Adblock Plus and Blogger 2 Conflict

Error when using adblock plus with EASYLIST USA: The "SAVE CHANGES" button doesn't work when EDITING a widget. Adding a widget works fine, but editing one messes up.

SOLUTION (at least it worked for me): Add " @@|http://www2.blogger.com " to your list. That will whitelist blogger 2. I am in contact with the guy who manages Easylist, and he will probably fix this error very soon. (see topic on the Adblock Plus forums: http://adblockplus.org/forum/viewtopic.php?p=8539#8539 )


Performancing... ok, not so useful

So, Performancing looked neat, but then I found out that it doesn't support blogger image uploading, and now I just found out it doesn't support blogger tags... so I think I am going to uninstall it from Firefox.

I want to have labels, so it's not very useful. Oh well, we can wait and see, maybe it will get better. And anyway, the new Blogger is much faster anyway, and not a problem anymore.

Stunning photos by Ezra

A couple of you probably know Ezra, my friend. We'll, maybe you don't know this...

He has a blog, and has beautiful pictures of the place where he is living currently in Germany. I put a feed on the side of this blog of his posts, but here's the direct link:


Here's an example of one of the photos Ezra took:



Folding@Home is a program that you can download (free) like SETI@Home, but it's actually doing beneficial things for science. Try it out.


It simulates protein folding... look on their website.


Performancing Screenshot

Performancing for Firefox

I'm just trying out this Extension for firefox called Performancing. It lets you add blog posts directly from the browser... Very cool.

This is a test of it... see how it comes out!

The next post will have a screenshot... sadly, you can't add images directly from Performancing because it doesn't support Blogger's Images feature.


Video: Running Through Waldorfschule Klagenfurt

A Final Post

All right guys, I'm coming back to the states. I've had enough of all this Austrian business...Naw, just kidding. I need to go back because of my visa.

It was great in Austria... I will definitely miss it a lot. Right now, I have been a bit bored in Klagenfurt because we don't do much in school, and it's too cold to stay outside, and too warm for snow. But in summer Klagenfurt is awesome, and I bet it's really cool in winter too because of the snow, skiing, and the lake is frozen (think ice skating).

Just right now we're at the transition stage. Also, the fact that I have a girlfriend is also making Klagenfurt especially boring. You see, Renuka (see the post before this) is in Freistadt, 5 hours by train from Klagenfurt. So the only possibilty is Skype, or with cell phones. And Helga doesn't like me to be on the computer too much (that's good), and she's busy, and often using the only computer that has internet in the house.

Luckily, this gives me much time for writing on my palm pilot, and so this post can be very long.

Thanks everyone for your nice comments, for those of you who haven't commented yet, it's very easy, and you don't need to put in your email or anything... Click where it says Comments under the post you want to comment on. Also note that though I may not respond, I recieve each and every one through email as soon as it's posted.

So yes, I'm leaving Austria this week, Friday morning reeally early. Then, if everything works out, I'll stay with my cousin in London for one night, then go on Air India to New York the next day.

Then on Sunday I'll get reaccustomed to English and I guess go directly back to school on Monday... Can't wait to see everyone again!

Renuka is looking forward to Easter, and so am I. Why? She's coming to New York then! Hooray! (Renuka, noch ein mal: ich freue mich schon auf Östern!!)

Speaking of languages (no pun intended.... Eww that's a bad one), I am so much better at German now. I can't believe it...just three months ago I remember listening to Isaak and Micki talking in Corinthian dialect and thinking, "Wow I can understand a few words there! Not bad..." Now, of course, I can understand them almost effortlessly, really! I understand radio, TV, everything. And I also can speak "schon sehr gut Deutsch [very good German already]" according to Renuka's mother. Sometimes I say a sentence and then realize that something was wrong and correct myself, but these are only tiny silly grammar errors like "Ich habe gefahren" instead of "Ich bin gefahren". Now and then, I stumble upon a really difficult sentence that I really mess up, but that's becoming less frequent.

Another thing: I may now and then write ys instead of zs because I've gotten used to the german keyboard which is switched. The keyboard I have now is american, and upstairs it's german, so it's a bit hard.

By the way, I will bring a few speaking habits with me back to the US. One thing I'm sure I'll do for a while as soon as I come back to America is say, "Hallo" instead of "Hello" on the phone, and probably say ciao when saying bye to someone. Other things, also, such as "Weh" (pronounced "Vey") for when I'm disgusted at something instead of "Eww". That's how they say it in Austria. Another one, "Ja" or "Jo" (pronounced ya, yo) for yes. I will definitely do that.

