Friday, December 31, 2010

Schloss Neuschwanstein aka "Cinderella Castle"

Yesterday I finally got to see the Schloss Neuschwanstein! Sadly it was incredibly foggy, but a castle with fog is better than no castle at all right? Photography isn't allowed inside the castle but I got some shots of the outside! And even the post cards in the gift shop :) So technically if you look at my pictures I was there in summer and fall as well! You aren't allowed to see that much of the castle. Only select rooms on the tour. These are the facts I remember from the tour, the tour was in German so I didn't catch everything. 
1. The castle was built by King Ludwig II. One of four castles he intended to build for himself(he had money problems)
2. The King only lived in the castle 172 days before being declared mad by the Emperor. He was then sent to live in one of his smaller castles (how sad:P) with only his doctor. One day him and the doctor went on a walk and were later found dead in the woods. It is unknown whether it was murder or an accident. 
3. The King's bed took 14 woodworkers TEN years to make. 
4. Every room in the castle is themed after one of the King's favorite Opera's. So there isn't an inch of blank wall in the entire castle. 
5. In every room there is some detail of swans, mainly the door handles. The King loved swans. That is why the castle has the word "Schwan" in it. Schwan is German for Swan. 

Happy New Year!!!:)

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Nurnberg Weihnachts Markt

Christmas Market in Germany! It was so much fun! But basically a lot of walking around and looking..and of course purchasing :) So the best way to tell you what it was like is through pictures. . .

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A Very Swiss Christmas

It has been one busy month! On top of it being the holiday season, I am also about to change host families.In 5 days to be exact.Therefore,my current host family is trying to cram in all the things we thought we had enough time to do but have sadly put off until the last minute. However, I had a great Christmas here! And I hope you all did too. I want to paint you an exact picture of what it's like to be Swiss on Christmas. To do that I have to take you back to December 6th. The day when Santa Claus comes. He doesn't have reindeer or slide down the Chimney. He doesn't bring huge presents or have elfs working for him. He does however walk to each house and drop off a bag full of. . .peanuts and oranges! Yes, peanuts like we would eat at a baseball game or Texas Road House. Granted there was also some chocolate in the bag, but this is Switzerland. There is chocolate in EVERYthing.
And there's your Swiss Santa!

Another tradition they have are the window displays. For the 24 days leading up to Christmas, a different house in our neighboorhood has a window decorated with the number of the day and some christmas picture. People are welcome to come by and see the window, eat food, drink wine and basically socialize. As you can see,we went on day six.

The major Swiss department store Globus theme this year was an American Christmas. And according to them this is how we decorate our trees. . .

The Swiss are also very in to candles. This year we have a candle that you burn down to the number of days left until Christmas. A candle arrangement with four candles. Each week up until Christmas we light one. And there are even candles ON the Christmas tree. And swiss houses don't have smoke detectors. Oh and there are are sparklers on there as well. 

Come Christmas Eve the family gathers around the tree and sings (yes in german!). Then there is a reading from the bible. After that we opened presents. And I got my "wish" as the Swiss say. Each person has one thing they wished for and you are basically garunteed to get it. Mine was a Swatch, a swiss-watch so that I can be an official swisser! When all the gits had been opened we sat down for a big dinner. Then had the swiss version of christmas cookies for dessert while waiting for it to be time to go to the church for midnight mass. Though technically it wasn't at midnight because the buses wouldn't still be running when it was over. On actual Christmas day there isn't much activity. But it was great getting to see a special holiday being celebrated in a different way. It's strange how what is tradition to you, isn't even normal for someone else.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

17th Geburtstag!

When you are an exchange student your birthday gets to last about three days :) The day before all the people from Australia are telling you happy birthday, then come the wishes from the people in the same country, then the people back home. 3 days of happy birthdays! Wasn't to bad :) On Tuesday, my actual birthday, I had family birthday. We had dinner at a tex-mex restaurant and I got to eat with my fingers! Chicken wings. EPIC for Switzerland. And we saw Harry Potter. We were supposed to go to the circus but about sunday Trudy and Tobias come down to my room and say "Savanna, we need to talk to you about something." I think oh no what did I do???!!! Tracked in snow, skipped class, uh-oh. Then they say "The circus called." I almost bursted out laughing. The circus calling was not what I had been expecting. But anyways the circus called saying we were the  only reservation they had and if we could come another time. So nada circus. And on Saturday my Swiss friends through me a little party. Cake and all :) It was great. Here are some pictures from the weeks events.

Andreas "Andy"


Amanda and Luana

Luana and Dave


Sunday, December 5, 2010

Zermatt for Matterhorn Weekend

What happens when over 100 teenagers from all over the world hit up Zermatt for the weekend? FUN!!!!!! The Rotex program, which is previous exchange students, always make these weekends awesome. The weekend went like this, first we had a "postenlauf" which is German for scavenger hunt in the city. Ever tried finding a sunny side up egg to buy in the middle of the afternoon in Switzerland? Well don't, because it's basically impossible! One group went up to someone's house and asked them to cook them an egg. Which they did! But that group was a bunch of girls Ecuador and they pretty much speak in their Spanish accent and people will do anything for them. My group bought an egg, found a rock, and a lighter. Then took it and cracked the egg and light it with the lighter. And the Rotex thought it was so funny when the egg slipped off the rock onto someone's coat that they counted it! AND that is why America is the world power! After that we saw a museum, took a coffee break, then ate fondue for dinner. Swiss tradition. I personally can't eat the stuff. Swiss cheese is so strong! I always think if I only had some American Kraft singles! Then we went to two different clubs for about five hours. SO MUCH FUN!!!! We had them all to ourselves and you know everyone there so it was awesome. And being that we had numerous Latin/ South American people with us Latino music kept getting requested and I got to salsa to Shakira with an Argentinian! How's that for an important life experience?:) It's definitely at the top of my list! The next day and five thousand gandalas later we were at the same matterhorn. From which you get to look at the big real Matterhorn. Which is what is on the Toblerone bar so I was pretty excited! But if I thought I was cold in Denmark, this was ten times worse up there! Within a minute my hair had froze! It literally looked icy. And I'd like to say that the view was good but everything was white! Kinda like what heaven might look like. . .except COLDER. I have to say though, that we all managed to look pretty happy in the pictures even though we were freezing our hair off. Although you know what, I think that's because we are all happy :) Once in a lifetime experiences happening everyday.  But you can decipher that for yourself. . .
This is an example of how bad my English is becoming:
Savanna- "Aww look! Groundhogs!"
Amanda- "Umm Savanna???? Seriously???"
Savanna- "What? They look kind of cute!"
Amanda- "They're beavers genius."
Savanna- "Wait, what did I say?"
This happens daily. . . .

Coffee break in an Irish pub playing cards!

Fondue Dinner!

Inside a glacier on the same Matterhorn

the REAL matterhorn