Cité Frugès : Just about a 30 minute walk from my dorm, there’s a neighborhood that was entirely designed by Swiss architect LeCorbusier back in the 1920s. It was meant as housing for factory workers. There’s only a few buildings left, but they are still residential housing, and they’re nationally recognized as a Historic Landmark.
Koninginnedag : Queen’s day is a celebration of the queen of the Netherlands. Basically, it’s a huge party in the streets of Downtown Amsterdam that lasts all day, and everyone wears the color of the royal family: orange. It’s also the only day of the year when it’s legal to sell things on the sidewalk, so there’s also a huge garage sale going on everywhere. A 2€ Heineken was never far away!
The Keukenhof : The Netherlands is the World’s number one exporter of flowers, and this place shows why. There’s 6.5 million flowers in the park, and it’s known as the most photographed place in the World. Just outside the park, there are entire fields of tulips that we went to. It’s only open during the springtime, so I’m glad we were there when it was. It’s definitely something unique to the country and it’s amazing to see!
Amsterdam : After a couple days in Berlin, we were off to Amsterdam! Unfortunately, most of the museums forbid photography, so I can’t post everything that I did, but it was still a great time! Amsterdam is a bike city (I’m pretty sure there’s more bikes than cars), so we decided to rent some bikes to get round one day. We saw the sights, had authentic stroopwafels and fries with mayo, and on out last day we got to celebrate Koninginnedag (Queen’s Day)!
Hamburger Bahnhof : No, it’s not a burger joint, the Hamburger Bahnhof is a contemporary art museum. It houses the work of German artists like Joseph Beuys and Anselm Kiefer. When we went there was also a really cool exhibition that projected light into a dark space to make different shapes. It was one of my favorite museums of the trip!
Tacheles and Hackische Höfe : Berlin is definitely a hot spot for modern art. Tacheles is an old building that is occupied by an artists’ collective that is threatened by eviction. The inside is totally covered in graffiti and there are small shops where artists sell their work. Not far from there is the Hackische Höfe. Once an old Jewish neighborhood, it is now a shopping area and houses a gallery with some interesting sculptures that move if you put a euro in the box next to them!
Alexanderplatz : The Fernsehturm (TV Tower) is the tallest structure in Germany, and it’s located near Alexanderplatz. This same area also has a lot of older structures like the City Hall and the Marienkirche (St. Mary’s Church). Part of what I love about Berlin is that so many of it’s buildings are new, but they are mixed in with the old architecture that survived the war. Berlin is a modern city, while still being strongly rooted to its history.
Treptower Park : Our first day in Berlin, we rented bikes and ended up biking all around the city (Nearly 30 km!). The first stop was the Soviet war memorial. It commemorates the 50,000 Russian soldiers who died in Berlin at the end of World War II. What I always find interesting about Soviet art is the fact that it always has an ideal character instead of a real person. This memorial has a Soviet soldier rescuing a child while crushing a swastika under his feet and a “grieving mother” statue at the other end.
The Berlin Wall/East Side Gallery : After My travels in Italy I finally realized one of my biggest goals for my study abroad experience. Germany!! Berlin’s history is extremely present everywhere you go, and the wall is still marked by a line everywhere in the city. This place went through a lot in the past hundred years, and it’s shaped the appearance, and even the attitude, of the city. I can’t believe I only had 2 days to visit, and I definitely want to go back soon!
Family in Italy! More Food! I think the best part of Italy was all the pasta. I don’t think I had anything I disliked the whole time I was there. Unfortunately, though, all good things must come to an end, and I had said goodbye to my family as they left for America. I then headed to take a train back to Paris where I would meet my friends for the next branch of this amazing trip!