Reading What Rules

Oct 15, 2007 14:37 # 45114

Magnifico *** wants to know...

Absurd opportunities for travel

So the University of Graz's winter semester ends in January, and the summer semester doesn't begin until a few days into March. I have, along with periodic holidays (more than periodic, really, thanks to the strong presence of the Catholic church) and Christmas break, an ENTIRE FREAKING MONTH to do whatever I want.

I'm planning things out still, but there's a Hungary-Crotia-Slovenia rail pass that I'm thinking about getting. In terms of my February vacation, what I'm looking at, for the moment, is going Graz - Vienna - Budapest - Pécs - Zagreb - Ljubljana - Maribor - Graz. But since there's a lot of people on here, I'm more than willing to take other suggestions about places I should go. Let me just say that though I don't know a lick of any southeastern European languages (except some choice phrases in Serbo-Croatian that would get me trampled for my dirty mouth), I know enough German and French to get by clearly in them both and some phrases in Spanish, Italian, Czech, and Magyar. Any pointers? I'm here until the beginning of July, so I certainly intend to try and hit up as many other places as possible (revisits like Munich, Berlin, Prague, and San Sebastian, as well as some new places like Dublin, Riga, Copenhagen, and Florence). I just don't really know what's good when; for example, I know I want to see Dublin in the spring, but is it better to see a place like Zagreb now-ish, in the winter with snow-covered streets, or in the spring when everything comes into bloom?

I'll believe in anything if you'll just believe in anything

Mar 28, 2008 23:10 # 45639

harold_maude *** replies...

Re: Absurd opportunities for travel

So did you take the trip that you planned? If you chose something else for an entire month, how did that end up?

Apr 21, 2008 13:56 # 45723

Magnifico *** replies...

Re: Absurd opportunities for travel

Plans got shifted big-time; that plan kinda required financial help from my university because I was going to use it as a platform for an academic project, but I've switched my major from International Relations to just German and took the month as just a fun personal trip. A friend of mine came down from the Netherlands to Graz, and we went with a few other folks to Munich for his birthday, which happened to be Fasching (Mardi Gras, Bavarian style). From there we took a pretty brutal night train through Paris to San Sebastian in Spain, chilled there, and did a sadly brief tour of Barcelona and Madrid. All three were incredible, but I can't for the life of me understate how beautiful and satisfying my time in San Sebastian was. Barcelona was pretty tight, too, my girlfriend and I ended up spending about three hours exploring Anton Gaudi's Park Güell just outside the city, it's like a tile-mosaic-covered wonderland. Totally worth the visit, if only to see Gaudi's architecture (both at the park and around town). We hopped a really cheap Ryanair flight from Madrid to Eindhoven in the Netherlands, and spent some time bumming back and forth between my friend's home in Nijmegen and a few places (Normandy Beach memorial in Caen, France stands out, as does the Dutch town of Arnhem, which was really nice). Basically, the last week consisted of bumming around Nijmegen, feeding the turkey that lingered outside my friend's appartment, and sampling the fine quality coffees offered at the various coffee shops. Apparently instead of taking the coffee beans, roasting them, and then using hot water to brew that into a caffeinated beverage, they take the flowering buds of the cannabis plant, wrap them in paper, and smoke them. Not what I'm used to consuming with my breakfast, but hey, I came here to experience other cultures. Incidentally, hackneyed pot jokes aside, I think the Netherlands has been my favorite country so far; the beer is great (and way more varied than here in Austria, where it's either lager or wheat beers), the people are really interesting to observe and meet, the countryside is often very beautiful in its sudden switch to and from urban centers to rural life, and I'll be damned if there's a language out there more fun to speak than Dutch. Especially when you're learning from cell phone ads that offer videos of somebody taking a shit ("Poep op je Mobil!" which is something like "Poop on your cell phone")

As for now, I'm looking forward to a four-day weekend coming up at the beginning of May, and it looks like I will finally get to head somewhere new, this time to Lake Bled in Slovenia. The town looks really calm and cute, and it's basically surrounded by one of the more beautiful national parks I've ever seen. A couple weeks later, we get yet another long weekend (I don't know how things ever get done in Austria, seriously) and I'm currently looking for a place not too far from Graz to spend that weekend with my girlfriend and possibly a few friends. I've looked into Cesky Krumlov in the Czech Republic, but she's already been there once this year and is looking for something new. No doubt something will crop up (I certainly wouldn't mind finding another cheap flight to the Netherlands, the coffee here just isn't cutting it any more). If anybody out there still has some pointers, that would kick righteous ass; I'm pretty centrally located in Europe, though more to the south than the oh-so-fucking-lucky-and-don't-even-deserve-it people of Vienna (long story short, I'm not insane about the Viennese or the German they speak), and stuff especially that used to be part of Yugoslavia or the Eastern Bloc is really accessible, as is most of southern Germany and Switzerland.

I'll believe in anything if you'll just believe in anything

Apr 22, 2008 15:18 # 45724

ginsterbusch *** replies...

Re: Absurd opportunities for travel

?% | 1

Well .. Mardi Gras is a cheap rip-off of the well known German holiday called Fasching.

And about beer: Well .. the American is showing through. Whoever likes Dutch beer must have been brain-fucked in one way or the other.

cu, w0lf.

beards are cool. every villain has one!

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