Austria 2003

"No one wanted to leave Berchtesgaden, until they saw Austria."

-Band of Brothers

In the summer of 2003, Nick attended the Institute on World Legal Problems in Innsbruck, Austria. The program lasted from July 7 to August 8 and did not feature Chief Justice William Rehnquist of the United States Supreme Court as the "Distinguished Visiting Jurist."

The updates may be read best from bottom to top, as they were designed for people seeking updates during the trip.

Note to fellow travelers: if you want better copies of any of these (or other) photos, or if you just want to say hi, please feel free to contact me.

Foto Galerie

Feldkirch - 13 Juli 2003
Prague - 18-19 Juli 2003
Munich - 26 Juli 2003
Ulm - 1-2 August 2003
Salzburg - 2-3 August 2003

Innsbruck - 3 Juli - 9 August 2003
Institute on World Legal Problems - 7 Juli - 8 August 2003
Alpenzoo - 30 Juli 2003
The Last Day - 8 August 2003

Where's Rehnquist?


Travelogue just sounded too French.
11 August 2003 As a lingering souvenir of the trip, Nick's internet still times out after an hour.
10 August 2003
The roughly 23 hour journey from Innsbruck to Spokane ends after approximately 43 hours. Nick survives the flight to Minneapolis, survives customs, finds new flight to Spokane, and is delighted to learn that his luggage was not stolen, destroyed, sent to Bombay, or otherwise disposed of.

Nick loses the random Canadians and is unable to pay them back for cab fare in Amsterdam. Well, who likes American law students anyhow?

Gets a Mountain Dew from Taco Bell, neither of which were found in Europe.
9 August 2003 The roughly 23 hour journey from Innsbruck to Spokane begins. Northwest loses the 747 necessary to cross the Atlantic Ocean, finally figures out that it is broken, and reschedules flight for 12 noon the next day. Nick gets a free night in Amsterdam's Radisson airport hotel, meets random travelers, eats free dinner, watches TV in English, finds first ice machine in Europe, and makes iced coffee.
8 August 2003 A day of accomplishments and oddness. Nick accidentally finds the entrance to Innsbruck's Hofkirche and Tiroler Volkskunstmuseum, wanders back and forth throughout the town, takes a tram, eventually locates the path to the destinations of 25 Juli, but arrives after they are closed. Concludes that paprika (a common flavoring in European snack foods) is basically the same as BBQ. Discovers Wild Berry Fanta.
7 August 2003 Skip class for the first time in Austria to finish and print a take-home exam, later photographs a mysterious brown pigeon.

Nick determines that of all the pictures he's taken on the junket, he still has 751 on his computer.
6 August 2003 Take-home exams handed out.

Nick eats a heart-shaped ice cream bar.

Hours later, Nick wins a slightly protracted battle with a rather frightening insect.
5 August 2003 Nick buys Tirolean cheese.

Closing Dinner at the Hofgarten (Nick wears pants for the third time in Europe), followed by a visit to the Innsbruck Casino (with actual people). Nick eats Wiener Schnitzel, learns that tomatoes are "maters." "Wiener," by the way, literally means Viennese.
4 August 2003 Nick approximates nachos with tortilla chips and a cheese dip.
3 August 2003 Salzburg, Austria. Day Two:
The best hotel breakfast I've ever had...

Wandered around old town, took Festungsbahn (a steep-ascent train) to the fortress. Eventually head back into town, tour catacombs, generally wander about.

On the return to Innsbruck, Nick is fairly certain that he asked the question "Sprechen Sie Englisch?" to a train conductor who was already speaking some form of English.

Got a Coke and sandwich at gas station. Looked up ingredients of sandwich in dictionary.
2 August 2003
Ulm, Germany. Day Two:

The day begins with a little wandering about the town and a visit to the Ulm Bread Museum.

The Ulm-Dinkelscherben-Munich-Salzburg Fiasco:
  • Noonish - Get on interesting double-decker train heading to Munich.
  • 12:30 - Train stops in Günzburg, passengers get on bus (like the return from Prague, but without companions).
  • 1:20 - Bus arrives in Dinkelscherben, passengers are herded into train station. Most trains pass through without stopping.
  • 2:12 - Train to Augsburg stops in Dinkelscherben, I get on.
  • 2:52 - Get on ICE train to Munich in Augsburg. This could be the train I could have got on in Ulm two hours after I left. Conductor commented that I could be in 1st class - I was just glad to be on a train that would go to Munich.
  • Get on train from Munich to Salzburg, which was relatively uneventful except for a car without air conditioning and some folks from Canada. 4 hour trip from Ulm to Salzburg ultimately takes 6 hours.
Salzburg, Austria. Day One:

Check into hotel - very close to train station and awesome view.

Wandered through Mirabell Gardens to Old Town looking for food. After wandering through the maze of the Old Town, finally find a McDonald's after looking left down a narrow passageway. Ate a "McCountry" sandwich. Found a statue of an Ent (as far as I can tell).
1 August 2003
Ulm, Germany. Day One:

Nick takes 1st class car on train to Munich. Train schedule shows two trains leaving for Ulm shortly after arrival in Munich - in contrast to the expected 90 minute wait. Nick boards a train to Paris, gets off in Ulm.

