Cruisin' and the Weekend

Hey all,

Here's my update from my first weekend in Germany. The short version: it was great.

The long version:

Friday afternoon we went for a cruise on the Rhine. It was absolutely beautiful. Hopefully the pictures can give you some idea of the scale of the valley, but it really is something to which pictures--especially my pictures--can hardly do justice. The Rhine valley is basically filled with lush vineyards, quaint towns (including one named Assmannshausen, but that's beside the point), and crumbling castles . The cruise was beautiful.

Click on the picture for a bigger version and look at the cars for perspective.

After that I went to a town called Rüdesheim and had my first Döner kebab. For anyone who loves gyros or any kind of Mediterranean food, Döner will rock your world.

Later Friday night we went to Charly's Pub and Club with the whole group of exchange students. It was kind of funny to hear the kind of American music that has made it over, but eventually they started playing good enough music so that we could dance. I think many of the locals were a little surprised to see 50 Americans in their small local Disko. Eventually they got to dancing, too. It seems that our dancing styles and theirs are fairly different. Regardless, it was a lot of fun. Some of us went back the next night and mingled more with the locals (because we were a smaller group). It was great just dancing and singing with the Germans. A highlight was singing all of the words to Emanuela by Fettes Brot (great song, if you don't know it, get it) with a German guy. He was so happy I knew it.

Then on Sunday I went mountain biking through the vineyards and some trails through the woods here with other exchange students. It was very intense but fun. It's back to school for the week but everything is still awesome here. That's all for now! Take it easy.


Views from Schloss Hansenberg

Hey all,

Life is exciting here at the International School Schloss Hansenberg in Germany. The kids here are awesome, the area is beautiful, we're learning a lot and interacting with the locals, and we're having a great time. Basically we have German class every day and the rest of the time we spend playing sports, hanging out, or taking walks into town. We live such an active lifestyle here and I love it. This afternoon we're going for a cruise on the Rhine. Here are a couple pictures from in front of the castle looking out over the Rhine



I'm writing my first post from Germany! It is absolutely wonderful here. The area around the Schloss Hansenberg (where I'm spending my first three weeks here) is downright scenic. As soon as I can get pictures up, I will.

There's lots to do here so I have to keep it short. The only curiosity that I have to report is that the z and the y on the keyboards are switched, which is verz annozing.

I'm writing from my 31st straight waking hour as a result of the curiosities of the time zones. I woke up at 9:30 AM EST on Saturday and have been up ever since. I think it's that it was so bright and beautiful when I got here that I didn't even notice that much. I also just got back from a couple hours of intense soccer with some of the other kids on the program.

Hopefully I'll make it to bed sometime soon. It's only 8:30 over here and it's still sunny and beautiful out.


Auf Wiedersehen!

Hey all,

This is my last post from the good ol' US of A for awhile.

I'm about to leave for pre-departure orientation (hanging out at a hotel near Dulles) for several days. Our flight to Germany goes out of Dulles Saturday afternoon. After I get to Germany, I'll be at language camp (at the boarding school with the castle) for three weeks until August 11th. For those three weeks, I likely won't be able to post quite as much. Bear with me.

Anyway, it's been a tremendous last summer. I'm going to miss so many things about the United States, but this whole experience will be so worth it.

I would classify my mood and outlook right now as chill and content but looking forward to it. I guess it still hasn't hit me that I'm leaving.

I hope you guys all have wonderful years of college, high school, work, family, loved ones, travel, or whatever you encounter.

Take it easy.


More preparations

Hey all,

Here I am, 8 days from the beginning of my year in Germany. There's still a lot left to do before I go, but I just thought I'd drop a quick update about how everything is going.

I opened a student account with Bank of America (no fees, not too many restrictions) and they have this thing called the Global ATM Alliance which will basically allow me to withdraw Euros in Germany at any Deutsche Bank with no ATM fee and no conversion fee. They've got the same deal in the UK, France, China, Mexico, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand with various banks, all in the local currency. So that's pretty convenient for traveling.

I also ordered 200 Euros to have before I leave. The exchange rate is absolutely killing me right now.

In the next several days I've got to figure out what all I am taking in two bags and a backpack for a whole year. And I'll need extra room for all the stuff I get while I'm over there. I heard that a lot of people give away/sell off their American clothes right before they come back to make room.

Any advice or questions? Leave a comment or email me! Until next time...