• The Great European Adventure

    Krakow was a turning point

    I didn’t want to leave Berlin. Berlin was big and interesting, and there was so much to see — this was why I had left my plans open, why my travel dates were all tentative, so I could stay longer in places I loved. But I didn’t love Berlin. It was beautiful, and historical, and tasty, and I hadn’t even gone to any art museums yet! But that wasn’t why I wanted to stay. I wanted to stay because Berlin was safe. There’s nothing wrong with feeling safe; in fact, I hope that you feel safe while traveling. But I didn’t go to Europe to hide. I went to see…

  • The Great European Adventure

    Berlin: Teeming with History

    Berlin teems with a lot of things — nightclubs, Turkish food, Communist architecture. For me, Berlin teemed with history. Every street seemed to hold information about the city’s often painful past. Much of this is conscious preservation in the form of public parks and landmarks, but there are a few subtle aspects of the city that speak volumes about, specifically, its 20th century history. The architecture changes when you move between the former West and East Berlins. In East Berlin, the buildings are pragmatic, functional, ugly in that classic Soviet style. The TV Tower, now the phallic symbol of all Berlin, was once a prominent expression of the power of…

  • The Great European Adventure

    On having a friend in Berlin

    Normally, when I start blogging about a new place, I write a post of my first impressions. However, my first impressions upon arriving in Berlin were colored by the fact that I was meeting up with a friend I hadn’t seen in four years. In my reflection on one month of travel I wrote about, among other things, feeling lonely traveling by myself and how seeing my friend Brittney was a welcome respite from solo travel. When I visited Berlin, I had a German-speaking local showing me around. She took me to her favorite restaurant, introduced me to her friends, and we spent hours walking around the city, good company…