The Home Stretch

As of this writing right now, I can say that I am 18 days our from leaving Europe and heading back home to Kansas City, Missouri. For me, this is the home stretch, with only a couple weeks left and only two class days to attend.

finish line

An accurate representation of me at the moment. (Image from 2.bp.blogspot.com)

Currently, I have finished my second week of Semantic Web. My early review of it is to say that it was not what I was expecting from the start. My initial interpretation of the course was that Semantic Web would be concerned with responsive web design, which is to say designing a website that is both flexible and usable to the end-user across multiple devices – think tablets, smartphones, and desktop machines. But after my first day of class, I learned that Semantic Web is really more about taking raw data and formulating a workable method of presenting that data that is both usable and readable. Essentially, it’s all about making sense of data.

semantic web

Surprisingly, Googling “not understanding” brought up this image. (Image from informationaccess.files.wordpress.com)

Aside from attending two more days of class, a possible day-trip to Brussels, Belgium is in the works. It’s unfortunate to say that I have done next to no traveling while living in Europe, but I honestly feel no regrets in saying that. But with that, a do wish to visit Brussels, primarily to say that I have been to Belgium and to see it’s largest city. I have next to no clue what I would like to do while in Brussels, but I will do the most that I can in a day! And a return to Aachen, Germany may also be in the books, if only because it’s dirt cheap to go back (and they have Christmas decorations galore up and ready for the season, according to word-of-mouth).

With my time running down, these blog posts will, too, be coming to an end. I’m not quite sure how I will wrap things up at the conclusion of my study abroad, though I am sure I want to, at the least, include a post entirely devoted to pictures. Granted, I do have a limit on the megabytes of data I can upload here to WordPress, so I will be ensuring that I choose only the best that gives a good breadth of view to what it was like living in Maastricht.

For now, that is all I have to report for the day. More to come later!

Star Wars rock band

So I leave you with this crazy awesome image of familiar faces rocking out. (Image from cdn.ebaumsworld.com)

Aachen, Germany

October 17 marked an important occasion for me: my first excursion into Germany! It was a short trip, and not a terribly far distance from Maastricht, but it was yet quite a lovely day to visit a wonderful city with some wonderful ladies (all friends of course, mind you). This trip would also mark my second time visiting a new country outside of the United States (not counting the United Kingdom because, seriously, I was only at Heathrow for barely an hour).

So here’s the part where I am going to post a bunch of pictures with brief explanations and y’all can gawk and enjoy!

 

Charlemagne's casket

This particular photo above I wanted to pull out of the gallery specifically because of its historical significance with the giant gold thing in the background. It appears to be a gold cathedral-looking thing, but in reality it’s a casket made in 1215 by Frederick II, emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. Within the casket houses the remains of (WHAT FOR IT) Charlemagne, King of the Franks, first emperor of the Carolingian Empire. Chances are you may have slept through this awesome part of history class, which is unfortunate because this man had a vast influence on the Middle Ages (or theĀ Dark AgesĀ for you backward hillbillies who insist nothing happened between the Fall of the Roman Empire and the Renaissance).

After the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 420 AD – by that point in history, the Roman Empire had split into Eastern and Western divisions, with the Eastern Roman Empire taking on the name of the Byzantine Empire and existing for another millennia until the Fall of Constantinople in 1453 AD – there was little in the way of kingdoms for a few hundred years. The shining beacon during the Early Middle Ages was the rise of the Frankish Kingdom (thusly, the name of France deriving from the Franks). The Frankish Kingdom was not a particularly large kingdom, but eventually a man by the name of Charles I came into ruling. Within time, Charles would eventually take on the name of Charles the Great, aka Charlemagne, and founding the Carolingian Empire, which would come to rule a vast part of western Europe for nearly a century.

So I got to see the gold and silver casket of a long-dead European emperor. Definitely the highlight of the Aachen trip.