I’m finally back in the States! I loved Germany, but it is always good to be home. My experience abroad was terrific! I got to try new foods and drinks, I got to meet new people, and I got to see the world. I am so thankful that I could see Germany in person. It is one thing to learn about it in textbooks and videos, another to see it for yourself. Some of my friends got to connect with family that they did not know that they even had, two in Germany and one in Switzerland. Germany is such a culturally rich place, and I am glad that I got to learn more about the country. I was still surprised that Northern German cities carried out crusades against the principality of Nizhny Novgorod despite the two being trading partners for roughly two centuries prior. I got to befriend some people and ran into old friends who studied at my college the previous fall. Even though I ran into complications, I am so grateful that I was able to go on this trip. Europe calls me, but for now, I will be taking a break. While I am taking a break, I will be applying for my Russian student visa. The journey does not stop here, and if all goes well, I will be in Russia at the end of January. Until next time.
We took a class field trip to Weimar since our class was about Faust. I did not know much about the city other than the short-lived Weimar Republic during the interwar period. I learned a lot of things from our professor and the audio guide in some of the museums.
Goethe moved to Weimar around 1775 because he was good friends with the duke of the region, and he got a job working for the duke. His house goes on about his life and what he liked to do; he was a literary figure, but Goethe enjoyed engaging in the natural sciences such as collecting rocks. Goethe wrote a paper about Color Theory. The story between him and the woman he loved was a bit sad because he never married her, and the two could rarely be seen together. He loved her dearly, though, and when she died, he turned her room into a room that honored her memory.
So my friend and I went to Weimar Stadtmuseum to check it out. We completely forgot that it was the 100th anniversary of the Republic, so we went to the special exhibition. We learned about the Republic, such as the fact that Weimar was the capital for one year before moving back to Berlin (I thought it was the capital until 1933). I also learned that Lufthansa got its start in 1919, flying between Weimar and Berlin. We also saw the original constitution, and I was able to get the gist of what they were saying without having my friend help me translate.
I am, for sure, going to head back to Weimar. I met a special someone there, and I want to see them again, but also, Bauhaus. I did not have time to see the Bauhaus museum, but everyone in my group was talking about it. It’s also a small cultural city, so it’s easy to get to where you need to go. Maybe Spring Break of 2021?
So I took a trip to Vienna, and the city was beautiful and teeming with life. I also felt terrific being able to use the German I learned in Germany and apply it in Austria. Austrians are friendly, and I had a good time drinking with them. I even met someone who came from the same town that Arnold Schwarzenegger came from!
I traveled to the Belvedere, and the museum was fascinating. It showcased Austrian art from the Enlightened and Romantic Eras to the protest movements in the early 20th century. The palace was grand, and I would only expect such a luxurious abode to house some high-class art.
I then visited a military history museum, which was interesting. I planned on attending one in Brussels, but Google Maps had other plans for me. It was intriguing to see some paintings and uniforms worn by the Austrian army from the mid-19th century up to World War I, and the evolution of guns at the time.
I wish that I stayed in Vienna longer and saw more, but there is always next time. Also, I can’t miss out on an excuse to party with some more Austrians!
I had a blast in Prague. The people were friendly, the sights were amazing, and most importantly, the food was delicious! I got to see several cultural sites and learned about its history from Bohemia through communism to the present day.
I went to the history of communism, and I learned more about, well, the history of communism in Czechia. This was a field in which I had little knowledge of, but I found it to be very educational and sad at some parts. But with the fall of communism in the then, Czechoslovakia and rise of the democratic president Vaclav Havel was a sweet note to leave the museum with.
I then went to a museum about the history of Bohemia, and it was very informative. The museum started with the first primal humans that settled into Czechia, all the way up to the Englightenment era. I got to see and read about Medieval Bohemia (it certainly does deserve a song) and see some models for buildings. Christian art was also refreshing to see, and there was so much of it! And what can I say? I’m a sucker for neo-classical paintings and sculptures.
