Thursday, October 31, 2013

Haunted House!

30 October Wednesday

So yes...there was a haunted house today.  Not really.  Kinda.  For class we went to the catacombs underneath St. Stephan's Cathedral...!  It was EERIE.  Tombs everywhere, BONES everywhere, dark and cold...spiderwebs.  It was all legit.  Photos weren't I took them on my phone, nat├╝rlich.

some tombs of the Hapsburg's
there are organs of the Hapsburgs in these jars
this room was FULL of BONES and what!?

bones down there...

After we finished in the catacombs, we climbed up the steeple (?) to see a view of the city.

After class, I walked home by myself and took my time.  I went a new way home, and I found some cool shops.  I looked at some restaurants and read the menus, I found another grocery store really close to our house (Spar).

When I got home, Dad helped me (he's amazing!) to find a condo to move into for winter semester!  It is perfect, and a miracle.  Thank goodness for him, I'm so happy he cares so much about me and knows what I want with living situations...he found the perfect place for us.

I went to the end of Institute and ate dinner there, then home...Caelyn and I stayed up really late talking about stuff.  I was eating pretzel chips and drinking this Pear Wasser which is SO GOOD!  Except that it's fizzy which I don't really like... But it is huge and it's like 65 cents so yum.

Oh, this morning Monika and I got up early (well, 9) and we did a photoshoot.  She has to keep in practice, so even though it wasn't a specific assignment or anything she will hand in, she just needs to keep practice planning and organizing shoots and figuring out what she wants.  They will be so cool though!  We took them in my bedroom in our is wonderful.  I can't wait to see them!!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013


29 October Tuesday - finally caught up!

We had our history midterm was soooo easy and short, it took twenty minutes.  Haha.  We all over-prepared.  Hopefully we all got the questions right though..!  German is hard.

I had Subway for lunch again.  But then I needed a snack before dinner!  I got this roll thing for 70 cents...salty, yum.  Ich liebe Anker.

Ich liebe auch Abendessen.  Wir haben zucchini Suppe gegessen und stuffed peppers.  They had like meatloaf inside?  YUM.  It was all so good, and with rice of course, and salad.  She dressed the salad just with extra-virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper.  New favorite.  She showed us some of the rocks she collects...when she goes new places she collects a rock.  The history in them amazes her, "Ich glaube nicht!" - I can't believe it!  That these rocks were here before people were, millions of years!  She kept saying that all in German haha.  And ice cream bars for dessert!


28 October Monday

Back to school...Art History was cancelled, but we took the class time to study for our Austrian History midterm together which is tomorrow....studying was good.  I got Subway for lunch.  These pictures sum up German class...not during class, just after.  I don't know what was going on but this happened.

Ummm we went to FHE for dinner at the Centrum.  Our wifi was still out, but it got fixed tonight!  Thank the heavens.  More studying for history.

Sometimes I forget we are in school here.  BUT WE ARE.

Sunny Sunday

27 October Sunday

So last night (Saturday night) we got on the train at 8:30 in Venice and slept pretty well!  I wasn't even that tired all day today, no nap or anything!  We got in to Vienna at 8:08 am, and we also gained an hour for daylight savings! (Europe does it one month earlier than at home).  Kimber and I went home, I showered quick, we woke up Caelyn (who got home at 2 am from their grip to was basically a disaster, even though it was fun, they missed almost every train, super complicated....lessons learned!), and we all went to the Austrian International Center for stake conference at 10:00.  Two hours of GERMAN with headsets to translate.  I saw Brendan again.  I didn't even fall asleep.

Home for a bitssss and I cleaned my room and unpacked while Caelyn and Kimber napped, then we went to the Minert's at 2:30 for lunch.  Haley, Amy, Rachel  & Kelsey made a DELICIOUS dinner of pork and vegetables over rice with a peanut soy sauce.  YUM.  I miss cooking so bad.

We stayed at the Minert's using the wifi (SOS ours is still broken) till 10...!  Skype and blogging and picture working and figuring out classes and stuffffff like that.

Here is some of my booty I brought home from ITALY!!!!

Leather goods, glass goods, scarves, postcards, photos...the cute little paper-wrapped packages have glass jewelry in them I'm just not going to unwrap them till I get home (and maybe open them on Christmas hahahaha).  Anything else I bought (a lot...) consists of GIFTS for people (hence surprises, sorry boys) (boys meaning adam and aaron and dad and ben) (and telu but he won't see this) (also heidi) (love you guys).

Monday, October 28, 2013


26 October Saturday - ITALY

We woke up in our hostel at 7:45 am...and guess what.  My face was swollen!  Before I was fully awake I could feel that my lip was swollen...but I couldn't really think straight yet.  I guess I didn't write this in my other blog posts when catching up for tues/wed or whatever I missed...I have been getting bites at night!!!  All over my arms, and even my face....they don't really look like mosquito bites but they itch and swell up huge and get all red!  AHHHH I got so scared we had bed bugs!  But I never saw any bed bugs by my bed...but I am so worried.   But the bugs from last night were mosquitos I'm pretty sure because I was sleeping right under the open window!  And then in the morning I even saw a mosquito on the drapes.  AHHH So my lip was swollen, and my EYE...I got stung on my freaking eyelid!  And one on my forehead and one on my cheek, and a few on the back of my hand was SO swollen.  I could barely get my rings off.  It hurt really bad.  So that put me in a pretty bad mood first thing in the morning :( I wore my glasses (thankfully I brought them!) all day, and the swelling in my lip and eye went down after a few hours....sad Claire.  Oh, and we woke up to a note from our friends from last night that said something like "Ciao, HEYYYY SEXXXXYYY LADIES!!!!" (it's from a song).  Something else in Italian too, I think.