Frau Kerl, wenn Sie dieses Text lesen, sollen Sie etwas wissen: Wann ich wieder in New York bin, werden Sie sehr froh sein , weil ich bin viel besser in Deutsch. Vielleicht wird es schwer für Sie, weil die andere Schüler wissen nicht so viel wie ich. Aber wahrscheinlich werden Sie dieses Blog nicht lesen.... Und damit sollte ich diesem Text nicht schrieben....*beck*. Auf jedem Fall, Renuka wird dises Text lesen, und sie wird sicher lachen...lol. Und Ezra auch... Aber nur ihr drei, und Isaak, wenn du auch das Blog liest, und Micki, und...eigentlich viele Leute!! Ich habe so viele Freunde in Österreich, und das ist echt gut! (entschuldigung, wenn ich Fehler gemacht habe.....oh, und wenn ich Fehler gemacht habe, bitte ein Comment.)

....sorry for everyone who couldn't read that. Bye all!


I Love Renuka

This is my girlfriend Renuka. I met her when she came to Micky's house because her sister had a percussion concert in Klagenfurt.

Us walking in Freistadt, holding hands of course. Who cares if she's short, that doesn't matter.

Sorry that I haven't written anything for a long time, and expect a new, long literary post tomorrow or the day after.


A new update is available to all readers of this blog! Install now!

Hi again! I've decided to update everyone on what's going on, and I have time now, so might as well.

Today it was rainy, but quite warm, for mid-autumn. We were able to bike outside at 7:30 in the morning with only long-sleeve shirts (and raincoats, but only becuase it was spitting rain). This is much different from a week ago, when I was cold even with my sweatshirt, and, riding the bike, my hands felt almost frozen, and I had to put my left hand in my pocket, then alternate with the right.

Today in History we watched The Life of Brian (in German, of course, but with English subtitles so Josh and I could get the jokes). Why did we watch it? I guess just because the teacher likes Monty Python. After seeing it today, I'd like to see it in English sometime, also The Meaning of Life.

I am writing all this in French class, because I have nothing better to do. Later on, I will go into the city by bus, so that I can go to Gym, which is not at the school. Returning back home, I won't have much to do.

Lately I have been saying everything I can in German, and because of this I have learned much more and realized how well I can speak German. It has also reassured me of different peculiarities in German which I had only guessed were true.

I think the Austrians don't realize how much I have learned. For instance, Helga recently asked me if it had really been worth it for me to come to Austria. Of couse it has been worth it! I can easily say that I have learned more than ten times as many German words and phrases that I knew before my stay in Austria. I could fill a book with all the words and phrases I know now, compared to before, when it would have been maybe 10 or 11 pages (still a lot, but not as much as now).

Anyway, I'm doing fine, and hope that all you readers are too!


Video: Riding Bikes in Klagenfurt

Don't worry. The camera was safe.


Touring around Klagenfurt on Bikes

We went on the bikes today, way up high. It was very fun but hard.

A panorama of Klagenfurt and the surrounding towns (click to enlarge!):


Rowing Pictures

I went rowing a few days ago on the Wörthersee. It was kind of hard at first, but it got easier after a while.

I brought my camera on board and took a couple of pictures that turned out quite nice. Here they are:


My first week in Austria (photos)

Here are some oldish pictures I never got a chance to put on the blog:

Me arriving in Klagenfurt (I'm to the right for those of you who don't know me).
On Mike's boat on the Wörthersee.Swimming in the Wörthersee.


Hiking in Europe

A few weeks ago we went hiking not far from where I am living in Austria. About twelve people came with us. They were friends of Helga, and Michael's father.

It was a very hard hike, but I enjoyed it because of the view we were treated to when we reached the top of the mountain.

About two thirds of the way up, we came and had sandwiches and fruit, and rested.

After that the hike wasn't as hard, but we had quite a way to go, and we could see the whole trail in front of us because we were above tree level. Believe me though, it looked much harder than it really was. The fact that the friends of Helga talked with me all the while about the school system and other things in the US helped the time pass by, too.

We reached the end of the trail and looked out onto a fabulous panorama (which I photographed, look at the photo below--it would be a good idea to click on the picture to enlarge it. And sorry if it isn't up to your panoramic standards. I made it quickly on Photoshop from five photos).We headed back, but stopped halfway at a small restaurant to have something. I was full, though, and only had a Coke, and then after some Kaiserschmarrm from Mike's dad's plate because he couldn't finish it. Kaiserschmarrm is basically scrambled pancakes with powdered sugar on top and jam on the side. It's very good. It was the perfect amount of food becuase after having the soda I had felt a bit empty.

