Mittwoch, 21. Dezember 2011


So it has started.
To give you something to read during the holidays, here's a little update on what's going on with me.

The semester has now officially ended. On Friday, 12/16, I had my presentation for my project and blasted it! Afterward, I had to clear my room and pack my suitcase for the roadtrip. Since I moved out of the dorm, I'm officially homeless now... but that's ok. I will probably sleep on random couches or in a tent for the next couple of weeks. But let's keep this in order.

So on Friday, we got the car and it took surprisingly long to get everything set up and leave Bozeman. It was 7:45 when we finally left the city in direction of the West Coast. First stop: Superior. Yep, that's the name of a town.
We stayed for a night at a friends house; a family that is probably most accurately described with the word 'hillbilly' – but very lovely and welcoming people nonetheless! The majority of us took the opportunity and stayed in a tipi for the night after having a great evening with our friends and the family.
The next day, we had a hard time to get going. Between gun shooting and horse trails there was a lot to discover and experience. We finally headed out to our next planned stop around 2.30, starting the 7 hour drive to Seattle.
I have to say, Washington truly is a beautiful state! And stereotypically enough, the moment we entered the state, we ran into a wall of fog that stayed along our way for at least two hours!
In Seattle, we stayed at another friend's house, probably as contrary to where we had stayed before as it gets. We stayed for two nights, which gave us one day to get an impression of downtown Seattle. We discovered Pike Market, went on a ferry across the bay and back, and checked the nightlife of this city of intellectuals, authors, and artists. Bottom line: Little San Francisco (as it is called because of its numerous hills) is definitely worth a second visit, although Sunday's nights don't seem to be the best time to go out.
After another delayed start, we are now on the Interstate 5 South, going towards Portland, Oregon. This will be our third stop in the forth state we pass.

That's about it for now, stay save, folks, see y'all later!

Dienstag, 27. September 2011

Mailing Home

I just wrote this mail to a friend back home, and although it is in German, I thought it might be nice to put it here, because ... well, you'll see. It's just something that I found worthy being posted! Somehow, I feel like I prefer personal mails over blogging... I guess it is because I never really got any response to my blog whatsoever :/ Well, here you go - and I might do this more often, if I feel like!

Hehe Freund :)

Deine Antwort lässt mich schmunzeln :)

Mir geht's im groben und ganzen recht ... super hier ! Ich weiss nicht, ob das "nur" noch so diese erste Phase ist, in der sowieso alles awesome und anders und neu und toll und überhaupt ist - immerhin bin ich schon genau 6 Wochen hier! Um die email nicht zu überladen, beschränke ich mich mal auf eine Sache: Das Leben auf dem Campus ist einfach geil! Alleine die Tatsache, dass es einen geschlossenen Campus gibt, finde ich genial! Ich lebe hier im (Ü-21) Wohnheim mit vielen anderen internationalen und einheimischen Studenten zusammen, fast - das klingt ein wenig abgedroschen, aber sei's drum - wie eine große Familie. Alle Uni-Gebäude sind fußläufig in maximal 10 Minuten erreichbar, inklusive des Football-Stadiums und der Sporthalle (das Gym).
Die Kurse die ich habe sind wirklich spannend. Da wären: Advanced Algorithms - hier kommen ein paar bekannte und auch noch mir unbekannte Algorithmen dran (atm machen wir Geometrische Algorithmen: Finde die Konvexe Hülle der Punktemenge) und werden auf ihre Effizienz untersucht.
Machine Learning: Soft Computing - hier behandeln wir so ziehmlich alle Algorithmen der Kategorie - naja... Soft Computing halt :D in den ersten vier Wochen haben wir uns mit Evolutionary Programming beschäftigt (Genetic Algorithms, Evolutionary Strategy/Programming und Genetic Programming), jetzt starten wir mit Schwarm Algorithmen, Fuzzy und Neurale Netze kommen später auch noch dran!
und nicht zu vergessen: Japanese for Beginners. Dazu brauch ich wohl nichts zu sagen, oder? :D Watashi wa Nihongo ga suki desu!
Und schließlich mein Individual Studies Project: Ich helfe einem schweizer Ph.D. Studenten mit seinem Programm zur Simulation von Fisch-Verteilungen in Flussnetzwerken :) nichts, was ich vorher schonmal gemacht hätte - naja, im moment arbeite ich "nur" an eine GUI, aber dann!

