Travelin’ the Globe

Alison Kemp and Alison Kemp

SALZBURG, Austria – So, I received a new roommate yesterday afternoon. Can’t you read my excitement? It’s one day before break starts; why would anyone move to a different university one month into the semester? But I can’t ask too many questions, because my roommate speaks no German and only a smattering of English. She’s from the Naples area of Italy, so she speaks Italian. I returned from my afternoon classes to find luggage in my room. I saw the man in charge of this dormitory Thursday morning and he neglected to say anything about a new roommate. A notice really would have been nice, because I wouldn’t have had to scramble to remove all the things I’d been storing on the unused bed in my room. After all my complaints, I would like to say that she really is friendly and should be an OK roommate, as long as her going-to-bed-at-11-p.m. routine doesn’t continue. If it does, I hope she really doesn’t have a problem sleeping through my late-night computer usage. This has been a problem for some of the students here on this program. Two other girls have had roommates who can’t sleep through anything and go to bed excessively early (like 10 p.m.). I hope my roommate doesn’t follow suit. In other news, my break started Friday. My parents are coming here for my first week of break, then I am traveling to the Netherlands. I’m probably collecting my parents from the airport while you read this. I hope all of their connections work out and I find them at the airport when I am supposed to see them. I’ve planned an Austrian and Bavarian tour for them that I am very excited about. We’ll spend most of the time in Salzburg, doing things here in town and in the surrounding areas. I’ve planned an excursion up the Untersberg, the Alpine mountain in town, along with a couple trips into the Salzkammergut Lake region, with stops in Hallstatt, Bad Ischl and Mondsee. I am particularly looking forward to Mondsee because I will be able to see my final ‘Sound of Music’ sight there. The wedding church from the film was not the church at Maria’s Abbey here; instead, it was at a church in Mondsee. Other ‘Sound of Music’ sights are part of my agenda as well. Then we will head to Munich and Nuremburg to complete our trip. I’m not sure yet what we will do in Munich, but I am considering a walking tour of the city, just because I don’t know much about Munich and one of the tours I found is free, so it sounds like a great deal. In Nuremburg we will visit the Nazi Documentation Center at the rally grounds. The city is also famous for its medieval inner city and tiny sausages. These sausages are my second favorite type, and I am anxious to have the Nuremburg sausages there. After my familial journeys, I will travel to Leogang, a ski town in Salzburgerland for some skiing on Easter weekend. I’m going skiing in exchange for proofreading someone’s master’s thesis on ecocriticism and toxic discourse. I’ve been having a good time reading over this thesis and am incredibly excited about the skiing. This will be real, Alpine skiing at an area with 70-some trails and 50-some lifts. Some of the trails are five miles long, I’ve been told. Not that my prior snowboarding experience in Austria wasn’t completely different from what I’m used to, but I am sure this will also be quite a change for me. I mean, a five-mile-long trail! That’s insane! But I have to survive because after returning from skiing, I am flying to Amsterdam. My schedule there is chock full, and I’m not sure if I’ll actually be able to complete everything I want to. I’ve planned stops in Den Haag to see ‘The Girl with a Pearl Earring’ by Johannes Vermeer and Madurodam, a museum with an outdoor, scaled-down, miniature town; in Delft to see the Royal Porcelain studios and Vermeer’s hometown; in Alkmaar to see a cheese market; in Leiden to see the Keukenhof tulip gardens; and finally, in Amsterdam to see the Anne Frank House, more art and the famous canals. The next two weeks should be pretty fantastic. Knock on wood for me, please, in hopes of no crazy adventures like my travels in February!