The first thing we did was go to the Accademia opened at 8:15, and we got there at 8:30 (checking out the hostel delayed us...we couldn't find the guy).  We got in fine, and spent a good two hours in this museum!!  It was AMAZING.  This is the museum with the David and other works by Michelangelo.


There were like seven "unfinished" sculptures by Michelangelo...but they can be interpreted as being finished.  They were commissioned for Pope Julius, but he died before they were finished.  There were originally going to be 30 slaves...two are a bit more finished and are in the Louvre.  Anyways he had a set of unfinished slaves.  He had some inner problems with himself (like most troubled amazing artists do), and he struggled with the idea of there being a God and things like that...finding inner happiness...finding yourself.  He always said that sculpture is easier than painting because in that slab of marble....the figure already exists.  It is in there.  You just have to take away all the extra pieces surrounding it and find it.

I could have spent hours in front of these.  You could see each individual mark from his carving into the stone!!  AHHH SO INCREDIBLE

So past the corridor of unfinished slaves stands The David.  (No photos permitted iPhone took this).  It was incredible.  We sat there for a while looking at it, and I circled around many times.  Usually David (from the story David & Goliath) is portrayed AFTER he kills the giant, and has previously been sculpted with his foot standing on the head of the Goliath.  Here, however, Michelangelo shows David BEFORE he has killed him.  In his face you can see his concentration as he thinks about how he will conquer this unbeatable man.  You can really SEE it in his face!  So amazing.

We wandered through the rest of the museum, then headed outside to grab breakfast.  Which sadly ended up being McDonald's again....pastries are not filling enough!  Those egg and ham bagels...yum.

We wandered through the shops again for a tiny bit, and Kimber and I were the only ones with the energy to climb the TOWER... (if you look in my pictures from yesterday, it is the bell tower next to the Duoma).  From it we got an awesome view of the dome!  It was the coolest.  The stairway was sooo narrow, all stone, so many people..!!!  The view was just awesome.

these are the tourist signs

the Baptistry from above

some protestors walking through the markets...
he was embarrassed I was taking his pictures.  I really just loved his shoes. 

we love the photobooth..hahahahh this was right before we left

So we went back to the train station.  On our way, Haley and I stopped at this photobooth again and got some "after" photos printed.  Then we grabbed some NOODLES!!!  We walked into a cafe, expecting to get pastries for lunch...nope.  Noodles duh!!  They were delicious.  And look at the cute little mushrooms!!  We got on the train at 1:30.  I sat with Kimber in one area...we both slept most of the 2 hour ride to VENICE.

...And this is what we saw when we were pulling into that beautiful island of a city.  Already breathtaking with so little.

this is the first thing we saw getting out of the train

We read Dad's instructions and bought a 7 Euro ticket to get one ride on the public boat. It goes around the canal both ways, around the island.  So yeah we took the blue line from the train station around counter-clockwise into the ocean to the opposite side of the island to San Marco church.  It was closed by the time we got there, unfortunately, but we still got to walk around the square out front which was crazy.  FULL of people and shops.

Selfie in the glass

the lighting was awesome because the sun was in these clouds...

this is San Marco...see the scaffolding? They were cleaning today so it was all covered up :(

So Venice is known for yeah, the canals going through the city, but also for their glasswork and for masks.  I didn't know about the masks, but I've been so excited for the glass work!!!  There were gondola drivers by the canals asking if we wanted to buy a ride.  They are expensive.  But we watched couples on dates riding in them!!  The drivers wear those black and white striped tops and hats!  And they usually sing in Italian while they row around.  Some even had accordion players on them!  Ahhh it really was like living in a dream.

The sun started going down, and we wandered our way back through all the buildings to the opposite side to get back to the train station.  Our train left at 8:57 so we could take our time, but things started closing and we didn't want to be late!  So we got there an hour early and walked through more glass shops and up and down streets and bought more gelato (duh).

beautiful (expensive) shoes 

PIZZA.  People always say pizza from Italy really isn't THAT good...BUT THIS WAS REALLY GOOD 

we got LOST.....


Another night train....Haley, Kimber and I sat in a cabin with this very black man from Nigeria.  He's lived in Italy for 13 years.  He was really talkative...hahah.  We all slept right next to each other!  So strange but it was totally fine!!  It was daylight savings here that night so we gained an hour on this ride.  Luckily we were able to sleep for most of it.

This dream was such a dream.  I loved it so much, it could not have been better.  All the traveling went so smoothly, we saw SO much (we planned for MUCH more, but there's only so much you can do in a day and a half in Florence, and three museums was pretty good!).  Venice was honestly just a tease.  I better be able to go back here someday and spend a few WEEKS.  It is just sooo cool feeling.  Except for that it is swarmed with tourists.  I loved it.  And the weather was perfect which added to how perfect it was.  Everybody got along too.  Just a great time, small group was good too!!