Sounds of Paris


Paris is a musical city.  One of the stand-out impressions for me was the music being played live all other the place.  So! Here are three videos of musicians entertaining all over Paris.

On the steps of the Sacré-Coeur, a harpist playing the French classic La Vie en Rose ….

Musicians randomly jump on trains in the metro system, play a quick song or two, and jump off again in a few stops.  Their music is always lively, and I especially like these two guys playing guitar and accordion.  I didn’t get any video – the audio is set to some of my pictures of the Parisian Metro.

This guy was also playing on the steps of the Sacré-Coeur. It’s a popular place for impromptu music because soooo many tourists are in the area.

I loved the music all around Paris. : )

This Week in Pictures


Here’s a few photos from this week in Freiburg!

A quirky thing I noticed yesterday – you can buy batteries individually here. At home, I normally only buy batteries in huge packages of 20 or more.


Soccer Football is a huge deal here. This street-performer was keeping it fancy and entertaining with his tricks….

national passtime.

Alongside that soccer player, there are a lot more street musicians out, too, in the new warmer spring weather.


And Freiburg’s riverside is a great place to enjoy the sun! It’s scenic, calm, and inviting….

the riverside.

I love Germany in the spingtime! : )

freiburger path.

Compare and Contrast: Freiburg Edition


February 22:

february 22.

March 25:

march 25.

It’s starting to look a lot like springtime around Freiburg. And with the warmer weather, restaurants and cafes are officially using all their outdoor tables. The streets are packed with people enjoying these sunny days. : )

PS – You can find the rest of the ‘Compare and Contrast’ series here.

A Saturday at Versailles, part II


During our field study trip focusing on institutions of the European Union, my study abroad program offered the chance to explore the Palace of Versailles near Paris. In Part I, I shared some photos of the grounds and architecture outside.  Now, here’s some photos from inside the Palace!

Once inside, anything and everything you see is incredibly ornate and decadent. From the bookshelves…

the royal bookshelf.

…to the clocks…

reflective clock.

…and even to the ceilings!

ceiling shot II.

We went on a Saturday, and the Palace was jam-packed with people eager to see the famous home of the 17th-18th century French royal family. It was especially crowded in the renowned Hall of Mirrors, where the Treaty of Versailles was signed, ending World War I.

In the Hall, one long wall is full of towering windows which each directly face a mirror, so that all the reflecting sunlight makes this room seem the brightest and most open….

hall of mirrors.

The Hall of Mirrors is soooo fancy that it makes other parts of the Palace seem tame!


Getting the chance to walk around inside and outside at Versailles was a great opportunity.  There was something there for everyone  –  history, art, landscaping, gardens, architecture, design…. It’s a one-of-a-kind place!

ceiling shot I.

A Saturday at Versailles, Part I


During our field study trip to Paris, my study abroad program provided an optional excursion to Versailles (just like the optional trip to the Swiss Alps) to see the famous Palace that served as the seat of political power in France for about 100 years in the 17th-18th century.

The Palace of Versailles is enormous. It features vast gardens, lavish decor, gold leaf everywhere, and extremely detailed interior and exterior architecture. The size and decadence of the place is overwhelming and pretty in the embellished, extravagant way.

Your first entry into the Palace is marked by a long, gilded gate….


My favorite part of the Palace was the extensive garden, full of walking paths and fountains. Here’s a picture of one section of the garden:


I loved the endlessness and simple lines of the landscape. It was a cold day during our visit, but I bet this garden is even more breathtaking in the springtime….


fountain details.

I noticed a lot of clocks around Versailles as well, both inside and outside. They make a great architectural detail….

rooftop clock.
In part II, I’ll share some photos from inside the Palace!

Getting Around Germany


I got a such a good question on twitter about how I get around Germany that I decided to do a blog post on it!

Within Freiburg, the Straßenbahn, or street trams, are perfect for getting around town. Freiburg has four electric tram lines and they are a major source of transportation for Freiburgers.

morning commute.
tram stop.

The other transportation means of choice are… bicycles! They ‘re everywhere!


For longer trips outside of Freiburg (but still within the Breisgau area between the Rhine river and the Black Forest), the S-bahn, or above-ground regional trains, are great. They run frequently and aren’t too expensive.

train tracks.

And for the longest trips, I usually book my train tickets through – the Deutsche Bahn, or German train.  DB dominates the train industry in Germany.

deutsche bahn.

Back home in the States, I mostly drive a car to get everywhere.  Here in Germany, however, I have no car – but it’s still no trouble getting around. There are plenty of options for ways to travel, and I don’t miss my car at all!

A Busy Week in Germany


It’s been sooo busy these past few days here in Freiburg! Everyone had a lot of projects, papers, and presentations due this week, which meant a lot of hours at the library and in the computer lab.

Last week, I went to Luxembourg, Brussels, and Paris to study institutions of the European Union and enjoy the sights of the cities. We met a lot of interesting people employed by the EU as well as experts from both economic and foreign policy think tanks. I can’t wait to post more about it asap! : )

In the meantime – here’s a photo from Brussels, Belgium….

brussels, belgium.

That’s the St. Michael and St. Gudula Cathedral in the background. We got to spend about half an hour in a small park in front – enjoying the view and the unusually nice weather of Brussels that day.

More to come!