I’m sorry I haven’t posted in a while, but I honestly have no idea where all the time has gone, it’s been flying by like crazy! Last week was an intensive “workshop week” for one of my classes so I didn’t have a ton of free time. But it was a lot of fun, we started planning a sustainability project that the whole class will actually build on the grounds around our school. I did make sure to squeeze in some time to celebrate my birthday which was also last week! Of course 21st birthdays aren’t quite as significant outside of the U.S…
I know that May, and my time to fly back to the states, will be here in the blink of an eye. So I’ve been trying to pack a lot into my time here lately. I’m currently on a plane heading “home” to Berlin after a trip Amsterdam (it really has started to feel like home, and I always find myself feeling a little relieved to be going back to a familiar place after a few days of traveling).
I had heard a lot of great things about Amsterdam and had a few days off from class, so a friend and I decided to jump on a train and check it out. As soon as we stepped out of the train station we were greeted by beautiful buildings and canals. We spent a lot of our time in Amsterdam just wandering around the beautiful neighborhoods… Plus a stroll down the red light district, which was quirky to say the least. The city was more cosmopolitan than I expected; the shopping scene was out of control but a short walk away from the city center quickly landed you in more quaint areas. We also spent a half day outside of the city at the old Dutch village of Zaanse Schans, which has a small collection of well-preserved old windmills, some of the only remaining ones of the one thousand that made the area one of the first industrialized places in the world. While there we went inside a windmill which still manufactures pigments for paint, and we tasted some yummy Dutch Gouda cheese. That about sums up my time in Amsterdam. It was a quick trip but definitely worth it to experience this city.
Last weekend my whole school went to Warsaw which was also a pretty easy train ride from Berlin. I don’t think anyone was expecting that much from the trip, but we all ended up really loving the city! I went on a tour to the old Jewish ghetto, where I learned a lot about the state of Warsaw during World War 2. My favorite part of the trip was probably my visit to the Warsaw Uprising Museum. It gave a moving account of the Polish resistance movement in during the war. It’s a very well done museum that gives each visitor a very emotional experience. Almost 90% of the city was destroyed during the war and all citizens were forced to leave the city. Despite that, in a show of resilience, when the war is over the people were adamant that the capital of Poland be reconstructed in Warsaw instead of moved somewhere else. It was pretty awe-inspiring to go into the museum and see what a completely destroyed Warsaw looked like, and then to walk back outside and see a bustling and successful city of 2 million people.
Since the last time I wrote I also traveled to Rome for a weekend. Being in a city where an ancient civilization also lived was very cool to think about, and I really enjoyed seeing all of the ruins. Also a big highlight: Italian food (and gelato of course). Plus, the weather was very warm and sunny, unlike how it’s been up here lately. Well, spring break is coming and a group of us are headed to Sicily and then to Greece, so I’m hoping to get some blue skies again soon! I won’t write too much more today, but I can definitely say that Rome was everything I imagined Rome to be. And anyways, I think the best way to experience it is to take a look at my photos. So enjoy!