Lindava, Czech Republic + Berlin, Germany

This weekend was full of so many fun adventures. It is so surreal to me that two places so close together can be so incredibly different! Our entire study abroad group went on an excursion to Deutschland, and took a pitstop in Lindava to do some glassblowing along the way.

The main thing I learned: Berlin is big. Their tram stations look like airports and you will get lost. I tracked a total of 27,000 steps one day exploring the city, and most definitely had aching feet! It was all worth it for the little stop sign iconography, adorable paperies, mish mash of architectural styles, funky street art, bustling energy, extremely strange film festivals, meat + potatoes diet, double decker buses, coffee shops on every corner, and locals who smiled just a bit more than those in Prague. Learning about their history was both devastating and incredible; I am so glad I was able to visit!

  ^ Sklárská Krčma, where we learned glassblowing in Lindava

^ Sklárská Krčma, where we learned glassblowing in Lindava. We made several different things including mugs and vases and grew to appreciate what professionals do, then got to see them in action! They ship a lot of their glass pieces to the States to sell, and have even created things such as the PGA tour trophies.

Amanda stamping her beer mug ^

^ They also had a gallery full of beautiful glass pieces we got to explore

Eventually (after lots of naps on the bus), we made it to Berlin! It is such a strange concept - driving across a country's border without even realising, then eventually looking up and all the signage has switched languages. Not to mention, Germany is so different than Prague. The architecture is incredibly modern, and there is countless amounts of construction going on in the city. It feels more fast-paced and sleek, yet not nearly as charming as Prague. The mish-mash of architecture in Berlin was strange, though; one minute I felt as if I was in New York, then I'd turn a corner and be standing in front of a massive, ornate cathedral. Confusion.

^ The Reichstag's classic marble architecture paired with a massive glass dome coming off the back... how does that work? Not sure, but I like it.

Inside the Reichstag dome ^

^ View from the dome

^ Jewish memorial - a powerful thing to experience in the heart of Germany.

^ We called them the "German Chunks," after realising they outnumbered the pigeons. Never thought we'd experience a bird that was more of a pig than those in Prague!

^ The Berliner Philharmoniker was designed with intelligent acoustics in mind; if you want to hear the violins the loudest, you sit in a certain spot, but if you want to hear everything the same, you sit somewhere else, etc. etc. --- so cool!

^ The Sony Center, where the main part of the Berlinale film festival is held. We were happy to be there during the festival and I was lucky to see the movie We Demand, then get to hear the producers speak about it. (It was a weird indie film that I didn't understand but was all together a good experience)

^ Checkpoint Charlie, the crossing point between east and west Berlin during the Cold War.

^ Rachel and me in front of the Berlin dome

The TV tower was how I oriented myself throughout the city ^

^ The most adorable little stop sign man

^ There was a whole souvenir shop dedicated to solely the cute little ampelmann!

^The Bauhaus Museum ... too cool!

^ Me and Amanda at the Bauhaus museum

^ Beautiful window display at one of my favourite shops in Berlin

^ Pergamon Museum

There were trampolines in the square! ^

^ Others saw the overcast weather as gross. I saw it as perfect photo lighting! Ha!

^ When trying to get to the Berlin Wall, we accidentally stumbled upon the cutest flea-market-style little market. It was full of all sorts of funky things!

^ The East Side Gallery is part of the Berlin wall that is now covered in beautiful murals.

^ My sweet friend Anna!

^ The year the wall no longer divided Berlin! * Note the stripe of underpants glued down the middle of the 8... not sure why...

Kasey SmithComment