Thursday, March 30, 2006
Those of you that have been reading my blog http://yellowcowphoto.blogspot.com are a little more updated about my travels through Europe, but not much. As it turns out, connecting to the Internet turns out to be about possible (at least the places that I've been), and it usually involves 3 Euro or more to get onto a computer at an Internet Cafe that won't let me use the Internet the way I want to use it, so alas, I have been keeping notes as I go along, and I figured it was time to give an update.
I am currently in Austria staying with some old friends of mine.
I started in Paris for 3 days and did everything imaginable there. I had a museum pass that got me into all of the museums for free, so I was able to run around the whole time and see as much as possible. I went to the Eiffel Tower and climbed the million steps of the Arc de Triomphe. I spent 20 hours in the Louvre and managed to see about 10% of it. I also got to go across the street and see some of my favorite Impressionist paintings in the Musee d' Orsay. The last day that I was there I spent in Notre Dame, and I thought that was amazing. That church is just one of many churches in Europe that are that beautiful, it just happened to be made famous via various things (including a Disney special)! That was all a ton of fun. I got to know my way around Paris pretty well.
I left Paris and went to Brussels. I stayed with a friend of mine there. Rather than do the museum thing, I got to walk around the city quite a bit and just enjoy it. I took quite a few photos, and got to know that city well also. He suggested that I take a little day trip to a town called Brugge on the coast of Belgium. Not only was the train ride to get there amazing, but the town was also amazing as well. It was my favorite stop by far because it was a little country side town and not a big mainstream city.
I left Brugge and took a night train to Prague (via six other trains). I had the interesting experience of an interrogation at 3 in the morning from the Czech Police about my passport and where I had been. It was kind of crazy, especially with their broken English and the fact that I have NO knowledge of Czech. I finally arrived in the city in the morning, and went on my way. It is the most wonderful but terrible city I've been to. It's beautiful and all of the buildings are amazingly preserved from so long ago. The problem for me was the attitude and the fact that I didn't feel safe alone at all. I took tons of photos and went to the St. Charles Bridge and the Prague Castle and all of that. It was very fun, but I left a day early because the town was just too off for me.
I'm now in Austria with my friends until Monday. I don't know what's on the books for that time, but I've got my camera ready because this city is beautiful as well.
On Monday evening, I head on a VERY long journey to Greece. I have to travel from Austria to Venice, Venice to Bologna, Bologna to Ancona, Ancona to Patra, Patra to Athens, Athens to Paros. I estimate that it will take about 3 full days to get there, and I'm only stopping for 6 hours in Athens to wait for a ferry! So, that's the adventure for the next week.
It seems like every time I step off the train there is another primary language being spoken!
As soon as I get to Greece, I will write again, but I just wanted to let you know that I am safe, well and having a lot of fun (note that as soon as I get my computer connected to the Internet that I will put a photo or two up on my Blog).
I went to the ticket office and explained my problem, and they told me that there was another train very soon, but it was going on a different route to get to the same place. I was going to have to go through Cologne, Germany to get to Frankfurt to change to a train to Prague. When I got to Cologne, the train was late, so I raced to the platform for the connecting train, but they changed the platform and didn't announce it, so I, like a dork, stood there and waited for the next 40 minutes before I asked, "Where's the train to Frankfurt?" I found ANOTHER train that was ending up at the same place but was AGAIN taking an alternate route, but I got on. To make a long story short, I ended up at the wrong station in Frankfurt and had to figure out how to navigate to the main train station to make a connecting train to Prague, which I did do with no problem.
Because it was a night train, I found a compartment to myself and settled down. When people came to interrupt me, I moved, and eventually found a quiet place to settle down. UNTIL I had just fallen asleep, and some German man threw open the train of my car and stuffed as many of his high school group as he could in there with me. So, it was me and a bunch of students and my luggage and their luggage. They didn't speak English, and it was just awkward. So, I pulled out my MP3 player and tried to go to sleep UNTIL the group right next door to me decided to have a party very loudly. At one point, I went angrily over to their car at about 2:00 AM and yelled, "I don't care if you don't speak English, but you need to sit down and shut up and go to sleep because you're not the only people on this train!" After that, they still didn't settle down, so I found their teacher to get them to be quiet. When that didn't work, I grabbed my luggage, went to the entirely different end of the train. On my way, I informed the leader of the group that they had a horrible group of students that were drinking and doing drugs on the train under his care and that I would reconsider taking them on an outing to Prague. With that, I left them, and found peace in my empty room.