We started out again, our knees hurting from the strain of walking down the mountain. It was a relief to sit in Helga's car and listen to probably the best a capella rendering of "Summertime" by an Austrian group. They even have someone singing in falsetto to simulate a trumpet, and then they change their voice so it sounds like the trumpet has a mute on. The Austrian accent isn't too bad either.

Though we were exhausted, I'm sure we would have all gone again; the view was well worth it. I think it was even better than it looks in the pictures. A non-SLR camera can't catch such beauty perfectly, though it still looks beautiful.

- - -

Last Saturday we went on another hike, only this time in Italy. We packed backpacks and set off on the half-hour journey. We parked our car and then went on a gondala to a higher point through the thick fog. We searched for a trail. Luckily, Helga could speak good Italian, and we met some hikers who were going exactly where we were going and were able to lead the way.
This hike was truly beautiful, though at first we couldn't see too much because of the fog. At one point we were scrambling up on hands and knees becausse it was so steep and there were so many loose stones. When we had reached the top of the mountain, we stopped to have sandwiches and candy bars and to talk with others who had also reached the top and had stopped to rest. One person explained what it would look like had there been no fog obsuring the view. The fog was thick, and only near the end were we able to see the view on the side from which we had come. The top of the gondala was so far away! I was amazed that a human could walk so far and back and still be home for dinner. It seems that one walks so slowly, but actually a person can cover quite a large distance in not so much time.

We headed back faster than we had come, and when we reached the end of the trail we visited the church that was near the gondala for a few minutes.

After that, we ate some Italian food in a restaurant that looked out to where we had been. It was no longer foggy at the summit, and we were able to pinpoint the exact place we had been. We could see some tiny figures walking along the ridge on the top.

I enjoy hiking in Austria, and am glad I have to opportunity to do so.


Long Post about Austria and stuff

So readers, now is the time that I sit down to a nice long typing session. I just got my Palm keyboard for my organizer from my parents, and now can type without having to hunt and peck with Helga's German-formatted keyboard (i.e. The y is where the z is, and the ' is hard to do, etc.).

So, I can easily type now, without having to type on a computer that hurts my eyes after a while (also so I don't have any other distractions, like having to help Ezra my friend with his blog [ http://kwiwi.blogspot.com ] or having to discuss the new iPods with Ezra or noticing there's a new David Pogue technology video on the NYTimes website, or having to look through digg.com, or getting fan mail from Katie, or from my cousins, half sister, parents and other friends (or Ezra), or fixing Helga's computer which, had I been typing this on it, would have developed another problem, even though it's a really good and capable computer (the problem is there's a gigantic virus that takes up gigabytes of precious space. It's been around for about eleven years now, but only real computer geeks know how to delete it and still keep the computer functioning. Its name is Windows. Macs, of course, only have this problem if they use Boot Camp, which is a kind of tool that Apple designed for those who experience withdrawal after quitting using windows. I have a Mac at home. Those geeks who haven't realized the beauty and efficiency of all that is Macintosh are thinking this very moment, "fanboi". For those who haven't been computerally enlightened, please disregard this obnoxious straying away from The Point Of This Post).

Anyway, I am at home here on the couch in front of my Palm Pilot typing. So be prepared for the Putta Butta post of your life!

~ ~ ~

Life in Austria isn't much different than in the US. The only difference is everything is better, it's more beautiful, more fun, and everyone's nicer (and they speak German). There are no kangaroos in Austria. I know this sounds strange, and you may have always thought so, but no, actually not. Go ahead and take a look at the word Austria. How many syllables does it have? Four? No. It has three: Aus-tri-a. Say it: Austria. Perhaps you were thinking of Australia? Yes, it looks the same, but it is not. So the only one who says "Mate" in Austria, when not referring to repreduction, is the New Zealander who is also visiting our school (see photo below).

Just remember that, guys, will ya? Thanks.

Austria has Die Simpsons. Austria has Die Millionenshow. Austria has Malcom mittendrin. Austria has Sabrina--total verhexed! And Austria has Spongebob Schwammkopf. Austria also has satellite TV, and I can watch Al Jazeera directly from the living room (not that I do, Homeland Security agents, this is just a proof of point).

Austria also wonders about Brangelina going to India to make a film in October. Austria has sudoko in it's daily newspapers. Austria has Garfield and a Green Party, though this Green Party doesn't damage the left's votes.
Austria has CSI: Miami (with German actors doing the voices).

Finally, Austria has McDonalds. Ads on TV claim that "It's all fresh directly from Austria" but I don't really think that matters much. McDonalds will always be McDonalds: disgusting food, that's cheap and fast.

