"I found my smattering of German very useful here; indeed, I don't know how I should be able to get on without it." -Bram Stoker, Dracula.

Friday, December 16, 2011


           Becca, Bri, Kendal, Stephan, Shelly, Mary, Kiersten, Heidi and I went to Rome for a short weekend trip. We left Vienna at 7:30pm and rode a train all the way to Rome. It was a long ride, but we didn’t have to umsteig (change trains), so we didn’t have to worry about anything until we arrived in Rome. Six of us were in the same compartment on the train so we didn’t have to worry about being with strangers. We put the seats down and played a card game called scum for a long time. We arrived in Rome around 9:00am. We dropped our stuff off at the hostel then walked around. We could hardly believe how nice the weather was. We didn’t have to wear a jacket which was nice because it was freezing in Vienna. We went to the Roman forum and walked around in them. We saw the colosseum from the forum ruins then walked around inside it. It was so exciting to see the places we learn about. We had pizza and gelato for lunch. The gelato was great just like people said it would be. We walked to the pantheon and got to go inside. We had dinner at a restaurant across the street from our hostel. We all got pasta for only three Euros! It was so cheap! After dinner we were tired from wandering around all day so we went right to bed because we were going to have an early start the next day.
Bri, Camille, and Kiersten at the Colosseum

Mary, Kiersten, Camille, Shelly, Becca, and Bri at the Pantheon
Eating italian gelato!!!
roman ruins
Stephan, Shelly, Kendal, Bri, Camille, Becca, Kiersten, and Mary
Catching the train to Rome!
Good morning... we're in Italy!!
waiting for our pasta

            The next morning we left our hostel at 7:00am. We went to the Trevi fountain first and were the only ones there. We then went to the Vatican. It wasn’t full of people because it was so early in the morning. We first visited St. Peter’s Basilica. It was huge. A few of us climbed to the dome at St. Peters. The stairs were super steep and little so it was scary to climb at some parts. After a tense experience trying to buy a ticket to see the Sistine Chapel I wandered back alone to the fountain in front of St. Peters. I met up with Bri and Kendal later and tried again, this time successfully, to get a ticket to see the Sistine Chapel. It was not what I expected, but still cool. The three of us then walked to the Spanish steps and saw three girls from BYU on the way. We knew they were from BYU because they were wearing the study abroad backpacks like ours. We talked to them for an hour about their experiences in Spain. I love seeing other BYU students because you have an instant bond with them. We caught the 7:05pm train back to Vienna. We arrived at 8:30am the next morning and got home by 9:15.
Camille at the Trevi fountain
St. Angelo's
sweet columns at St. Peter's
St. Peter's in the background

Vienna, classes, old mine, christmas markets

            A group of us visited the Hofburg and saw the Sisi museum and the Silberkammer. It was fun to see all the dishes and silverware the nobility used. In the museum about Sisi I learned that she was stabbed to death. I was surprised to learn this, but everyone else I was with knew that already.             Becca and I had dinner with our Hausfrau and roommates again. It is always an event because it lasts for several hours. Frau Papis told us stories about her husband’s mother and his grandmother. We laughed quite a bit. We learned that Hopscotch is played not only in America, but also in Austria and Japan. After dinner Becca and I had a great time learning basic phrases in Japanese from our roommate Riko. It was an adventure trying to learn Japanese through the German equivalents. Guten Abend = Konbanwa, eins = ichi, zwei = ni, drei = san, vier = si, fünf = go.
Becca, Camille, and Riko ---asian pose
Becca and Camille---american pose
            Our friend, Sarah, came to visit us and to get experience doing research in original records. It was great to see her. While she was in Vienna we met Felix Gundacker. Herr Gundacker has compiled several record indexes for the city. He has also written several books.
            For Austrian History class we went to the National Library. They had a large pre-1850 book collection in a room that reminded some of us of the library from the movie the Beauty and the Beast.
            A few of us stayed in Vienna over the weekend and went to an old mine. We took a train and a bus to get to the mine. During WWII some prisoners from Mauthausen were relocated to the mine to build airplane parts. The mine was a prime spot for the little factory because it was so far underground it wouldn’t get destroyed by bombs. We got to take a short boat ride around part of the mine where it was flooded. We were told that part of Disney’s 1999 version of “The Three Musketeers” was filmed in the mine. I wonder how Disney found out about the mine and why they did it there…
Mary, Riko, and Camille
            Becca, Sarah, and I walked around the first district and visited several churches. We went to Karlskirche, St. Michael’s, St. Augustine’s, Stephansdom (St. Stephan’s Cathedral), St. Matheus’, St. Peter’s, and Annakirche. It was interesting going to all the churches and seeing the different styles they were built in. Some of the churches were filled with tourists while others were quiet and peaceful. We even got to hear someone playing the organ in a few of the churches. I have a greater appreciation for organ music when I’m in sitting in the beautiful churches than if I were to listen to it in my apartment.
            The Christmas market in front of the Rathaus opened on November 12th. Opening day was packed, but we looked around anyway. I tried roasted chestnuts for the first time. They weren’t horrid, but I don’t think I will eat them again. I bought a giant schoko Krapfen (similar to a doughnut). After walking around the market for a bit we went back to our apartment for hot chocolate.
Christkindlmarkt in front of the Rathaus opening night...

