Wednesday, February 17, 2016


This past weekend we went back to our roots and explored a small part of Germany.... Berlin. Although we were not sure what to expect when heading to Berlin, we found it very eye opening. There is so much history in this city and it was fascinating to hear about it all. The first thing we did when getting to Berlin was sign up for a walking tour. We heard so many interesting stories from the tour and saw many fascinating landmarks!

We began on Museum Island, which holds many
of  the museums in Berlin.  It also held the Berlin
Cathedral pictured on the the upper left hand side. 

One of the most fascinating statements our tour guide said during the tour was that all the little holes and chips in the pillars were actually bullet holes from WWII. He said you can find them on the buildings all over the city.

 Berlin Cathedral

This was a building used in WWII to hold armor and supplies for soldiers. This building was also a site of an attempt on Hitler's life. A member of the Germany army strapped himself with a bomb and set the timer for 10 minutes. His goal was to try and stay as close to Hitler as possible. Unfortunately, Hitler became bored while walking through the building and completed the tour in 2 minutes. In a panic the German soldier went to the bathroom and defused the bomb with seconds to spare. Only to come outside and see Hitler playing on a Russian tank in the back yard for the next 15 minutes.

This square housed the site of the book burnings that led up to WWII. In the book burnings approximately 20,000 books were burned. In the picture to the lower left with the glass window, there is a room with book shelves that are said to hold 20,000 books. This is a memorial of the literature that was lost during the burnings.

The Brandenburg Gate was built by the King of Prussia in 1788 as a sign of peace.

 These blocks are the site of the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin. This site is composed of 2,711 cement slabs. The memorial is supposed to make you feel uneasy and out of touch from the human world. While walking through the memorial I felt alone, lost, and almost helpless. It was similar to a maze.                                                                                 Below this parking lot is where Hitler committed suicide. A few feet below the surface is the site of Hitlers bunker. We found it very interesting that this sight is not highly noticeable. They have a small sign stating the significance but that is it. Another sad story that was told about Hitler was about his close associate Joseph Goebbels and how him and his wife decided to poison their six children after getting word of Hitlers suicide because they could not imagine having their children grow up in a world without Hitler. This story instantly made me sick to my stomach.
Berlin Wall and site of the Topography of Terror Museum about the Gestapo and the SS in Berlin. 

 Site of the East Side Gallery in Berlin. This is the longest stretch of the Berlin Wall that is standing.

Overall, Berlin was an emotional city. Its sad to think about what so many people went through and how much destruction the city encountered, so many magnificent landmarks were destroyed during the World Wars.  Even though they had a lot of deconstruction it is interesting to see how far they have come in the rebuilding process.

Monday, February 15, 2016


Ahhh Vienna! So many wonderful things to say about this place! This past weekend we packed our bags and headed on our first trip since moving to Europe. We went with two other friends from Prague and we couldn't have asked for better company. We arrived in the evening and quickly learned that we don't necessarily enjoy coming to a new city in the evening. It was dark, many restaurants were done serving food, and learning a new metro system is difficult at the end of the day. Although we felt inconvenienced we were able to convince a kitchen to stay open a little longer and safely found a place to lay our heads for the night. When we woke up Saturday we were off to explore the city. The first thing we noticed was how much more modern Vienna was than Prague and also how wide the streets were. In Prague the builds are so tall and the streets are so narrow that you almost feel claustrophobic, where as in Vienna it was like a breath of fresh air! We walked over 17 miles on Saturday exploring the city. We saw all the major tourist attractions, as well as, a few of the local hang outs. One of our friends what we went on the trip with had a friend that lived in Vienna that offered to show us around. Our first stop was an authentic Viennese restaurant. We had the schnitzel and Le Cordon Bleu with side salads. Although, to our surprise the salad had potatoes and sauerkraut on a bed of lettuce, tomatoes, and carrots. It was a very strange looking salad, but surprisingly good! One of our favorite parts of our visit to Vienna was the Naschmarkt. (Sadly we didn't think to get pictures) The Naschmarkt was a combination of a flea market and farmers market. They had fresh fish, wine, beer, fruits, tea, specialty treats, meat, freshly pressed juices, and much more.  We also visited St. Stephan's Cathedral which was absolutely breathtaking. I thought the churches in Kutna Hora were beautiful but they did not compare after seeing St. Stephan's. Overall, Vienna was a beautiful city that we would love to go back to! They have two rivers that run through the city that make for amazing walks and beautiful scenery.
Imperial Church built in 1716- 1737

National Opera House

Gate to the Imperial Palace

National History Museum

Gardens From The Imperial Palace

Old foundations

Spanish Riding School

St. Stephans Cathedral

Danube River

Spanish Riding School

Parliament Building

City Hall