Weshalb ich auf das Buch komme: Hier in se Amiland hat man für jeden Kurs ein Buch. Man hält sich hier nicht mit läppischen Skripten auf - obwohl es die auch in machen Kursen gibt, so wie ich das sehe. Alles, Skripte wie Bücher, kann man im Campus eigenen Bookstore kaufen. Für meinen Algorithms Kurs zum beispiel hab ich einen 1.5k Seiten starken Wälzer erworben. Wir werden sicherlich nicht alles aus dem Buch machen, aber was wir machen stammt auf jeden Fall aus dem Buch und hat somit Hand und Fuß. Für weiterführendes Wissen kann man dort nachlesen, um den Stoff aufzubereiten, die Hausaufgaben zu lösen - whatever! Was aber meiner Meinung nach das beste daran ist, ist das man ein Litheratur Stück hat, auf das man sich beziehen kann. Vergleiche die folgenden Dialoge:
- "Entschuldigung, Herr ..., ich hab da mal ne Frage zu der Formel auf Folie 17 von letzter Woche."
- "Die erste oder die zweite Version die ich hochgeladen habe?"
 - oder -
- "Ich hab da mal ne Frage zu Formel 17 auf Seite 423."
Ein andere Punkt ist auch, dass man dann einfach mal lern mit nem (wissenschaftlichen) Buch umzugehen (hoffentlich). Was da drin steht ist schon von vielen vielen Leuten korrektur gelesen worden und wird wohlmöglich auch an vielen anderen Universitäten als Kursbuch verwendet. Und nicht zuletzt hat man mal etwas, worauf man sich auch in seiner Hausarbeit beziehen kann. Ich finde, das fehlt daheim wirklich. Nicht nur ist es komisch, als Quelle "Vorlesungsmitschrift" anzugeben, es ist auch nicht unbedingt wissenschaftlich und man lernt das richtige zitieren dadurch nicht.

Ich glaube, ich verliere mich gerade in meiner Selbstverliebtheit für Geschwafel ... Aber vielleicht kannst du ja das ein oder andere von meinen Ansichten nachvollziehen !?!

Wünsche dann mal einen erfolgreichen Arbeitstag, schönen Gruß an alle!
Beste Grüße aus dem Westen,

P.S.: Ist mir das mit dem "nicht überladen" gelungen? Oder bin ich doch wieder am Ziel vorbeigeschossen?

Montag, 29. August 2011

First Person Fluid Dynamics

This was the last weekend before the classes start and it was great once again! Friday was the last day of Catapalooza, the on-campus fair for all kinds of associations, club, etc... In the afternoon, we fought our time with Ultimate Frisbee. I had never played this before I came here, but it's a lot of fun and so I played it for three days in a row. It's a little bit like American Football; you have to get the Frisbee over to the other end of the field without the enemy team or the ground touching it. Since your not allowed to move while you have the Frisbee, you have to pass it around. So it's mainly about running, tossing, catching, and covering and since nobody counted the points, it was all about the fun! Also, I think much of the fun was due to the people I played with. It was one of the many christian fellowships, that had a booth at the Catapalooza. It was quite catch ... I haven't been in touch with my religion that much since Bremen 2009 and I'm actually thinking about attending their liturgy or maybe the Bible study ...

Saturday, I was on a trip to the Yellowstone River for some White Water Rafting action !! That was an incredible amount of fun ! The trip was organised by the MSU Outdoor Recreation and costed 40$ including transportation and equipment; lunch had to be brought individually. I didn't have any appropriate shoes, so I might have ruined my everyday shoes. Well, those were cheap and would have to be renewed soon anyway. The action was worth the sacrifice !! :D Unfortunately, I was unable to take to many pictures because my camera is not waterproof and I didn't want to risk it. I have to say though, that the valley of the Yellowstone River is really amazing and worth a visit! The river crawls through deep canyons, along vast steppes and cliffs of boulder. The riverbanks are partially covered with trees, partially it's just shrub land. We haven't seen any bears (I'm not mad about it!) or eagles, but some deer and a crane. And the greatest part of the raft was, when we all hopped out of the boat and enjoyed the wild waters in close combat - it's a natural white-water ride!

The evening was successfully topped off with a gig of one of the English exchanged students. I've got 75 minutes of HD footage of this, but I'm not sure how good the sound quality is... I have to process at least some of it for you to see ...

Sunday, yesterday, was a lazy day. The only action I had was riding downtown to open up a bank account. Besides, I did my laundry, watched some videos, cleaned my room ... in the evening we had our first floor meeting (it's the first meeting, not the first floor!). As far as I can say for now, the entire campus seems to be a strong community with many even stronger sub-communities. This is way different from what it is in Germany, although I have to admit that I never lived in a dorm in Germany...

