When I Lived in Europe: Brookie’s Trip

For today, I thought I’d do a little throwback post to my very first blog entitled, **cringe** “Brittany is Taking Over Europe.”  I wrote this way back in 2006 when I lived in a little slice of paradise in Austria for my semester abroad.  You can read my other entires HERE.  Below chronicles perhaps the most dramatic trip my sister and I have ever taken.  Let’s just say my self-righteous self had very little patience for a fun-loving 17-year-old.  Looking back at this post, it’s fun to see how much my writing and way of thinking have changed.  I also really only say words like, “soooo” in text messages.  Also, I find saying things like, “I’m blessed” beyond cheesy.  I put my “2017 Updates” in parentheses… WHAT was I thinking in some of the things I oh-so casually mention?!

For as much as I wish I could go back and change some things, the semester abroad experience was by far the most life-changing thing I have ever done.  If I’m being totally honest, it’s the reason I had the courage to move to D.C. from my safe little hometown of Strongsvlle, OH.  The semester abroad also completely inflected me with an incurable case of wanderlust.  I went back to Austria last summer and, even though my fellow “pilgrims” were at times annoying the hell out of  me, it was good to be back “home.”  My words below show a small snippet of a young girl who’s away from home for the first time.  She never knew that the end of this experience would be the beginning of an amazing chapter that, 11 years later, is still unfolding.


The Monday after Italy, Brooke had arrived. I am an idiot and accidentially slept straight through my alarm clock to meet up with her in Vienna. (2017 update: I was completely lying here.  I just didn’t want to wake up) Thank God another girl (Erin Hurd-my angel) was going to pick her sister up, so Brooke just travelled to Gaming with them. On Brooke’s first night here, Ramey, Lindsay, Brooke and I went to the TOR Sisters’ house to make carmelitas, which are quite possibly the most amazing junk food ever (2017 update: Can you see why my sister was a little upset?  She flies across the globe, to a country she can legally drink in, and I take her to hang out with nuns). After that, we met up with everyone at Ur’s, had a few drinks, and called it a night. Thursday of that week was Thanksgiving and we had our Annual Kartause Thanksgiving Ball. It was soooo much fun. The evening began in the Mensa for Thanksgiving Dinner, which was terrible but still fun. After dinner, we hung out on Sean’s balcony for a little while before going to the actual ball. The first two hours of the dance featured an Austrian Dance instructor. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so hard. The Austrian dances are soooo much fun, and it is quite hysterical to see the guys in laterhosen, trying to hop around like the native Austrians. The dance instructor was so into it and was doing counts on the microphone, so for two hours we heard, “And leift, and wiright, and leift and wiright; and a von, tew, shree, four, five, seixx, seiven.” Guess you had to be there to appreciate it…

On Friday, Brooke, Lindsay and I got pizza from the Steinmull (or however the heck it’s spelled) before hitching (2017 Update: You read correctly)  to the train station to go to Munich. We were in Munich by 8 p.m. (2017 update: My ideal bedtime), got a hotel, and met up with Stephen, Eric, and Maribeth at the Hofbrau Haus. Brooke and I decided to go across the street to the HardRock for dinner (2017 update: This is where The Flight took place.  She somehow managed to find a phone and call my parents who were vacationing in Las Vegas to tattle.  Needless to say, that did absolutely no good.) before going back to the Hofbrau for a beer. At the Hofbrau, we met a couple from London and ended up hanging out with them for the rest of the night. We closed the Hofbrau, and then took a cab to the Cultural Center, which is this HUGE district with a crapload of really fun clubs. We were out until about 3 a.m., and then went back to the hotel to sleep before a few hours.

We were out of the hotel on Saturday by 9 a.m. I know, I still can’t believe it myself. We toured Munich and did a little shopping before catching our noon train back to Gaming.

We were back in Gaming by evening, so Stephen, Lindsay, Brooke and I took up residence in the 2nd Floor Tea Kitchen and made mac and cheese (2017 update: #Americans)  for dinner before crashing for the night.

On Sunday, Christie, Brooke and I got on the 9:30 train to spend the day in Vienna. Once we got there, we took the bus to the airport, checked Brooke’s bags in and checked her into the airport hotel. We then took a cab to the St. Stephensplatz (NOT a form of transportation I would recommend. It was reeeally expensive.). There we had lunch at this really good cafeteria-style Italian restaurant that really made me miss home. After that, we took a horse and carriage tour around the city so Brooke could see the Palace, Parliament, and the Rathaus. Then we went to both the Old Vienna Adventmarkt and the Rathaus Adventmarkt. Our cab driver told us to try the punsch (or punch in English), so we went to the first punsch stand we could find at the Old Vienna markt and ordered whatever looked good. Little did we know that there was a crapload of alcohol in it. I think we determined that it was rum. Anyway, we then went to the Rathaus Adventmarkt (it was SO cool and totally put me into the Christmas Spirit) before going to St. Peter’s Church for Mass. After Mass, I sent Brooke in a cab (2017 update: WHAT?!?!  I sent a 17-year-old American who speaks no German in a cab to her hotel?!) to her hotel, and Christie and I took a cab to Westbanhof train station, coincidentially met up with Travis, and all travelled together back to Gaming.

This week has been stressful. My darling professors like to pile on the work at the end of the semester (2017 update: God, I was such a snowflake...) . Fun fun fun. This weekend, I’m going to Prague (2017 update: Which turned in to one of the many “we should be dead” weekends)  for a final travelling sha-bang. I’m really looking forward to it. I can’t believe how quickly this semester has gone. I have been so blessed, but I really can’t wait to get home. I miss you all!


Present day again… My gosh, looking back is always a humbling experience.  Thanks for reading and for keeping your judgements of 20-year-old me to yourself ;).  Have a great weekend!

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