~ ~ ~

School is nice and short here. In NY, I would get home at 5:30 or later, leaving only time for dinner, maybe a little computer, and then violin practice and bed (I'm having trouble writing bed because I always think of Bett first, which is German). Here, I'm back home by three at the latest, 12 at the earliest. Today, for example, we were able to have a delicious lunch at three after having been at home for about half an hour first. And today is a long day!

Since I don't have as much homework as the natives, and the natives don't get much homework anyway (compared to GMWS) I get it easy. Maybe three math problems a week, an essay I have to write in German, and having to write, for English class, a short saying ("Never wish you were another, for if you were who you want to be, you'd wish you were the way you are" --Gavin Langdon, 2006), and that's it! The rest of the time I can devote to watching TV after dinner, and before dinner writing a complete autobiography in the form of a blog post!

We've gone in the city about five times, once at night, and I am starting to know it well.

~ ~ ~

I am good friends with Isaak and Michael and Josh (the New Zealander), and so the depression that I had started getting a week ago has worn off and now I am having a great time. It's like the german teacher said at Green Meadow, there's a "U-curve of cultural adaptation". Although I might add that it's more like a "check mark of cultural adaptation" in that it's fun, then dips down, then skyrockets up! Josh, who has been in Europe for three months now, agrees wholeheartedly that after that little dip it just gets better and better.

After experiencing this dip, I can explain why it happens. First of all, everything is different and beautiful, so it's exciting and fun to be living in Austria. Then, you start to miss the old stuff, like your friends and your xbox and your eMac...oh yeah, and your family, a little bit (just kidding TAL, GSL, and EYL).

Then, one night, you think "Wait. I'm in Austria! I'm in the coolest place I've ever been! I am FREE!!!" (Future exchanges, keep in mind that an iPod stuffed with all the songs the Beatles ever sang helps this revelation take place).

After that, you forget about the things you used to do in New York (I can do them later, when I'm back anyway) and you only notice the new, fun things you are doing, like going to Italy to hike in the mountains (more later).

Now I've written enough for one post. I will continue later.



Minimundus is a place in Klagenfurt where they have models of buildings and other objects scaled down to a much smaller size. We went there today, and here are some pictures I took.

There were some gigantic fish in this pond, but small ships. This picture is kind of funny because the ship is so small but the fish is so big. That fish was about two feet long and 8 inches thick.
This is the CN tower in Montréal, with the Eiffel Tower on the side.
Eiffel Tower, and other buildings.
A replica of Mesa Verde in Colorado (they haven't finished it yet, but it's looking good. I went to the real one on a vacation a few years ago. It looks almost exactly like that.
A replica of an Austrian train line making its way around Minimundus. There's another train there that emits "smoke" (think fog machine) and looks really cool.

Find out more at http://www.minimundus.at .


Video: Driving through the fog in the Alps

"Finally, another post!"

Sorry that I haven't written anything lately. I am adapting to Austria and don't have much time. I haven't been writing a journal right now, but right now I can tell you a little about what I've been doing.

I am only now just starting to speak German, however I can understand more and more of what people are saying when they talk to one another. My first German semi-private lesson (it was with the other visiting student, he's from New Zealand) was today, it was good. It's amazing how quickly one can learn a language. After about two weeks I can already understand most simple German conversations. Although I can not yet carry on a conversation, I think my progress so far is great.

I started school on Monday, and find it a bit challenging. It's great, though, that school ends at 12 quite often (3:00 is the latest). The earliest is eleven, on Friday.

Everyone is nice, and everything is going well, although I am starting to feel a little less happy as before. I know this is usual, though, so I am not going to let the feeling hurt me too much. The New Zealander has been with his host family since July, and he says that it is usual for one to feel a little down after a few weeks. After that though, it just gets better and better, so I am waiting for that!

We are very active here, riding bikes to and from school, and going on hikes up in the mountains often, as well as swimming about every other day.

Mit freundlichen Grüߟen (with friendly greetings),


Austria Journal: Ceský Krumlov

[Sorry that I don't have any posts that are current. I have been busy and tired, and haven't been entering journals. I leave to stay in Klagenfurt tomorrow (Sunday the 3rd of September) and from then on I am probably going to be posting every day. Just wait, guys. There'll be more coming. I'll fill you in on stuff that happened on the days I didn't do a journal then.]

Days spent on trip: 10
Days until I stay in Austria: 8

This morning we left Italy, drove through Austria, and entered into the Czech Republic. We drove to Ceský Krumlov, and old city that had a big castle that was painted to look like it was made out of stone. It even had paintings of sculptures on it. We weren't sure if the paintings were modern or not, and what their significance was, but we did think we saw repainting where there may have been graffiti.