And now, today, finally, it is the FIRST DAY OF CLASSES!!! My day starts at 11 with Japanese for Beginners. I'm quite excited. In the afternoon I'll have Advanced Algorithms at 2 and Machine Learning at 3. I can't wait for it to get started !!

Okay then, I have to gather my stuff and ready myself to go. Have a nice day!

Mittwoch, 24. August 2011


It's been just two days, but it feels like an eternity! I feel like so much stuff is happening every day, it would be enough to fill two or three days at home! Let's see, what happened so far, shall we ... ?

At the end of the last entry, I wrote about the car show that I was going to attend. I uploaded about a hundred and fifty photos to a facebook album about that. If you haven't noticed it, you might probably not have my contact yet. If that is the case, contact me!

On Monday, the orientation for the international students begun. From 9 to 1 we had all kinds of introductions and it was really interesting. At least most of it ^^ Some parts, like the "your away from your parents houses for the first time" didn't really appeal to me, so I just sat back, grinned and nodded. But in general, it was really interesting to get to know, what the University offers. The campus Health Care Center and the Campus Police Station are just two examples (yes, real police officers!).

After these four hours of introduction, there was a small market with like 18 booths representing different clubs or associations of the campus life. We were lured to talk to the people of the booths with a raffle. There were nice prices, but it wasn't my lucky day... never mind!

After the orientation was over for that day, I had an appointment with the head of the Computer Science Department about my individual studies. Dr. Paxton is a gracious person and he really seemed to be glad he could help. He presented to me six different possible topics for individual projects and I decided to take a closer look at four of them. He set the contacts up and soon I'm going to meet the corresponding person in charge of the projects.

The rest of the time, we had a nice chat. He told me, that he had been to Germany quite recently. He taught in Leipzig for one year (if I'm not mistaken). He also visited Hanover, because he once hosted an exchange student from Hanover. We talked a little bit about cultural differences, his and my experience (so far) and plans for the closer and the further future (ouh yeah, he said, if my individual project is really really good, it shouldn't be to hard to come back for a Ph.D. !!! :D ). He offered me to maybe join in on a tour to Yellowstone some day, to elaborate the matter (mainly the cultural difference- and experience-matter).

In the evening, I hung out with some people I literately just met a few days ago and some other people, I had never seen before. There wasn't much going on, but it was a nice calm evening anyway.

Today, Tuesday, the second part of our orientation took place. This time, it was for all of the exchange students separately - still about 50 people! After we introduced ourselves and had small enforced conversations, we heard about some more and some less important topics again. The entire orientation gave me the impression, that studying in the U.S. seems to be far more guided than it is in Germany - although I've never been to the Freshman Introduction in Hanover either ...

Everyone is really kind and helpful. Where ever you stand and walk, people come up to you and ask how you are and if they can help you. I think, slowly but surely, I'm getting used to the "thanks, fine, how are you?" whenever I see somebody. I somehow like it that way. I know, it's probably somewhat superficial, but it's still quite a nice environment, but I don't think, it could ever happen in Germany :D I mean, people had to be friendly for no reason ... tse.

Later today, I discovered the gym more thoroughly. I didn't take much time to train today, but I'm planning to do it far more regularly this semester than in Germany.

In the evening, there was a pizza party around the corner and many many of the international students came, met, ate, and talked. It was really nice; you could have a different conversation wherever you looked. I got in contact more thoroughly with some of the people I already knew and even talked to some I hadn't talked to before. Unfortunately, I forgot to bring my camera, so no pictures of that event...

Well, I guess that's basically it for now. I'm not sure if anyone's going to read the entire article at all, but if you are one of these rare individuals, I'd like you to post a comment. ... I'm not sure, what I want you to state on specifically - maybe I'll come up with something for the next entry.

Well... me tired. Late. Needs to sleep. Bye bye!

Sonntag, 21. August 2011

Unintentional Flash Mop

Yesterday (Saturday), I meet with a whole bunch of the international students. We must have been like 20 to 25 or so ... It was really interesting to watch. At first, everyone stood in one circle. But as the group size grew, it reached its critical mass and disintegrated into three small circles, each with its own conversations going on.

