Posted by: kcarlson1970 | July 9, 2011

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Posted by: kcarlson1970 | July 9, 2011

July 2, 2011: Interlaken by Brandon Lawshe

After getting to the hostile 1 minute before they closed the night before we woke up early Saturday morning to go canyoning in Interlaken, Switzerland. When we arrived at the company who would take us, we changed into our gear which included a wetsuit, lifejacket, and helmet. After taking a short bus ride up the mountain we then hiked for 5 min to get to where we would start our adventure. After getting in the water everyone was definitely awake because the water was so cold. We started our adventure making our way through the canyon by walking and sliding. We then encountered a huge cliff where everyone had to repel down. After going down the canyon a bit more we had to jump off a 30 foot cliff into a waterfall. After going down the chutes and sliding and jumping a bit more we were done. The 45 minutes it took us felt as if it were only 5! When we got done we all wanted to go eat. Knowing Switzerland was very expensive, we decided to check out the local McDonalds. After finding out that a McDonalds meal would cost 19 franks, we went to a cart to get a brat. We then headed back to the hostile and made a fire on the lake right outside our place. Once it got to be midnight we all decided to go back so we could be all rested up for white water rafting the next day!

After a late night and only a few short hours of sleep, our day began bright and early at 5:00 am. We dragged ourselves to the bus that was waiting outside our Dublin apartments and headed to the airport. Fortunately, most of the group was able to catch a little extra sleep during the flight, and we arrived in Munich, Germany just before lunch. At the airport we were greeted by our AIB representative, Nils, who will be traveling with us for the rest of our time abroad. Nils took us to our hotel where we quickly dropped off our bags and grabbed an authentic German lunch, before heading out for a walking tour of Munich.

During our walking tour, we learned about the historical importance of Munich as the capital of the state of Bavaria. We walked through Marienplatz, the square that is considered the heart of Munich, where we watched the locals set up for this weekend’s festival. We then wondered throughout Viktualienmarkt, a very large market where fruit, cheese, sausage and other high quality food is sold. After walking around Munich all afternoon, most of was tired so we headed back to our hotel to relax before dinner.

For dinner, we all enjoyed another authentic German meal at the world famous Hofbrauhaus. After finishing our bratwurst, schnitzel, and a few liters of Hofbrauhaus famous brew, we headed to a nearby beer garden to finish celebrating Tyler’s birthday.

 

Posted by: kcarlson1970 | June 23, 2011

June 21, 2011: German Lessons by Douglas Doucette

Today started bright and early with a quick breakfast at the dorms, and then it was off to the AIB building for a German 101 class. The class was taught by Nils, our AIB advisor, who has been showing us around Germany. Though the pronunciation was often difficult, we learned enough basic German to get by. We learned things such as “Wo bist du?” which means “Where are you?” and “Donaudampfschiftahrtshapitansmutze” which is the cover of a captain of a steam boat on the Danube River. Needless to say, it’s a good thing a lot of people here speak English!

Later in the day, Dr. Rainer Zack, the Managing Director of AIB led us on a quick historical tour of Bonn. He pointing out various interesting points of the city, but perhaps the most interesting was Roman ruins under the foundation of a building in Bonn. Once the ruins were discovered, they redesigned the foundation so that the ruins remained undisturbed and accessible. Dr. Zack explain to us what we were looking at, and it turns out the Roman knew what they were doing. They had heated floors in their houses! After learning how this system worked, we moved on with our tour and eventually said goodbye to Dr. Zack.

After a quick lunch in a local beer garden, we visited Solar World, one of the world leading providers in solar panels. The building we visited was actually completely empty except for us which was odd, but our host soon explained that the company had grown so much that it had to relocate. The solar panel systems had not been moved yet, which is why we went to their older building. After seeing all the different systems and learning about how efficient they are, I think it is safe to say that we are all going to invest in solar panels once we start buying and building our own homes. After this long day, we made it to a beer garden to sample to local cuisine. We must have picked the right place because as soon as we were seated, we found Dr. Zack was at the same beer garden!

