Bernie on Tour

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Beer festival

Yesterday we went to a very nice pub called "The Turf Tavern". It is well hidden in a tight lane without any signs that would lead to it. They had a beer festival starting that evening where they had exactly 50 different kinds of beer by loads of local breweries. We didn´t know even one of them so we had to choose randomly.

Unfortunately the different kinds of beer where not similar to lager (which is the British equivalent to the beer we have in Austria). The whole bunch of us together had quite a big number of different beer but noone (neither English nor Spanish, French or Austrian guys) liked even one of them.

Fortunately there was some kind of cider available as well ;-)

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Busy days

It has been quite some days since my last post here. The main reason is that Doris came to visit me. So we spent some days seeing London and Oxford - and not to forget there is Uni as well ;-) (There was an assignment due on Monday)

In London we didn´t only see the well known tourist attractions (except Madame Tussoud`s, where we did not fancy waiting in that hugh q) but also a really large Nike-shop with a very cool design and loads of nice clothes and shoes.

On Tuesday the Queen was visited by the king and queen from Norway (or was it Denmark?). Actually we didn´t see any of those vips (we did not wait in front of Buckingham palace like loads of other people did). But we saw lots of the mounted guards and musicians on their march towards the palace.

So - that´s enough for a while. I´m quite tired (got up at 5:30 today)

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Gingerbread available...

If you think Austrians - or Austrian merchandisers - are crazy because they start selling Xmas stuff by November, you have obviously never been to Engand in October!
By start of October we could see signs like "Book your Xmas-party at our place now!" at lots of pubs. Well, if you wanted to spend Xmas at an Austrian ski-hut you would have to book this event much earlier.

But at Tesco´s (large supermarket-chain) they have been starting to sell Xmas-like gingerbread. By mid of October! Ain´t it funny.


Sunday, October 16, 2005

Oxford tour

There are some impressions from our latest Oxford tour (Saturday):

One month over - a little retrospect

Time went by very fast - and the first month of my stay here in Oxford has already elapsed. So, what happened so far? There was one week of enrollment and induction. I also met my flatmates and lots of other people. Some of them are now friends of mine but on the other side there might be a punch of guys I wouldn´t remember any more.

Lectures at university started one week after my arrivial - and by now they are part of everydays life. It´s quite easy to keep up because the English that is unsed in my lectures is quite easy to understand.

Normally students here take 4 or 5 modules per semester. I took only 4 in order to keep my weekends free for other activities - escpecially travelling around and seeing the country. I´ve taken a guided Oxford-tour, visited Windsor Castle and been to London. There are lots of other places I want to see. Unfortunately I had to give upmy plan about visiting Scottland, when I recognised, that it takes more that 10 hours to go thers (by train).

It turned out, that we international students kinda stick together. We are now a little group - 3 Austrians (Jakob, Deepak - I count him as an Austrian because he studies at the university of Linz - and me), the 2 French girls from our flat (Audrey-Laure and Nathalie) and Deepak´s flatmate Nestor (from Spain). Sometimes the girls or Nestor bring some more people from their countries.

The only English guy who is with us very often is Dan. He studies film and Japanese. That´s the reason why he knows loads of Japanese students. They are quite funny and all of us enjoy hanging around with them.

I hope you are not already bored by reading this blog. But since you obviously read this post - it can´t be that bad ;-)

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Movie night

Initially we wanted to go to the cinema yesterday night in order to see "Oliver Twist". We were there on time but there was such a hugh q(ueue) that we gave up. British life seems to be quite slow in a certain way. You have to q everywhere. Well, we think it´s quite annoying but the British cope with it. (My flatmates were q-ing for tickets for the student´s parties for more than two hours. And that´s just the tickets! There is another q at the entrance most of the time!)

So we were at the citycentre without seeing any film. We decided on going to the "Purple Turtle" which is a relative cheap students-only bar. There is one area where you can sit and talk or play table-football and at the back there is louder music an a dancefloor. So they´ve got something for everyone.

When we went home we met Dan in the company of some - of course - Japanese. He invited us to his place to see a film. We decided on a horror-film which turned out to be not that frightening. But since I came home at about 3:30 you can see that it was an enjoyable evening anyway.


Friday, October 14, 2005

Another week´s over

Well, I have been far too busy to post anything into my blog for half a week. As you might expect this is not exactly what I´d call the truth. On Monday evening we went to the "International Cafe". It is kinda meeting for international students to come together and meet people from other countries, cultures and ethnic background. Although it is organised by a local (Christian) church you´d hardy recognise this. This week there was a pudding party where we could tast lots of different puddings (Pudding in not this flabby thing made of milk and some powder that we refer to as "Pudding" in german!) Next week the theme is "Harvest celebration" which sounds a little bit religious. But there will be different homemade soups to taste...

If you know that I´m not that keen on cooking, you might expect that food for free is the only reason that keeps me going there. But is quite a lot of fun getting into contact with people from all over the world - like Japanese, Taiwan, Jemen, Kenia, and other European countries like Spain, Poland or Czech - not for forget about Deepak who actually comes from Nepal.

The rest of the week was more or less everydays life: Going to university, doing some coursework (coding) or excercising (running).

We are thinking of going to London on Sunday. So there won´t be that much of going out on Saturday. This again meens that today we might stay out a little longer ;-)

Hope all of you will enjoy the weekend

Monday, October 10, 2005

Bakk. finished

From now on I´ve officially got the academical degree "Bakkalaureus der technischen Wissenschaften". In English you would call it Bachelor of Science (BSc). Thanks very much to my brother Wolfram who collected all the certificates from the students administration at home! Thanks very much to my parents as well for giving me the possibility of going to university!
Thanks a lot to my sister too for her great mental support!!!