At one point, we decided to be complete and started our march to the bus stop to go down town. The buses here have like 25 seats in total and as there were some other people in as well, some of us had to remain standing. It almost felt like home :D

Now the funny thing was, that we didn't really have any chosen leader. No one knew, where we wanted to get out or where we wanted to go in general. The only thing, everyone knew was that it was about lunch time and everybody was hungry. So when we crossed Main St, the group started moving and we exited the bus to find some place to eat on Main.

We came by some bars and restaurants and the people of Bozeman don't seem to be used to such a big group of students wandering around in the city, because everyone was looking at us. Then, we came by a place, that seemed suitable for the three or four individuals walking in front of our group. So they entered and everybody followed. But when the head of our group reached the end of the location, noticing that there were by far not enough seats and table for all of us, they exited through the back door and everyone follow again.

The look on the faces of the people sitting and eating there would have been worth a photo, but unfortunately I wasn't fast enough as the entire action took only about half a minute. It was hilarious and I really had to laugh hard. I thought, this was a really nice Flash Mop, only this one was totally unintentional, which made it even better!! Maybe we can do something like that again, another day...

We finally found a place to rest and I had a really good sandwich. I think we stayed for like one and half an hour. Afterwards, the group split up because different people wanted to do different things. I joined a group with two British people and one girl from New Zealand, which screwed my accent for the rest of the day :D MAN, these folks are hard to understand! Especially, if they talk that fast and (at least in my ears kinda) slangy :-/

Nevertheless, after some second hand stores, we reached our destination: Walmart. It was the third time I was there since I arrived and I took the chance to buy a bike. I had already thought about it for some days and I had decided to buy it, because 100$ is an ok price in my eyes and the use will definitely exceed these expenses!

Today, there's going to be some kind of a car show on Main St. So I might just grab my bike and give it a look, see what's going on there. I think that's it for now. Maybe I can manage to add some pictures ... let's see ... I really have to figure out, how to layout them correctly. This looks just horrible !!

See ya later, guys

Donnerstag, 18. August 2011

I has arrived!

More than 48 hours have passed already since I arrived in the United States of America. My 2.5 hour stay in Minneapolis was sweeten by the aquaintance of Charlie. I arrived at my gate, when he came to me and started a conversation. Appearently, he works at the airport and likes to get in touch with poeple from different countries all over the world.

At 1 a.m. local time, I finally got into my (temporal) room. Yesterday, Tuesday, was time for me to check the campus out, get my student ID and arrange myself. Today, it met another international student and together we traveled to downtown Bozeman. It's a nice small city and incredibly Wild Western American. Altogether, I feel like I'm in a movie. Everything looks so American here. I think, I'm getting used to it quite quickly... Everybody is so friendly and appears to be open minded. Well, we'll so what the long term investigation results in... :D

After downtown, we've been to Walmart and got ourselves new cell phones with prepaid cards. Walmart is an incredible place. It's been quite a while since I visited a Walmart in Germany, but I think this one is bigger. Except for vehicles and real estates I think you can find everything there. (Oh, I didn't see any weaponry either, but I don't mind) I found quite trustworthy bikes for around a hundred bucks. I think, I'll get myself one within the next couple of days, since it seems to be fairly nice to ride around here.

Concluding, I have to say, it was not exaggerated to say, this is the best time of my life. At least not so far.

See you around

Donnerstag, 4. August 2011

The beginning of a new Era

I have just launched my first vlog video. You can find it right here. I'm trying to make this a regular thing so that all you people who care can see what adventures I'm going through :)
So, go ahead and enjoy !
(I know it's not the best, but since it's my first vid, be lenient! )

Dienstag, 5. Juli 2011

Six week from now on

Right now in six weeks, I will be somewhere between Amsterdam and Minneapolis. Presumably. Duration of that flight: 9 hours 10 minutes. Total flight duration of my journey: 12 hours 41 minutes. Total duration from first lift of to last landing: 16 hours 56 minutes. What a looooong day.
Time from last landing to first lift of: 5 months 14 days 14 hours (round about).

This is gonna be the best time of life so far! And there is still so much to prepare ...

Last week, I had a dream somewhat about being there. I was making my bed in my dormatory, asking my (three) roommates how to use those unfamiliar sheet when I suddenly realised that I had forgotten my camera... That made me almost immediatly wake up. Obviously, this dream wanted to remind me on doing my packing list. I'd better not forget my camera!

So excited!