The Czechs seem to love music. Everywhere we walked, you could always hear someone singing or playing an instrument.

There was a concert in the town square, with good music, but it was getting late and we hadn't eaten, so we headed to a restaurant that someone had recommended to us for its good food and cheap prices.

The Czech Repuplic uses cronas as currency, and not the Euro, and there are about twenty-one cronas in a dollar, so it was a little disconcerting to pay 500 cronas for a meal and then leave 50 for a tip. As we left the fifty-crona bill on the table, we worried that there was some mistake. But the entire meal for four people was about 23.50, including the beers that my mom and dad had. The food was very good.

Ceský Krumlov is a beautiful town. We slept at a hostel just outside of the main town area.

We go to Prague tomorrow.


Austria Journal: Venice

Days spent on trip: 9
Days until I stay in Austria: 9
There were many people at this square--and many pigeons!

Venice is beautiful like everyone says, just a bit crowded--but that's just me. I don't tend to like big cities becuase I live so close to Manhattan.

The buildings are so colorful and old, and there are gondoliers everywhere. You never get around on cars, but rather with water taxis and ferries. Some houses have doors that open up to the edge of the water.

We met my uncle Dylan and aunt Wendy, as well as my cousin Tarot and his fiancee Paulina (who are going to get married in Gdansk). Also there were Kes and Nirvana, my other cousins, and Nirvana's husband Adam.

Touring around the most crowded part of Venice with eleven people is not easy. It's hard to keep track of so many people in the crowd.

We waited in line to see the Cathedral of San Marcos, which had beautiful mosaics depicting various scenes from the Bible. There were also bronze horses.

Then we went to have pizza and thought it would be a good idea to go on a gondola. Eventually, we found the perfect one: it was on one of the narrow canals, and so was much nicer than the others we had seen on the Grande Canal. And it was only €75 per gondola, versus the much more expensive ones elsewhere.

The narrow canal was quite crowded, but it was very quiet. Tarot and Paulina got the luxurious loveseat on our gondola (of course). Dylan, Wendy, Nirvana, and Adam were on the other gondola that we used.

We went on the ferry to go to another interesting place, but there wasn't time, so we just ended up trying to figure out how to get to the right ferry to leave Venice. We said farewell to the seven we had accompanied in Venice, and went back to our bungalow.

We'll see them again in Poland at the wedding.


Austria Journal: On to Italy!

Days spent on trip: 8
Days until I stay in Austria: 10

This morning we walked into town again from our hostel, after eating breakfast and checking out. We visited the Innsbruck Folk Art Museum and the church that was located in the same building. The statues and models of farmhouses we saw were quite beautiful.

Then we came across a man tuning a harpsichord in the arcade bordering the garden in the middle of the museum. We learned that there was to be a concert at one o'clock--perfect for us. We had lunch in a park and returned to see the concert. The music was truly beautiful, with old violins and a cello without an endpin (the part that touches the ground).

Then we headed to Italy. We passed the border without realizing it, and came across vineyards and white hills.

It was a long trip. We arrived at our destination around eleven o'clock.

Has anyone reading this ever driven during the night in a car in Italy, in the pouring rain, the sky lit up with lightning, while fireworks flash behind you? I have, and believe me, it's not boring. We did this when we almost had reached the campsite where a bungalow was waiting for us. I didn't even know that fireworks could be lit in a downpour. They were big too.

Now I'm sitting on my bed in our bungalow typing this into my Palm Pilot. The bungalow is quite tiny. There's just enough room for everything, and it's still raining, so the wood floor is covered in mud.

We will enter Venice and see relatives tomorrow!


Austria Journal: In Innsbruck

Days spent on trip: 7
Days until I stay in Austria: 11
Mike's friend about to eat wienerschnitzel. No, it's not sausage (see below).

Well, it was quite clear, once the morning fog disappeared. This was lucky, since the sights we saw were beautiful. The mountains in this part of Austria are so close and tall it is sometimes hard to see the sky without looking almost straight up.

We made our way to Innsbruck, and stopped at an internet cafe along the way. The computers were slow, but I managed to post one of my entries to the blog (remember that, readers?).

Then, we took the scenic route the rest of the way. Once again driving along the hairpin turns, we came across waterfalls and valleys and hangliders. We saw vistas of great beauty. And then we reached Innsbruck.

It was another beautiful town (how many beautiful towns are there in Austria, anyway?). We parked our car and set off on foot along the streets to the part of town where there were only walkers and beautiful builldings. In the center of this place we came across a depiction of the Crucifixion--in front of a McDonalds. Oh, well.