Becca, Mary, Camille, and Sarah... good thing I was wearing my Berlin hat because it was super cold out!
            Becca and I had dinner with our hausfrau and roommates again. Our roommate, Baiba, brought her friend Kristaps Bergs to dinner. He and Baiba are doing a concert together in a few weeks. We started dinner around 8:00 pm. We started with a soup then moved to the main course of a salad, roasted potatoes, carrots, and ham with a chive sauce on top. We had a nut cake with vanilla ice cream for dessert. It was very good as always. After dinner Becca and I hung out with our roommate, Riko. We got to listen to her play the piano. She is so good! It was cool to see her fingers fly across the keys as she played. Becca and I both played a bit for her, but she is way better than we are. Riko played “Waldstein” by Beethoven. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BJ5QKjmkinU) I love that song! It reminded me of Caralynn because we both used to listen to it a lot.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

More happenings

            Before class one day Naomi, Becca, and I wandered around the Lainzer Tiergarten. It was nice being able to walk around and look at the trees and an old hunting palace. It was rainy so the trees had fog around them so they look cool. We got to see deer and other animals.
We had Austrian history class later that afternoon and went to the Imperial Crypt. It made me feel uncomfortable thinking that I was in a room full of bodies in boxes (sarcophagi). We saw the sarcophagi of many important people including Maria Theresia, Franz Joseph, and Sisi.
We worked on more family history research projects. We found a website that has Czech records available online! It only had records for one part of the country, but it’s a start. Now we can do research whenever we want and are not tied to when the church offices are open!
I went to a soccer game in the Gerhard Hanappi stadium! We rooted for Rapid—a team from Vienna. They ended up losing the game, but it was fun to cheer anyway. By the end of the game I had figured out one of the chants. It was really hard because it was said in German and it was being said by a group of people so it was fuzzy sounding. “Schieß ein Tor, Schieß ein Tor, Schieß ein Tor!” It basically means: Shoot a goal, Shoot a goal, Shoot a goal! After the game we went to the outreach center for institute and dinner.
I went on a shopping excursion with Becca, Maddie, Shelly, Lindsay, Naomi, and Mary. We went to a few secondhand stores. I bought a hardcover copy of Harry Potter #4 and the first book in the Series of Unfortunate Events by: Lemony Snicket. I also bought two videocassettes--The Fox and The Hound and Toy Story. The books and movies are all in German.
We went to the outreach center to eat waffles. Afterwards we played ping pong and learned how to do a dance from the movie “Emma”. I am a bad dancer so I wasn’t super good at it, but it was still really fun. We all had a good laugh.
We went to Schönbrunn and walked around the gardens for a bit before going to the Apple Strudel making demonstration. The guy made it look so effortless. After the demonstration we were given the recipe! I will have to try it out over Christmas break.
Becca and I had dinner with our host Frau and two of our roommates. We had pumpkin soup, salad, vegetable, and schnitzel with rice. Frau Papis taught us how to make Schnitzel! We even got a Sacher torte for dessert. It was quite fancy. She said it was a very Viennese meal. It was more of an event than just a meal because it lasted several hours. Becca and I learned that it is rude to put your hand(s) under the table while at dinner. This was shocking for us because that is the polite thing to do in the States!
On Halloween we had a party to celebrate. We played games (4 on a couch and in the manner of the adjective), ate pizza and candy, and danced. It was great! It was fun to see everyone dressed up in different costumes.
We visited the Central Cemetery as a group. It is huge! We saw the graves of the composers: Beethoven, Brahms, and Schubert. All the graves have huge headstones. We walked around looking at the graves for nearly two hours. We saw a few grave stones that said very sweet things on them.
Beethoven's grave

