Wednesday, June 25, 2014

So You Want to be a Hamburger?

So... it's been a while. Too long, in fact. This post has been far too long in coming, but I suppose that's because of this past Saturday's Mistake of the Day.

Saturday's Mistake of the Day: Trusting a hostel to actually be clean.

So yeah, I caught a cold while on my trip to Hamburg, and I'm almost positive that it was because my bed at the hostel wasn't properly disinfected or what have you. Despite this misfortune, my trip to Hamburg was pretty cool. I've got lots of neat pictures that I'm excited to share with you guys. But first, a few random pictures.

So apparently there's a clothing store called Anson's at the mall in Rathaus Steglitz. Too ironic not to take a picture.

My new trick for improving my vocabulary and reading comprehension. 

Ok, so that was only two pictures, and now we can get to the meat of it (hamburger jokes, get it?). Anyways, I'll probably forgo captioning most of these, simply because they're somewhat random views of the city.

So this fountain actually has a bit of history attached to it, but I'm not going to lie to you guys. It's pretty gross and involves unclean water and cholera.

I like to call this one "Unintentional Fountain Hat"

The most beautiful church I've ever seen. Ha. Ha ha.

The oldest part of town. It narrowly escaped destruction in the huge fire in the mid 1800s. 

Anyone want to guess what the room that's sticking out a bit used to be? Hint, if you knew, you wouldn't have wanted to drink the beer in Hamburg back in the day.

Maybe I'm a sap, but I think this is kind of cute. Couples by a padlock with their names on them, lock them on the bridge, and toss the key into the river.

The incredibly famous (and unbelievably expensive) opera in Hamburg. It's still under construction and taking a bit longer than expected.

Obligatory selfie. You're welcome, mom.

And the hostel that started the cold.

As I was uploading these pictures, I realized there are way more than I thought. Therefore, you guys can expect a Hamburg: Day 2 update (hopefully) tomorrow-ish. Until then, my friends.


Tuesday, June 24, 2014


Hey everybody.

So I know it's been a while since I've updated my blog. Unfortunately, I caught a cold this past weekend on my trip to Hamburg and have consequently been out of commission. I've also been struggling with my workload, and this week has just been especially trying. Never fear though. I've uploaded my pictures onto my computer and will (hopefully) update with pictures from Hamburg later this week.


Monday, June 16, 2014

Over the Elbe and Through the Woods

Hello all! I know it's been a few days since my last post, but trust me when I say you don't want to know the gory details of my classes, grammar exercises, papers, etc. Nothing terribly exciting happened until this past weekend when I visited Dresden. However, before I delve into Dresden, here are two kind of random pictures that don't really have a place in this post, but that I'd still like to include.

 A delicious specimen of German food. I thoroughly enjoyed my Käsespätzle, beer, and salad.

A picture of a Trabi from the Alltag in der DDR Museum. Wouldn't you want to go camping in one of these bad boys? (Yes, that's a tent on top)

Ok, now that we've gotten that out of the way, we shall proceed to Dresden. Although we had a bit of intermittent rain, the Dresden trip was absolutely fantastic. Dresden lies on the Elbe River in the state of Saxony (Sachsen) and acts as its capital city. For those of you who don't know, Dresden is an incredibly unique German city. During World War II, the Allied bombing of the city completely destroyed the city center, which featured beautiful Baroque and Rococo architecture. Although many damaged German cities chose to modernize when they rebuilt, the people of Dresden (and Saxony as a whole), set out to reconstruct and restore its lost architecture. Now granted, I don't know much about architecture, but it seems to me that they did an amazing job. Here are some photos.

A view of the Semper Oper.

A view of the Zwinger Palace. As Cogsworth from Beauty and the Beast once said, if it ain't Baroque, don't fix it.

The equestrian statue in front of the Semper Oper (as well as two kids who wouldn't stop playing on it long enough for me to get a picture).

More Baroque architecture around Zwinger Palace.

I'm also a sucker for a nice statue.

And a fountain. Although we certainly had enough intermittent waterworks of our own with the rain. 

An aerial view of the courtyard of Zwinger Palace (der Zwinger).

Another picture of Zwinger Palace.

A view of the Frauenkirche. Unfortunately we couldn't go inside due to scheduling difficulties, but I suppose that just gives me a reason to go back one day.

A picture of the Dresden Academy of Fine Arts (Hochschule für Bildende Künste Dresden)

Me, the art academy, and random lady on a bench.

