Monday, April 22, 2013

Day Eighty-Eight

This morning I took my last walk down the Antwerp shopping street. Most of my day was pretty relaxing. I had done a lot of my packing already so I didn't have to worry much about that. I ended up re-dying my hair today so now it is brilliantly red once again. It actually wasn't too difficult to do it by myself and it turned out very well. I went to a movie with a majority of my classmates tonight. We saw a movie called "Side Effects". I didn't really know much about it and I only just watched the trailer earlier today, but it was still a decent movie.

I haven't done a whole lot since I got back from the theater. I mostly just hung out with my classmates and chatted for a while. I also weighed my bag to make sure that it won't be overweight. Turns out I am a packing master because it was exactly the maximum weight.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Day Eighty-Seven

I have come to the realization that my count of days that I have been is Europe is off by a day. This blog post is actually supposed to be day eighty-eight. I am not going to go back and change all the blog titles though because I would have to do all eighty-eight of them individually and that would take too long. I will be sure to have the numbers right in my Europe photo book though. I messed up by not counting the day I traveled to Europe as day number one. Instead I started with my first full day in Europe. Oh well. It will all be fixed for my book.

I left Germany for the last time today. I think it has been my favorite country to visit while here in Europe. I hope to come back in the future. The train rides back to Antwerp went pretty well today other than the fact that I felt kind of crappy and really exhausted the whole time. I was so tired that I even managed to fall asleep on the train for a little bit which never happens. I hope that tomorrow I feel better.

When I got back to my apartment I just took a shower and then relaxed while watching movies. I feel that it is going to be bed time soon since I am still quite tired.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Day Eighty-Six

This morning we took the subway back to Hafen City. Our teacher had a new type of experience for us. He took us to a place called "Dialogue in the Dark". In this place you are guided through a series of pitch black rooms by a legally blind person. You are completely unable to see anything and you can only feel where you are going with a cane. The guide for my group was named Yenz. He was very nice and it made the fact that I was in complete darkness way less scary. At first I didn't think I would be able to do the whole thing because I started to get really freaked out, but after a little while I got used to it and I actually really enjoyed it. It was really neat to experience things the way blind people do. At the end of the experience we were taken into a pitch black cafe where we had to order and pay for drinks by only feeling the change we were picking out. I'm really glad we got to do that today.

The rest of the afternoon we walked around the city center before ending up t the brew house that our teacher had made reservations at. After dinner I headed back to the hostel with some of my classmates and now we are just hanging out in the lobby with the free wifi.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Day Eighty-Five

Today we took a tour around a portion of Hamburg called Hafen City. It's an old port area that is now being rebuilt. There was some interesting architecture there. It was pretty windy and cold which wasn't very fun.

After the tour we went to lunch where I ordered a veggie burger. It was different from the ones I have had in America. There were big pieces of vegetables in this one, but it was still pretty delicious.

We walked around some more with our professor after lunch. When we got done with our tours or the day our teacher showed us where the Hamburg carnival was. We went back to the hostel for a bit and I ended up taking a nap.

After my nap we went to find some dinner. We ate at a restaurant nearby the carnival. There were so many rides and food stands. It was probably one o the largest carnivals I have ever been to. A couple of my classmates went on two of the rides. When they had had their fill of the rides we headed back to our hostel for the night.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Day Eighty-Four

Most I today was spent traveling to Hamburg, Germany. We had a little problem with our train again, but it all worked out in the end.

It was dinner time when we got there, so we checked into our hostel quick and then headed to dinner with our teacher and his wife. Right now we are all just hanging out in the hostel lobby using the free Internet for a while before we go to bed.

Day Eighty-Three

I just realized I never posted a blog yesterday so here it is now.

This morning we had to present our projects to some of the Antwerp students. Not too many showed up so it was nice and not as stressful as I expected. The presentations only lasted for about two hours so we got the rest of the day off.

