Terezin was a pretty scary place. I mean, the entire town was made into a Jewish Ghetto so people who lived there prior to that were removed from their homes and Jews were forced into them. About half a mile away, there was the Small Fortress, a prison camp where criminals of war, Jews, homosexuals, and political prisoners were kept in terrifying conditions and even worse, it was made to look better than places like Auschwitz-Birkenau because people would come and inspect the ghetto and the prison. They were treated just as badly and made for a transitions camp to  extermination and concentration camps for the Jews. You come into the small fortress through the National Cemetery  where there are marked graves, unmarked graves, and large stones underneath which are stored the ashes of over 7,000 unidentified people.

I had like, a 36 hour break between coming home from Vienna and leaving for Berlin - I had two nights in my bed and I was back on the road. But, Berlin was totally worth it. We got there super late Thursday night, so we went to bed, and then woke up Friday, got breakfast at the hostel (expensive, lack luster, my roommate got bed bugs - 180Hostel Berlin) and then went on a 3 hour guided tour with the loveliest Englishman ever who’s lived in Berlin for 3 years and loved it. We saw A LOT of stuff, including the spot where Hitler committed suicide. Insanity.

Some of the pictures are of the Brandenburg Gate, Paris Cathedral, the identical Berlin Cathedral across from it because Berliners were super catty and jealous about it, the music hall, the Berlin Wall (which was crazy - the picture I posted says “To Astrid - Maybe someday we will be together”), Checkpoint Charlie, the TV tower, some art we saw walking around the city, the Holocaust memorial, me with the Berlin Bear, etc.

Day 3 - Imperial Treasury!

This museum has all of this TOTALLY original incredible stuff (the museum is actually inside a giant VAULT) and there is crazy clothing, that people actually wore (the socks were out of control) and things are jeweled and the clothing is embroidered with heavy ass gold and in one of this pictures there’s an alleged piece of Jesus’s loin cloth from when he was on the cross (okay.) and the last photo is of Napoleon’s baby’s royal crib. SUPER creepy. It was really cool.

PS NOT TO MENTION THE NARWHAL HILT ON ONE OF THE SWORDS. AND LATER, A FULL. TUSK.

Vienna, Day 2

We saw quite a lot! We started the morning off with breakfast at the hostel (Wombats “The Lounge” - HIGHLY recommended if you’re staying in Vienna. Great location, great prices, great facilities) and met with the dream team Marcela and Robbins, and visited Schonbrunn Palace, which used to be a hunting lodge in the 15th century, and now offers tours through the imperial apartments of those who used to live there. The grounds stood out, though. There was an absolutely gorgeous baroque garden and a beautiful Gloriette that looked over the entire city of Vienna.

We had a quick break for lunch and then met up with our diligent tour guides again to visit some key places around the city - including Belvedere, a palace that Prince Eugene of Savoy built for his use once he was honored with the title of “prince” after successfully ending a number of wars against the Ottoman empire (wikipedia).   The gardens were beautiful, connecting the Upper Belvedere and Lower, where the prince actually lived.

As we walked, we stopped to see the Soviet War Memorial, some abstract art, a beautiful theater, and then finally, after a loooong day, I settled down with some Apfelstrudel and espresso.

amassofgaugesanddials:

Vienna! Day one

So, we arrived in Vienna on Saturday afternoon, dropped out stuff off at the fantastic Wombat’s Hostel, and then met up with the rest of the group and our faithful program directors - Marcela and Robbins. Probably the most entertainment I’ve ever had, watching these two bicker back and forth on historical dates and facts. Hysterical. But on the first day, we visited St. Stephen’s Cathedral, which was gorgeous inside and out, and we visited the Hofsburg, the imperial palace of Austria. The next day, we ended up getting to visit the Imperial Treasury which was sweeet. The sunset happened to be totally incredible while we were there, as well. And then we got a chance to see the outside of the Reichstag, or the Parliament building and the outside of the beautiful City Hall building, which looks like the Disney Castle.

Here’s to hoping I get my Vienna/Berlin blog posts up before I go to Terezin this weekend!

amassofgaugesanddials:

Welcome to Berlin!!!!! (at S+U Bahnhof Alexanderplatz)

amassofgaugesanddials:

Welcome to Berlin!!!!! (at S+U Bahnhof Alexanderplatz)

amassofgaugesanddials:

BFFs 💞 #berlinbear (at Brandenburger Tor)

amassofgaugesanddials:

BFFs 💞 #berlinbear (at Brandenburger Tor)

After returning from a four-day trip to Vienna, Austria, I have a major paper to finish, a major presentation to start, and 3 reading assignments to get done for classes. I have roughly 36 hours to do that and then I’m on a bus to Berlin!

So blog posts for both of those cities will come sometime after I get home on Sunday. :)