gave us homemade jam and traditional german christmas cookies). Sadely we had to leave and head to the airport for our flight home.

I really enjoyed my first trip to Germany, Austria and Switezerland and I hope to travel back again sometime soon.

03 December 2009

Coming to the End

Well, yesterday, I gave my last presentation for my Courtauld Class. Tonight is the school Carol Service, and it is all going by so quickly. I am glad that I have made some great friends here, including everyone in my class!!!! I will miss them terribly, and am trying to maximize fun time here at the end with everyone. This includes the family - Amanda and I are jetting off to Munich on Saturday - coming back Tuesday. Another country to check off my list, and a wonderful pre-Christmas treat. I can't wait to see the Christmas decorations and hopefully see snow.

My course here at the Courtauld has really allowed me to not only learn a ton about the transitions between medieval British architecture and the early modern period, but it has also let me focus on my own scholarly habits. I really have learned quite a bit about my strengths and weaknesses in terms of writing and researching. The program here offers so much that it would be impossible to experience it all, but it also teaches the value of individual direction and interest that is key to finding your niche within the scholarly community.

I know I am babbling on, but I will truly be sad to leave this wonderful place in a few short weeks. Everyone here has been fantastic. I have explored, learned and reshaped my own world views during these last few months. I think my Thesis topic is well defined in my mind, but it still needs to be written down on paper. I have produces some great work, and some mediocre at best. I have explored the Loire valley with a van full of crazy french people, traveled to Wells on a dodgy bus [only to discover last week that it was the setting for much of Hot Fuzz, one of my all time favorite movies] eatten more boiled eggs on toast and drunk more tea that ever before, rode the L-Eye on Guy Fawkes night, saw the best fireworks show I have ever seen and watched as the entire city was crowned with brilliant bursts of light in every direction, eaten at some of the most fantastic restaurants and even some great dives, downed the best Champagne at a couple of exclusive London clubs thanks to knowing the right people, visited more than a few of the world's best museums, saw the Staffordshire Hoard and the Sutton Hoo treasures with my own eyes, experienced rememberance day and wore a poppy as everyone should, drew pretty flower pictures at Kew Gardens, nearly froze my hands off in Bristol, became more familiar with Wren, Inigo Jones and so many of the other British greats of the architectural world, saw some brilliant theatre, found time to chill and read some good adventure novels.... and still two and half more weeks to go!

London is truly one of my happy places.