Nick stays in a hotel by himself for the first time. Feels very professional, except that he's wearing shorts and a t-shirt and his sole piece of luggage is a backpack. Also impressed that the Intercity Hotel is actually attached to the train station. The room was right above a Burger King and across the street from McDonald's.

Walked through the city center and climbed 768 steps to the top of the world's tallest cathedral.

Bought a copy of The Fellowship of the Ring to read on trains and at night. Ate at Burger King for the first time in Europe.

For some reason, the residents of Ulm don't mind telling everyone they learned about the 3 dimensions from a sparrow:
The legend of the Ulm Sparrow tells us that the ulm citizens were transporting wooden beams for the Cathedral construction into the city. The beams were loaded crosswise on the carriages which led to a problem upon entering the narrow city gate. The citizens had already deduced that the gate had to be demolished to enable the wood's passage. As a blessing to the gate they then noticed a sparrow winging by, carrying a long straw in it's beak. When they observed the sparrow inserting this straw lengthwise into a niche of the gate-tower where it was building its nest the good citizens of Ulm experienced a revelation and they repositioned their beams lengthwise on the carriage. Overcome with gratitude they then placed a memorial to the sparrow on the Cathedral's roof. In fact such a copper likeness of the sparrow armed with its straw really does exist. (From Ulm Tourist Board)
Nick saw the statue of the sparrow inside the Cathedral, but it did not photograph well.
31 Juli 2003 Nick eats a Big Mac and continues to disprove the theory that one must be healthy and sane to survive law school.

Considered buying a sword, but was not sure how to get it home.
30 Juli 2003 Nick finds 10 Euros, walks to the Alpenzoo.
29 Juli 2003 Nick receives upgraded railpass due to some issuing errors, can now travel "1st class." Later, Nick walks to airport and back along the other side of the river.
28 Juli 2003 Walked in the rain, alone.
27 Juli 2003 More wandering around Innsbruck.
26 Juli 2003
Munich, Germany:

Wandered through Munich, eventually finding the English Garden and seeking out the Chinesischer Turm (Chinese Tower) - one location remembered from high school German. With the sole exception of Feldkirch, Nick has now visited the McDonald's in every city he's gone to. And Feldkirch should not count as the city was closed upon his arrival.
25 Juli 2003 Nick wanders across Innsbruck in yet another direction, past the Westbahnhof and towards Bergisel. Visited a few churches but was unable to locate a particular museum or a walkway up the hill, ends up circling city.
24 Juli 2003 Nothing of importance happened today.
23 Juli 2003 Other GU students finally arrive in Innsbruck, having traveled throughout Europe for the first half of the program.
22 Juli 2003 Nick gets hit by a bus door.

Tour of the Tirolean state legislature (they dislike the translation of "Land" as "province").
21 Juli 2003 Tour group walked to the local courthouse during a thunderstorm with air raid sirens were going off - must be what the war sounded like, kind of. Tour of the courthouse follows.
20 Juli 2003 On the train from Prague, Nick tries carbonated water, nasty nasty stuff - realized it's the same thing you get when the soda fountains run out of syrup.

The train from Munich stops just outside Innsbruck, so remaining passengers had to board a "Bahn Bus" for the remainder of the trip. Nick's remaining knowledge of German comes in handy when the conductor who tries to explain this does not speak English.

Nick wanders off in hopes of buying a network cable, but too much of the town is closed, so he settles for Coke from a gas station and a long nap.
19 Juli 2003
Czech Republic
Prague, Czech Republic. Day Two:

Nick eats a pastry and Coke for breakfast.

By the time they reach the Prague Castle, the Fellowship has broken. One convinced Nick to get a ticket to tour the castle and then catch up with the two other Texan friends who were wandering about the cathedral with audio tours.

Nick climbs 287 steps to the top of the Prague Cathedral, finds the U.S. embassy, and generally wanders about (the guidebook and compass certainly came in handy!). Some 6 hours later, Nick somehow manages to catch up with the two Texans in back in the old town. Decide against visiting the Museum of Communism because it cost a bit too much for the amount of time we had left. Wander about together and buy souvenirs.

Spent 14 of last 15 Czech crowns on a bottle of water.

Return to train station, where this time the overnight train had actual sleeper cars - compartments with 3 beds, not chairs!

Neither Nick nor the Texans determined where exactly the Defenestration of Prague occurred, but it will be found eventually even if I have to go back and spend a week there (which I think I'd like to do anyhow).

In general, the Czechs certainly seem to have taken to capitalism. Their efforts to draw tourists into stores and restaurants were more energetic than any other city that I visited. In the train station, they'd walk up to new arrivals apparently offering rooms in hostels, we had a reservation though, so we didn't have to risk spending the night in a dungeon. Interestingly, several stores offered the "best price in Prague" on t-shirts, but with varying prices.