Johannes Brahms' grave
           We (Becca, Prof. Minert, and I) went to a church office in Bisamberg to do research. We worked for several hours and were busy the whole time. It was so fun being able to find and read the old records. We did a great job! We found quite a few birth and marriage entries in the church records.
We went to the Volksmuseum for our Austrian History class. It was one of my favorite museums because it showed normal people and not the rich.
Ten of us girls went to Schnitzelwirt for dinner to celebrate Kiersten’s birthday. We each ate a giant schnitzel. It was so good! I’m glad I know how to make Schnitzel so I can practice while I’m home over Christmas break.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Alte Nationalgalerie in Berlin

These are a few of my favorite pictures in this art museum.

Alte Nationalgalerie

Greifswald Harbour by: Caspar David Friedrich
Deep in the Forest by Moonlight by: Caspar David Friedrich

The Lone Tree by: Caspar David Friedrich
Moonrise by the Sea by: Caspar David Friedrich

Burgeis Abbey in Tyrol by: Karl Eduard Biermann

Inside Westminster Abbey by: Max Emanuel Ainmiller
(I've been there!!!)
Gate in the Rocks by: Karl Friedrich Schinkel
Landscape in the evening with a stay in the foreground by: Eduard Schleich
(I really like this one!)
After the Rain by: Paul Baum

The Herreninsel Monastery at Chiemsee by: Wilhelm Trübner
(I've been to that island!!!)
Saint-Germain-l' Auxerrois in Paris by: Claude Monet
Summer by: Claude Monet
The Isle of the Dead by: Arnold Böcklin

"Long Trip"---Days 6-10

           We were all able to visit the temple while we were in Freiberg, Germany. It was a great experience. I was able to play the piano in the chapel next door for a bit. They had a grand piano so I was excited to play.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Temple in Freiberg, Germany
The group
         We drove to Berlin and on the way had to take a mandatory half hour stop for our bus driver. During our half hour we were able to get out of the bus and play Ultimate Frisbee! It was so fun! The team I was on dominated the other team. It felt so good to be up and running around. Once we arrived in Berlin we went to the Checkpoint Charlie Museum. We learned about different ways people escaped across the Berlin Wall. Some people are so creative! We also got to see a place where a Gestapo office was located. It was mostly destroyed, but the foundations and part of the basement are still there and were made in to a museum. It talks all about the rise of Hitler and the Third Reich. It was super interesting. We then climbed on the bus again and were brought to our hotel. I was overjoyed when I realized that our hotel was within eyeshot of where I stayed in Berlin in July! I was back in my part of town!
At Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin!

