Three weeks to go – “Final spurt”

10 01 2013

There are only three weeks left of our Erasmus semester! As we recently passed an exam we have only one subject left at KTU (Virtual Reality – the SlendAR project). We already planned how we will end things here afterwards, so this is the plan:

From January 20 – January 28 we will have a trip with the following stops:

  • Riga
  • Tallinn
  • Helsinki
  • Kopenhagen
  • Malm├Â

Afterwards we will only put our stuff into the car – sleep a little and go to

  • Warsaw

on 29th.

On January 31st we will finally return to Austria! So see you soon!





Happy new year – One week as tourists

9 01 2013

Our story begins in Ansfelden, where I left home well prepared (refreshing nap in the evening and a few coffees afterwards) to pick up Lara from Enns and drive all the way to Herrnbaumgarten (near the border to Czech Republic). There we had to put the stuff of five people AND five people into my car (a VW Polo Classic) – we made it, but there was no space left afterwards :-)

My trip was lasting 3 1/2 hours already, the one from Bernd, Michi and Kevin just started. Suprisingly, there weren’t any difficulties, the track was clear and weather was fine for driving – nobody has seen that coming! After I drove almost 1.000 kilometers Lara continued the driving. There was the general assumption that I won’t tell anybody to drive although I would be wasted when we arrive… I wasn’t tired and still concentrated, but relaxing and looking around instead of concentrate on driving was reeeaaaly refreshing – not to mention taking off the shoes… at least for me ­čśÇ

After 16 hours, 1.300 kilometers and crossing 3 country-borders we finally arrived at our flat. There was a nice dinner, Bernd proved himself as a very good Kaunas tourist guide, a looong new year’s eve and on January 2nd we packed our stuff and moved to Vilnius, where even Bernd and I actually have been tourists again. We took a guided trip to Trakai (first capital of Lithuania with an amazing castle), discovered oldtown and also had a guided tour through Vilnius.

Although the weather hasn’t been fine at all it was a great week with great people! I think we all had lots of fun and I’m really looking forward to returning home!

My car isn't really big, but nobody complained - good boys :-)

Finally the border Poland-Lithuania

First dinner in Lithuania for half of us - including a cliche-vodka :-)

A wine cellar in Kaunas - Funny thing: there isn't any Lithuanian Wine at all

Lara was Justis' buddy when he was in Hagenberg and they met randomly on new year's eve - what a coincidence

Oldtown in Kaunas

In front of Trakai castle

Our guide was simply too gentle^^

No chance for an escape...

Inside Trakai Castle

Just a beer in a pizza restaurant...

One of the many churches in Vilnius - this one we even saw from inside, but I don't want to bore you

The fountain at the oldtown square in Vilnius in winter - nice idea





Advent Advent

17 12 2012

Schwere Zeiten sind es, in denen wir den Advent und generell die Vorweihnachtszeit ohne unsere Freunde und Familien daheim genie├čen m├╝ssen. Wie immer bei den sch├Ânen Dingen des Lebens geben wir aber auch hier unser Bestes! Wir lassen nat├╝rlich keine Advent-Tradition aus und ich stecke auch st├Ąndig den lieben Bernd mit meiner Weihnachtsliebe an – ob er will oder nicht! Viel Freude beim Nachlesen unseres ADVENTures ­čśë

Adventkalender
Kindisch oder nicht war bei mir noch nie die Frage! Ich habe mir einen Adventkalender mit Schokolade gekauft und Bernd hat auch einen bekommen. Die T├╝rchen 20 bis 24 habe ich gleich als erstes verabschiedet – denn die brauche ich nicht, da wir ja am 19. Dezember heim fliegen ­čśë

Wichtiger vorweihnachtlicher Einkauf

Einer f├╝r mich :-)

Und einer f├╝r Bernd :-)

Adventkranz
Dass wir einen Adventkranz brauchen, wussten wir schon Anfang November. Wie er dann aussehen w├╝rde, wussten wir da noch nicht. Mit viel Liebe und gewohnter Kreativit├Ąt habe ich uns einen schicken Adventkranz gebastelt. Die Flaschen sind allesamt von der Marke “┼ávyturys”, was ├╝bersetzt “Leuchtturm” hei├čt – auch nicht unpassend.
Dass wir an den Advent-Sonntagen brav singen versteht sich wohl von selbst!

Mein erster selbstgebastelter Adventkranz - erster Advent :-)

2. Advent

3. Advent, 1 Uhr morgens und "das erste Mal" f├╝r unsere Freundinnen aus der T├╝rkei

3. Advent - es gibt aber auch viel zu wenige Fotos von Maxime (Frankreich) und Christian (Deutschland) - unseren Mitbewohnern

...und von uns kann es sowieso nicht genug Fotos geben :)

Weihnachtsbaum der Universit├Ąt
Da wir fast jeden Tag an der Uni vorbeigehen ­čśÇ ist uns nat├╝rlich auch der Weihnachtsbaum dort aufgefallen. Tannenbaum hei├čt auf litauisch ├╝brigens “Egle”.

