Well, now that exams are finished and the first semester of graduate school is over, I have some time to give a brief update on my summer so far and my plans for the rest of the summer.
Budapest, Hungary & Vienna, Austria
In May, I and three Brazilians from university went to Budapest and Vienna. It was rainy and cold in Budapest most of the time, but we still had a great time even though we went back to the hostel each day soaking wet. There is so much to see and do on both the Buda side as well as the Pest side. Scattered around the city you will find Ruin Bars which are old, run-down buildings that have been turned into bars. They are a must-see when you visit Budapest.
The weather in Vienna was much nicer which helped to highlight Vienna's beauty. While Budapest is beautiful in its own way (older, more run-down looking buildings), Vienna looked crisp and pristine. On the other hand, Budapest is much much cheaper than Vienna. I recommend visiting both cities when you're in Europe.
In June, I took a short trip over to Ireland and Northern Ireland where I met up with some friends from the USA. I visited Dublin, Belfast, Londonderry, and all along the Causeway Coastal Route. It rained every day (at least for a little bit), but that didn't stop me from having a good time. Dublin and Belfast are both beautiful cities with a lot of history. In Belfast, we went to the Titanic Museum which was very interesting. However, where Ireland and Northern Ireland really stand out are in their nature and landscapes. Once you get outside of the cities into the countryside, there is an endless amount of beauty to take in. The drive along the North Atlantic Ocean on the Causeway Coastal Route from Belfast to Londonderry was amazing. Green pastures, hilly roads, cliffs, waterfalls, castles, Giant's Causeway, and sheep are just some of the things you will see.
The first semester in Germany has come to an end. It has been interesting getting back into the school grind after being out for four years...especially in a foreign country. As mentioned in a previous post, there were some differences in the education systems between the USA and Germany which took some getting used to but, those have all been worked out now. Winter semester starts in October and will run through January with exams in February.
The last week of August I am headed to Austria for a week to volunteer at the World Rowing Championships in Ottensheim (Linz). Here, the majority of the spots for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics will be awarded to the National Olympic Committees (NOC's).
After my time in Austria, I will fly back to the States for a couple of weeks for a wedding and to spend time with family and friends.
After my time in the US, I head back to Germany to prepare for the next semester and all of the fall and winter festivals and activities.