Nate's Travels

An attempt to document the world-travels of Nate B. from China to Western Europe and beyond!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

London, Dublin, and Edinburgh Photos

Westminster Abbey
Westminster Abbey,
originally uploaded by Nate Brunk.
While I have yet to post on my adventures of last week, you can check out about 200 of the new photos by clicking on the one to the left!


Sunday, February 11, 2007

Le Tour Eiffel at Night

Le Tour Eiffel at Night
Le Tour Eiffel at Night,
originally uploaded by Nate Brunk.
Click on the picture to see the rest of the pictures from Paris and Vianden!


Monday, February 05, 2007

Vianden and Paris, the MEGAPOST!

Helloooooo Everyone!

This is going to be an extremely long post, so bear with me!

Two weekends ago (the last weekend in January), after our Bruges trip, Taylor and I decided to remain back in Differdange for the weekend. It ended up being a good time; I had to get some shopping done for my new Embassy job ☺, then we went and saw “Casino Royale” in English at the big movie theater in Lux City. The movie theater is the high point of western (read American) civilization in that there is a billiards club, a few bars, and a Subway attached. Taylor and I hit up Subway for food… it was a nice “slice of home.” The movie was good, but the theater experience was a little weird… They don’t open the theater until 20 minutes before your movie. Then, if you want snacks, you go through a self-serve line to get your own popcorn/drinks/candy, pay for them and exit the concessions corral. After that, you wait helplessly in front of the door until a team of 5 people comes and unlocks the theater about 10 minutes before showtime… weird. I’m used to all the advertisements and trivia… Europeans just sit and talk before the movie. The film ended up being great; by far my favorite “Bond” movie… anyway…

Saturday (1/28 for those of you keeping track) we took a train from Differdange to Etelbruck then hopped a bus to Vianden, the home of Luxembourg’s biggest castle. The castle is built on a high hill overlooking the town of Vianden below. We accidentally got off the bus too early and ended up walking what we estimate was about 2 miles up a steep slope to get to the castle… inside it was pretty nice; it had just snowed so we got some really great views (I’ll post the pictures when I get another free second). The castle was filled with all kinds of archaeological finds and information about Medieval Luxembourg… pretty cool. We ate lunch in Vianden then headed home… all in all a good day. That ended up being our big trip for the weekend. We just hung out Sunday; walked around Lux City then came home.

Last week was a pretty intense week… I started my “Student Envoy-ship” at the Embassy. I’m working for the Management Officer and learning all about how an embassy is run from a practical point of view (Management oversees everything behind-the-scenes to keep it running smoothly). I have my own office… Probably bigger than dad’s cube and mom’s cube put together now ☺ (so what that it’s also the mail room). Now my schedule is even crazier, but I still feel I can manage when I set some time aside to plan my week better. Now I’ve got 18 hours of class, 10 hours of internship, and 6 extra hours of commute a week… yippee.

This past weekend (2/2-2/4) Taylor and I went to Paris to check out “The City of Lights.” The train there was slow—It took us about four and a half hours to get to Paris from Luxembourg City. We arrived around 20:30 and found our way through the Metro (I was surprised how easy it is to navigate) to our hotel. We stayed in a place that was 17€/night. We expected it to be a complete dump, but it wasn’t bad. We had two beds in a small room, our own bathroom, a small T.V. and supposedly we also had free internet (we don’t bring our computers). We also had breakfast included… yee-haw! We got checked in and went on a city walk at night (a sweet way to get acquainted wherever you are).

The next morning we got up at 7:00 to go to the Louvre, bright and early. We were the third people in line, tickets in hand… we felt like we knew what we were doing. We headed straight for the Mona Lisa… saw it… meh (I’ve seen better drawings by my nieces :P). We made our way around the museum for about two and a half hours… not enough to see EVERYTHING, but we saw the “have to see’s.” Next, we headed for Notre Dame… it was absolutely beautiful. The church was holding mass inside, so we snuck around (unlike everyone else who was being loud and obnoxious), took some pictures, and left. We at lunch at the Quasimodo café down the street – one heckuva Croque Madam (ham and cheese grilled sandwich with a fried egg on top!). Le Centre Pompidu was next, the big musee d’art modern, pretty interesting stuff. There were a lot of works by Matisse, Picaso, and a special exhibit by Yves Kline (weird art… for sure). While interesting, Taylor and I were a bit art-ed out for the day. We left and headed for Sacre Coeur… a Byzantine church; it’s very beautiful, full of art, but a long steep climb to get to it!

After that (and feeling pretty worn out) we headed to the Eiffel Tower. We waited in line (the first time all day) and got tickets to the second floor. It was beautiful out, and we had gotten there at evening time. I got a few sweet pictures of the sunset over Paris… it was clear, and just cool. We left the tower and went back to our hotel for a while to rest. After a two hour break, we went out on the Champs Elisees. We tried to get into Buddha Bar (supposed to be really trendy)… and were denied. I felt terribly underdressed to go out in Paris… everything was very Haute Coture, for sure. We found a cocktail bar around the corner from the Arc de Triomphe side of the arch and had a few there; then went to a big club just to check it out. It’s my firm opinion that Europeans just don’t know how to dance… so disappointing. We may have not been the best dressed, but we were definitely breaking it down.

The night ended in disaster, however… we got out of the club at 2:30 (that’s AM) to find the Metro was closed! We didn’t have the address of our hotel, and didn’t really know how to get there except through the metro. We walked the whole way from the Champs to our stop on the metro (we estimated about 6-8 mi.)… it took us 1hr45. Ughhhhhh. We were so tired. We got up the next morning at 9:30 to head to Versailles. Mistake.

Versailles was big. Too big for us to walk the entirety after taking main-city Paris by storm on Saturday. We waited in line to get into the palace (free admission Sunday!) for 1h40… ugh. Inside was pretty neat, though there is a TON of construction going on, so things like the hall of mirrors didn’t seem as impressive as I imagined they would be. The building was full of beautiful art and intricate frescos though; all extremely aweseome.

We left Versailles and headed back to the train station; got some food and waited for our train. We took the TGV (Train a Grande Vitesse) back home; only 3 hours… not too shabby. We caught the Differdange train at 9:50 and got to hear about many other people’s weekends… sounds like they had a good time too. A bunch of people went out to watch the Superbowl (Stupid Colts…), which started at 00:30 here… too late for me! I passed out in bed and got up about 8 hours later today to get to school… blah.

Alright—finally, I’ve updated! Sorry this was such a long post. I’m trying to update once a week, but it’s getting pretty difficult with being so busy. At any rate, home is feeling farther away now. The infatuation with Europe has faded a bit. I’m not really home-sick per se, but I definitely wish I could share this experience first-hand with more of ya’ll! Hope everyone is doing well!


Friday, February 02, 2007

Still alive...

Hey ya'll,

Sorry I haven't posted much... This has been a really really reallllllllyyyy busy week. I started my internship in Lux City, had 2 papers due, over 200 pages of reading.. ugh. Anyway, the plan for this weekend is Paris! I'm pretty excited to say the least... the Louvre, Palis de Versailles... good times. I'll provide a much bigger update when I get back, I promise!