And as you can see from above, I went to the sex museum in Prague. The museum was very informative and just shows how people got their rocks off back in the day. It also displays the different ways in which people can gain sexual gratification and pleasure. The museum celebrated sex which is what we do not often see in society. It was a fun museum to visit and should you ever find yourself in Prague, you should definitely go! Or just go to the city in general, things are cheap and there is so much to do!
I went to Brussels during an elongated break that we had for class. My original goal was to go to Copenhagen, but my Airbnb host canceled at the last minute. I do not regret not going to Copenhagen because I had a good time in the capital of the European Union!
I went to the European General History Museum on the first night. They told me I could not take pictures, but I feel like it was for one section. Anyway, it gave an excellent overview of modern European history, mostly from the French Revolution to the modern-day. I would have liked to see more European history primarily from the fall of the Roman Empire to modern-day, but I understand that that is a vast swath of time to cover.
The next day I went to the European Parliament building (the one for tourists), and there I learned about the history of the European Union. There was such a rich collection of information from the European countries. I had not known what was going on at the time from the 50s to the modern-day. The part that I found interesting was that France and Holland in the early 2000s did not adopt the EU constitution. Thus the EU remains a confederation rather than a supranational federal government. I also got more insight into how the EU represents the interests of the governments in the EU and EU citizens. I also cast votes on some issues that the parliament has voted on. There were times in which parliament and the people did not see eye to eye. The museum was an overall enriching experience.
I had planned on going to this military history museum as well, but Google Maps took me in the wrong direction. By the time I got there, it was too late to buy a ticket, so I will have to come back to visit it. Brussels is a culturally rich city, and I am glad to have been there. It would be a good idea to learn some French, though.
Lübeck is a port city located in the state of Schleswig-Holstein. For reference, I stay in Nidersachen, so it is one state over. I love the semester ticket system here in Germany. I can go anywhere in Niedersachen or take a train leaving Nidersachen to a place, not in the state, then come back. (As I can go to Hamburg and back, I cannot go to Hamburg then to Berlin since both are city-states and not in the state of Niedersachsen).
Being an ancient port town, trade and prosperity flooded the city in the middle ages, and crime with it. To defend against pirates and raiders, the townspeople built a castle that stood at the city center then.
Being a Medieval port city facing the Baltic sea, it naturally was apart of the Hanseatic League.
The city was exciting and fun. You can take the Bahn to Hamburg and Denmark, and it used to border East Germany. And though it may have diminished in importance -I mean it used to lead crusades into Russia to convert them into Christianity-, it is still a port trading city.
Krakow was a beautiful city to visit. I decided to go there because I wanted to check out Polish food and Polish history. I decided on Krakow because I felt that Warsaw was a bit overrated, which was confirmed by both people in my student group and the locals.
My Airbnb in Poland was cheap for being only $10/night. I stayed in an old communist communal apartment, and it was interesting. I then made my way to the Jewish district, which was nearby, and I saw a few memorials and tours around the area. There were also plenty of restaurants as well. The restaurant I ate at had excellent live music, something sweet to the ears while I chowed down the lamb and cider.
Then I went to a castle in the city center, and it was fun. The villa itself was beautiful as well as the artifacts inside were terrific. I could not take any photos inside. Still, there was a lot of original art and furniture about the then Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Me being the history nerd that I am, I adored it.
I was supposed to go to the salt mines, but that got pushed back to the next day, and I ultimately could not go. And I had planned on going to Auschwitz, but both programs got delayed by a day, so I went to an art museum instead. It dealt with art from Northern Macedonia from the Soviet Era and how architects planned to rebuild the city after the devastating earthquake. A price of about $2, I got to see all this and more in the museum.
Poland was a beautiful country, and I wish that I stayed longer so that I could have done some more things, but I was happy with my trip overall. Hopefully, I’ll come and revisit it someday.
We got to visit the town of Suderburg, which hosted a museum containing a collection of buildings and items from the 15th to the 20th centuries. It was refreshing to see that some of the articles even managed to survive the Thirty Year’s War. However, so much was destroyed in it according to some of the captions.