In front of the Berlin Wall near an old Gestapo office. 
Cool looking clouds!
          We visited several important places in church history in Berlin. We visited a spot in the Tiergarten where the mission office was located. It was destroyed during an air raid in World War II. The whole street was destroyed so it is now covered in trees. We also went to Plötzensee Prison where Helmuth Hübener was murdered by the Nazis in 1942. It was quite the sobering experience. He was only 17 when he was killed.
The room Helmuth Hübener was executed in.
 From the time he entered the room until the time he was killed was 18 seconds.
            Later I walked from the Brandenburger Tor (Brandenburg Gate) to our hotel on Karl-Liebknecht Straße. It was relaxing to walk alone passed buildings I knew well. I made a detour on the way and visited the Alte Nationalgalerie so I could see my favorite paintings by Caspar David Friedrich and other artists. I bought a decorative plate of Berlin. I’m excited to have it because this city has become important to me. I also ended up buying a hat and a bag while in Berlin.
Brandenburger Tor!
            As a group we visited the Reichstag and got to climb to the top of the Siegessäule. It was cool to see in all directions from the top of the tower. It was very windy and cold, but worth the long climb to the top. We then walked to where Hitler’s bunker once was. It no longer exists, but it is where Hitler died. We walked around the monument to the murdered Jews of Europe. I don’t understand the symbolism of the blocks. One girl in my group commented that it was hard for her not to want to play hide and go seek in the memorial because it was so abstract.
The view from the Siegessäule...(Reichstag, Fernsehturm, Berliner Dom, Branderburger Tor, Rotes Rathaus etc.)
             After dinner I led everyone to Hackescher Markt. We met up with Bishop Bartsch and his wife. They showed us around the Hackesche Höfe. It is interesting that the Höfe exist and you wouldn’t even know it unless you were super curious or were ‘in the know’.
            We went to the Gesundbrunen U-Bahn station and climbed a nearby flak tower. We then took a tour of a bunker under the U-Bahn station. We got to see a bunch of rooms and some artifacts they had found. It was interesting to see a type of paint that glowed after it was exposed to light. It was only used in some rooms so it the lights went out the others would be completely in the dark. We also got to see an old enigma which was used during the war to encode messages.

WWII era Enigma

Other artifacts...
            I showed a few people around the University and St. Hedwigs. We also went to Marienkirche so they could see the “totentanz”. We then bought Döners from the store near Hackescher Markt I went to a lot when I lived in Berlin. The Döner tasted amazing! Döners in Berlin are way better than the ones they sell in Vienna.
            We stayed the night in a town called Forst near the Polish border. Ten of us stayed at a place called Gasthaus zum Grünen Baum. We had Schnitzel and French fries for dinner.
            The next day we focused on church history. We visited an old pedestrian bridge in Forst which was destroyed during WWII so it wouldn’t be used by the invading Russians. We got to go to Poland for a few minutes. We then drove to Brno, Czech Republic. On the way we watched “Five Pennies” and “Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince”. “Five Pennies” is a movie from 1959 starring Danny Kaye.
The whole group and our bus driver! 
            We went to church in Brno so we had the missionaries translate for us again. We were a little better at singing the hymns in Czech the second time around because we practiced last week. After church we drove to Burgenland where our bus driver lives. As we were driving we could see Bratislava from a distance. We stopped so we could walk across the border between Austria and Slovakia. He must have liked us a lot because he bought us all a Schnitzel dinner. He said that in his thirty years as a bus driver he had never done that before. After dinner he drove us home to Vienna. He was so nice. We were all glad he was our driver for both of our trips.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The "Long Trip"--- Days 1-5