I spent my afternoon watching movies, walking around the shopping area of Antwerp, and packing all my stuff up. I think that when it comes time to actually leave Europe everything will fit in my suitcase fine.

After dinner I went to the school with my classmates and just surfed the Internet for a while. When I got back to my apartment I just took a shower and watched another movie before bed.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Day Eighty-Two

We finished up our studio project today. I am happy how it turned out and I am glad that it is finished. Tomorrow we have to present it to some people from the Antwerp architecture school. I'm not really excited for that, but at least I am not doing the presentation alone.

I walked around Antwerp for a while with one of my classmates this afternoon looking for chocolate shops to buy gifts for people back in the states. I was surprised how few there are in Antwerp. We had a hard time finding any while walking around. I think we may have only found three the entire time we were out walking and only one of them had decent prices. Oh well. They still had decent chocolate so it was okay and we even got to taste test a couple of their new chocolates which were delicious.

Since it was another one of my classmates birthday today we went to a small pizza place that we have grown fond of for dinner. After dinner we went to go see Oblivion at the local movie theater. It was a pretty good movie and I may even watch it again back home. They had a preview for Iron Man Three. I am extremely excited to see that movie when it comes out. I love the Iron Man films.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Day Eighty-One

It was a beautiful day in Antwerp today. The sun was shining and it was warm enough to not need a coat outside. Quite different from the weather I hear Fargo is having. Too bad I had to spend the whole day inside working on my studio project. The final presentation for this project is on Wednesday so we have been working almost non-stop today. I had about an hour and a half break for dinner today, but other than that I have been sitting in front of my laptop working away. I can't wait until this project is finally done.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Day Eighty

I got to sleep in this morning since our train back to Antwerp didn't leave until right before noon. We had to check out of our hostel by eleven so for the extra bit of time we had before we got on the train we sat by the lake drinking chocolate milk. It was a pretty great morning.

The trip back to Antwerp had some ups and downs. On the train that we were going to ride for the longest we ended up sitting in our own little six-seat room again on the first class car. Those seats were pretty comfortable for a while, but when you have to sit there for four hours it didn't feel like it mattered because my butt hurt anyway. There also weren't any outlets on that train which made it impossible to work on our studio project.

I think that our longest train may have had technical difficulties again because when were at the stop in Luxembourg we were told that we had to get on a different train to go to Brussels. The train to Brussels was horrible. It was packed so I was confined to a small space for the entire ride which happened to be three hours. Not to mention we hadn't had a chance to get anything to eat since breakfast because we were constantly on trains or trying to catch the next one. Usually at least one of our trains has a food car, but none of them did this time. When we finally got back to Antwerp we stopped at Quick Burger right outside the train station because we were so starving.

We didn't get back until after nine so when I got back to my apartment I took a shower and now I am just relaxing before bed.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Day Seventy-Nine

This morning we took a boat across Lake Lucerne to the bottom of the Mount Rigi. It was about an hour long boat ride, but It was really nice because you could see the mountains the whole time. When we got to the bottom of the mountain we boarded a cog train that took us to the top. After having lunch near the top of the mountain, we hiked a little bit to reach the very top. It was really cloudy and since we were so high up in altitude we were actually within the clouds. That was pretty awesome.

As we walked down the mountain the clouds started to clear so we were able to see the surrounding area. I took a lot of pictures today because there were so many great views from Mount Rigi. At one point we stopped to sit on some benches for about ten minutes looking directly at the rest of the Alps. It was so peaceful and quiet up there.

To get back down from the mountain we took a gondola which was a little bit scary. I don't really like the idea of hanging from a wire so far up in the air inside a glass box. When we got to the bottom we had just missed the boat back to Lucerne so we decided to sit by the edge of the lake until the next one came. It was so warm sitting there that I was able to be in my t-shirt for a while. I even had to roll up my pant legs because I was getting so warm. The whole time I was sitting there I was looking at snow-capped mountains. This area is so awesome that you can be so warm and see so much snow around.

