So my sister is in Germany and since I’m stuck at home I asked her to write a post about her travels and adventures across the pond.
So I’ve been doing some great traveling of my own this summer. I’m living in Aachen, Germany for 10 weeks doing research in weaving polymers at a university here. Yes, weaving like shuttles, looms, and carpets. I’m also taking a German class which I’m sad to say I haven’t retained much besides telling the time and saying I’m tired. Like Jess, I made sure to take full advantage of my time in Europe. I was lucky enough to be living in a city with lots of history itself. Aachen was the location from which Charlemagne ruled Europe in medieval times. There’s a historic cathedral under which his remains are supposedly buried.
Also, Aachen is conveniently the westernmost city of Germany and only a few kilometers away from the triple point of Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands. Being from Florida where the next state is 8 hours away, it was crazy to me that I could be in two different countries in just a short run.
So far in my travels I’ve been to Köln, München, Berlin, Maastricht, Brussels, and Amsterdam. I actually had a chance to go to the world famous Köln cathedral for mass which also happened to be the First Holy Communion mass for the Sonntagschule (Sunday school) kids. München and Berlin were two amazing but extremely tiring cities. Being on a budget I opted to take the bus from the west to both of these cities which were about a grueling 9 hour trip each way, for each city. It’s definitely not the best way to travel but by taking overnight buses (11:30 pm Sunday to 8:30 am Monday) I was able to spend a lot of time in the cities.
In München I saw men in the typical Bavarian lederhosen and went to a biergarten where I had the local ein mass (1 liter) beer (I was a baby and had radler which is half beer-half sprite). Still it’s a lot of liquid in your stomach. I also got to go to Dachau which was the first concentration camp set up in WWII. That was a great experience. I knew it would be moving but it was so much more emotional than I anticipated. It’s one of those things that we learn and read about in school but it only becomes real when you walk the same grounds and enter through the same gate that was such a large and dark part of history.
I luckily got to end my weekend on a lighter note visiting the famous Neuswanstein Castle (the Bavarian “Disney” castle). The town it’s actually in is beautiful to begin with. It’s on the walk up to the castle that you first see it and just can’t believe it’s real. It has everything a castle is supposed to have, besides the moat. I can see why it’s the ideal castle for every fairy tale.