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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Hermitage (Einsiedelei) St. Verena, Solothurn

From Holiday Season 2008 in Switzerland


Every year around Christmas thousands of people congregate to the Hermitage St. Verena in Solothurn, lighting candles to remember other people. The most people arrive on Christmas Eve, but already on the 23rd December many candles were burning and the atmosphere was very special.

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Sunday, December 21, 2008

Henkersmahl 2008

This weekend I took a short trip to the Valais, to take part in the "Henkersmahl". This is a Lord of the Rings themed event with an aperitif, a dinner, show acts and a screening of The Fellowship of the Rings (Special Extended Edition) in the cinema Capitol in Brig. The event was a great success and lots of people I knew from the Middle Earth Festival and Larp events attended. The only disappointment I faced was that the movie was shown in its German synchronized version instead of the English original, but I got over it and translated the dialogs to stay awake (after all the screening lasted from 1.30am till 4.20am).
As usual, I couldn't help but take a lot of pictures which can be found in my gallery. Here's a sneak preview:
From Henkersmahl December 2008

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Traveling to Switzerland

I could bring two bags weighing 50 pounds each back, so I wasn't very concerned about the weight, despite a couple of heavy books. Big was my surprise then when my suitcase weighed in at 52.5 pounds! Fortunately, there was some space in my big backpack and after some creative repacking, I got the suitcase down to 49.5 pounds, whereas the backpack now weighed in at 40 pounds. Bad weather conditions in some parts of the US led to long delays, fortunately Newark/New York was not hit by the storm and so our plane left with only 20 minutes delay. The flight itself was very uneventful and I spent most of it reading or sleeping.

The plane to Zurich also boarded on time, however, we again had to wait on the runway until we could finally take off. This time it was a full 50 minutes... My video console was not working properly and so a steward had to reset it before I could watch a movie. And so I missed the first 10 minutes of The Mummy 3. Since it was only back story so far, I watched the rest anyways. Overall it was pretty entertaining but did not reach the high points I remember from the first film. After the movie was over my video console balked again, but since there was no other movie I absolutely had to see, I didn't do anything about it and read a couple of books instead. Finally, we landed in Zurich "on time" (i.e. the 50 minutes late we lost on the runway in Newark). The only surprise on debarking the plane were two border patrols who inspected every passengers passport as soon as we left the plane.

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Friday, December 19, 2008

Movie Marathon

After having finished early with our task and packing I had half a day to spare. The natural thing was of course to go the the movies ;). After mainly frequenting South Side Works the last couple of times, I decided to go to Waterfront instead because they offered a bigger selection for cheaper prices (US$ 5.00 / movie) and so I saw:
- Transporter 3: A cool action movie with a couple of unbelievable stunts and very cool fight scenes.
- Madagascar 2: As with the first part the penguins were the secret stars and my favorite element in the movie, however, they couldn't carry the whole movie on their own, also because they didn't get that much screen time. And so I was rather disappointed with the movie and will not watch it again anytime soon.
- Bolt: Bolt on the other hand was a hit! Cute, witty and incredibly funny. Even though it is not a Pixar movie it is well worth your time!

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Enlightened Christmas Event

Like every good Consulting Company, our team held a pre-Christmas event! However, since we were only students we were a little bit limited regarding the budget ;). So we went to Qdoba for dinner and then for an All You Can Bowl event.
We had great fun and were happy to adopt Woo as our 6th team member ;)
And here's our team:
From Pittsburgh December

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Saturday, December 13, 2008

Games, Movie & Dancing

Since I didn't come around to blog about last Saturday's Game Club Meeting, I thought I'd catch up now.

Last Saturday we played:
- Ticket to Ride - USA 1910: The US edition of Ticket to Ride with an extra expansion set was far more challenging than the European Game, because many people ended up building the same routes. Nevertheless, it was quite interesting.
- Kingsburg: Still a fun and luck-based game. I managed to win by a big margin :)

Afterwards, we went to the Southside Works cinema to catch a screening of Monty Python and the Holy Grail. This was the first time I saw this movie on the big screen and it still is brilliant and lots of fun. My cheekbones started aching after the first five minutes ;).

This Saturday I returned to the Game Club, where the Dominion fever has started to grow and so we ended up with three copies of the game (two of which were played concurrently). So as you could guess, I played:
- Dominion: Nothing to add, still a fantastic game.
- Kingsburg: This time I was not quite as lucky as last time, but I still managed to tie for first place :)

Then I went on to an English Country Dance Meet, which was held close to the University. Even though I was the youngest by about 20 years, it was a lot of fun. We danced countless dances, almost all of which were new to me. But the great thing about English Country Dancing is that they are very easy to pick up. To my great delight we also danced Picking Up Sticks, one of the two English Country Dances I previously learned in Switzerland. After two hours of dancing I was really tired, but very glad that I went there and I'm sure to go back in the new year.

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