When we got back to Lucerne we went to our hostel and I ended up taking an hour nap because I had a bad headache. After I woke up we went to dinner and we ended up eating at a restaurant that had a unicorn as its logo. I think that place wins for best logo. We walked around Old Lucerne when we were finished eating and then we headed back to our hostel for the night.

Right after the clouds started to clear

Placemat from the unicorn restaurant


Friday, April 12, 2013

Day Seventy-Eight

I had to get up at four-thirty this morning to start our journey to Lucerne, Switzerland. That was horrible. My roommate was still sleeping so I had to finish packing in the dark. I can't wait to go back to an apartment with more than one room.

The trains turned out to be a little bit of a fiasco today. When our second train pulled stopped at a small station the power in it went out. We ended up having to run to catch a different train so that we wouldn't miss our connection in the next city.

After that though, the trains went really smoothly. We ended up getting our own little room on our longest train ride which was four hours. I watched a movie and then attempted to do some photoshopping. It turns out I'm not half bad at it once I know what all the fancy tools do.

When we got to Lucerne we checked into our hostel and then went to find some food. We ended up having a sort of picnic on the lake shore which was pretty cool because we were looking right at the mountains the whole time. When we finished eating we took a long walk by the lake through a few parks which was also pretty awesome.

Since we got back from our walk I haven't really done much because I am exhausted. It's not even nine yet, but I feel like I'm ready to go to bed.


Swiss chocolate milk!

Day Seventy-Seven

I didn't get a chance to post this because my roommate was sleeping when I got back to my room and I didn't want to be using such a bright object while she was sleeping. It's also extra late because the Internet at our hostel didn't really work last night

It was another normal day of studio work. I put together some of the last buildings on our site and did a rendering inside one of them that like pretty cool. I'm going to have to figure out how to doctor it in Photoshop though because it didn't turn out completely right.

After studio I went to the grocery store and then went to the laundromat. I'm excited for laundry to only be two dollars per complete load. It's quite expensive in Europe. Luckily I have only had to do laundry twice.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Day Seventy-Six

The internet at my apartment is still not working....yippee....

My blog posts are getting rather repetitive this week. All I do every day is go to studio and work on the project for a long while and then go back to my apartment for a bit of a break right before dinner. Then after dinner it's straight back to studio work. I guess it was a little different today because I went to McDonald's for dinner with a side of free wifi.

Our studio project is still progressing pretty well. We did a couple test renderings to see what some areas of our site look like and to figure out a where we might want to place our final renderings. I also practiced my Photoshop skills a bit and started some modifications to one of my classmates faces. I never really knew how fun Photoshop is. I never really used it a whole lot before because I don't really know what I am doing, but I guess the best way to learn is to just play around with it and see what everything does.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Day Seventy-Five

The internet decided to stop working in my entire apartment building last night before I got to post my blog. I hate how sucky the internet can be there.

Once again I spent a majority of my day dealing with Revit and its picky attitude. I was able to get quite a bit of work done and I feel pretty confident at the moment that we will be able to get everything done for the presentation next Wednesday. I guess it's good that I am working with Revit right now because when I work on my thesis next year we are required to use the program.

When we left the school we went back to our apartments for a little while before going to the grocery store. It was quite a surprise when we got to the galleria type building that the grocery store is in because Ben & Jerry's was giving out free ice cream. We got our groceries quickly and then got in line for the free treats. I ended up getting a kind called "Chunky Monkey" which is banana ice cream with walnuts and little banana-shaped chocolates. They even gave everyone a little Ben & Jerry's spoon that looked like a shovel. I love when you just happen to come across things like that.

For dinner the boys made sloppy joes which were really good. If I ever make them at home I may need to start making the sauce from scratch rather than buying the canned stuff. After dinner I worked on more of my studio project before going to bed.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Day Seventy-Four

For most of the day I fought with the 3D modeling program called Revit. It was very finicky and trying to take my model from one program and importing it into Revit has been a struggle. I think I have gotten most of it worked out, but there is still some parts that I will need to fix tomorrow.