We continued down the street and came across a silver statue of a young woman with a puffy dress, holding a silver rose. Then she moved and we realized that she was a person dressed up as a statue. We gave her a euro and went to an Italian restaurant for dinner. I ordered a wienerschnitzel.

Now I know many of you are going to think, Oh yes, wienerschnitzel, that's a sausage, right? Well you guys are wrong. A wienerschnitzel is a piece of (usually) turkey that has been flattened and fried with breadcrumbs. Take a look at the picture. The "wiener" part of the name means "from Vienna" in German.

Then we walked back to the car so we could drive around to look for a place to stay and found a parking ticket on our windshield. I guess we weren't allowed to park where we did!

We found a youth hostel right away and went to bed quite quickly, being tired.

Hopefully, we'll remember to pay the ticket!


Austria Journal: Hairpin turns in the fog

Days spent on trip: 6
Days until I stay in Austria: 12
The foggy road on the way toward Insbruck

We left Klagenfurt in the morning and headed toward Innsbruck. The trip was very beautiful because of all the mountains. On our way, we sidetracked to see a glacier. We were able to walk on top of it and look at the ice up-close. We were very high up, above the treeline.

Then we continued on our trip and went to a restaurant for dinner, my mom, sister, and I eating lasagna and my dad eating deer stew.

After that, we went through the thick, thick fog along hairpin turns in the high mountains. It was drizzling, and so it was very hard going.

We crashed in a town two hours away from Innsbruck, in a hotel. We had to sleep in two separate rooms because they were very small.

Tomorrow we will reach Innsbruck via the scenic route, providing the weather improves and there isn't much fog.


Austria Journal: Touring around Klagenfurt

Days spent on trip: 5
Days until I stay in Austria: 13

When we woke up, breakfast was already waiting for us on the table. After we had finished it, Michael's friend Issiac came and we went for a little tour of the area around Klagenfurt.

First, we visited an old church. Its interior was very beautiful. After that, we quickly looked at a museum of old farm houses, but it was closed so we couldn't go in.

Then we headed for some small mountains nearby and saw old excavated Roman villas. We climbed to the top of the mountain (it was very beautiful, see the pictures), and ate a late lunch (it took very long for them to make the meal). We had "noodles"--ravioli-like pockets of noodle material stuffed with different things. I had the Käsenudeln (cheese noodles).

A slightly annoying dog accompanied our stay at the restaurant.

We ran down the fields back to our cars and headed back to Klagenfurt.

While my dad, mom, and sister were sleeping, Mike showed me his flight simulator (Microsoft FS 2002). Then we went to visit the principal of Waldorfschule Klagenfurt, Rosmarie Bluder.

Rosmarie is a very nice person. She showed us around the school, starting with the lower grades and working up to the tenth grade, my class. I thought the school was a very pleasant place.

After our visit to the Waldorf school, it was time to make dinner. While Helga was busy dong that, my dad watching along so that he could know the recipe, Mike and I went on bikes to the Wörthersee (the lake). He showed me the place where he and Isaac went swimming. It was in the middle of a small woods with trails going through it, right along the lake.

The view from the banks of the lake was quite awe-inspiring. It's very hard to describe the beauty of Austria.

We biked back to the house and had another amazing meal of sweet Indonesian food.

We leave to tour Austria tomorrow.


Austria Journal: Our first Klagenfurt visit

Days spent on trip: 4
Days until I stay in Austria: 14
The garden outside the house in Klagenfurt

This morning we took a taxi to the airport to get a rental car. Once we had gotten it, we set off towards Klagenfurt to visit Helga and Michael and stay with them for a few days.

The highways of Austrua are quite scary at first. The average driver goes 120 kilometers per hour, which is exactly 75 mph. Now of course in Germany it's worse, but still.

Salzburg was aon our way, so we drove through and ate pizza there. It's a very beautiful city, but there are way too many tourists.

We drove through the rain and the mountains for hours, going in 5KM-long tunnels and listening to European music and world music on the radio (interrupted by the tunnels).

Klagenfurt is a very beautiful town. The lake is blue and quite clear, and there are mountains all around. We met Helga and Michael in the parking lot of a place called Minimundus, where they had scale models of the famous buildings of the world (we didn't see anything but the Eiffel Tower and the Space needle, which were higher than the thick hedges that surrounded Minimundus.

We followed Helga to their house, stopping at the waldorf school. We couldn't go in, so all we saw was a smallish building (we are going to visit the headmaster and go inside tomorrow). Helga did tell us that there are about 17 peoople in the class I'm going to be in, but only four or five boys (including me and another visiter from Sweden). All the rest are girls.

