This is the video I made of Bryce, Grant, Reed, Jack, and I bungee jumping the Verzasca Damn.
This is the video I made of Bryce, Grant, Reed, Jack, and I bungee jumping the Verzasca Damn.
I’m not going to sugarcoat this post because I’m busy with schoolwork and I’m preparing for my trip to Kenya in four days. I’m making an ambitious move and creating a documentary/promotional video for the NGO that our Lugano group is creating. Right now, most of my time is being devoted to creating the script and the story that I want to portray. It’s a huge undertaking, but I would have regrets if I didn’t document our time there. I will update you on this project before I leave.
Day 1: We checked into St. Christophers Hostel around noon and the AC Milan vs. Barcelona game was that day so the guys and I went to the Nike Store. They all bought official Barcelona jerseys with Messi on the back. I’ll admit it, they were dope, but I wasn’t going to the game so I bought a Barcelona hat instead. That night, we went to a local bar to watch the game. There was a group of 15 of us and we ended up getting front row seats on picnic like benches in front of the big screen projector. It was perfect and Barca ended up winning 4-0, which made for an unreal atmosphere. Fans were drinking, singing, chanting, and embracing each other’s company.
Day 2: It was pouring down rain the entire day. I made the most out of it and went to the Picasso Museum and then took the subway to La Sagrada Familia. I loved the Picasso Museum and remember feeling very inspired after seeing his work. It just goes to show what humans are capable of if they work hard and dedicate their whole life to something. La Sagrada has been my favorite cathedral so far. Poney up the Euro and go inside, it’s magnificent and unlike any cathedral I have been to in Europe. Antoni Gaudi outdid himself and his influence is seen throughout all of Barcelona. I didn’t get to see his other works in the city, which I regret, but If you like the weird different “Gaudi” style, visit his other famous sites such as, Park Guell and La Pedrera.
Day 3: I walked around by myself this day. I wanted to rent a moped, but when I arrived at the rental place it was closed. I was annoyed because it took me an hour to find the place, but was content with just walking around. I sat in a plaza for a couple hours right by the water and had pizza and beer. I walked along the water for a while and then went on the Transbordador gondola ride. It was a convenient way to get from the beach to Montjuïc and provided unreal views. I would consider this a tourist trap because I thought it was overpriced and you can get a similarish view from the top of La Sagrada.
In short, that was my Barcelona trip. One of my top three cities I have been to so far. If you study abroad Barcelona is a must go destination.
I brushed up on my Spanish the past week after visiting Seville, Ronda, Barcelona, and Florence.
My friend Kramer and I spent the first three days of our ten-day break in Seville. We flew out Friday morning, which required us to leave Thursday night for the Milan Airport because the Italian trains stop running at 1:00AM. Although it was a bit of an inconvenience waiting in the airport, it was our only option since the cheaper flights are usually early in the morning.
We touched down just after nine and made it to our hostel, “The Living Roof” about an hour later. They had a very friendly staff and it’s in a great location. The rooms were meager in size, but the shower was elegant and our room was situated on top of the roof. Technically, I guess you could say we had a penthouse suite. Overall, a good price for the amenities and I would recommend it, but I’m sure there are other fine accommodations in Seville.
My favorite day in Seville was on Saturday. I went on a “free” walking tour and my tour guide was awesome, his name was Rafael and he did a great job not only showing us the city, but keeping us entertained while still teaching the history of Seville. We first learned about the Cathedral of Saint Mary of the See, better known as Seville Cathedra. It’s the largest gothic church in the world and the fourth largest cathedral in the world. As a student, it only costs three Euro to enter and the views inside as well from the top of the Giralda Tower is absolutely worth it. There are only 17 steps to get to the top of the tower because it consists of a series of 35 gently inclined ramps. The sultan ordered to build theses ramps instead of steps so the muezzin could ride a horse to the top in order to recite prayer five times a day. Other sites that I saw during my stay were the Torre del Oro, Metropal Parasol, Plaza de toros de la Real Maestranza de Caballería, Alcazar de Sevilla, and the Plaza de Espana. Star Wars I: The Phantom Menace and II: Attack of the Clones were both filmed at the Plaza de Espana and I walked over the bridge R2D2 wheeled over in the video below!
After three hours of walking around the city, Rafael, others, and myself went to a local tapas restaurant called Ochos Huevos. I had a grande beer, vegetables, and a Spanish style omelet. The food was cheap and filling. By that time, it was almost six and I had a ticket to the local flamenco show. Upon arrival, I ordered a glass of sangria and enjoyed a night of dance and music. Later that evening, I met back up with friends that I had met earlier from the bar crawl, which Rafael was sponsoring. It was a blast. I have never spoken that much Spanish in my entire life. The entire bar was littered with students from Mexico and Puerto Rico and I knew then that it was my destiny to speak as much Spanish as I could remember from my studies. I surprised myself on how much I recalled. I felt as if I had been transported back to my high school Spanish desk with Senor Valez and the verbs and nouns that I once knew magically surfaced from the prefrontal cortex of my brain. This one beautiful girl named Ana spoke to me in Spanish for most of the night. She was from Mexico and spoke excellent English; she was basically my personal tutor for the night. Really cool girl and I was lucky enough to share a kiss with her. I wish her all the best wherever she is.