Remember the old Levis TV commercial, "In Prague, you can trade them for a car"? I really wouldn't be surprised.
18 Juli 2003
Czech Republic
Prague, Czech Republic. Day One:

The Fellowship arrives in Prague, walks to hostel, has lunch (Nick has giant plate of French fries).

Nick forgets his sunglasses in the room, causing him to spend most of the walking tour of the Old Town squinting.

Nick eats apple strudel and accompanies the Texans to a party when he should have been sleeping.
17 Juli 2003 The Trek to Prague Begins

Texans and Nick depart from Innsbruck in the evening, get on overnight train in Munich. Manage to convince another passenger to trade seats so all know each other in one 6-seat compartment on the overnight train (which makes the trip a heck of a lot more comfortable, even if the chairs aren't). The reserved "sleeper" seats turn out to be ordinary non-reclinable seats - but definitely better off than the people without reservations who spent the night on the passageway floors. Nick gets very little sleep.

At some point in the night, train was stopped in the Czech Republic and loudspeakers could be heard outside, evoking images of Cold War Eastern Europe.
16 Juli 2003 Nick is adopted into group going to Prague. Ultimately decides to go based on two tie-breaking factors, one of which was the Defenestration of Prague - the tossing of a few Hapsburg officials out of a castle window, which sparked the 30 Years War (which, by the way, actually lasted 30 years: 1618-1648).

Yay for Texans!
15 Juli 2003 Reception at the Hotel Europa Tyrol's Barocksaal Ballroom - in honor of the absent Chief Justice, and lacking a cardboard cutout for photo-ops.

There was fish on the minipizzas, quite a little shock.

Notably, someone actually talks to Nick.

Texans take Nick to a bar where he is dull (yet somehow enjoys it).

"It's a European compact"!!!
14 Juli 2003 Nick finds where he can buy a cold can of Coke!!!
13 Juli 2003 First European train ride (to Feldkirch, Austria, the gateway to Liechtenstein).

Yay, tunnels!

Boo, hot noisy trains and towns that close down on Sunday.
12 Juli 2003 Ueberbus refuses to pick up Nick because he failed to notice the ueberbutton needed to open the ueberdoors. Nick considers himself invisible for at least half an hour.

Nick sneezes, gets first "Gesundheit!" from an Austrian.
11 Juli 2003 Nick gets a bus pass.

Americans in the Hofgarten!!! - Nick, wandering through the Hofgarten alone, hears Sousa's "Stars and Stripes Forever" - discovers a concert by the American Musical Ambassadors.
10 Juli 2003 One week in Innsbruck - it's like a different country.

Later, phone rang twice. Nick stares at it, since, after all, he didn't even know his own phone number.
9 Juli 2003 Yay for Cabanossi - the Austrian version of the pepperoni stick - and if it's actually some kind of brain-sausage, try not to tell me until I get back.

Nick laughs at a teeny tiny truck.
8 Juli 2003 Yay! Internet! Endlich!

Got two howdy's and a yeehaw! from a couple of kids in a car outside a grocery store.

Teeny tiny fire trucks!
7 Juli 2003 First day of class, orientation and International Human Rights. Got rail pass. On return to room: Yay! Clean towels!

Opening gala at Schloss Ambras, 6-9pm - castle, ducks, peacocks, and an oddly tied tie. Used free drink coupons for Cokes.

Tonight's theme song: Gollum's Song, from The Two Towers.
6 Juli 2003 Walked out to the Westbahnhof and back. Went on basic walking tour of Innsbruck. The St. Mary's people are actually here! (Hence the tour.)
5 Juli 2003 Got up just after midnight, watched The Patriot.

Walked to University to find classroom and found first Coke vending machine! I should be able to find my classes!
4 Juli 2003 They serve breakfast, I won't starve!

Wandered into town, bought groceries (I won't starve!), went through Old Town, visited McDonald's (ordered in English, repeat in German, confuse poor McWorker).

Slept 4pm-12 midnight.
3 Juli 2003
Arrived in Amsterdam about 6:40am. Not sure if I'll stay alive long enough to reach my bed. Determine that flying this long is actually worse than going to the dentist.

Noticed lights shining advertisements on the airport floor - either to appeal to exhausted travelers or to prove that somebody can be more commercial than Americans. Customs guys ask Nick where he was coming from, get three different answers, none of which were USA. Eventually got on flight to Innsbruck, 30-seater, roughly 20 passengers. Land in Innsbruck, lug luggage, find ATM, get Euros, figure out where to get taxi, get taxi, arrive at Haus Karwendel. Eventually get room, collapse into bed around 12:30.

Wake up around 6:30pm. Wander downtown to the Hofgarten and back. Brave birds and aggressive drivers. Lots of candy vending machines, but none with pop. Get a bottle of Coke at a gas station. I don't have to drink water out of my hands anymore!!!

Time difference: Central Europe is 9 hours ahead of Pacific Standard (Daylight) Time, so that noon PST is 9pm in Austria; noon in Austria is 3am PST.
2 Juli 2003 Departed Spokane about 9:30am. Already tired.
Arrived in Minneapolis-St. Paul, by the time I found my gate, the flight to Amsterdam was boarding.