Ah patience, a virtue I lack. But hopefully the combination of my patience (while it was trying) and the previously mentioned tenacity will make everything work out. So to start….
There’s been a lot of changes around here in the last few weeks. People coming, and as always, people leaving. We were definitely needing a weekend out of the city. So on Friday, Jess, Katie and myself headed south to Cesky Krumlov. Despite the rain, we had such a great day there. I think if the weather had been nicer, we could have done another day or two to go hiking and such around town, but for this weekend, one day was perfect. We saw the castle, walked through the streets, met some fun people, and generally had a good time. Prague is great, but I can’t handle being in one place too long. That’s the only time here I miss having a car. Being able to just go whenever you want is a beautiful thing. Plus, I miss speeding. Ah, for the days of 95mph on the drives to/from school. But I digress. We had a great weekend, and that’s really all that matters. We ate some delicious pizza (crazy food choice, I know), and saw a beautiful town. Not too much more you can ask for I don’t think.
Monday afternoon I left on the long-awaited trip to Berlin. And for anyone who’s had the misfortune of listening to me go on about this, I apologize. But long story short, I ended up going by myself, and I think that’s probably a good thing. It’s easier to blend in by yourself. And if there had been two of us, I don’t know if it would have gone the way it did. That’s all I can really say, as it’s out of my hands now, but I did what I could. If it passes, I’ll be happy, and if it doesn’t, we’ll regroup. But I should have a few months before I find out for sure what the word is. So if it goes south, at least I got to spend a half day in Berlin.
Word to the wise: Bring good shoes. My appointment was at 9, so I walked there (about 25 minutes), and then had until my 2:30 train to just hang out. I think I did alright considering I didn’t want to spend any actual money on sightseeing and didn’t have much info to go off of. Hostel maps are kind of lacking. But I walked for pretty much the whole day, and saw most of the highlights. Saw the Brandenburg Gate at 11:30 pm the night I got in, at 7:30 am before the tourists got there, and then a few more times in the later morning/afternoon when the crowds had arrived. Went by Checkpoint Charlie, which is right near the Czech embassy, and also saw part of the wall. Went through the Jewish memorial (pic below), walked around the Reichstag a few times, and down through the Tiergarten and then back up along the river. And I successfully wore through the top layer of my flip flops. Berlin is a tad bigger than Prague. If you walk for 20 minutes here, you go by so many different sights. Berlin is a hair more spread out.
I think I’d like to go back with people and maybe for a few more days to actually get to see some of the museums and other sights. But on first impressions, it just didn’t really do anything for me. Obviously so much of the city was destroyed and HAD to be rebuilt, but it was just all so modern. Big concrete/glass/steel buildings everywhere. And when I say big, I mean BIG. And they say Americans are ostentatious. I think you could put the White House on the steps up to the Reichstag. If I had gone there to take the course, I’m not sure if I would have stayed. At least in Prague, it feels like old Europe sometimes. Berlin just felt off. The people were really nice though, and I had about 6 people come up to me and talk to me in German. Go figure. But at least it’s better than Czech, in that you can sort of figure out what they’re saying sometimes.
But that’s about all I know for the moment. I’m just glad all that is done and over with. Hopefully it all goes according to plan, but I can at least know that I did what I could. And that’s really all you can ask.