On Monday, Kramer and I went to Ronda, which is a small city outside of Seville. The sights were absolutely stunning, seriously, drop dead gorgeous and defiantly worth a day trip if you’re staying in Granada or Seville and its only about a two-hour train ride. The pictures below only justify why I want to hike the Camino de Santiago once my abroad program ends.
Check back tomorrow to read about my time in Barcelona and Florence.
Yes, I ate the magic truffles in Amsterdam. I don’t have that much experience with mushrooms, but it was a relaxing and thought-provoking trip. Mushrooms are technically illegal in Amsterdam, but when the Dutch government banned mushrooms they left a loophole that allowed the sale of truffles. From what I was told, truffles tend to be a little weaker than shrooms, contain both psilocin and psilocybin, and don’t have the wide range of alkaloids that mushrooms do. This is why the dosage amount differs by roughly 10 grams depending on how experienced you are and the potency.
We visited the Anne Frank House before we took the shroomies. The line took an hour, but its avoidable if you wake up early and go. The best part about the museum was that you never had that awful feeling of being drowned in information. Although depressing, it was astounding to feel and see the secret annex where the Frank’s hid out in for more than two years. This is a must go if you plan on traveling to Amsterdam.
The truffles tasted like acidic nuts, which was better than I was expecting. We ate them on an empty stomach at the smallest restaurant in Europe, “Pannekoekenhuis”. The restaurant has four tables, hundreds of teapots hanging from the ceiling, and requires you to climb up a very steep staircase. As we were getting up to leave I felt the floors and walls shaking and tilting. I knew the truffles were taking effect and the claustrophobic environment heightened my senses. Obviously nothing was moving, but I had to get out of there.
We walked around the city for the next three hours or so. At first, it was a little overwhelming; my legs felt like jelly, I thought I weighed about 45lbs, and my mind was moving a mile a minute. We staggered through Vondelpark in quest for the IAMSTERDAM letters. After meandering around for an hour, we realized the letters weren’t in there. Apparently, the city moves the letters to different areas throughout the year. Eventually, we found them in back of the Rijksmuseum. This was a pinnacle moment during my trip. As I stood on top of the letters I felt what it was like to be alive. The sensation was impeccable and I was so grateful of everything in my life at that moment. I don’t by any means condone doing drugs and I wouldn’t allow myself to jeopardize my career by abusing drugs, but I do think you can find enlightenment and knowledge from them. Actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt and I have similar philosophies when it comes to drugs. This is in reply to his favorite drug, “I guess marijuana. I’ve had a select set of really beautiful, powerful, psychedelic experiences on certain drugs but I never got into just doing it at a party: ‘Oh let’s get f—ed up and drop acid’. That’s so retarded and disrespectful to your body and the drug itself. Mushrooms, acid and ecstasy can offer you a new perspective. They can also offer you nothing.”
The magic mushies were as advertised and I suggest anyone who is in a healthy mental state to try them. But don’t blame me if you freak out and become a crazy psychopath. Take them at your own risk!!
I went to a Bible study today hosted by some of the students I’m living with and it made me happy. I’m making a commitment to rebuild my foundation in faith. It’s not going to be easy, but I have loving friends that are here to guide and help me through these early stages. Almost my entire life I have had this skewed misconception of what it means to believe in God. I still don’t know what it means, but at this point in my career I’m thankful for everything that has happened to me and I’m ready to stop running from God. I’m not here saying that I’m going to be some saint, I just want to be a better person. My spirits are high and I’m ready for the challenges that await me.
Kramer and I decided to do the “dumb” stereotypical holding the pyramid pose. This is the main entrance to the Louvre Museum. Did you know that if you looked at every piece of art in the Louvre for 10 seconds, it would take you 4 days without sleep.
The only selfie I have taken on this trip so far besides for snapchats. I still can’t believe I saw the Mona Lisa up close. Still have no clue what expression is on her face and that is the beauty behind it.
With only Saturday to travel the city we saw Notre Dame, The Gardens, The Louvre, Lovers Bridge, Sainte Chapelle, The Eiffel Tower, and the Basilique du Sacre Coeur. It was exhausting running around, but worth it.
My favorite part of Paris was the Eiffel tower. As a kid you hear about it and know it exists, but to actually see it lit up was truly special.