Mittwoch, 22. Juni 2011

Faster Than I Can Blog

I'm back, as most of you will have noticed already. I'm back for six days already. Let's just not talk about what I wanted to do and instead face what happens :)

The Visa interview went faster than I expected and instead of two to three hours I spent only slightly more than one hour in the Embassy. Plus half an hour waiting in front of it, but that can be neglected :D

The interview itself went pretty well. The questions weren't too difficult (like "Do you have any relatives in the US?") and my main activity there was staring at the display waiting for my number to be shown up. Gave me a lot of time to take a closer look on the embassy itself. Somehow, the hole place reminded of Disneyland... I can't help it. I don't know whether it is this "typical" architecture that the main halls in Disneyland are held in as well OR if it was because of all the children there. Approximately, 80% of all applicants were exchange students from school. That's at least what it felt like to me. Not that this disturbed me ...

At the end of the interview, the man told me they'd send me back my passport with the Visa within 7 days. After the interview was over, I still had two and a half hour of time to kill before my train left. So I decided not to take the tram back to the main station and walked instead. It gave me some very interesting cultural experience that I would have missed otherwise. Also, I saved 2.40 €uro for the tram which were then invested in my lunch ^^

Yesterday, my letter arrived. Well, this is kind of the less exciting but more pleasent part of the story... So, my passport arrived with the Visa in it, valid exactly until the day of my departure on the 30th of January 2012, granting me multiple entries, which means I can visit my cousin in Kanada and will be allowed to reenter the US :)

Finally, I can believe this is really happening. Now I have to select my courses, apply for housing and last but not least start my packing list.

'Till then

Mittwoch, 15. Juni 2011

Bags R packed

My bags are packed, I'm ready to go.

I'm leaving to Frankfurt now for my Visa interview. It is tomorrow morning, 9 a.m. I'm kinda excited....

Let's go!

Mittwoch, 13. April 2011

Meine Reise beginnt

Heute. Hier und jetzt. Denn ich habe eine Bestätigung von ISEP bekommen. Und der glückliche Gewinner iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiissst:
Das stand zwar "nur" auf Platz 5 (eigentlich 4) meiner Wunschliste, aber wen interessierts? America, ich komme :)
Ab jetzt wird die ganze Sache doch um einiges Realer. Jetzt muss ich wieder viele Formulare ausfüllen, Sachen organisieren, Studienvereinbarung treffen, Flug buchen, etc.... DAS WIRD GEIL! Ich freu mich so :o]

so viel für den Moment,

Dienstag, 29. März 2011


Hey Leutz!

Ich habe meinen Eintrag über meinen Kurzurlaub in Belgien textlich soweit fertig. Ich wollte ihn nur noch mit ein paar Links und Fotos versehen, damit das ganze ein bisschen ... ja, anschaulicher wird. Sollte aber in den nächsten Tagen fertig sein. Freut euch drauf und nehmt euch Zeit: das wir dein langer Eintrag :)


Samstag, 26. März 2011

Holidays in Leuven

I'm still indecisive whether I wnat to do this in English or in German. It will probably be full of mistakes if I do it in English, but never the less, this should be a nice training. So what, here we go!

Once again, I'm giving you the long story, I hope you don't mind. But if you do, well ... :D So when my Study Buddy from Italy left, he wrote me an email that he'd be in Leuven for the following semester and he'd be very happy to host me if I liked to visit him. So I decided: let's go see Leuven and visit my Study Buddy (I mean, that's what international relationships are relly for, getting to know different people, seeing different places of the world, you know?). I wanted to do the trip after my exams and before the next semester started. So I packed all my exams into the first 4 "free" week to have the ohter 4 weeks for working and travelling.

But than I got ill and decided: ah, forget about working :D So in correspondence with my Study Buddy (I'll cut this short to SB), we made up the long weekend from 24th to 27th of March. With excellent help of him the booking of the hostels was no problem. He was very VERY sorry he couldn't host me himself, but his girlfriend arrived one day before me and his room really isn't all that big. But I'm not mad about it. Seriously (don't take that personal, SB), but I it's quite enough to spend all this wake time with you ;)

So I took my time to recover from the illness (took me 2 entire weeks) and after some very necessary clean-up actions at home I was ready for the ride. I went from Hanover over Collogne and Liège (which is Lüttich in German apparently) - by train, sure. I arrived at Leuven perfectly in time at 17.34 but I couldn't see SB along the track (he promised to fetch me). I was just walking down the track when he called me. I answered the call and after two sentences I saw (and heard) him phoning as loud as his Italian nature dictates it.