Posted by: kcarlson1970 | June 23, 2011

June 22, 2011: Cologne, Germany by Trevor Evans

Guten Morgen!

Today we started off with a quick breakfast, and then headed on a chartered bus to Cologne, Germany. The ride took only about thirty minutes by bus. We started off the morning in Cologne with a city tour. Our tour guide was extremely knowledgeable about the history that had occurred in and around Cologne. It was extremely interesting listening to German history from a person with such a lively and enthusiastic point of view. We started off by talking about the Cologne Cathedral, which has been Colognes most famous landmark for centuries. The Cathedral took approximately 632 years to completely construct it. We then headed off to view the ancient roman remains under ground. Cologne is one of the oldest cities in Germany and is known as being an ancient city for a Roman Legion. Many of the remains have been uncovered within the last years and it was extremely awesome to see something from that time period. Throughout the tour some of the guys dropped off in the locally produced “cologne”  store and bought some  flower perfume for their much missed ladies at home…at least I hope it was for their ladies..We then concluded our tour with a walk around the local breweries and restaurants.

Next, we grabbed a quick bite at a local brewery and headed out to a lignite coal mine and power plant. We were given a quick presentation over the process and plant, and then taken out in a lifted off road bus that some of us referred to as “big tex”. We drove into the mine and truly got to see how the process worked. I know from the reactions of all the other students that everyone extremely enjoyed seeing such a huge operation. The coal was extracted by these huge 13,000 ton bucket-wheel excavators. After the area is cleared of all coal, RWE then reestablishes the earth to the way it used to be.

We then headed back into Cologne for a tour into the tower of the Cologne Cathedral. This was probably one of my most favorite parts of the day. The Cathedral itself has so much history within it. We were able to walk to the very top of the center tower. The view from the top was pretty amazing. The degree of art and preciseness that went into the sculpting of the Cathedral is astonishing. It was definitely one of those places I would recommend seeing. To see a church that has lasted throughout wars and all kinds of weather was a chance of a lifetime.

We then headed back to Bonn for a quick bite at a local burger joint and headed in for an early lights rest.

Until next time,

Thanks and Gigem

Trevor Evans

 

Posted by: kcarlson1970 | June 23, 2011

June 23, 2011: On a Boat by David Freisner

We’re On A Boat…!

Today was an early morning for the group, breakfast at 6:30 sharp and off to the underground train station. After our daily commute to the Bonn main station, we promptly jumped on an above ground line heading towards the Upper Middle Rhine Valley. This was set to be a scenic 2 hour trip to our connecting Rhine River Boat Cruise. Three hours later, (due to damaged tracks) we arrived at our port of call.  This time delay did cause us to scrap the plan of meandering around a quaint German town…however a few of the gents did manage to find the time to show off their free climbing skills (see the picture below).  Without further delay we boarded our river vessel and were peacefully on our way down the Rhine. During our 2 hour trip we passed many medieval castles, and small German cities. The weather was perfect and the views were exceptional!

Our group exited the vessel in the town of Braubach, Germany. Here we stopped for a traditional lunch of Weiner Schnitzel und fritten (fries). With stomachs full and spirits high we trekked to the top off a nearby hill to visit the Marksburg Castle. (No small hill I might add a few of us needed a little stretch/ breather after). This medieval castle is the only hill castle in Germany never to be destroyed. The construction began in the 12th century and was modified only slightly by succeeding rulers. We were guided through this magnificent piece of history by a knowledgeable yet quite direct tour guide. After the visit we made our way back to the train station and then back to our residence. All in all this was a full day of great sights, great history and some cardio!