Die Ankunft

Das Einweihungsfest der Beleuchtung des Weihnachtsbaumes der Universit├Ąt hat leider nur sehr kurz gedauert und war daher eher unspektakul├Ąr.

Weihnachtsgetr├Ąnke
Manche Dinge gibt es hier in Litauen, die sind einfach etwas anders. Ein Weizenbier bekommt man hier beispielsweise mit Zitrone. ├ähnlich ist es auch mit den weihnachtlichen Getr├Ąnken:

Bock - serviert mit einer Orangenscheibe. Geschmacklich jedoch sehr gut!

Gl├╝chwein gibt's mit Zitronenscheibe (das passt noch ganz gut) und Strohhalm...

Die gute Tat
Am 12. Dezember waren viele Leute ganz deppad wegen diesem 12/12/12. Das finde ich etwas l├Ącherlich und rein vom Datum her ist 20.12.2012 sowieso cooler :-)
Wie dem auch sei – wir haben den Tag f├╝r eine gute Tat genutzt und sind gemeinsam mit Studenten des Erasmus Student Networks zu einer Anstalt mit Kindern mit speziellen Bed├╝rfnissen gefahren und haben dort etwas f├╝r Weihnachtsstimmung gesorgt. Wir haben mit den Kindern gemalt und danach gab es ein kurzes Programm – sowohl von unserer Seite als auch von den Kindern. Wir bezeichnen diese Menschen zwar als arm – bedenkt man aber wie gro├č deren Freude ├╝ber noch so “unwichtige” Kleinigkeiten ist, m├╝ssen wir eher uns selbst als die “Armen” sehen…

Die Kunstwerke wurden gesammelt aufgeh├Ąngt

Vorweihnachtliche Geschenke =)
Obgleich es mir weder vor, w├Ąhrend, noch nach Weihnachten um Geschenke geht, werde ich nat├╝rlich gerne beschenkt ­čśë Die Freude teilen und andere beschenken macht aber mindestens genausoviel Spa├č!

Ein Nikolo f├╝r Bernd

schokoladige Familiengr├╝├če <3

In der Vorweihnachtszeit von einem Moslem beschenkt zu werden hat doch was. Das Glas stammt selbstverst├Ąndlich NICHT aus einem Lokal......

Farewell Party
Die letzte vom ESN organisierte Party hatte ein kleines Abschiedsprogramm und das “ESN Diary” f├╝r uns bereit.

Gemeinsam mit Kestutis, der zwar nicht unser Mentor war, uns aber mehr weitergeholfen hat als unser eigentlicher Mentor. (Mentor hier ist wie Buddy in Hagenberg)

Diverses

Mutige Tauben...

Weihnachtskuh!

Ich w├╝nsche noch eine sch├Âne Weihnachtszeit!





Trip to St.Petersburg

29 11 2012

Our trip to Russia was pretty cool. St.Petersburg is really beautiful on the inside, but on our way to go there (we went by bus) we also saw enough places where you don’t want to live. We knew the blocked buildings already from Lithuania – but in SPb they are higher and much more of them on less space. Living there must give you that You-are-one-of-5-million-feeling…

Some quick facts you may not just find on Wikipedia:
St.Petersburg is known as the center of cultural Russia
The first museum of the country was a museum of curiosities (in SPb) :-)
SPb is the “beer city” of Russia (Moscow is the “vodka city”).

Puschkin once said “I was here drank wine and beer”

Russian Visum - 4 days, EUR 80,--

Border - Russia

Border - Narva (Estonia)

Having fun in Peter & Paul's Cathedral - or how I like to call it: the Cathedral of Death

Our hotel - I showed this picture to the taxi driver after going out and we arrived there safely ;-)

Euro vs Litas vs Rubel

I asked the waiter for somthing I can only get in St.Petersburg: Some extended version of Chicken Kiev (forgot the name) - really good

Mollie's - St.Petersburg's oldest Pub

Me with a typical russian guy

"Beschleunigungsstreifen" hahaha - Joke by: Bernd

Giebelkreuz-Mafia in Russia :D

Museum of arts "Hermitage" former palace, a building with ~1400 windows...

Hermitage: Oldschool Facebook ­čśÇ - Joke by: Izabela

Hermitage: It reminded me a bit of the first Resident Evil game - a golden version of the mansion...

Hermitage: Badass :)

Hermitage: A painting by some guy called "Leonardo DaVinci"

Hermitage: These masks remind me of Dragon Ball....