He then brought me to my first hostel. Yes, I stayed only for three nights, but I had to change the hostel in between, because the second hostel (which really was way better than the first one) was booked out for the first night. Anyway, the Youthhostel Blauwput is an ... let's say ok-ish place to stay. It's a very new building, the house and the rooms can be accessed via key cards, every room has it's own bathroom and toilette, group rooms are seperated by gender. The breakfast is included and on their web page they promised a free hot drink on the arrival, but I actually didn't get one. Maybe I should have asked. Instead of that, my welcome present was a map of Leuven my SB gave me.

So I shared a room there with two other guys who I actually never met - I only heard them, but to this I will come later on. Next stop was fnac. This is a French company for consumer electronics and I needed an SD card for my camera. I used a card from my brother before, but he wanted it back. I had another one from a friend but it turned out it was broken. So I wanted to buy one on my departure at Hanover main station, because I remembered there was a photo shop in the station, but it kinda disappeared. So I watched out for a suitable shop during my stop in Collogne but couldn't find one there either. But luckily my SB knew just the right place to go :)

Afterwards we went over the central place in front of the great University Library (big pic!) where there is this peculiar bug on a pick in the center. Weird. He (my SB, not the bug) showed me the way to the second hostel and to his place. Both are within a distance of like 50 to 100 meters of each other. So, we arrived at his place and his girlfriend arrive shortly after us and we made up the plans for the night: Dinner with some Hanoveran fellow students of my SB (of which one also had his girlfriend in town, the other one's arrived the next day) and afterwards party in the city.

So we had pasta (of course) with 6 people and went down town. In Leuven, there is this place - the "Oude Markt" (the old market) - which is also considered the "longest bar in Europe". I couldn't figure out wether this is a more or less official name or just a local thing. On this place, there was one bar after the other. 34 locations in total, covering more than every second building. I noticed already that many buildings are very slim; many were only 3 to 4 meters wide. This wasn't any different on the Oude Markt and made all the locations unique and interesting places.

Cutting the evening short, after 4 hours of drinking, talking, joking, dancing or just: partying I was back at hostel at 2.45. I had my alarm clock set to 8.30 because breakfast would be from 7.30 to 9.30, checkout until 10.00. Unfortunatly, my roommates had other plans - but I suggest that's just how it will always be. I had my cellphone in my hand the whole time so I can still recall the times of the events: The first roommate got up at 7.00, used the bathroom, dressed, left the room around 7.30 - right when the other one got up. The second one left at 7.55 and came back at 8.15 to brush his teeth and gather some stuff. So at 8.25 I was finally alone and left in peace again in the room, so I decided not to wait for the alarm and got up.

The breakfast was a little sparse but ok, although my remaining sleepyness and some headache made it a little harder for me to keep the overview. I had already broaght all my stuff from my room so I didn't have to go back again and could just leave after breakfast. I went to the second hostel and checked in. I sure couldn't enter the room jet, but I wanted to get my access information and leave my luggage there. This hostel, the Leuven City Hostel, is stuated in an older building (compared to the other hostel) within the inner circular city road. I'd say it's a typical back-packers with a comunity kitchen for all the guests to prepare lunch or dinner. Breakfast is included here as well and there is a fridge for your own food to store. In the entrance room there is a couch and a computer with free internet. The internet can also be accessed via W-LAN with a password. Also al the rooms and the building itself (during the night time) are accessable only with 6 digit key codes. Last to mention: Free hot drinks for guests all day long (machine is turned off during the night time). So I had my second coffee here.

After the check in, I went out to explore the city. With my map and my orientational senses nothing could go wrong! First stop: the super market. I needed something to drink to finally reduce my headache.

The map is really fantastic and if any of you should ever decide to visit Leuven - which I'd say is really worth it - I strongly recommend picking up this map and studying it at least a little bit. Not only does it offer a map of the Oude Markt with all its bars with a short description, it also points out 103 points of interest through out the whole core city of Leuven. To each point, there are a few sentences of information and some stations are marked as "Tourist Classic" or "Local Tip".

So I learned quite a bit about the city while I was wandering around. For example, the city's main church was supposed to have a tower of 170 meters hight. But dued to water in the ground, it collapsed when it had only 50 meters. So, they decided to make it only 30 meters after all. What a blunder! It still is very impressive (although I didn't visit the inside). At least as impressive ist the towns hall, which is right beside the church. Both buildings are built in what I'd say is late gothik style, made of white (and unlike Cologne Dome still white) sandstone.

