The past nine days have been a crazy adventure. We had a week off before we start our real classes, so obviously I needed to travel!
This is it. This is my new favorite city. It was beautiful, and there were so many nice people, and so many people riding bikes. I could have walked for hours and still been totally in awe by the buildings and the people and the atmosphere. We stayed at a hostel called “Hostelle” (it was a females-only hostel) about a 20 minute metro ride away from the city center. Getting off the metro and seeing this city was something out of a picture book.
A few of the places we visited were The Sex Museum, Anne Frank’s House, and the Prostitution Museum. If that doesn’t scream Amsterdam, I don’t know what does. We explored the Red Light District as well as the “Coffeeshops.” We also went to the “IAmsterdam” sign OBVIOUSLY.
Unfortunately, we were not here long enough to really grasp how cool this city is. On our only full day, we were just walking aimlessly and we happened upon Christiania. And it was surreal. It was essentially a little hippie commune in the middle of a big city.
We talked to someone who worked there for about 15 minute, and he was so friendly! He kind of exemplified why Denmark is considered the “happiest country in the world.” That night we met up with friends who are studying abroad there (yay!), went to a wine bar and a cocktail bar.
We had a lot of catching up to do. Side note-apparently in the cocktail bar, word got out that we were American so a couple people came up to us and talked to us because they “wanted to talk to Americans.” (I felt famous.)
This city started out a little rough because there are a couple sketchy areas we ran into, but I ended up loving it once I went on the walking tours and started learning about the history. It’s so FASCINATING. If you’re ever in Berlin, I highly recommend the Sandeman’s free walking tour. The tour guide we had was incredible (because she works for tips). We learned so much and saw so much that we were inspired to immediately go on another (not free) walking tour. We learned about Hitler’s rise to power, and then how the division between East and West Germany came to be. It was incredible to learn all of this history while we were quite literally standing where all of it was taking place. For example, we learned about Hitler’s suicide (and the consequent coverup by the Soviets) while we were standing on top of the bunker where he shot himself. We also learned about some really cool stories of people escaping East Berlin to go to West Berlin that happened exactly where we were standing.
Coming back home to Vienna WAS really nice though… considering how exhausted I was after the trip. It was an experience, but now I’m ready to begin the semester in a place that has really begun to feel like home.