well, my plan to update my two followers on the festivities of my experience abroad was needless to say (and somewhat expectedly) unsuccessful. However to my defense computers in Europe were hard to come by and time to use them even tighter. So I thought Id take a few minuets to reflect on my travels before my maddeningly long drive tomorrow (to be made better by a short rendevouz in pittsburgh, happy chili?) and fill you dedicated readers in on what I’ve been up to.
My trip started where one would least likely expect an architectural tour to begin: Dublin Ireland. It was my first taste of Europe (it turns out NZ and Australia are considered Oceania). My accommodations were terrific, as my buddy Paul has relatives in the cities suburbs. Once acclimated we took to the city to do the most authentic Irish thing we could think of: tour the Guinnes brewery and Jameson factory. Needless to say we ran into a lot of americans. On another occassion we went to newgrange, a burial site (that I had never heard of) that is 500 years older then the pyramids. yeah you read that right. thats fucking old.
The “real” trip started in Athens, Greece: a tropical Mediterranean city that needs to be sponsored by some sort of sunscreen. This was an appropriate location for our tour, because we got to see the very beginnings of architecture (or at least as much as we westerners care). It would have been a wonderful start…had the city not been on the verge of revolt. Perhaps one of the most memorable nights in Greece, and perhaps the entire trip, was standing atop mt. whatever (not its real name, I just dont remember). My eyes still slightly red from my run-in with tear gas at dinner, in the distance: a FULL lunar eclipse, in the bckground: an illuminated Pantheon glowing like a beacon over the city, in the foreground: 300000 protestors in the city square of Athens. Surreal is the only way to describe that moment.
After visiting some ancient Greek sites, some more memorable then others, we hopped on an overnight ferry to Italy. The drinks were too expensive, and the AC didnt work, but we did find a disco-tech with 80s european dance music, so it was more then made up for. Enter Rome. Walking around Rome was somewhat of a mindfuck. I found myself having to remind myself that I was actually there, and what I was looking at was the real deal. We managed to see all of Rome in two days (and I had a half dollar sized blister on my foot to prove it) To recap everything we saw would take forever, so Ill just say the highlights were the humbling experience of walking through the Vatican, standing in Absolute awe in The Pantheon, and seeing the original starchitects, and my favorite designers of all time, Bernini and Boromini (suprisingly, I enjoyed san quarinale much more)
Venice was equally exciting. Just to give you the gist of things, we saw a lot of shit and walked everywhere. Unfortunately the cast of the Jersey shore left a week before we arrived, so we begrudgingly had pizza at the shop where they worked. We also went to the first nightclub of the trip, which would eventually be shat all over by Germany, but well get to that.
Lets see, After a few more cities in Italy went to Prague, were dinner cost 240 crown (about 15 dollars). We also got a personal our of Villa Mueller by adolf Loos. Pretty cool. Prauge also happens to be home to the largest nightclup in middle europe. also pretty cool. despite our short stay i was amazed at the beauty of the city.
Our longest stay of the trip was in Vienna, Austria, where we we housed in apartments for 5 days. Austria was a lively city, and one that everyone soon took to. Its hard to dislike a city that has a bar simply called “absynthe” down the street from you. We also had our first free day, which after a few hours of walking around consisted of preparing for the pot-luck dinner on the rooftop later that night. I decided to go Italian an make Penne alla vodka, a dish I had never prepared before, with a recipie I did not have. Fortunately my Italian genes kicked in and to my suprise/delight I made some kick ass pasta.
Enter Germany. Perhaps the Highlight of the Trip, Germany was a country I had little knowledge of beforehand. I mean, they tell you all about their buildings, but little more. Germany quickly appealed to me because they serve sausage everywhere and beer is a part of everyday life; sounds like a place I can get comfortable in. We traveled all throughout the country, so to save time I will just go over the highlights. In dessau we got a tour of the Bauhaus, yes the fucking bauhaus. Gropius at his finest. In Leipzig we went to a BMW plant and saw Zahas new building. I didnt really like it, but walking through the plant and watching cars being made kicked ass. In Berlin we saw the national gallery by Meis Van der Rhoe, the monument to the murdered jews, the jewish museum, and corbs habitat. But perhaps the best memory will be walking out of a nightclub with the sun already up (cant do that in Italy).Another memory I will always treasure happend in Wurzburg. Our trip relied on individual presentations of buildings to aquint us with each visit. On the day when I was to present the Wurzburg residenz, an building I could only find about a paragraph of information on, we first stopped by a city to sample smoked beer (tasted like bacon) and then did a tour of the Wurzberg winery. All in all I had 5 drinks in the span of an hour and a half, not counting the gin from my flask. flsh forward to me standing in front of 40 people, the room spinning, talking about a building I knew nothing about. It wasn’t my best presentation.
We spent a few days in Swizerland. In Basel we saw a bunch of Hurzog and Demeuron buildings (it seems like they designed every other building there) and payed 15 dollars for McDonalds big mac. The highlight however had to be in Vals, however, where we stayed in THE zumthor baths. Well, the hotel next to them, but we go to go into the baths at free will. the guy may be a pot head, but he sure can design a good bath house.
We had on day in France to see the Chapel at Ronchamp along with some earlier corbusier villas. to write about how amazing they were would be an understatement, so Ill just say they defied imagination.
Our last city was Munich, home to the no. 1 and 2 largest beergartens in the world. We went to both. Munich was as exciting as it was beautiful. Though there was plenty to see, the pace of the trip was beginning to take its tole, and we began to look homeward. After a few site visits we said our goodbyes, sang carmen ohio, and then they were off. My flight was a day later so we took advantage of our free day and took a bike tour of Munich with an energetic Aussie tour guide. The next day we hopped on a plane, and so started our 5 day trek back to columbus. First stop in Dublin, where it all began, where I saw myfriend Kristin who had just ended her study abroad with buffalo. Then another flight to Chicago, where we ran into my friend Britney from high school. Then a 12 hour megabus overnight to Columbus. And now I sit here, once again writitng about a trip about to commence, though this one probably not nearly exciting. It was nicd haveing all the details of my life planned out for me for 6 weeks, but now I go home to no job, no priorities, basically a big question mark.
So that was my expericence abroad, or at least what Im capable of writing right now. It was quite an increadible journey, and one that I wont soon forget. I now leave you to continue packing for my trip home tomorrow, where I will have 11 hours with nothing but my shiney new cd player and time to think about what I will do until my last year in school starts.
- dansworld posted this