Another very impressing building is the University Library I mentioned earlier already. The building was a donation from the USA, because the old library was destroyed during the first world war. It has 48 bells corresponding to the 48 states of America of which it contained back in the day. All around the build (and on the inside as well, I assume)there are the names of the schools and universities who took part in the donation. The map said, it'd be very worth it to visit the inside as well - although you can only get into the reading hall for free. I don't know why I didn't do this and I regrett it. But this can only mean that I'll have to go there again.

After my little tour through the city I got back to my hostel around 12.15. I knew, my SB and I made up 12.30 for the next meeting, but I didn't want to be there too punctual so I did some surfing in the internet. But since I didn't show up, he was concerned about me and came to the hostel (12.39). So we went off to have lunch in the mensa, meet some people and make up plans for the evening.

After lunch we met the others (I already knew them because of the evening before) at 14.15 in front of the international café "Pangaea". It came out that there should be a party that evening, so plans were made. Also, a guy from Equadore told us, that if we wanted to visit Brussels (only half an hour by train), we should go to the Natural History Museum, because they've got Dinosaurs. When my SB heard that, he completely freak out like a child. He was so excited to see these Dinosaurs. So plans for the next day were made as well.

We kept sitting in front of the Pangaea until around 15.00 and I almost feared to get a sunburn because it was shining so strong. It really was unbeleavable hot there that day. So after my third and forth coffee, we decided to split up again. I think my SB wanted to get some more sleep (could be wrong, I don't remember correctly) and I wanted to go on exploring the city. I wanted to find one garden in particular. So I went off the other direction and found the garden quite easily. But unfortunatly, at first I couldn't find the entrance and when a was around it almost entirely, certain natural needs forced me to leave and search for a different place.

So I went back to the hostel, had a nap and went out for another walk. By the time it was 16.30 and the next meeting with my SB was schedulded for 19.30 so again I had quite a bit of time. As I was wandering through the city, I remembered he told me where the Engineering Facilities were stationed, so I tried to find them. But all I found were the Sports Facilities. It still was quite nice :) When I finished my tour it was 19.15, so I had walked for almost 3 hours. Because of all the action over the day and all the sun and fresh air, the evening was quite eventless. It turned out there wasn't too much of a party at Pangaea, so I was back at the hostel and ready to go to sleep at 22.30.

The next day, Saturday, we went to Brussels as planned. We, this was my SB and his GF, one of the Hanoverans and his GF and me of course. It appeared that the Hanoveran guy knew the city quite well and had already made up a plan of what to visit and where to go - that was kinda nice :)

We wanted to go to the museum first, so we had to change at Brussels Nord. The Hanoveran described it as the World's Ugliest Station, but I kinda liked it. It looked a little bit like 1930s Science Fiction drawings and I'm really curios to know wether this was just the architectural style of that epoche.

Next we arrived at Luxembourg Station. This is right in the center of the European Quarter. So we came to see the European Parliament and some other European government institutional buildings. But since it was weekend, all these places and buildings were died out.

The Museum itself was really huge and for only 6 euro for a student it was totally worth it, although we had some trouble with the cashier because she didn't speak any English at all and none of us was capable of clearing up the situation in French. Never the less, the Dinosaurs were quite impressive and my SB couldn't hide his pleasure. So now I've seen two T-Rex skeletons already, count rising :)

Afterwards we all slowly became hungry, so we decided to get some food. But beforehand, we had to walk through the European Quartier (once again), by the King's Palace, tbe Old England building, and the again very impressive Brussels Palace of Justice. Then all over a sudden, there was a cliff in the middle of the city from which we had a nice view over the nothern parts. From there we could also see the Atomium, which was far too far away to walk by... We had to go down there by a lift, but it was free, so no problem with that.

On the lower level, we walked some smaller roads by cafés, small shops and places until we finally found our destination: Quick. This is some kind of a Belgium fast food chain but somehow we must have picked the completely wrong lane and therefore had to wait about 20 minutes until all of us were served.

After being fed, we again walked through some pedestrian precincts. We still had to see the Grand-Place (big pic!) (also very impressive) and of course: the Mannekin Pis. But unfortunatly, the entire day so far was very exhausting to me. So I didn't catch too much of it all. I can only say: Brussels really worth a visit! We then went back from Brussel Midi and the rest of the day again was quite uneventfull.