A picture of a very small part of The Procession of Princes (Fürstenzug). It's the largest porcelain mural in the world and depicts the line of the Wettin Dynasty (Haus Wettin) of Saxony through the years.

The chandelier and seats inside the Semper Oper.

A view of the stage and orchestra pit.

The Dresden Cathedral (Katholische Hofkirche) and the Dresden Castle (Dresdener Schloss). The Dresden Castle is home to 5 museums, one of which (the Historic Green Vault or Historische Grünes Gewölbe) I visited. Unfortunately, photos aren't allowed, or else I'd have way more pictures. However, I definitely advise you to google it and see some pictures for yourself. 

Overall, this was a really phenomenal trip. I'm a bit bummed we didn't get to spend more time in the city, but I suppose that's the perfect motivation for me to return one day. It's also left me incredibly excited for my trip to Hamburg this coming weekend. Until then, I have to study like mad and prepare for my papers and presentations. Hope you guys enjoyed!


Monday, June 9, 2014

Plants and Wildlife and Memorials (Oh My!)

Greetings once again from Germany! I've been pretty busy lately, so this post comprises the past few days I've spent here in Berlin. Fair warning, this post contains a ridiculous amount of pictures and not too many anecdotes, but my mom wanted to see a bunch of photos from the botanical gardens (Botanischer Garten). Here it goes.

Friday after class I went with Maren and a classmate, Heidi, to the botanical garden. It's a surprisingly short walk from my classes, and I'm so glad I went. Here's a few pictures.

 I can't resist a lovely patch of lavender.

Some pretty roses and such.

A building in the rose garden. I think it's beautiful with the flowers on the side.

Our buddy the Fantastic Mr. Fox. He was hunting a field mouse.

A little group of wild ducklings.

I've got some crazy eyes going on, but finally a picture of me and Maren.

Inside one of the buildings at the botanical garden. I felt like I was on a jungle safari.

Maren on one of the coolest paths I've ever seen.

Maren posing with some flowers.

The awesome path again.

Observe the wild Maren in her natural habitat.

Once Maren and I do some picture sharing, I'll upload a few more of me at the botanical gardens as a just for fun post. But for now, we continue on to Saturday. On Saturday, Maren and I extended our exploration of the city to Potsdamer Platz. We also experienced a bit of a freak increase in temperature. It's been in the 90s (Fahrenheit, obviously) for the past few days. And therein lies my mistake of the day.

Saturday's Mistake of the Day: I wore jeans to go exploring in 90 degree heat.

But hey, I got some awesome pictures and great experiences to show for it.

 Here's a picture looking up in the Sony Center. Maren says they light up the dome at night with different colors, which sounds pretty cool. I'll have to go back in the evening and check it out.

A view of the Holocaust memorial in Berlin (Denkmal für die ermordeten Juden Europas).

They're a lot bigger than they seem. It's very sobering to be in their shadows.

The Brandenburger Tor.

And again.

The Monument to Sinti and Roma (Denkmal für die im Nationalsozialismus ermordeten Sinti und Roma Europas). The monument consists of a small, calm pond surrounded by cobblestones, many of which are engraved with the names of concentration and death camps.

 The Soviet War Memorial in Tiergarten (Sowjetisches Ehrenmal).

The Berlin Victory Column (Berliner Siegessäule).

After all our sightseeing, I got to meet Maren's mom and sister and enjoy a delicious meal with them.

Yesterday (Sunday), I was supposed to meet up with the other study abroad students for a tour of the Reichstag. I was so excited and ready to take some awesome pictures, but my mistake of the day prevented me from actually achieving this.

Sunday's Mistake of the Day: Once again (and quite stupidly) underestimating Berlin's transportation system.

Yeah, you read that correctly. I didn't actually make it to the Reichstag. The first train was totally fine, but I could not for the life of me find the bus stop that I needed to get to the Brandenburger Tor. After hopelessly wandering around and missing the appointment, I decided to stop and have a beer at the first place I saw. It just so happened to be called the Einstein Cafe. Now I'm pretty sure Berlin is just mocking silly old tourist me.

Today was a national holiday, but I still had a class to attend. Also, in case you guys didn't know, I'm in class from 9 to 3 or 3:30 most days, so you can see why I might not update my blog as often as I should. Anyways, that leads me to today's mistake.

Today's Mistake of the Day: Underestimating just how many stores and shops would be closed due to the holiday.

So as a result, I didn't have breakfast, but fortunately I ferreted out a place for lunch and another for dinner. My host family was out of town this weekend, so I had to fend for myself for a bit, but I think I did ok. Anyways, that's been my weekend in a nutshell.