After finishing my lovely trip through Spain and Portugal in March, I hopped on another flight to Berlin. This was the start of my visit through the most central and eastern countries of Europe. Germany, the Czech Republic and Poland were the first three stops on my travel itinerary for April.
I had visited Berlin three years ago as part of my student exchange trip and absolutely fell in love with it. I was so excited to revisit some of the places that I had seen before. Berlin is known for its incredible historical presence and very modern vibe. A simple walk down the city feels like a stroll through the past; you can walk alongside where the Berlin Wall once stood, where Checkpoint Charlie was located, or through train stations that were completely closed off during the time of separation.
Monuments stand throughout Berlin, commemorating heroic individuals and honoring lives lost throughout the years of conflict. Stunning buildings and churches have either survived over time or were rebuilt to preserve the original structure of the city, and are visited by thousands of travelers everyday. Berlin continues to be vibrant with artwork and its nightlife, which constantly draws me further into the enjoyment of the city.
My next stop was Prague, one of the most anticipated destinations of my trip. Nearly everyone I meet who has been there before loved it, so I was really looking forward to seeing it for myself. Prague is very antique and pleasant; most places are located close together and the architecture is so great to look at. The weather was great while I was there, minus a few clouds. I could’ve walked for hours through Prague, just discovering what hidden areas there are.
Prague Castle was one of my favorite sights in the city. The area boasts incredible views of Prague below, and has an amazing church inside its walls. Ornate details decorate every corner, and you can just feel how treasured these buildings were when they first came into existence. It’s so cool to see how everything is still in great condition; the city takes pride in its creations and preserves them for generations.
Prague is also known for its exciting culture and nightlife. I participated in a pub crawl and was able to meet many other travelers from around the world. I walked around the city with new friends the next day, making it that much more fun. Meeting new people is one of my favorite aspects of this entire trip — I always seem to run into someone again in an entirely different country or city. I met people in Prague that I ran into again in Budapest. Europe can seem so huge, especially when traveling alone, but seeing a familiar face in a new spot can really change your entire perspective.
After heading out of Prague, I went to Kraków. I had high expectations for my time in Kraków; Poland is cheaper than other places and has a large amount of history within its borders. Walking around the city was a perfect way to spend a day in Kraków, with its large clock towers and the breathtaking views of Zakrzówek. Spring has begun to transform the European scenery; I could just sit in parks all day to enjoy the weather. I also went bungee jumping one afternoon. It was very scary to lean off of a crane in the middle of an open field, but that minute of free-falling was so exhilarating.
I spent a day during my time in Poland visiting what I believe is one of the most important spots in European history. I took an eye opening trip to the Auschwitz concentration camp. We learn about this horrific place in school, but seeing it in person completely changed my entire perspective. I stood where the victims stood for the last time. I saw the thousands of shoes and glasses that were collected when they arrived. The area has sort of a permanent silence to it, as visitors are constantly showing their support towards those who were bound to Auschwitz by a number tattooed onto them. I will never forget that visit, and highly recommend anyone visiting the area to stop and see it for themselves.
The next few cities I’m visiting are Budapest, Bratislava and Vienna. I then head back to Munich and through Italy with my grandma and my cousin. My time in Europe is quickly coming to an end, but I’m trying to take advantage of every opportunity I have while here to make my trip great. Thanks again for following along!