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Trip to London

Today six of us went on a one-day trip to London. We did get up quite early - compared to times where student usually get up voluntarily ;-) So we arrived near Victoria Station at about 10:45. It was early enough to watch to change of the guards at Buckingham Palace at 11 o´clock. Well there were thousands of people but it wasn´t as amazing as we expected it to be after seeing all thoses guys waiting there in order to watch it.

Afterwards we went to see the Houses of Parliament, the London Eye, Trafalgar Square, Picadilly Circus, China Town (Soho), Tower Bridge and the London Tower (from outside) and an exhibition of landscape photgraphs. After going to all those places it was already dark and so we could get some impressions of London at night.

Actually we were too tired to go out in London as well. And I´m quite tired now as well, so don´t complain about any typos or other mistakes in this post...

The couple of photos will show you that the weather wasn´t that nice - but at least it didn´t rain most of the time.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Everyday life in our hall / at uni

Well - doday is the end of so called week 2. By now all assignments to courses and modules have to be fixed. That means if you are singed up for a module and you finally decide not to go there it is too late now - you will get a mark anyway - either a positive or a negative one.

In other words everyday life has just started. Induction, enrollment and module introductions are finnished. So it´s all about attending lectures, doing course work, and facing new difficulties. But this time they do not only concern us exchange students but the whole lot of Computer- and Math-related students: The server went down. So practically speaking all the intranet-pages where we could download lecture handouts, assignment sheets, and other files we need to fulfill our tasks are gone. Believing in rumours there has been some kinda hacker attack.

Next to these troubles we are facing first problems concerning life in a shared flat. So due to different timetables, "going out"-habits and general behaviour it´s not always easy to make everyone happy. Especially when half of the people wants to have fun at the same time where the others want to sleep. Or someone does not understand that he has to wash up his stuff immediatley afer cooking/eating in order to not blockade the whole kitchen...

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Well - some days ago I told you that they have lost our assignment form which is used to subscribe for modules. So we had to fill out a single form for each module, make each module leader sign it, and finally hand all those forms in at the students administration, where - of course - you´ll find yourself stuck in a huge queue.

Now that I have done this for almost all of my modules... surprise, surprise... the initial form suddenly appeared, due to some kinda magic or any other unbelievable phenomenon.

Except of this chaotic procedure uni seems to be quite ok. Although it is too school-like for my taste. (Since the students here take only 4 or 5 modules per semester there is not that much room for individual choice. The freshers do even get a fixed timetable in their first semester, where they can only change minor details. And you are forced to finish your bachelor within 3 years, or 4 years if you are only part time student. So you are not as flexible as we are used to be.)
But some of our course work we will have to do until end of semester have turned out to be very interesting. So I´m really anxious to getting more details within the next weeks.


Monday, October 03, 2005

Getting used to uni-related vocabulary

Today I realised that there are situations where it is not enough to know the German translation of English words. I supposed "Course work" and "Practical work" to be two equivalent terms describing one thing. They handed out one assignment-sheet during the lecture and I thought it was the "practical work" we had to do in order to pass the "course".

Today about two hours before deadline Jakob and I readlised that there was a second assignment - namely the "Course work" - we had to download via internet and hand in as well. Since we had only done the "Practical work" we were in some troubles. Other students told us that it took them several hours to fulfill the tasks. Since Jakob is quite fast at typing we managed to finish in time. (We were lucky that the lecturer did not complain about the hectical typing during her lesson ;-))

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Windsor Castle

Today Deepak, Jakob and I went on a trip to see Windsor Castle. It is a huge castel about one hour per train away from Oxford. The Queen is said to stay there every April and June - we apparently did not see her, but we didn´t miss her either. The castle itselve was quite impressive. The first buildings can be dated back to 1078. Inside the castles we could see some paintings by Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael and Holbein as well as loads of old weapons, furniture, and china.

Afterwards we went to see Eton-College. It is one of England´s most famous and respected colleges.

Saturday, October 01, 2005


Yesterday five of us went to the theatre in order to see Hamlet by - of course - this strange guy called Shakespeare. I´m saying "strange" because that is exactly what his language was like. The english guy who was with us said that when he saw Hamlet for his first time even he didn´t understand all of it. I understood enough to get the plot but don´t expect me to remember that much of the mono-/dialogs - except(of course) "2 B or not 2 B???".

Afterwards the two french girls from our flat taught us a card-game they use to play at home. It was not really challanging (they told us afterwards that it´s normally played by little children) but we had good fun anyway. So you can see we are doing some kinda cultural interchange (Jakob cooked "Gulasch" for all of us - although it is not an original Austrian dish).


Some more lectures

Additional to the two modules I've already described, there are two more of them. The first one is Computer Vision. It seems to be quite interesting. It's about learning a computer percieving opject in its environment by analysing pictures of this environment. Therefore we have to write some MatLab-Scrips.
The last module I´m taking is about English language. It´s called Academical Listening and Speeking. As far as I know what it´s all about, we are supposed to hold some speeches in English an write summarys of one speech by another student. Not that intersting - but I hope it will help me improving my English.

We also me another Austrian guy who has been studying in Reading. He came for a visit in order to show Oxford to a german friend of his. So we had a little walk around the city centre and then - however - ended up in some pub. Here are some impressions: