Thursday and Friday of last week were national holidays in the Czech Republic, which meant I had a four day break from work. I decided to spend my break traveling to Brussels, Amsterdam, and Berlin (which turned out to be an awesome break, indeed!!).
My first day of break was spent in Brussels, Belgium- home of chocolate, waffles, fries, and beer. My flight arrived at 8am and I headed to the city center to see the sights and maybe try a waffle or something. My time in brussels was short (my bus to Amsterdam left at 3pm) but I was able to see the main sights and try some tasty food. An interesting fact about Brussels is that they speak French (idk maybe this is common knowledge but I had no idea) and seemed to be heavily influenced by french culture. I wish I could’ve learned more about the history on this trip but I guess that’s something I will need to look up on my own.
I was in Amsterdam, Netherlands for the next few days and I had the BEST time. Amsterdam is a beatuiful city- there are so many canals, so much green space, and something to discover on every street. I got to do a couple of guided tours in Amsterdam and was able to learn the history and about what makes Amsterdam unique (ie Prostitution is legal, Marijuana is allowed to be sold in coffeeshops, the city is built on a system of canals, and EVERYBODY rides bikes everywhere). The best part of my trip was getting to meet up with one of my friends who graduated from Pitt a year and a half ago and who I haven’t seen since then. It was great to share these experiences with with a good friend and, even though I ran out of money on Saturday (and then had to call my parents freaking out but since bank transactions don’t actually go through over the weekend I was SOL) I still had a great time and to to learn about the Dutch culture.
My last day was spent in Berlin, Germany where I learned a lot about Berlin history through the different memorials and monuments in the city. Up until 1989, Berlin was divided- East Berlin was a communist area while West Berlin was not. It was interesting to learn about the Berlin wall, communism, and how life in that time was impacted by the government. It was sunday so a lot of other places were closed but I still got to see a lot of the outdoor monuments and learn about world war 2, which was pretty cool. The most interesting part was definitely getting to explore the city, use their public transportation, and getting to see how my ideas about Berlin differed from actual Berlin.
I am so glad that I got to travel this weekend- it was awesome to experience different countries in Europe and compare them to Prague and each other. I loved getting to see how the cultures of each country differ and how, even though each place less than a day of travel away, they can be so different while, in America, sometimes a day of travel can leave you in the exact same state you started in.