Schloss Schonbrunn!

en2Today I visited Vienna’s Schönbrunn Palace! It is truly one of the most beautiful places I have seen on my travels. The main palace structure itself, its massive gardens complex, and lakes and hill combine for an awe-inspiring experience. Baroque has always beenone of my favourite architectural styles, but this former imperial summer palace made me love it even more! With its elaborate and dramatic ornamentation, it is one of the most important cultural monuments in Austria. Its structure served to highlight the Habsburg imperial power.

Some unique points include the Vienna Zoo (located on site), which is the oldest recorded zoo in the world. Also, Mozart’s first concert was performed at the age ofsix for the Empress in the Mirror Room. The French garden is perhaps the most fascinating: it is an intricate maze.

es2Hoy he visitado el Palacio Schönbrunn de Vienna! Es realmente uno de los lugares más bonitos que visté en mis viajes. La estructura principal del palacio, su complejo de jardines masiva, y lagos y una colina se combinan para ofrecer una experiencia impresionante. Uno de mis favoritos estilos arquitectónicos es el Barroco, pero en este antiguo palacio imperial de verano me gusta mucho más! Con su ornamentación elaborada, es uno de los monumentos culturales más importantes en Austria. Su estructura destaca el poder imperial de los Habsburgo.

Algunos puntos únicos incluyen el Zoo de Viena (que se encuentra en el complejo), que es el zool más antiguo en el mundo. Además, cuando Mozart tenía seis años, él tocaba para  la emperatriz en el Salón de Espejo. El jardín francés es quizás el más fascinante: es un laberinto intrincado!

Travel Finds: Farting, Antarctica, Sleeping Pods, and Soloshot

Here are some great articles about great travelling goodies, places, and discoveries that I’ve stumbled onto recently. I thought you would be interested :D!

Passing Gas Mid-Flight Is Good For Your Health, Doctors Find.By McLean Robbins

A new study from a group of New Zealand physicians has confirmed something we’re rather certain most people would rather not know: it’s not only OK, but preferred, that passengers pass gas mid-flight. Read more…

Napcabs Debuts Sleeping Pods at Munich Airport. By Deanna Cioppa

We’ve all attempted it—the quick nap between flights at the airport, wedged betwixt a row of chairs and a recycling bin, our carry-on for a pillow. Not the most restful sleep, is it? Well at Terminal 2 of the Munich Airport, passengers can snooze in style via napcabs. When we first heard the term, we immediately thought of some sort of large van with cots (a la the “Relaxicab” from Friends), but as it turns out, napcabs are stationary pods one can rent for some quick Zzz’s or just some peace and quiet Read more…

Five Things You (Probably) Don’t Know About Antarctica. 



This is the latest post in my series about Antarctica. The trip was made possible thanks to Adventure Life, the small group adventure tourcompany that specializes in, among other things, Antarctica cruises. Read more…

Soloshot “Automatic Cameraman”: Like Traveling with a Film Crew in Your Daypack. By MIKE RICHARD

If you’re not the sort of well heeled travel photographer/videographer who rolls with an entire film crew, the new Soloshot is for you. Billed as an “automatic cameraman”, it’s designed for solo recording and capturing of photos and video when you haven’t got a backup crew or friends to do it for you. It mounts between your camera and any standard tripod, then automatically tracks and follows your movements via a radio transmitter armband like so: Read more…

Traveling Languages Series Post: Q, R

If you’re thinking of traveling to other countries, it’s interesting to see the languages officially used there. I’m hoping this series will help you plan which countries to visit to practice, study, or hear a rare language or simply just to know which languages are official in which state.

  •  Qatar
    • Arabic
  •  Romania
    • Romanian (statewide)
    • Armenian (minority language)
    • German (minority language)
    • Hungarian (minority language)
    • Romani (minority language)
    • Serbian (minority language)
    • Slovakian (minority language)
    • Turkish (minority language)
    • Ukrainian (minority language)
  •  Russia (Languages of Russia)
    • Russian (federal; official)
    • Abaza (in the Karachay–Cherkess Republic)
    • Adyghe (in the Republic of Adygea)
    • Agul (in the Republic of Dagestan)
    • Altay (in the Altai Republic)
    • Avar (in the Republic of Dagestan)
    • Azerbaijani (in the Republic of Dagestan)
    • Bashkir (in the Republic of Bashkortostan)
    • Buryat (in Buryat Republic)
    • Chechen (in the Chechen Republic and Republic of Dagestan)
    • Chuvash (in the Chuvash Republic)
    • Dargin (in the Republic of Dagestan)
    • Erzya (in the Republic of Mordovia)
    • Ingush (in the Republic of Ingushetia)
    • Kabardian (in the Kabardino-Balkar and Karachay–Cherkess Republics)
    • Kalmyk (in the Republic of Kalmykia)
    • Karachay-Balkar (in the Kabardino-Balkar and Karachay–Cherkess Republics)
    • Khakas (in the Republic of Khakassia)
    • Komi-Zyrian (in the Komi Republic)
    • Kumyk (in the Republic of Dagestan)
    • Lak (in the Republic of Dagestan)
    • Lezgian (in the Republic of Dagestan)
    • Mari (in the Mari El Republic)
    • Moksha (in the Republic of Mordovia)
    • Nogai (in the Karachay–Cherkess Republic and in the Republic of Dagestan)
    • Ossetic (in the Republic of North Ossetia–Alania)
    • Rutul (in the Republic of Dagestan)
    • Sakha (in the Sakha Republic)
    • Tabasaran (in the Republic of Dagestan)
    • Tatar (in the Republic of Tatarstan)
    • Tati (in the Republic of Dagestan)
    • Tsakhur (in the Republic of Dagestan)
    • Tuvin (in the Tuva Republic)
    • Udmurt (in the Republic of Udmurtia)
  •  Rwanda
    • English
    • French
    • Kinyarwanda


Info retrieved from Wikipedia.