UNTIL the police came through. I guess that I look like a terrorist or something because they woke me up and started to interrogate me about what I had been doing in Amsterdam, and what was going on with my bags. They didn't speak much English, and I can't say that I know any words in Czech (except for Hlavni, which I think means either train or station), so it was interesting. Eventually they stamped my passport and sent me on my way. And thus ends the exciting parts of my train ride to Prague.
When I got to the station, it looked very run down and degraded, and I actually looked at the board at that time to look and see if there were any trains out of there, but I decided to give the city a chance.
And I did, and I'd say that we don't agree well. The building are beautiful, and seeing all the famous sites was fun. The place that I stayed was in the square where Communism took over that country and where it then fell 40 years later. I took many pictures, most of which were night shots. I went around the city by foot and explored. The money system there is kind of funny, though it makes things cheap (I spent probably less than 6 dollars on food the whole time I was there). The "traditional" thing that I ate was a hot dog, you know, real high class, etc.
The part about the city that I didn't like really was the chasing. Women still at least feel like objects, and though communism has been gone for 15 years now, I don't think that they really have an understanding of what freedom means. The people feel so run down that it would take quite a bit to put them back together again. I've explained it like "Dr. Zhivago gone wrong."
I left a day early, and I'm very glad that I did. On the train away, I got to see the state of the country outside of the city. Though the country towns are very beautiful and quaint, they are also littered with graffiti and trash everywhere. There was a distinct line when I moved into the Austria border.
So, here I am in Austria, just kind of relaxing, and it's fun. I'm not looking forward to my journey to Greece, but I'm going to have to find something that will make it fun (like the afternoon that I may have to spend in Venice)!
I was dropped off at the train station early this morning because the family that I was staying with was going out on an outing that was too far away from a train station that I had access to. I asked what a good thing to do would be, and I was told that it would be a lot of fun to take a day train out to another town called Brugge. It WAS in fact a very good idea. I got on the train, and one hour later, I was in the very edge of the county. I had traveled very fast, but it is a small country. On the way there, I saw the towns and the farms of Belgium, and I really like the style It was very similar to what I thought that Scotland or Ireland would be like. It was green and lush and everyone had a plot of land that was just big enough for their family, their house and the animals they chose to keep. I saw many Shetland ponies (and thought of my grandma). I even saw a beautiful farmhouse that had a goat and a donkey penned up together. I was wondering if it was for sale, but is that going to far to soon?
I got off the train in Brugge. Brussels is kind of a rundown city really, and I wasn't sure that another Belgium town would be much better, but I was wrong. Apparently, Brugge was a capitol city in the middle ages, and when the trade moved away from that area, the town was very well preserved through the centuries. This is the type of town that tourists are encouraged to go to, and for good reason. I took a ton of photos because it was just the most beautiful area that I have seen so far. It is what I could consider the Paroikia of rural Belgium. The townspeople just live out their lives without worry of such things as the stock market, etc. Not that those are bad things to worry about, but its lovely to have a place like that at least to go to.
The town is a little cobblestone street town with canals that you can also use for alternate transportation. I decided to take a bunch of photos, and I did--over 100. I really hope that they end up being good and useful. I want to print a series of a piece of a church from every town I see. I think that lining up several 4 by 6's in one long frame would be a very good way to to it, we'll see what I've got when I get to Paros.
In Brugge I bought some famous Belgin Chocolate. I found some good stuff for cheap, and I am taking a bar to Jesse & Alina and then another bar to John Pack. I remember that he likes dark chocolate and what can be better than Belgian dark chocolate? Also, I saw another store that was a toy store, and they had handmade toys. I decided to be a tourist, and I spent about 5 Euro on something. One thing I bought was for Eli. It is a hand made goat on wheels. I really like it, and I have misgivings about sending it on, but I know it will be used. And, it's a very good and little toy for only 1.5 Euros. That's the first time that I've gotten a souvenir from a place that I visited. It was really worth it.
The train rides are amazing. Nothing beats high speed scenery--really. I love them, and they are such a great way to travel.