Auf Wiedersehen,

David Freisner

 

Posted by: kcarlson1970 | June 23, 2011

June 20, 2011: Joseph Calhoun

We started the day by waking up early for an amazing continental breakfast at our hotel. It is very nice to be able to wake up and enjoy a nice filling meal before spending the day exploring the town and traveling. When then hurried back to our room and packed up for our departure, which would come later in the afternoon. From there we went straight to the Technical University of Munich. We met with the dean of the Construction and Management department and his assistant. The dean introduced his department and the college. He explained how every student acquires their master’s degree, unlike in the United States. His assistant then explained the project delivery methods and construction contracts in Germany. It was very interesting to interact and discuss the similarities and differences of project delivery between Germany and the United States. After our discussion we were escorted to the University’s cafeteria, where we filled up on food before left for the rest of the day. After lunch the dean’s assistant and his colleague guided us into the center of Munich where we toured a construction site. This site was unlike any other we have seen before, even in the United States. The construction takes place within a historical building. The law in Munich states that the façade of historical building cannot be altered or destroyed if new construction is to take place within. It was very interesting because the existing walls were left in place and reinforced while the interior was destroyed and rebuilt with modern construction methods. This was by far our most favorite construction site visit in Europe. As soon as the visit ended, we rushed back to the hotel to gather our luggage because our train to Bonn was to leave in an hour. We made it to the train with a few minutes to spare. The ride to Bonn was almost six hours, but it was nice to sit and relax after such a hectic day.

Posted by: kcarlson1970 | June 21, 2011

June 19, 2011: German Countryside by Hunter Byler

Woke up this morning bright and early around 6:30. Ate breakfast at the hotel, which has a large selection to choose from and actually gives us motivation to wake up to eat! The charter bus picked us up outside our hotel and made the scenic drive through the German countryside to Neuschwanstein Castle, which translate in English, “new swan castle”. The famous Disney Land castle is based on this castle. The castle sits magically on the side of the mountain, which could be seen from miles away. From the castle the entire valley was exposed showing its beauty of lakes, small village, farms, and the mountains in the background. Pictures do not do the view justice. After a tour of the castle we made our way down the mountainside. We took an alternative path down the beaten path through the woods following the river from the mountain. The water was crystal clear with water-falls the entire way down. It took about an hour to make it back to the parking lot. We then proceeded to make our way to Plansee lake just across the border into Austria. We had a fresh trout lunch at a hotel on the lake. The lake was crystal clear and on a good day they say you can see 50 feet deep. However we could not go all that way just to look at the lake. We all striped down and jumped into the freezing cold glacier water. Right as we jumped in the water the sky opened up and started down pouring. So we jumped in just long enough to get the heart rate up then frantically grabbed our stuff and ran to the nearest covered area to dry off and put warm dry clothes on. Of course not ten minutes later the rain passed and the sun came out! After warming up we all pilled back on the bus and made our way to the small town of Oberammergau, Germany. We spent an hour to just look around and appreciate the small German village. The village is known for the Passion play performed there every year. We made it back to the hotel around 7pm. Everyone was very warn out from the long day of hiking and traveling.

 

Auf Wiedersehen!

Posted by: kcarlson1970 | June 21, 2011

June 18th, 2011: Day One in Germany by Bryce Boone

Guten tag,

Today was an eventful day. It was out first full day in Munich, Germany. We started the day at the BMW museum around 11 o’clock. We had an hour to browse the new BMW models and current technology. Several of us tried to win prizes by a putting contest. After no luck at the putting green we ate at the BMW museum.  After that we went to the 1972 Olympic stadium.  It was a very modern design for the time but the sightseeing was cut short by pouring rain. After the stadium, we started the BMW museum tour. We saw the entire history of BMW. The old cars were very cool and well worth seeing. The only person who didn’t like the museum too much was our one and only girl, Bri. She stated that she rather she the Ford or Dodge museum. Who can blame her? What’s better than good ole American build cars? After the tour we had a short break time to get ready for our lesson in the traditional Bavarian dance, the Schuplatter. This literally translates into shoe dance. We had no idea what we were getting into. This was one of the most fun things we have done so far. We learned the basic steps and then we learned one of the easiest dances. Everyone had a blast. We even showed them our dance of “sawing varsities horns off.” Needless to say, we had a great time. When we got back to the hotel we were all to tired to do anything else. The shoe dance wore us out! Until next time, auf wiedershen!

Posted by: kcarlson1970 | June 21, 2011

June 16-17, 2011: Teacher Swap

On June 16th, Kim Carlson, our current faculty leader, headed back to the States. Anne McGowan arrived late June 16th to take Kim’s place.

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