jump to navigation

Fourth of July (from Krakow – 4 July 2010) August 30, 2010

Posted by Andrew Punnoose in Travel Log.
Tags: ,
2 comments

Today is Independence Day! While I couldn’t spend it as I usually do, in the home of the brave and the land of the free, it was a great experience celebrating it in Poland. So far, all of my 4th of July’s have been spent either in Washington, D.C. or Boston, where it’s more of a week-long event than a single day, so spending it in a foreign country was more than a bit different. We went to an event hosted by the US Consulate, featuring a soul group from New Orleans, with a lead singer active enough to convince Darion (one of our fellow students) to get up on stage for a bit of performing of his own. When we walked out into the central square, we were greeted by Lady Liberty herself!

Statue of Liberty
The Statue of Liberty walking among us in the central square

(more…)

Check! (from Berlin – 28 June 2010) August 30, 2010

Posted by Andrew Punnoose in Travel Log.
Tags: ,
1 comment so far

We arrived in Berlin yesterday, around 6 pm, after leaving from the Hotel Tourisme in Paris at 7 am. We missed the Germany-England football game, but got to Berlin just in time to see the whole city erupting in celebration. It was pretty incredible – the streets were filled with honking cars, people walking through the streets with flags as capes, and with the sound of vuvuzelas. When Cate, one of the graduate students on the program, asked a German about where to find something, he said, “No, today, we do not speak English!” It was a great example of the relatively recent emergence of German patriotism.

German patriotism

German patriotism in the streets of Berlin, after a World Cup match

(more…)

Firsthand (from Paris – 25 June 2010) August 30, 2010

Posted by Andrew Punnoose in Travel Log.
Tags: ,
add a comment

Our trip to Normandy today was both beautiful and rather sobering. We visited Bayeux and its D-Day Museum, not too far from Omaha Beach, where the opening scene to ‘Saving Private Ryan’ was filmed. If you’ve ever seen the movie, you know the intensity of the scene, said to be a fair representation of what it was like for the soldiers storming the coast. The museum overlooks the ocean and provides a trail right down to the beach. It was hard imagining the events of December 7th taking place on the bright and sunny beach I was walking along.

Bayeux/Normandy

The view from the water, looking at one of the beaches that was stormed on D-Day

(more…)

Straight Talk (from Brussels – 19 June 2010) August 30, 2010

Posted by Andrew Punnoose in Travel Log.
Tags: ,
1 comment so far
Bottling of beer at Catillon brewery

How beer is bottled at the Catillon brewery in Brussels

Today I went on a fascinating tour at the last remaining lambic brewery in Brussels, Catillon. A lambic is a beer that is brewed with no added yeast; rather, the bacteria that ferments the initial product is airborne. Because of the necessity of leaving the vats open to the air, pest control can be a problem. Catillon only uses natural methods – cats to eat the mice and spiders to eat the flies. In addition to learning about brewing, the tour touched on issues related to trade and food regulation at the level of the European Union. Our guide discussed how there is no regulation in Belgium on the labeling of beers, meaning that a kriek (sour cherry) beer could be an industrial pilsner with sugar and cherry flavoring added, or it could be a blend of three lambics brewed for three years with the addition of only real cherries for flavoring. The latter method is how Catillon brews their krieks. Later in the tour, our guide came back to the subject of labeling. There is a beer brewed in sealed barrels at Catillon, allowing the natural carbonation to build up (most of their beers are not carbonated, as the wood of the barrels is porous).

Pest control in the attic of the Catillon brewery

(more…)

Whirlwind (from Brussels – 7 June 2010) August 30, 2010

Posted by Andrew Punnoose in Travel Log.
Tags: ,
1 comment so far
Switzerland

The view from my host family's balcony (in Switzerland)

It’s my eleventh day in Brussels, and it’s been a whirlwind of a time. I’ve already been on a bus tour of Brussels, had three five-hour lectures about the European Union from Dr. Birchfield (our professor), been to Switzerland for the weekend with my host family (the photo above is from the balcony of their house in Switzerland), and sat in on a session at the European Parliament. The lectures were intended to provide us with a foundation from which we could ask questions when visiting different European Union institutions (such as Parliament). I won’t go into detail about what we learned, since I wouldn’t know where to begin (I have 40 pages of notes from those three lectures alone). However, our visit to Parliament was our first real exposure to what had, so far, been merely theory. We had a briefing on the history of the EU and how Parliament’s power has grown with each successive treaty, followed by a seminar and Q&A with a parliamentary representative to the UK (MEP Bill Newton Dunn). MEP Dunn was rather frank in answering our questions, including one regarding why he switched parties.