The next day, I had my journey back, so the events of my holidays end here. As a conclusion I'd say both, Leuven and Brussels, really are worth a visit. Depending on how much action you want and how many sights you "really" want to visit (and not just pass by) I'd say, you can easily spend 2 to 4 days in Leuven and at the very minimum 2 days in Brussels. Leuven is more of a very old city with many young people (because its University) while Brussels is a Metropole with both, older and more modern buildings combined.

So long, that's it. Oh, I'd really appreciate it, if you leave a coment on whether or not you liked this entry (and in case: what you like about it). That'd be great. Thanks a lot.

Until next time,

P.S.: erm... apparently, I failed to put my own pics in here, satisfiingly... so just some pics via link from the internet... Enjoy :)

Samstag, 5. März 2011

Für jedes Werk der rechte Schuh

(Auch wenn es einwenig zweideutig ist, bin ich mir doch relativ sicher, dass jeder weiss, wie es gemeint ist.)

Ich habe mir heute nämlich, nachdem ich mich ausreichend von letzter Nacht (CeBIT) erholt habe, neue Schuhe gekauft. Als ich letztes Wochenende bei dem guten Wetter spazieren war, dachte ich so bei mir: "Mensch, wenn man jetzt die richtigen Sachen hätte, könnte man schön 'ne Runde laufen gehen."

Lang leben die spontanen Pläne! So habe ich mir also heute entsprechende funktionale Kleidung gekauft. Ein Paar Schuhe, eine Hose und ein Paar Strümpfe ergeben - eine ganze Stange Geld. Aber ich bin überzeugt, dass es eine gute Investition war. Ich muss es jetzt nur noch entsprechend nutzen. Außerdem hatte ich eine gute Beratung durch einen Kumpel von mir und habe durch ihn auch noch ein wenig Nachlass bekommen können (trotzdem, ein Schnäppchen ist was anderes, aber was solls).

Leider war ich erst sehr spät da, so dass ich ihn noch einige Zeit über den eigentlichen Feierabend hinaus beanspruchen musste. Aber das war, scheint's, ok. Danach sind wir auch gleich noch 'ne Runde gelaufen, weil er heute auch neue Schuhe bekommen hatte (zufälligerweise die gleichen, die ich mir auch gekauft habe). Das war gut. Das werde ich jetzt öfter machen.

Das werde ich jetzt öfters machen ... ich habe festgestellt, dass ich scheinbar die falsche Einstellung zum Sporttreiben habe. Ich war im Laufe des letzten Semesters nicht einmal sportlich aktiv. Das ist echt schon traurig. Auf dem Weg (vom Einkaufen) nach Hause dachte ich dann: "Vielleicht schaffe ich das ja nächstes Semester." Dann wurde ich stutzig. Das ist ja eben genau das Ding. Dieser Satz ist doch zu übersetzen mit: "Mal gucken, ob es nächstes Semester passiert, dass ich Sport mache. Wenn ja - super. Wenn nein ist's aber auch nicht schlimm." Autsch.

Mit der Zeit ist das ja immer so eine Sache. Man spricht zwar davon, "Zeit zu haben", aber irgendwie trifft es das oft überhaupt nicht. Letztlich kann man Zeit doch schließlich nicht besitzen, oder? Naja, in gewissem Sinne kann man sie als eine Resource betrachten und es geht nur darum, sie effizient einzusetzen. Wenn man keine Zeit für etwas hat, bedeutet das doch lediglich, dass andere Dinge höhere Priorität haben und deshalb mehr von der Resource Zeit bekommen. Wenn man also unzufrieden damit ist, wie viel Zeit man für bestimmte Dinge "hat", dann sollte man wohl mal über seine Prioritäten nachdenken.

Um auf das Thema Sport zurückzukommen, wie mein Kumpel es auch formulierte (so oder so ähnlich): Kein will, müsste, sollte mehr! Machen oder Lassen! Konsequenter sein! Bewusster sein! Alles andere ist Mist! ...mehr oder weniger...

So, nun soll aber der Überschrift nochmal ein wenig mehr Gewicht zukommen. Mir ist nämlich aufgefallen, dass ich doch einiges an Schuhen habe. Aber jedes Paar ist auf eine Aufgabe spezialisiert. Neben den neu erworbenen Laufschuhen habe ich auch noch Motorradstiefel, Hausschuhe, Anzugschuhe, Festivaltreter, Fahrradschuhe und natürlich meine ganz normalen Alltagsstraßenschuhe. Das sind immerhin 7 Paare. Ganz ordentlich wie ich finde, dafür dass ich ein Mann bin ...

So, das war's für heute. Bleibt fit! Bis die Tage,