When we reached the Lorenz house, we brought our bags in and had some Elderberry-flower juice that Helga had hand-made while talking about various things.

Then we had quiche for dinner, followed by iced coffe with whipped cream on top flecked with cocoa. All the food and drinks were delicious. We learned during the meal that Michael loves sports but doesn't like reading. My mom told them that I liked cooking and said that at one point I should show them my carbonara, baked ziti, and pasta with pesto that I can make.

Once again exausted, we all flopped into the comfy beds provided to us, though it was still just ten o'clock.


Austria Journal: My mini-trip to Vienna

Days spent on trip: 3
Days until I stay in Austria: 15

So today was quite a day. After having breakfast at the youth hostel where we are boarding, we went to the banks of the Danube on the tram (yes, they have trams in Austria. It's quite a good form of transportation). After seeing the Danube, we had 'mineralwasser', and then went to a place where they sold slabs of a baloney-like meat.

After that, we split up. My dad and my sister decided to go back to the hostel and catch up on sleep. My mom and I went to Vienna on the train (a 2-hour trip).

During the trip, we passed a quite a few windmills (the power-generation kind). When we got to the train station my mom needed to get money, so we went to the Bankomat. But when we inserted the card, it said it was out of order and didn't return the card (I guess that's why in New York most ATMs have you insert and quickly remove the card--that way there's no way for the ATM to eat your card.

My mom waited in line at the money-exchanging place to which the Bankomat was attached, and eventually got her card back. Then we headed toward the center of Vienna. We followed one street almost the whole way, and passed many stores selling modern clothing. After a while, we came to the Stadtpark and rested a bit. After walking through it, we came across a tourbus and decided to pay the €13 to go on the tour.

It was a multilingual tourbus, so we all had headphones and picked the right language-channel. Ours was channel 2.

The tour showed us the major landmarks of Vienna, including the Danube, and told us about the lives of Schubert and other composers that lived here, as well as Siegmund Freud.

After the tour was over, we ate pizza and quickly ran back to the Bahnhof (train station), but nevertheless missed our train. So, we called the hostel and told them to leave a message for Dad, then waited fourty-five minutes until the next train. The signs didn't say anything about Linz, where we were stopping, but the many people we asked all said it stopped there.

Then, after a long time trying to figure out where we were supposed to sit (in the front were sleeping-cars and separate compartments that were all taken or reserved. Eventually, we made it to the regular area and sat down.

As a side note: people here smoke a lot. Unlike New York, you are allowed to smoke in all retaurants. As a result, it is almost impossible to bear sitting inside a resaurant--luckily, most have outdoor areas. They even allowed smoking on the train, which created a very uncomfortable invironment for the rest of us nonsmokers. So don't think New Yorkers smoke the most--Austrians do it much more often.

When we got back to the hostel, my dad and sister were playing UNO with regular playing cards whilst listening to classical music. They told us that thay hadn't in fact slept much but actually had gone to a circus, which, they say, was 'pretty good'. One part involved bulldogs playing soccer.

We related our excursion to them, showing them the videos I had taken. After that, I decided to write my journal--and here we are in the present.

Vienna was sure nice, but I'm ready for bed.


Austria Journal: Ryanair

Days spent on trip: 2
Days until my stay in Austria: 16

I am sitting in the Ryanair plane. German conversations carry on around me. The plasic lemon-navy seats are very uncomfortable. There is no button to recline the seats. There are no TVs. There are no radios. There is no complimentary food or drink. In short, it is the opposite of Air India.

Ryanair's boarding gate was crowded. Air India's gate wasn't that bad, considering the size difference in the planes. Air India had TVs on the the entire time, radios, magazines, and even newspapers in the back.

My seat vibrates as someone behind me kicks it. I'm glad this trip is only one hour and thirty-nine minutes.

Ryanair is so focused on selling cheap tickets that there isn't even a first-class or business-class section. It's all economy.

At least electronics are allowed on the plane. I was able to listen to a podcast earlier.

I hope this flight will be over soon. It's the worst plane trip I have ever taken (but probably cost the least).


Austria Journal: Air India

[Hey all! I'm in Austria now, copying this entry in an internet cafe. It's the 23rd of August. There are quite a few reasons I am not putting the rest of my entries in now. First, this Austrian keyboard I am using switches the y with the z among other things. Also, the computer I am using is quite memory-deprived, and is very annoying. Expect the rest of the entries as soon as we get to a place with wi-fi, perhaps a couple of days.