Other than school, I haven't done a whole lot today. We all went out to dinner for my classmates birthday. I had some pretty delicious chicken. I tried to work on school a bit more after dinner, but I had had enough of Revit for the day so I just played Minecraft and surfed the Internet for a little while.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Day Seventy-Three

This morning we went to the Anne Frank House. We had to wait for almost an hour to get in, but luckily there was some nice sunshine to keep me at least somewhat warm. I wasn't able to take pictures inside the actual house. The house was different than I expected. I thought there would be furniture inside of it to give you a feel for how they lived while they were hiding, but I guess that would have gotten in the way of the walking path for all of the visitors. They did have pictures of the rooms in a refurnished state so that you could have a bit of an idea how the rooms looked. I also got to see Anne Frank's original diary. It was on display in the house along with some of the pages where she started re-writing her diary in hopes of publishing a book after the war.

When we left the Anne Frank House we went to pick up our bags from our hostel and then we went to the train station to leave Amsterdam. It took a while to get back to Antwerp because we had to take a weird route to get back and when we got to one of our stops we had missed the train by only a couple of minutes so we had to wait an hour longer. We eventually made it though.

After dinner I tried to work on my studio project with my group, but the program I was using was running really slow and I have been having a sort of creativity block lately. I did eventually manage to think of a couple things to add to the design, but we still have a lot of work to do in a little over a week.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Day Seventy-Two

This met with our professor near the Anne Frank house. We didn't get to go inside yet, but we plan on going tomorrow morning. We walked around that area a little bit so that he could show us and tell us about the canal houses that are located there. We then rode the tram to a place where we got an architectural tour of a social housing project for workers in old Amsterdam factories.

We also rode the tram way out into the new areas of Amsterdam. There was a neighborhood that was completely made of floating houses. It was pretty awesome. Another part had some really interesting row houses. It felt like an area that I would lie to live in one day.

When we got back to the center of Amsterdam our professor took us through the red light district. That was a bit odd. It's really strange to walk down streets and alleys where a lot of the windows have women in very little clothing. He told us a bit about how the regulation of the red light district works.

After dinner, I went with two of my classmates to the carnival and they rode two of the rides. They seemed like the type of rides that would make me vomit so I just watched while taking photos and videos of them. Maybe some of my videos will make it into the trip video for Amsterdam.

A community center that has an exterior covered in plants

The floating houses

There are some really strange houses in Amsterdam

Friday, April 5, 2013

Day Seventy-One

I had McDonald's for breakfast this morning. European McDonald's don't really have much for breakfast options. The only things on the menu that I actually liked were muffins and apple pie. So that's the nutritious breakfast I had, plus a cappuccino that wasn't very good.

We met with our professor this Koenig to go your around the city. Rather than taking a bus or a metro train to get to different places in the city, we took ferries to get around. There is a large canal in the middle of Amsterdam that makes traveling by boat a better option than usual forms of mass transit.

We went to a new theater building that had exhibits focused on film and photography. The building was really awesome on both the outside and the inside. We walked through the exhibits for a while, but I wasn't really interested by them. A lot of the films that were being displayed were really artsy and I just don't understand films like that.

It was really windy out today, almost unbearably windy. The sun was out sun was out so it would have been a really nice day if the wind had stopped making us cold. The worst place for wind was when we were walking to a complex of student housing made out of shipping containers. The area used to be where they built ships so today it is pretty wide open.

After lunch we went to a science museum that had a ton of fun interactive exhibits. It was more for children and teens, but we still had a lot of fun. When we were done at the museum we went to the library that was nearby. It was such a massive library. We rode the escalators to the top and went out on to the rooftop patio to see a view of the city. There happened to be another Vapiano connected to the library so that's where we went for dinner.

I did some souvenir shopping with one of my classmates after dinner while the rest f our classmates went out. We also walked through the carnival that is going on just down the street from where we are staying. There was a swing ride that goes really really high up in the air. I don't think I would ever ride on something like that. I can't wait for the county fairs this summer back in America.

