"Down here at Cape Spartel is the celebrated cave of Hercules, where the hero took refuge when he was vanquished and driven out of the Tangier country. It is full of inscriptions in the dead languages, which fact makes me think Hercules could not have traveled much, else he would not have kept a journal."

-"The Innocents Abroad," Mark Twain

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Oh, the places you'll go...

This past week was the finally-it's-the-end-of-the-first-semester break. I went to Vienna to visit my friend (another exchange student). You know how it is...

However, before I left on Thursday, I did other things! Amazing! I went walking out on the lake some more and I tried cross-country skiing for the first time. (I'm having a hard time deciding which one I prefer.) We went swimming. Outside. While it was snowing. Yes, it was amazing. Yes, we ran in the snow before jumping back in the water. No, the pool was not unheated.  You had to read that again, didn't you? Yes, don't worry, I was swimming in warm water :)

I also received lots of mail from home - always wonderful - and Valentine's Day wishes! Thank you to everyone! Valentine's Day is know here, but there's not really any celebrating done. Still, I made brownies (in the form of a cake) the day before for some more chocolate. (I was pleased with how they turned out; it was a new recipe, if you want to try it yourself: http://annies-eats.com/2009/08/05/chewy-fudgy-triple-chocolate-brownies/)

I was in Vienna/around Vienna from Thursday until Monday morning; here is a sample of what we did:

Found amazingly huge sunglasses that engulf my face.

Found/made/ate food (particularly chocolate).

Found the cat. (Or at least I did.)

Found the job of being full-time tourists to be enjoyable but rather tiring.

Sadly, several parts of the trip are left out due to their lack of physical representation. However, you should know that we watched 6 films (although I've probably left one or two out - we watched too many for me to remember them all), and taught English to first graders! (Which is our level of kindergarten.)

Today was Carnival, as it is the day before Ash Wednesday. People (not all, though) dress up and kids are allowed to wear costumes to school :) I went with my host mom & grandmother to a celebration in another town, where we enjoyed seeing all of the beautiful/crazy costumes and festivities!

Don't worry - these are masks!

You see the man standing behind me? He let me try on his hat!

I'm a little dressed up, too :) 
And with that, Lent begins tomorrow! Talk to you again soon!
love from,
mary beth

Sunday, February 12, 2012

HA! I've managed to keep this shorter than usual!

I think I'm going to go with a picture-book post today in order to keep everything short! I have been pretty busy lately; here is a taste of it it all :)

Two weekends ago, I went to hear a concert for Mozart Woche (Mozart Week) here in Salzburg (the picture is of the theater). However, in this case, it was a bit different. For my music class in school, we were assigned a musician that would be performing throughout the week. We put together a set of questions, interviewed them, attended a rehearsal and concert (for free!), and then used the interview to put together an hour-long radio program! It was really interesting to see all of the behind the scenes work, and of course, meet with one of the musicians - ours was a violinist ;) Needless to say, it wasn't just a one-day project.

Here I am, as we went snow-shoeing! Last Sunday, we all went up to a cabin that we had to ourselves for the afternoon and had cheese fondue. Not something I will have the chance to do in the US - loved it! (But not the obnoxious blister that decided it needed to get personal with my heel.)

My host dad went on business to France for a few days and brought back food - including eclairs!

The lake here has frozen over, so we were able to go walking and skating on it! However, due to all of the snow on top of the ice (and the fact that I am normally lucky not to fall on my face when I skate), it was a little difficult, and I stuck to walking for the most part...

Crazy, isn't it?! It looks like a field, but this was the view from further out!

Today, after an excellent meal of Schnitzel, rice, and potato salad, I tried cross-country skiing, as well. Looking forward to doing some more soon...

much love,
mary beth

P.S. I have added a side page where you can see all of the photos I have put in all of my separate posts. If you care to look back at them, it is the "Photo Album" tab, just left of the beginning of my most recent post, and under the "Home" tab :)