Just another russian souvenir shop in

Metro station from outside

A metro stop. If you see just the underground of St.Petersburg, you could think that Russia is rich...

Glass adornment on the columns

Colonel Sanders? :-P

Good old times

=)

"Why is that guy naked and you can see his balls?" - "Because it's the same for the horse" - by Berni & Bernd

May I point your attention to the proportion of this man's body/head...

So you have GPS? Really? ­čśÇ Hmm... they don't have E-Mail^^

I learned about it in driving school, but I had to travel to St.Petersburg to see it the first time for real.

Oh yes and I bought such a russian military hat =)

Another funny thing is that I ate at KFC and Subway in St.Petersburg, and for both chains it was my first time ­čśÇ





Our flat

29 11 2012

We are overduty… to show our flat to all of you :-)
The flat we rent is nothing special, it’s an old Sovjet building (but thank god with new windows) where lots of things are built in a way and are in a condition we wouldn’t stand in a austrian flat. But it’s good enough for four students to live in for less than five months. And more important: It’s better to live here than in the dormitory ­čśÇ

Bernd and I moved in together with Christian from Germany and two weeks later Maxime from France joined us.

As it is always the most fun – let the pictures speak:

Arrival

We had to change a bunch of things, but first of all: Preparation is everything!

Kitchen including a few things our hirer "borrowed" us (Really nice guy, by the way)

The other half of the kitchen - the fridge was in another room the time we moved in...

Our former living room that became Maxime's room

Christian's room. He didn't get the matrace on the bed(s) - also, he gave the second part of the bed to Maxime as he bought a new one for himself.

the other half of Christian's room :)

Bernd's room, he didn't get the table, but the best bed due to what I call an allergy advantage :-P

My room - the smallest one. But after folding out the couch and putting a matrace over it I had a place to sleep and I got the best desk. Also, it's MY room, so it has to be the greatest one ;-)

You need some ideas when three people are washing their clothes the first time since three weeks...

So that was a first tour through our flat. If you wonder why we didn’t wash our clothes for three weeks – the washing machines weren’t delivered to the dormitory yet. Planning, organizing and preparing aren’t the big strengths of Lithuanians…

So let’s take a look how it developed until today:

We improved the kitchen by putting food and stuff in it ­čśÇ hahaha. We put the fridge in there and Bernd and I took the cupboards for our rooms as we didn't need them in the kitchen.

Bernd needed a new desk, so we splitted the one in the living room.

I had to make my small room cosy and I wanted to put the "grey" out of it...

..so, again, I started to put the pictures from home on the wall..

..and this time I had enough space to use ALL of them :)

Also, I started to build a "motivation wall" at my exit using the postcards I got from home and I planned to also put special things I find or get in Lithuania onto it

And it developed well! The sum of all these "small things" really lighten up every day!





Projects at KTU

29 11 2012

First of all: Yes, we are also doing something for our studies. Well, yes: I can hear your laughter. But seriously, here is an insight:

Besides our Master’s thesis project and “Systems Engineering 3 – Metrics and Testing”, which we attend in Hagenberg, we are taking three courses here at the Kaunas University of Technology:

Algorithms and Data Structures in Computational Geometry
We got some assignments we have to solve during the semester. They are all about solving problems in Computational Geometry and force us to do lots of research and “play around” with different algorithms.

This lecture can be seen as good addition to the course “Computer Vision”, that we attended last semester.

Cloud Computing
After working through different books and papers we discussed pros and cons of different frameworks for Cloud Computing. Then we had to decide which one to take for a project we have to present in the end of the semester.

We are using Google App Engine for a Chat Application. Right now we worked out the basic server side functionality.

Virtual Reality
For this course we also have to do a project. It’s about developing an Augmented Reality Application for Android.

We cooperate with CrazyImp, which is a startup company supported by the KTU supported “Startup Space”.

At first we had to compare different AR frameworks for the purpose of having virtual objects placed in the real world through the camera view. We decied to use “DroidAR”.

Next step was to come up with an idea for a game – and I think the one we came up with is quite cool. We will develop an Augmented Reality version of “Slender – the eight pages”. For those of you, who don’t know the game, I will include a YouTube-Video of the trailer.

So right now we have the basic User Interface, parts of the game logic and a 3D-model of Slenderman. Right now the hints a player has to find and Slenderman are just easy to find arrows, so what still has to be done is include the models, finish with the game logic and develop some fancy features :-)

As SlendAR is something, that could be even interesting, I included some screenshots.