Saturday, March 25, 2006
The flight was brillant. I almost find turbulence now comforting because at least I know that I am in the air and on my way. It was fine. The flight to Vancouver BC was a little flight with only 100 seats. I did end up meeting Dom and Greg there and it was a lot of fun. We had coffee and English muffins, and all wa
Paris was also brilliant. My choice of hotels was great because even though it was in a dorm style, I was the only one there almost the whole time, so I had a space to myself with my own bathroom and a place to lock up my stuff while I went out on excursions. The area around the hotel could have been better, but it wasn't a problem until I tried to go to take a walk at around 2:00 am which I don't recommend at all anyway.
I went to the Rodin museum, then I went to the Eiffel Tower (but not up) and walked around there. I explored side streets, took pictures of flower vendors, and used and abused my museum pass (which was totally worth it by the way) in all sorts of ways. I got to go to the top of th Arc De Triomphe (or however you spell it). You could see all of Paris from there and it was just amazing. It rained the whole time, but that's not something that I'm not used to anyway, so no problems there.
On my second day, I spent 10 hours in the Louvre and only did a little bit of it. The next day, I spend another 6 hours in the Louvre. I went in almost every part, but I loved the Greek and Roman stuff. The mideavel stuff was also very cool. The cartoons about that time period are actually based in some fact. I didn't take photos though because I hate being a typical "tourist" and they aren't anything I can't buy in a book already. Unless they want to hire me to take product shots of all of the art, it's pointless. I would say that even though the Mona Lisa was a masterpiece that it is one of the lesser interesting things in the museum. I adored the place. The only problem is that it would take about a week or two full time to see it all, and by the end of the day I was so overrun on walking and looking that it was hard to keep the art appreciation hat on without getting very tired and hungry.
I also got to go to a cafe and have a ham and cheese sandwich the Paris way, which was very unique. I've never drank so much coffee in my life, but it's not polite to shove it off. I don't mind it and it has helped me get over the jet lag (I am fully recovered). The food is of course brilliant, and I love it.
I am in Brussels now. I like it here a lot. I went out to eat last night with some of the nicest people in the world.
The house I am staying in should be a museum. It is beautiful. I will take some photos for you, but it's four stories and it's just amazing. I love it so much. I have the top floor all to myself with a very large skylight and a sloping cieling. Very cool. You would love it. I really do as well.
However, I learned I know nothing about eating. At breakfast, I didn't know how to cut bread, stir coffee or break an egg. I had to watch other people first because I realized that I really was a sloppy American with no table manners.
I love the culture here very much. Brussels has come with a lot more haggling and all of that kind of thing, but I will be fine.
OK. I am going to go to a museum and walk around. I hope all is well.
Friday, March 10, 2006
I've learned so much there. There are so many good photographers that go through the lab with their stuff. There are other good photographers that work there that have allowed me to feed from their creativity.
And so, at 6:00 today, I will clean out my drawer, delete all my stuff from the hard drive and return my key.
Thanks Oregon Photo for all you've done for me. I had a great time, and I'm excited for how it's going to help me in the coming months and for the rest of my life.
I look forward to returning in December.
Wednesday, March 08, 2006
On a more serious note, the next 5 weeks are going to be very interesting for me. Right now I just get ready and prepare and all of that until the 19th. On the 20th of March, I get on an airplane and head to Vancouver, B.C., where I get to have lunch with my friend. Then I'm headed off to Paris on an Air Canada flight. I spend three days in Paris and then three days in Brussels. After that, it's off to Prague for 5 days and then one to Vienna for a couple. At that point, I get to make a long journey to Greece. Rather than travel through the Balkan states, I get to travel for two days from Vienna to the very bottom of Italy where I get on a boat for Greece. Once I'm in Greece I still get to head for a long trip across the country to Athens where I then get on a boat to my final destination of Paros. I do not know how much Internet access I will have while I'm gone, but I will have some. Feel free to email me, and I will respond, though it may be delayed.
I am blogging a lot. Almost any email I write or random thoughts I have are posted online at this point to be read by anyone and everyone. This is updated once every other day on average. The address is yellowcowphoto.blogspot.com please do note that it is a different address than last year because I switched to a blog that will allow me to post pictures. I have, however, moved all of my old posts over if you missed any of them. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org I probably won't have my phone, but any calls sent to my phone 503-560-8600 will be forwarded to my husband. If you have any boring mail that doesn't have to be sent to Greece immediately, my home address is (Jared will read this and let me know about it):
16738 SW Gleneagle Dr # 50
Sherwood, Or 97140.