          Our whole group went on a ten day trip around Europe. We had Willie as our bus driver again. He was our bus driver on our short trip. On our first day we left Vienna, Austria and drove to Český Krumlov, Czech Republic. I spent most of the day with Shelly, Becca, and Kendal. We climbed a tower by a castle, ate cinnamon bread, looked through books at a few small bookstores, went to a wax museum, and explored a mirror maze.
         At first we didn’t want to go to the wax museum, but we found out that it was cheaper if you bought a combined ticket for the wax museum and the mirror maze so we agreed to go to the wax museum for Shelly. The wax museum was more interesting than I thought it would be. We saw lots of famous people including Charlie Chaplin, Michael Jackson, Franz Josef I, Maria Theresia, Sisi, and Harry Potter. We then wandered over to the mirror maze. They made us put on plastic gloves so we wouldn’t smudge the mirrors. We entered the maze a few seconds apart. It was super fun because you could see people as you were walking, but you didn’t know where they were. We took lots of pictures because it was funny to see more than one of you in the same picture.
inside the mirror maze
        When we went to find a restaurant for dinner we went to several places before we found one that would take us. The first restaurant we went in to looked nice and was empty so we were excited to have the place to ourselves. When we asked the people for food they asked us if we had a reservation. We told them we didn’t and they told us that they were booked. We were a bit confused how they could be booked when no one was there, but we left without much of a fuss. We eventually found a cozy place and had a bread bowl with goulash soup. It was not the goulash I was familiar with. I was afraid to ask what was in it, so I ate most of the bread and left the soup…good thing I wasn’t super hungry!
The disappointing bread bowl!
         We went back to the hotel and got ready for bed. We were about to watch Harry Potter 7 part 2 when some people from our group invited us to go bowling. Becca and I agreed so we all walked over to the bowling alley together. It was bowling, but it wasn’t like in America. The shoes were too big and had rips in them and it was hard to find a ball that was the right weight, but that added to the experience. It made it exciting and different. I ended up getting my normal average score of 110. It was great being able to cheer everyone on as they were bowling. We took up three lanes so I was cheering constantly when I wasn’t bowling. I just love bowling!
Late night bowling!!!
The next day we drove to a little town in the Czech Republic where our bus driver’s ancestors were from. We had been working on his family history for him ever since we got back from our short trip so it had only been a few weeks when we went. It was a surprise for him because he didn’t know where his family was from. We saw the church and cemetery in the little town and gave him a copy of the pedigree chart we had been working on for him. He seemed to really like it. Stephen got to play the organ in the church and we sang along. It was great that we could show Willi his hometown because it was on the way to our next destination... Prague.
On the way to Prague I read more of my copy of “Harry Potter und der Stein der Weisen”. It is so fun! I love seeing words I just learned. It makes me feel as though I really know German. In Prague we stayed at the “A Plus Hostel/Hotel”. It was close to downtown, but it was not “A Plus”. We split up in the afternoon so I went with Annisija, Kendal, Becca and Lyndsi across the Charles Bridge to find the castle. The Charles Bridge was crowded so it was hard to keep track of each other. At one point we had to hold on to each other so we wouldn’t be separated on the bridge. Even though Prague Castle is the longest castle in the world we had trouble finding it because we didn’t know the word for castle in Czech. We found a monastery and some other cool buildings and even bought a few things at a market. I got a decorative plate of Prague to add to my collection.
Thank you Maddie!
The next day was Sunday, so we found the local chapel and went to all three hours of church. It was in Czech so we had to have the missionaries translate for us. It was an adventure trying to sing the songs in Czech. I’m sure we got the sounds all wrongs, but it was fun to try anyway. I learned that the word “Rodina” means family in Czech. We went back to the hostel after church to change our clothes then went to on a tour of the Jewish Quarter. We saw a really old cemetery with hundreds of headstones. It looked so chaotic because they were not in any kind of order and many were falling over. We also saw a few synagogues.
Monday morning we cleared out of the hostel and walked around inside Prague Castle. We went inside St. Vitus’s Cathedral, walked around the Old Royal Palace; saw the Basilica of St. George, and walked down Golden Lane. The Cathedral was my favorite.
Thanks again Maddie!
We took the bus to Dresden, Germany several hours away. I passed the time by sleeping and reading Harry Potter. Our first stop, after dropping our stuff off at the hotel, was the Frauenkirche. We climbed to the top and were able to see the entire city and the surrounding area. I have already been to the Frauenkirche, but it was nice to go up on top, because I didn’t do that last time. We then walked by the Zwinger and listened to the bells chime.
Day five of our trip started with a great breakfast at our hotel. Becca, Torrey, and I then went to the Frauenkirche and listened to a devotional type thing. I had a hard time paying attention to the speaker because I wasn’t sure exactly what the topic was because it was in German, but it was exciting to hear the organ. After the service I walked around the mall with Annisija. We had a great time walking around making fun of the odd clothing styles in various stores. Later that day we headed for Freiberg, Germany.