EU Parliament

Me sitting in the back of the EU Parliament's plenary chamber

(more…)

A Final Trip to Paris August 25, 2010

Posted by justinkeating in Travel Log.
Tags: ,
add a comment

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Save a brief visit for Bastille Day and a couple of hours following a missed train coming back from Italy, I somehow managed to go the entire summer in France without properly visiting Paris. That finally changed the during finals week (after finals of course!) when Alexa and I took the 83 minute high speed TGV from Metz to Paris to say a final farewell to our host country this summer.

(more…)

Mr. Donohue goes to Brussels August 2, 2010

Posted by gtpspdirector in Travel Log.
Tags: , , , ,
add a comment

For those of you who haven’t seen Star Wars, please watch the video below.

Done?  Good.  That’s the European Parliament.

Well, sort of.  It’s by no means a “wretched hive of scum and villainy,” there are no rubber masks, and there is no catchy music (most of the time).  Allow me to explain myself. (more…)

The Traveling Life July 25, 2010

Posted by gtpspdirector in Travel Log.
Tags: , , , ,
add a comment

We were in Germany for their victory over the UK. Awesome!

Three cities, three weeks, a whole lotta traveling.

The first three weeks of my program were spent in Brussels (you can read my previous posts here and here), and the second were spent with one week in Paris, one in Berlin, and one in Krakow, Poland.  This was a great opportunity to see three totally different parts of the EU and get a feel for the different cultures.  Let’s take them one at a time by publishing some excerpts from my journal. (more…)

Herman and Cathy, Barry and Hil June 26, 2010

Posted by gtpspdirector in Travel Log.
Tags: , , , , , ,
2 comments

The Group at NATO

Wow. The past three weeks have been something of a whirlwind, having traveled to at least seven cities, being exposed to three languages, and watching the USA pull out a literal last minute victory over Algeria (for which I will be billing USA Soccer for the 5 years of my life I lost).

I’ve been in Paris for a week, but I’m going to focus on my site visits in Brussels to all of the EU institutions.

In short, the EU is made up of four main institutions. They are the Commission, the Council, the Parliament, and the European Court of Justice roughly analogous to our Executive Branch, Senate, House of Representatives, and Judiciary. We visited the first three along with several think tanks and other organizations including NATO and SHAPE (Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe).

Much of the conversation at these places was driven by the topic of the four people named in this post. Herman von Rumpuy is the new president of the European Council, Lady Catherine Ashton is the new High Representative for Common and Security Policy, and Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are well known to us all. (more…)

Europe in 14 points June 6, 2010

Posted by gtpspdirector in Travel Log.
Tags: , , , , ,
1 comment so far

It’s been two weeks since I arrived in Europe, two weeks of new cities, new languages, new experiences, and a whole lotta learning.  In honor of the American president who gave us so much of what eventually became liberalism (and because I’ve spent 14 days here) and in no particular order, here are 14 points on my travels in London and Belgium:

  1. Overnight flights with personal entertainment screens, free dinner, free breakfast, and a packed second dinner are surprisingly bearable
  2. Astor Hyde Park = awesome hostel in London.  It’s located in a great place to play Embassy Bingo and has a great “Student Traveler” atmosphere
  3. Best experience to have within 12 hours of entering a new continent? Testing out the local health care by bringing your travel mate to the hospital for falling off of the bunk and needing stitches.  He’s fine.
  4. Mind the Gap. ‘Nuff said.
  5. Yes, the cars drive on the wrong side of the road in the UK.  London’s authorities recognize the confusion this causes in the minds of American travelers and so conveniently paints on the roadways which way to look while crossing.  It’s true!
  6. London is old.  Really old.  So old it makes St. Augustine look like a punk kid city still going through puberty. (more…)
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 40 other followers