January 5, 2009

Happy January and Happy 2009!

So today (January 5th)  is the start of the second term here at Trinity, called Hilary Term.  All of Trinity is back in full swing and timetables are changing and being rescheduled already.  It was great to see my Holy Cross friends, Irish classmates, and soon enough there will be new friends to meet once my new classes start (more about those later).  Today I had sociology and neuroscience classes and a bit later my philosophy class.  A pretty normal day, signifying that I’m back in the Trinity groove.

So, last I left you with the tidbit that I was traveling to France.  Alsace was wonderful!  I landed in Baden, Germany and then took a shuttle to Strasbourg- which during the holiday season is known to be “the capital of Christmas” or so the fliers say.  From Strasbourg, I took a train to Mulhouse, and then visited with family friends in a little town called Eschentzwiller.  It was so nice to see snow there!  It really feel like Christmastime considering that in Ireland it was getting just chillier with a bit more rain in the mix.  The first adventure was to visit the Christmas markets in Mulhouse.  I came to find out that each town had their own version of Christmas markets all set up with little log cabins where traditional food was sold (crepes, vin chaud (hot wine), gaufres (waffles) ) as well as crafts, jewelry, and holiday ornaments.  After that, I visited the Musée des beaux-arts, where a nature photo exhibition was going on and I also visited the Musée de l’impression sur étoffes.  The following day, we ventured to Basel, Switzerland for a tour of the city and their Christmas markets and we went into a very popular shop that only sells glass-blown Christmas ornaments.  They were beautiful and extravagant and made me think of my own Christmas tree at home.  Needless to say though, I didn’t touch anything in the store as the ornaments looked fragile, pretty, and quite expensive.  Later on, we drove through the town of Rosenau, where my great grandparents are from and following that, we went to an outdoor Christmas show.  The next day we went to Colmar to see those Christmas markets and went to a traditional Alsatian restaurant, which I absolutely loved!  We had tarte flambée- which is in a way like a very thin pizza and another traditional dish that consisted of cream, potatoes, and meat.  The last day in Alsace was spent in Strasbourg, where there were even more Christmas markets, lights, and decorations.  I also met up with family friends who spoiled me with another traditional Alsatian meal.  I then climbed the tower of the Cathedral de Notre Dame, Strasbourg- it was quite high and windy that day! And saw a photo exhibition of one of my favorite photographers – Robert Doisneau.  This exhibit focused on Alsace and its cities during the 1940s.  All in all, this was a great trip and it was so meaningful to me because I connected it to my family and saw where my ancestors lived and celebrated the beginning of my holiday season just as they might have.

After Alsace, I flew back to Dublin on the 17th of December to take in the Christmas decorations on Grafton Street once more before starting my trip over the Christmas holiday.  Wow did it fly by, but I learned, saw, and experienced so much.  The next entry will be about that adventure abroad.


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