She wrote so much that I have to break up her posts into a few different parts:
The next big stop was Berlin. When I first got there I wasn’t as big a fan of it as I became of München because it seemed so modern. Frankly, it is really modern because so much of it had to be rebuilt after WWII. Of course Berlin has an extremely rich history that’s still very recent. Pretty much all over the city you can see the exact location of the wall marked by different cobble stones. It was crazy seeing how it literally cut through large squares and in some cases through subway stations making them ghost stations. Berlin today is beautiful, especially the Tiergarten, which I spent two hours of my last day napping in. I think it’s great to visit Berlin for my generation because even to me sometimes I think of the Berlin wall as something so far in the past when in reality it still had a very strong presence just a few decades ago.
Next on the agenda was Maastricht in the neighboring Netherlands and Brussels in Belgium. Maastricht was a typical old town with narrow alleyways instead of large open roads, but the most interesting part of the day was a trip to the man-made caves under a hill a little outside of town. They were basically underground quarries for limestone that was used to build most of the city but now are a large network of underground passages. In the caves was a vault that was used in WWII by Hitler to keep and protect many pieces of art from burglary and damage. That same weekend I made a day trip to Brussels. Of course my first stop was to get a Belgian waffle which really did live up to my expectations. Then I went over to the European Union Parlementarium. There was a great museum explaining the long road taken to create the EU as we know it today. Besides that there wasn’t much to do other than get some Belgian chocolates that my family will be happy to know I plan on taking home. Going to these two places, where they speak Dutch and French respectively, also made me realize how much German I do understand despite still feeling like I haven’t learned much. It was a small confirmation that if nothing else, immersion in a language helps you to understand at least the PA at the train stations which sadly for me I had trouble with in Belgium.
JMO & JKO