We’re going to Amsterdam this weekend which will be a trip…..literally. Some of us will be treating ourselves to Amsterdam’s world famous truffle and coffee shops. This will most likely be my only time in Amsterdam so I have to do it right. Check back next week for what will sure to be a very entertaining post.
We left Praha Wednesday afternoon and arrived in Vienna that evening. 9 out of the 10 days the weather was cloudy, dreary, and snowy, which got annoying, but I was backpacking Europe, so I didn’t give two Francs. The top left picture is of the Schonbrunn Palace. It’s beautiful on the inside, but unfortunately you’re not allowed to take pictures. I recommend visiting Schonbrunn during the spring or summer because it has the oldest zoo in the world, massive gardens, fountains, and a shrub Labyrinth.
My favorite moment of Vienna was visiting the Staatsoper Vienna Opera House. The actors performed a modern day version of Cinderella, which made it easy to follow because it was in German. They were superb. Being back in the theatre was calming and made me appreciate the career I have set out for myself. I don’t want to be just good,I want to be the greatest. Yeah, that sounds pompous, but in this business you have to work your ass off and want it more than everyone else. That’s the mentality you have to have with any business not just acting.
One of my new short term goals it to apply to the Actors Studio MFA program at Pace University. You have to audition in order to get accepted and since I will be abroad, I won’t be able to apply till the fall of 2014, but that will give me time to save up money in order to pay for tuition if I’m admitted. I digress, now lets talk Budapest.
The 3-hour train ride to Budapest was the shortest of the 10 day. The highlight of Budapest was going to the bathhouses. They are heated from thermal energy in the ground. At first I was grossed out because of the locker rooms and the fat old hairy men walking around in skivvies, but we were in a large enough group with beautiful women that it didn’t matter. Shortly after, my selective perception kicked in and I hardly noticed them. I’m never going back and I sure as hell wouldn’t take my girlfriend there, but it’s definitely worth the trip if you’re in Budapest. Also you have to walk around the city at night. Make sure you make it before 00:30 because they will turn lights off on you.
I just got back from playing a pick up game of basketball over at Franklin College in Switzerland and I have an Italian final tomorrow that I need to study for. I also have to pack for my weekend trip to Paris, France. Such a rough life I know, I wish I could write more, but I have business to take care of and if I put this off till next week it won’t get done. Check back next week for my post on Paris.
“Photo Credit Reed Stiefvater”
Before I begin, I want to say that this post will be heavily picture based in contrary to my previous posts. I could write a novel about what I did the past 12 days, but I want to talk about the main highlights and some of the funnier moments on my trip to Berlin, Prague, Vienna, and Budapest.
This is a photo from Saint Christopher’s Hostel in Berlin. I met some German friends at the foosball table and later that night they took us out to this club called the Fritz. It’s an old train station converted into a nightclub with five different music rooms. It took us an extra two hours to get home because we took the wrong subway, and although frustrating, I smile every time I think about it.
My favorite part of Berlin was getting to see one of my best friends who I haven’t seen in three years. We didn’t miss a beat and she and I shared each other’s company at arguably one of the best Vietnamese restaurants in Berlin. I miss her already, but I know we’ll see each other again.
Berlin is a gigantic city with so much history. We only had 1.5 days to explore so we made the most of it and went to the main tourist sites that are pictured above. At some point in my life, I will go back to Berlin, I’m seriously considering living there after my program ends just so I can learn German. I’ll be back though, maybe sooner than later.
Prague was the next destination in our epic 10-day trip. We left Sunday afternoon and 5 hours later we arrived in Praha. The first night we took it easy, and went out for a traditional Czech dinner. I had beef Goulash with dumplings and half liter of beer. The beer is cheaper then water and it’s damn good beer. If you ever come to Europe don’t expect to drink out of water fountains because they don’t exist.
Our hostel was, “how you say” fucking awesome. We had convenient storage under our beds and a dope shower. It was a REALLY nice room for a hostel. On Monday Simon, our tour guide, gave the best “free” tour I’ve experienced since being in Europe. The “free” tours are a hit and miss depending on your guide. He walked us around the basic landmarks of old town Prague, and the Jewish quarter. He even showed us a bar were we could buy pot. The guy made me laugh and smile and I still remember some of the history he taught us. That’s what you want out of a free walking tour.
If you like history here is a question to think about. If you were born in 1918 and have lived your entire life in the Czech Republic, how many different countries have you resided in? My initial thought was 3, but the answer is 8. This question makes you realize what the Czechoslovakians have been through in the past 100 years. About 80% of the population in Prague is atheist. The country has seen so many changes that they are still trying to find their own identity. If you have any questions please send me an email. Also, what semi-famous movie filmed an action scene featuring the Charles bridge? Check back later today for my post on Vienna and Budapest.