Days spent on trip: 1
Days until my stay in Austria: 17

As I sit here in the Air India jet that is to bring us to England (so we can transfer), it is hard to believe that I am actually going to Europe and not India.

English is the second language here, underneath the Indian lettering, and after the Indian announcements.

The woman flight attendants wear saris, and the safety videos are very cutely made. On the fire exits is a cartoon of an Indian bowing, his hand on his chest and a grin on his face.

The food that we had earlier was diverse, too: the choices were vegetarian, chicken, or--believe it or not--mutton. Yes, mutton...all complimentary. And this is "Economy Class"! They were also serving scotch whiskey as a complimentary drink option.

Right now, the projector that shows the videos (Ballywood, of course) is displaying all the info about our flight. Every now and then, it shows a message about the map of the flight in large, red, italic letters:

Physical features map only.
No political borders depicted.

Why they have to warn us about this is anyone's guess.

This isn't our only flight. Next up is Ryanair. We'll see what they'll be like.


Austria Journal: Packing and worrying about what's allowed on the plane

[Please note: After this journal entry, I am leaving for Europe. It may be a while before I get an internet connection. Although I will still be keeping a journal, I may not be able to post it on this blog for a few days/weeks. Don't worry. I'll post it eventually.]

Days until departure: 1
This is just a picture of an Austrian road I found on the i-net...when I get to Europe I will supply some actual photos I have taken--I'm bringing my camera.

So there's less than a day until I leave for Europe! We're going to leave at 4:00. A night flight.

I'm half finished packing my bags (will all my stuff fit?) and getting ready to vacate my house for the three or four months that I'll be gone.

We've been worrying about the restrictions on carryon bags and the delays that they are causing. We hope that we won't miss a flight.

You can't even bring electronics as carryons. This means that I'll have to put my iPod, Palm Pilot, and other things in the checked bags.

No liquids are allowed in the carryon bags, and since we're going to Britain as part of our transfer, we'll have to figure out what to do with lots of our stuff.

But we'll figure it out. It shouldn't be too much of a problem.


Austria Journal: To-do lists and wonderings of outcomes of trips

Days until departure: 2Another shot of Klagenfurt from the internet

So the days are marching by. I just made a list of things to pack, and though it lists more than 60 things, I'm sure it is yet to be completed.

We got a new camcorder yesterday (our old one makes grinding noises unless it is held upside down), and are putting the finishing touches on our clothes shopping.

Right now my brain is buzzing with activity, thinking, "Wait...what else do I need? I have this, this, that, and that, okay. But what about that? Can't forget that!" It would be very unfortunate were I to forget anything.

* * *

But, thinking of the trip, I wonder what it'll be like. It will be the first time I've been away from my parents for more than a week. Will I get homesick?

It is certainly going to be a new experience for me. I haven't even been to Europe as a tourist before.

Also, I wonder how quickly I'll learn German. I know a fair amount, but can't really have a conversation with a German-speaking person yet. How long will it take before I can?

Luckily for you readers, I am going to document this transformation.


Austria Journal: All about the pre-dumpage vacation

Days until departure: 3
Another shot of the Wörthersee

So it isn't as simple as I put it yesterday. I'm not just going to Austria. I'm actually going all around Europe first, during the summer. Then, I'll go to Austria for the beginning of this school year.

On the first day, we're going to fly in and sleep (the jet lag is going to be a killer). Then we're off to visit my Austrian host family for a few days, so that my parents can get to know them a bit before they dump me with them.

After that, it's off to the rest of Europe including the Czech Republic, Italy, Poland, and other places.

Finally, we'll end the vacation with a Polish wedding: my Cousin Tarot and his fiancee are to be wed in Gdansk.

All in all, this vacation will be a real great one, probably the bast I've ever had!

So after that, I'll get dumped back in Austria. Don't get me wrong though! I am looking forward to it!


Austria Journal: Why I am not overly excited about the trip

Days until departure: 4
This is where I'm going to stay in Austria. It's a little town called Klagenfurt. That lake is the Wörthersee. My host family sent this photo to me.

So I am going to Austria. I am not sure what I feel when I think about it. Am I scared? Not really. Am I excited? I guess.

But I know that if I get it fixed in my mind that Austria's going to be awesome, it'll just make the four-day wait unbearable.

So, I'll just think of the trip as only slightly exciting.

To Austria I Go (in a few days)

All right folks! I'm going on a vacation! And after that? Austria, until November or December!

I'll learn more German while I'm there, and (I'm sure) will learn many new things.

Another thing: I'm going to document my excusion in a journal and publish it on this blog, starting today! Above please find the first entry.