There was actually a bike parking ramp in Amsterdam!

The photography and film museum called "The Eye"

Inside The Eye

Student housing made from shipping crates
The Nemo science museum

One of the things in the Nemo was a kaleidoscope you stand inside of

Day Seventy

I didn't get home until after midnight last night and when I got back I went straight to bed so I am posting this blog late.

We slept in this morning and then went to the train station to go to Amsterdam. The train we were going to take ended up getting delayed for an unknown amount of time so we waited an hour for the next train that went there. We didn't get there until late afternoon and once we got there we checked into our hostel and then went for dinner. I had an awesome steak with french fries.

After dinner we met up with a girl that one of my classmates knows and is currently going to school in Europe. We went to a bar and had a couple drinks and then afterward we went to another bar and had a couple more drinks. There was a DJ t the second bar who looked really drunk and wasn't even actually DJing. He just played music from her laptop and then took a smoke break every five minutes. I had a great time just hanging out and chatting with my classmates.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Day Sixty-Nine

I worked more on studio today. I feel like I have gotten quite a bit done over the last couple days, but I am still a little worried about getting it all done for the presentation.

This afternoon I went to the fashion museum in Antwerp. It wasn't exactly what I was expecting, but I still enjoyed it. They had a whole bunch of different fabrics on display as well as some dresses, but there was a lot less stuff that I thought there would be.

I am both excited and slightly scared for this weekend trip I am leaving for tomorrow. We are going to visit Amsterdam with our teacher. I am excited because there is supposed to be some really awesome architecture. I am nervous and scared because marijuana is legal there. Using any sort of drug is something I have chosen not to do with my life and I don't want to get into situations where I might get pressure to do it. I know for a fact that I will not give in to the pressure because I am sticking to my decision, but I hate the possibility that people may not understand that and might still try to talk me into it anyway. I also don't want to be around smoke of any sort because lately I have been getting a shortness of breath from it. I think I may be slightly asthmatic. I hope that this weekend I don't have a daily account of pressure and uncomfortableness. I think that in the end I will have a great time though.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Day Sixty-Eight

We are drawing closer and closer to the deadline for our studio project. Today I worked a lot on the design and tried to get some good ideas down for the public plazas that run the length of our site. It is really tough to find things to add though since I have never really done an urban design project before. All I can think of putting in there is trees, benches, tables, and some bike racks. I have also created some patterns with the paving, but there is so much open space left that I have no idea what to do with.

Most of what I have done today has been school work with some breaks to watch random YouTube videos mixed in. It hasn't been a very exciting day, although the ice cream man did drive by the window earlier and he even had some music playing from a speaker on top of his van. I had a good laugh at that one. One of my classmates paid me back for the couscous dinner I made last week. He made a point to pay me the one euro in only copper coins and of the copper coins he only gave me one and two euro-cent coins. So now I have a ton of coins I will probably never use. I may have to do the same thing and pay someone back with them as a joke as well.

Day Sixty-Seven

Apparently this didn't actually post last night and only got saved as a draft.... weird.

A majority of today was spent traveling. We left Berlin around ten-thirty this morning since it is quite the trek to get back to Antwerp. It had been cold and snowy all weekend in Berlin, but most of the way back it was sunny and nice. It figures that would happen on the day that we were stuck on trains for hours on end. We didn't get back to Antwerp until a little after seven.

There has been a bit of a fiasco going on with my debit card this weekend. I checked my bank account while on one of the trains today and I noticed that there were withdrawals listed that I had never made. The one that especially caught my attention was one for four hundred and forty dollars that I had apparently withdrawn today, but I had not been to an ATM since Saturday. I sent an email to my bank when I got back to Antwerp and I also notified my dad. Everything got worked out in the end. The bank agreed that there were fraudulent charges and I was told the money would be refunded. I'm glad it all worked out and I hope that this doesn't happen again. I have