Nathan Steckel

Nathan Steckel

Nathan Steckel

North America » United States » Illinois » Jerseyville June 22nd 2015

Six months ago, I left on a journey that would change my life. Studying abroad has been the best time in my life. I met great new people, traveled a continent and learned so much about other cultures. I have stories for a lifetime and stories that will shape my life. I have new friends that span the globe, who give me reason to travel the world. Most of all I have gained perspective. Perspective on how others live, view life and view history. My travels have shaped me from the sacrifice at Normandy to the atrocities of Auschwitz. The beauty of nature in Ireland to the art and culture of cities like London, Paris and Prague. Perspective is how we view things in the world and it is without a doubt that my perspective on ... read more

Europe » Germany » Bavaria » Munich June 22nd 2015

My last destination on my three weeks of travel was the Bavarian capital of Munich. I came into Munich from Augsburg in the afternoon and simply went for a walk around the city before grabbing dinner after having checked into my LAST hostel! I walked through the main part of the old city and went around Marienplatz and looked in at some churches. My second day in Munich started with going out to the Olympic Park and climbing Olympic hill in order to get a great view of the city and some mountains in the distance. After climbing the hill, I went through the BMW Welt, which is a showroom with all the latest models, and dreamed about the day I might be buying one. After going through the showroom, I went to the BMW Museum ... read more

Europe » Germany » Bavaria » Augsburg June 22nd 2015

The next part of my travels after Salzburg was definitely the most authentic. I left Salzburg and crossed five minutes into Germany and met up with my German friends I met in Ireland, Sarah and Eva. For the first day and night, I stayed at Eva’s home. This was authentic Bavarian and I fell in love with the view and peacefulness. I could easily sit out there and enjoy good coffee and beer for the rest of my life. The night at Eva’s, I really got an authentic Bavarian experience when we went to a beer tent. It was simply a tent in the middle of a field, but filled with picnic tables squashed all together and lots and lots of Bavarian people dressed in their traditional clothes of lederhosen and drindles. There was also a ... read more

Europe » Austria » Salzburg » Salzburg June 3rd 2015

My stop after Vienna was Salzburg. Salzburg has been high on my list of stopping places after I found out that my grandpa was stationed there during the Korean War. It was a beautiful city to visit, situated in a large valley between the mountains. My first day was just spent walking around the city and exploring. I stopped in the Salzburg Dom, which is the cathedral, and admired its beauty for a while. I also wondered around a few squares and into St. Peter’s Church and Abbey. I also took a walk through the Mirabell Gardens and saw where they shot multiple scenes of the Do-Re-Mi Song from the Sound of Music. Of course being in Austria, I had to stop at a café and have a drink and some cake and I made my ... read more

Europe » Austria » Vienna June 3rd 2015

My fourth city of my travels was Vienna. I took the train from Prague to Vienna and after checking into my hostel, I went for a walk around the city. I made a stop at the historic Café Hawelka and had a coffee before exploring some more of the city and walking around what used to be the Hofburg Palace. During my walk, I made a stop inside of St. Peter’s church, which was beautiful and I also walked down Kohlmarkt, which is the luxury shopping street in Vienna and they have just about every luxury brand imaginable. Day two of my time in Vienna started by going out to Schonbrunn Palace which was the summer residence for the Hapsburg Family. The palace, like so many others from that time period, was beautiful and decadent. The ... read more

Europe » Czech Republic » Prague » Old Town May 26th 2015

My third stop of my travels was Prague. Getting to Prague proved interesting as the trains in Germany were on strike so I had to take a bus to the border where I then got on a train to Prague. After that little bit of excitement, I made it to Prague and got off at the wrong train station. Not to worry though, the metro ran to this station as well so I was able to make it to my hostel without enduring an extra cost or much of an inconvenience. Once I made it to my hostel and checked in, I went on my customary walk of the city to try and get my bearings. My walk took me across the famous and beautiful Charles Bridge and into the Old Town. Prague being the medieval ... read more

Europe » Germany » Berlin » Berlin May 25th 2015

Berlin is a new and vibrant city that has a very turbulent history. It amazed me at how the capital of the Third Reich faces that very ugly past. I tried and take in as much information about that history during my time there and I was amazed at how well the information is presented. On my day of arrival, I simply checked into my hostel and then went for a little walk. On my walk around, I saw the towering TV tower, the Berlin Cathedral and the Neve Wache. The Neve Wache is also called the Memorial for Victims of War and Dictatorship and houses the remains of one Unknown Soldier and one unknown victim from a concentration camp. The soldier has soil from a battlefield around him and the concentration camp victim has soil ... read more

Europe » Netherlands » North Holland » Amsterdam May 18th 2015

I left Waterford at 4:30am and crossed over the River Suir for the last time. I was on my way to Dublin Airport, where I would fly out to begin my twenty days of travel. First stop, Amsterdam. I arrived in Amsterdam and made my way to my hostel and then onto the city. I arrived in the city at the Central Station and took off down the main street, Damrak. I made my way down to the National Memorial that commemorates all those that lost their lives in WWII and to the Royal Palace. Both the palace and the memorial sit on Dam Square, the original spot where the Dutch people put a dam in the River Amstel, thus creating Amsterdam. At the square, I admired the many bicycles that where around before making my ... read more

Europe » Spain » Catalonia » Barcelona » Barcelona May 2nd 2015

This past week was study week at university so there was no class so Anna and myself took advantage and made a little trip down to Barcelona, Spain. We had a wonderful time in this magnificent city with a great culture and even better weather. Who would have thought that I would need to bring a pair of shorts to Ireland, I didn’t so I had to buy a pair and thank goodness I did. The weather was beautiful, but I would have died walking around a city all day in jeans. Our first day of the trip started with us getting up at 1am to catch the bus to the airport so we could make our flight at 6:15am. Although it was not very fun being up that early, it did gives us most of ... read more

Europe » Ireland » County Waterford » Waterford April 25th 2015

Today we went and toured the Waterford Crystal factory in downtown Waterford. The new headquarters was built in 2010 after an investment firm bought the company when it declared bankruptcy and moved from the outskirts of the city right into the heart. They have built a beautiful facility and it is home to the largest Waterford Crystal showroom anywhere in the world. The tour was very good and we were able to see each stage of the process and master craftsmen doing some amazing work. The skill that craftsmen possess is remarkable. Everything, for the most part, is still done by hand and with no use of automated machinery. From the blowing to the cutting and etching, all the work is amazing. Every cut in Waterford Crystal is done from memory and on average every craftsman ... read more

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