First weeks in Lithuania – as seen by: Great Britain

27 11 2012

Our english friend Zach made a nice video from the pictures of the first three weeks (Language Course) – enjoy :-)





Short Trip to Vilnius

3 11 2012

As we have been invited by the austrian embassador in Lithuania, we did a short trip (2 nights) to Lithuania’s capital Vilnius. The reason for this special invitation was Austria’s National Holiday. Bernd and I decided to visit Vilnius not like usual tourists but a bit like adventurers :-) Let’s make a picture story out of it:

Once upon a time there were two awesome austrian guys on their way to Vilnius, collecting data for OpenCoverageMap while travelling.

OpenCoverageMap

Their british friend (who looks OBVIOUSLY british), who studies in Vilnius, showed them some great places you must have seen! Of course, we are talking about Clubs and Bars; they had to find their hostel and the embassy with good old Google Maps...

Following the invitation to the embassy, they had the possibility to drink austrian wine, ...

... meet other Austrian Erasmus-Students and also the embassador (the Gentleman in behind, who is speaking with passion) ...

... and eat - small, but still - a Schnitzel and other food, that was at least claimed to be traditional austrian. :-)

It a little bit awoke the patriots in them, there - in the embassy. But our heroes' journey wasn't over yet!

After a long night with the british guide, we met before, it was probably not the best thing to happen to lose the guy, who knows the area and walk randomly in some direction

But our heroes know how to make a virtue of necessity, and so a new kind of Sight-Seeing was born: Night-Seeing :-D

The next day they decided to walk around in Vilnius without any plan to see things maybe no other tourist saw before! One highlight was a church, that was either renovated or even just built :-)

THIS IIIIS a bus stop and a taxi meeting point.

By the way, this day was National Holiday of Austria, so they celebrated the evening going to a German Restaurant (closest to Austrian cuisine)

FYI: They have been invited to the embassy on Oct 25 due to a 20-year-anniversary of lithuanian freedom and these events were combined.

There was traditional music of the wider area of Austria and the South of Germany.

So your question might be: "What do you need more than a wheat beer and Bernd in romantic candle light?"

Of course! A REAL Wiener Schnitzel! (Veal!)

Mentioning it, because in the embassy the Schnitzel was pork…

Next Scene: A bar called "Pogo". A menu, but a special menu! For two minutes our heroes have been the luckiest knights all over Vilnius' old-town, reading STIEGL is sold there!

Jonas ┼Żemaitis ("Vytautas") was one of the leaders of armed resistance against the Soviet occupation; Posthum acknowledged as President of Lithuania

Next to his statue, an oath to fight for Lithuania's freedom, liberty and reconstruction

Exploring small alleys, no tourist guide would lead you through, they found a nice quaint pub. This barrel says "Highland Breweries" I want to add a short reminder here, that that the maximum elevation of Lithuania is 294 meters...

So this is the end of our story.

After quick postcard purchases they went their way again...

...because their Kingdom was still waiting for them - and still is.

And if they didn't die, they lived happily ever after, posting their adventures on a great blog!

the End





Quotes

17 10 2012

After two and a half month in Lithuania, we already had lots of interesting situations and talks. Despite all the nice things we are told usually, there are also other experiences – some of them have been quite funny:

(talking about me) “That kangaroo-guy?”

“You really look like a lithuanian!” – “Is that a compliment?” – “Let’s say it’s 50% compliment and 50% not good”

“Why is there no austrian language? Doesn’t it bother you that you don’t even
have your own language?”

(Asks a few basic words I know in lithuanian language) “You know eeeverything”

“Why did you choose Lithuania?” – “Because it’s a beautiful country ;-)” – “No, it’s not!”

(starts talking to me in lithuanian language) “Do you speak english?” – “Yes, but why should we speak english? We don’t have to.” – “What do you mean ‘we don’t have to’?” – “Because we are Lithuanians”

“This is drinking vodka the lithuanian way” (was everytime different when I heard that sentence, but everytime with the result of partial memory loss)

“They don’t speak real german” ..translates ‘milk': ‘Milsch’ and doesn’t know why that could in any case be wrong…

“Austria – so you are from Vienna?” – “No.” – “So where are you from?” (doesn’t know any place except Vienna..)

“So, is it your first time in europe?” – “Aahm.. I’m from Austria..”

“Na daun kima eh a bissl deitsch redn :)” – “Ich hab jetzt kein Wort verstanden.”

To add even more fun to this post, here is a commercial video from a lithuanian mineral water:





International Dinner

24 09 2012

The International Dinner was a great event, where we’ve been able to taste the best meals from all over the world.



Once again, the handsome and awesome austrian guys in Lederhosen have been the attraction #1!




But of course, there have been only nice people ­čśë Also, there was lots of tasty food…













There was also an “International Dinner Award”. And quess what: The winner was AUSTRIA! Kaiserschmarrn, Manner Wafferl and Mozartkugeln ftw! :) Our price was a sweet lithuanian dish.