“Photo Credits Reed Stiefvater”
I didn’t understand the concept of getting lost in Venice until last weekend. I literally took one wrong turn and became completely disoriented. The place is a labyrinth filled with hundreds of bridges, alleyways, and streets to navigate through. That being said, if you ever go to Venice, and if you don’t enjoy being lost, then it might be wise to invest in a map. Personally, I loved this portion of the weekend because I randomly walked into marvelous artisan shops as well as a modern art gallery.
The one downside of the trip was the weather on Saturday. It was pouring rain and winds were gushing around 20 MPH. You would not believe the number of broken umbrellas that littered the streets. I cracked up laughing on the main street because I observed owner’s umbrellas getting split to pieces. Then to top it off, I watched them try and use the scraps in an attempt to keep their heads dry. It was a sight to see. Maybe it was amusing for me because I was soaked head to toe and had accepted my fate of getting drenched.
If it weren’t for the rain we wouldn’t have met this super cool Aussie mate named Emily. Her living plans fell through and had nowhere to stay because everywhere was booked up. She told us her story and it would have been inhumane to not let her crash with us. She had been traveling for seven months and this was her last weekend before she headed back to Aussieland. It surprised me how well put together this chick was especially for only being nineteen years old. We all went out for dinner, had a couple drinks, and called it a night.
Sunday, God blessed us with fantastic weather. We woke up relatively early, checked out of our hostel, and headed for San Marco Square to watch the opening Ceremony for Carnivale. With masks on our face, bottles of wine in our hands, we strolled around the city for the final hours of our Venetian experience. We went into Doges Palace, the Basilica, and then paid for a gondola ride, which was totally worth it.
I wasn’t terribly upset to leave Venice. It’s a gorgeous city, but I could never see myself living there. The streets flood, it smells, and its smaller than I had anticipated. If I ever go back to Venice, I’m going to unleash my inner tiger. I made a tiger cape in my costume lab class last semester and I forgot to bring it. That won’t happen next time.
I leave this Friday to visit Berlin, Prague, Vienna, and Budapest over a course of ten days. I’m learning a few key phrases in Czech and Hungarian so I can make some friends with the locals. Check back next week for an update and remember to unleash the tiger!
Yes, today is finally here. Neil Labute’s adaption of Woyzeck opens in less than 4 hours, and I couldn’t be more excited. This is the first time this adaption has been preformed in the United States. The cast has devoted 164 hours of rehearsal time into this production, as well as outside time learning lines and working on their characters. I cannot stress enough that there wouldn’t be a show without the director, stage manager, lighting designer, sound technician, set designer, fight choreographer, costume crew, projections team, and props crew. I, as well as the entire cast, cannot thank them enough for the time and effort they have dedicated to the show. Thank you again.
This whole process for me has been a blessing. For me, the utmost beneficial part through all of this has been watching the other actors work. Seeing them make discoveries about their characters and then transferring that over to their work has been eye-opening. Jordan Goldston, who plays Woyzeck, is an unbelievable talent. He is always at the theatre at least an hour before call doing Fitzmaurice tremors, stretching, listening to music, and doing whatever he needs to do in order to get in to character. He has been a great role model for me. The other day in directing class, he was explaining techniques he learned while studying at the Esper Studio, which made me even more excited to study there next fall. He said something about acting that resonated with me, ”Acting truthfully under imaginary circumstances” so simple, yet so true.
The real fun finally begins tonight! Break legs everyone!
Like most freshman, I went into college not having a clue what I wanted to do with my life. I studied hard, earned good grades, and applied to the business school here at Tech after my freshman year. Even though I was accepted, it didn’t feel right. Right now, I’m working on getting my marketing degree, but theatre is my true passion. Still to this day, I remember how much fun I had in my 8th grade drama class and it annoys me that I did not stick with it through high school. My first performance was a poem, “One Sister for Sale”, by Langston Hughes, I remember enjoying every moment up on stage. After being accepted into the business school, I enrolled in a second major, theatre arts, with a focus in performance. The first semester was great. I took acting lab and intro to cinema and learned the very basic fundamentals of acting. I was on top of the world, or at least I thought. Ever since that semester, until about 5 months ago, has been a struggle. I lost confidence in myself, I became depressed, I started smoking unhealthy amounts of weed, and just lost my grip on reality in life. I didn’t take the work seriously and was stressed out trying to organize my time for both theatre and marketing. For my sanity, I dropped my theatre major to a minor and ever since then I have felt impeccable. I believe the three biggest reasons for my failures in theatre the past two years were a lack of confidence, not taking the work seriously, and not having the time. I’m back though, I posses that confidence I had when I was growing up. I’m ready to do this and I’m ready to continue to learn and be emotionally and physically available. It’s only been 2.5 years since I began this adventure. It’s never to late to learn. Commit yourself, be available, and say yes to everything!