ask a Smith or a Jones for a ride instead

Posted by mountainmelody On 2/28/2009 05:11:00 PM 3 comments
I apologize for the awful picture, but hope you get the idea.

Vienna at night

Posted by mountainmelody On 2/27/2009 09:05:00 AM 3 comments

come one, come all

Posted by mountainmelody On 2/26/2009 06:23:00 AM 1 comments
I know you've been dying to hear me and 100-some other people play handbells at the same time. Well, you're in luck!

Come to the Spain Park High School gym on Saturday at 3 PM for a free concert. You'll get your wish!

ice skating in Vienna

Posted by mountainmelody On 2/25/2009 06:13:00 AM 3 comments

This was every bit as incredible as it looks.

interesting article

Posted by mountainmelody On 2/23/2009 07:08:00 PM 2 comments
This article describes a type of church I'd be very interested in going to. It also describes some of the reasons I would rather live in a place with a sense of "roots" than in the suburbs.


Posted by mountainmelody On 2/22/2009 09:09:00 PM 1 comments
To continue my (belated) travelogue...
I took the bus from Prague to Vienna--only $24!
This is my room in Vienna. I don't know if you can tell, but the right side of the picture was the edge of the room. But the price was right! :) And it was clean, safe, and within walking distance of everything.
In my (limited) experience, this is a pretty typical central European bathroom (in my hotel room).

Maybe eventually I'll actually get around to posting more pictures of the sights in Vienna!


Posted by mountainmelody On 2/20/2009 06:06:00 PM 2 comments
I'm working on my dissertation this weekend, using some oh-so-helpful databases like this one:

"religion news story of the year"

No results were found.
Did you mean 4-H?

sauna missions?

Posted by mountainmelody On 2/19/2009 07:53:00 PM 3 comments
I always enjoy interacting with people from many different cultures when I'm in Prague. This time, I talked with an Estonian man who told me about the sauna mission projects his church does.

Apparently saunas are very popular in Estonia and nearby countries--understandably so, I guess, since the climate there is so cold.

Apparently saunas are also quite the social event. Let me just quote Wikipedia here: Social and mixed gender nudity...[are] common in the conventional sauna.

So in order to attract more young people to his church, the Estonian man explained, they have a free sauna. Of course, he added, boys and girls go at different times.

I haven't approached my church with the idea yet. Think they'd go for sauna missions? ;)
Posted by mountainmelody On 2/17/2009 09:18:00 PM 3 comments
This is the second cathedral I visited in Györ. See all the people outside? I realized when I saw a woman in a white dress that they were going to a wedding. The bride and groom led the procession into the church.
I stood at this door for awhile, wanting to see inside, but not sure if I really should.I finally stuck my head inside the door for a second and saw what appeared to be a beautiful church and a beautiful ceremony!
Posted by mountainmelody On 2/16/2009 07:17:00 PM 1 comments
I always enjoy visiting cathedrals when I travel. Coming from a place where church buildings are primarily utilitarian, I'm always amazed at the elaborate design and tremendous expense that goes into most cathedrals. I'm also fascinated by the variety I observe across cathedrals in different areas.
These pictures are from the first cathedral I visited in Györ.
Somebody important was buried in the basement. (Since the casket is above ground, maybe buried isn't the right word?) Interesting...

Somebody else important was honored with this gold monument.
Upstairs, this picture of Mary supposedly cries tears of blood. (I didn't see any.) Pilgrims from surrounding areas reportedly flock here to observe this phenomenon (although there weren't huge crowds on the cold day I visited).

By the way, did you know that most cathedrals don't have electric lights or heating? They use natural light--and are freezing cold in the winter!

Györ, Hungary

Posted by mountainmelody On 2/15/2009 07:43:00 AM 2 comments


Posted by mountainmelody On 2/13/2009 03:21:00 PM 1 comments
I try to be fairly disciplined with work on my dissertation--although I have to admit that when I'm in Europe for school, I definitely do more sightseeing than writing.

One student, though, is apparently pretty serious about his work. He went to the school in September with a proposal for his dissertation. However, the professors said his proposal was too broad to work.

That didn't stop him. He created another proposal. Then he took his first idea and simply wrote a book on the topic. The book was published in January--less than four months after he wrote the initial proposal.

I don't think this guy will have any trouble completing his dissertation!


Posted by mountainmelody On 2/12/2009 06:16:00 AM 2 comments
Leader: This picture is from Venezuela.
Girl 1: I think the people who live in those houses are poor.
Girl 2: Ooh! I'm not poor! I'm rich! I have SEVENTY DOLLARS!!

more Bratislava

Posted by mountainmelody On 2/10/2009 08:52:00 PM 0 comments

Bratislava cathedral

Posted by mountainmelody On 2/09/2009 09:03:00 PM 2 comments

welcome home?

Posted by mountainmelody On 2/08/2009 05:33:00 PM 3 comments
US customs official: Is anyone traveling with you today?
Me: No.
Customs official: Where are you coming from?
Me: Vienna and Prague.
Customs official: (somewhat patronizingly) Weren't you afraid to travel all that way by yourself?
Me: Um, no.
Customs official: How old are you??

two Vienna pics

Posted by mountainmelody On 2/08/2009 02:12:00 AM 5 comments
many more coming later!

heading home

Posted by mountainmelody On 2/08/2009 01:39:00 AM 0 comments
I'm happy to say that I successfully navigated all manner of public transportation and made it around Vienna as well as brief stops in Slovakia and Hungary. Yeah!

Now I'm headed home. I get back tonight and go back to work tomorrow, but I'll post pictures and tell you a little more as soon as I get a chance.

farewell to Praha

Posted by mountainmelody On 2/04/2009 01:04:00 PM 3 comments
I'm leaving Prague early tomorrow morning to explore Vienna--as well as Bratislava, Slovakia, and Gyor, Hungary, if everything works out as planned. I'm heading out by myself for this trip, and I'm sure it will be an adventure!
I don't know when I'll have internet access next, but I'll be sure and write all about my travels when I have a chance! Until then, here are a few more pictures from Prague:

last day

Posted by mountainmelody On 2/04/2009 12:24:00 AM 3 comments
I'm spending one more day in Prague before heading out for other adventures. Our colloquium ended yesterday. It included topics from "communities of pain and a responsive God in India" to "theological education among Chinese diaspora communities in eastern Europe."

Here are a few interesting things I've noticed during my time here:
  • The "American pizza" at a nearby restaurant includes toppings such as peas and cream cheese.
  • People here sometimes leave the windows open for "fresh air" even when the temperature is below freezing.
  • The walls at the school are so thin that I was woken up by the guy next door talking on the phone.
  • The dining hall's quesadillas consisted of not only cheese, chicken, and peppers, but also green beans.
  • When I open a web page like Google here, it comes up in Czech.
  • The Lord's Supper (Eucharist) is held in high regard here. I've participated in it several times, including one meaningful experience at a professor's home.
  • The dining hall here serves lots of starchy cafeteria foods, but not much dessert. I may have to go out and buy some cookies!

ossuary of bones

Posted by mountainmelody On 2/03/2009 12:40:00 AM 4 comments
A chapel in Kutna Hora is decorated with bones from 40,000 plague victims. Creepy! The chandelier contains every type of human bone.