My address in Greece is
C/O Aegean Center for the Fine Arts
Paros 84400, Cyclades, Greece
Ok. That's the update on me. Just lots of excitement about my upcoming adventure. I can hardly wait!
Tuesday, March 07, 2006
Anway, I'm so excited. I've never been accepted to college before (even though I've been attending for so long).
More later, just thought you might be excited about the rail pass with me.
Over the next two weeks, I have the chance to wrap up my life as I know it now and get it ready for the extension of the greatest adventure that I have taken in this lifetime. Even though I have been excited planning and gathering things for it the past 3 months, it hits me more and more each day that I really won't be in Oregon anymore. I won't have my dog or my kitchen or even the convenience of toilets that you can actually flush the paper down. I will be venturing into a land with tons of mysteries, tons of histories and tons of excitement. It's almost minimizing to think that I'm now, in the 21st century following the footsteps of hundreds of great people before me, both men and women. Will I have the chance to make the same sort of indelidable mark that they have?
And, it seems like two weeks is both much too long and much to short of time. As I complete more and more tasks on my long list in front of me, I realize that it is getting shorter, but I am adding new things to it just as fast. Just when I thought that I bought the last ticket needed for my first three week journey across Europe in two directions, another one comes up.
I do, however, feel that I am nearing the end, and the possibility of leaving the world as I know it behind to go and perfect myself puts butterfilies in my stomach and has me so excited that I'm practically hanging on the clock-hands of father time.
Each person in my path this far has had an incredible impact on where I am, and I thank them for that.
Please do read my blog and my emails when I am gone, as it is the small string that I have been able to wind around the world from me to you, and wether they are bulk or not, they are a personal communication from me to each one of you.
The Extremely Excited World Traveling Wanna Be Greek Girl
Friday, March 03, 2006
I can post to my blog from my email. This is incredible. I am writing
this currently as an email. When I am in Greece, rather than go online
to post to my blog, I can post from my email. This will be a useful
tool. Maybe it will mean that you will hear from me more often!
They are photos from Greece that are currently only viewable in a gallery. If you're interested, the place is in downtown Chinatown on 4th bewteen Evertt and Flanders.
Check it out.
Wednesday, March 01, 2006
So, the new news with me is that I am going back to Europe. It's a big trip, and you're just going to have to follow me through it on my blog. Since I will have limited internet accecess at times, you'll just have to stay in contact with me through my blog, which, when I was there last, I was pretty good at updating (the blog entries can still be viewed online!)
Right now I'm just preparing. I fly into Paris, and I will stay there for three days. That's all I'm going to reveal right now. I am trying to keep the luggage count down, but that's not working very well right now. I have the whole dining room table covered with things that I think that I need to take. And, smart me is just trying to take 1 very small suitcase and 2 very large backpacks. I hope that I can fit it all in there. Otherwise, it's shipping stuff to Greece HOORAY!
I have accomplished some of the things that I need in order to go. I have some clothes and all of that ready.
Some major things that need to happen are
1.) Get my house cleaned. I mean really clean, not just piles of stuff everywhere that claim cleanness!
2.) Really look one more time and make sure I don't need anything else.
3.) Book a train and hostels for my 3 week trip across Europe
4.) FINISH COLLEGE.
And on that finishing college note... I realize just HOW MUCH college I have to do. Finals are coming up...
So I'm off to study.
Only 19 days...keep counting down with me.
Christine's latest work can be viewed online at www.yellowcowphoto.com
We wish her the best in her photography!
For Immediate Release
LOCAL PHOTOGRAPHER GRADUATES FROM NEW YORK INSTITUTE OF PHOTOGRAPHY
Christine Anderson has just been granted a certificate for successfully completing the course of study in Professional Photography offered by America's oldest and largest photography school, the New York Institute of Photography, located in New York City.
This Certificate is granted by NYI under the authority of the New York State Department of Education, as division of the University of the State of New York. NYI's Distance Education Complete Course in Professional Photography includes training in all phases of photography including camera handling, lighting, portraiture, photojournalism and advanced techniques.
The Institute is the largest photography school in the wrold training thousands of students annually.
Christine says that she feels that this experience has helped to put her on the right path as a professional photographer.
You can visit Christine's new website with work done at the school at www.yellowcowphoto.com