In Vienna …And Some Long German Words

en2I set out early my first day in the Austrian capital. It was bright and sunny so I felt really excited about exploring. I was able to test out the train system, which I quickly realised depended a lot on trust. There were no turnstiles, I didn’t notice any guards, and many of the stations I visited were unmanned. I visited downtown Vienna for a few hours where I was able to buy a few souvenirs. Although I visited Berlin, I didn’t stay long enough to really take in much German. Even in cologne I was able to find an English version sign pointing to whatever I needed. But in Vienna, I noticed one of the most interesting things about German first hand. Like some English words, German likes compounded larger words from simpler words. But, the practice is on a whole other level in comparison. It’s done even to the point where a word can be over 21 letters long. Like the sign on a building near my hostel read bedienungstankstelle, which translates to “easy gas station.” I only knew that after using Google Translate haha! Umweltverschmutzung refers to pollution. Rindfleischetikettierung-süberwachungsaufgaben-übertragungsgesetz (translation: Rind (cattle) Fleisch (meat) Etikettierung(s) (labelling) Überwachung (supervision) Aufgaben (duties) Übertragun (assignment) Gesetz (law)) refers to the German-state law related to the labelling of beef and cattle. Sometimes graphics help, but other times they don’t. I noticed a sign on the train (pictured below) saying bitte nur mit beißkorb und leine meaning, “please only with muzzle and leash.” When I saw the graphic, I thought at the time that it meant dogs start dissolving on the train! I don’t know how I thought that made any sense at all!
es2El primer día en la capital austriaca, me fui temprano. Era un día brillante y soleado! Me sentí muy entusiasmado por explorar. Usé el sistema del tren, y vi que se basaba en una confianza fuerte en la gente. En muchas estaciónes, no había seguridad: no guardias, no barreras, y sin trabajadores. Fui al centro de la ciudad por unas horas y compré algunos recuerdos. Aunque yo visité Berlin, no me quedé mucho tiempo para oír realmente el alemán.
 Aún en Cologne me encontré señales en íngles en todos lugares. Pero, en Vienna, me encontré una de las cosas más interesantes sobre la lengua alemana con mis propios  oídos. Como unas palabras en íngles, Alemán es muy famoso para su palabras compuestos. Unas palabras son componen de muchas palabras pequeñas  y pueden tener hasta vientiún letras. Había un señal cerca de mi albergue que tenía “bedienungstankstelle.” En español, es iqual a “fácil gasolinera.” Y sólo sé por usando Google Translate :)! Umweltverschmutzung significa “polución.” Rindfleischetikettierung-süberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz (traducido: Rind (vacas) Fleisch (carne) Etikettierung(s) (etiquetado) Überwachung (control) Aufgaben (obligaciónes) Übertragun (asignación) Gesetz (ley)) se refiere a la ley alemana que regula el etiquetado de la carne y el ganado. A veces, los gráficos son útiles, pero otras veces no es así. Vi un señal en el tren (en la foto de abajo) con la frase “bitte nur mit beißkorb und leine.” Significa “please only with muzzle and leash.” Me pareció que dijo algo acerca de la disolución de perros :D!

Nach Österreich, Nach Wien!

I boarded the train at Budapest Keleti station at 15:10 bound for Vienna (Wien) WestBahnoff in Austria. I arrived at 18:00 after falling in and out of sleep along the way. I was able to see that the Austrians were greatly invested in renewable energies such as wind and solar. I wasn’t able to get too many clear shots because the train was traveling too fast, but I’ve included a shot of only of the many wind farms I saw along the Austrian countryside. I don’t remember if I was still stuck in sleep mode, but the subway station confused me. Perhaps I was to accustomed to the London model, where subway lines rarely, if at all, share the same track. But there was the green line and the brown line, both on the same track, in German.

Possibly helpful tip: Make sure you’re really awake before leaving a station :-)!
I stayed at the Wombat’s City Hostels Vienna At The Naschmarkt. It was a one of the nicest hostels on my entire trip, comparable to the MEININGER Hotel at Berlin Hauptbahnhof. It was set out more like a hotel than most of the other hostels I’d stayed at during my travels. With many floors, roomy elevators and large security doors dotted along the wide hallways, everything just seemed so much cleaner and happier (although I’m not quite sure how buildings can be happy, you’ll know what I mean when you’ve experienced it). Any additional cost in comparison to the other hostels in the area would’ve been completely justified, but the hostel was reasonably priced below most of any nearby competitor, outshining others in value and ratings. It’s really close to the Kettenbrückengasse rail station. Needless to say, that night I took advantage of the proximity and headed off to a nice shopping district nearby.

I also probably shouldn’t say, but this was another stop at which I committed the travel sin of eating at an American fast-food chain. This time it was McDonald’s and ordering my trusty Big Mac, I didn’t even bother looking for Austrian menu inclusions!