Over spring break I visited Amsterdam for the second time this semester. This visit was a lot different from the first time, as it was about 50 degrees warmer. Because of this, we spent most of our time there at Vondelpark, the biggest park in Amsterdam. Because of the amazing weather, everyone was outside, spending time in the sun. The park was packed with people everyday, so we explored a lot of it to find a prime place to hangout.
Another thing we did while in Amsterdam that I really enjoyed was the Van Gogh museum. Van Gogh is an amazing artist, and it was really cool to see a lot of his works in person. Van Gogh’s self portraits always interest me, and here are some I was able to see:
Some of Van Gogh’s famous sunflower paintings were also at the museum, here is a video the museum website offered about his works during this period:
The thing I love most about amsterdam was the biking culture. The city is SO biker friendly, I have never seen so many bikes. Every street has huge bike lanes, and it just seems like a better/easier mode of transportation around the city.
Last weekend I went to Berlin, Germany, and it is now my new favorite city in Europe! I was really excited for this trip, as I had always wanted to go to Berlin as I had heard it has an amazing music scene/nightlife and it was a very fashionable city. We really lucked out as it was the second weekend that Berlin had actually been pretty warm, so everyone was outside enjoying the rare sun. The first day my friend Colleen and I spent all day walking around, exploring whatever we stumbled upon. We walked through Tiergarten park, which is the biggest park in the center of Berlin. After exploring for a while on our own we met up with a friend who is currently living and studying in Berlin, and she took us to a beer garden. It was really cool to see actually beer gardens that were permanent structures, unlike ones I had seen at music festivals and such.
Our next day in Berlin we went to the famous East Side Gallery. This was really cool, as I was not expecting it to be how it was. It was not a typical gallery, as all of the art work was outside on huge walls, and it was really cool street art.
Across from the gallery we spotted a creepy circus and decided to explore inside, until we got too creeped out.
Our last day in Berlin was by far my favorite. We spent the entire day at the Mauerpark flea market. We had been looking forward to this for a while, as Barcelona does not offer any promising flea markets. The market was very cute, and had so much stuff. I got a really cool leather backpack, which I had been looking for for a while!
Also there were really cool beer gardens throughout the market, with lounge chairs and sand floors. On the other side of the park there was a huge amphitheater packed with people. Curious as to what was going on we walked over there, and realized that people were doing karaoke. My friend who lived in Berlin told me that the Karaoke guy was famous, and on nice days he brought his sound system to the park. It was really cool to see people from all over the world get really into it and also sing songs in english. We spent over an hour watching people, good and bad, and had a really good time. After my weekend I wondered why I never considered studying abroad in Berlin, until I remembered that up until recently it had been freezing, and very snowy.
Last weekend I went to Sevilla with my three roommates. I really did not have any expectations, as I did not know much about the city, but everyone I spoke to about the city raved about how great of a place it was. When we arrived, the first thing I noticed was the sun, it was a lot warmer than Barcelona! The first place we visited in Sevilla was Alcazar. Just from the walk from our hostel to the gardens of Alcazar I was already impressed with the city. It was much smaller than Barcelona, and the buildings almost looked fake. Alcazar is a royal palace in Seville, originally a Moorish fort. The best part of Alcazar was the beautiful gardens that surrounded it and the incredible tile work used all over the buildings.
Another site in Seville that had amazing tile work was at Plaza de Espana. This was probably my favorite place in Seville just because of its overall aesthetics. The building even had a little moat around it, where people could rent boats.
While in Seville we took a walking tour of the city. It was really interesting to learn about the city, and my favorite story was about the orange trees that are all over the streets in Seville. Technically these trees are property of the king because they are on his land, meaning that every orange belongs to him, so eating them is like stealing from the king, which is illegal. Also, for oranges to be good the trees must be fertilized and watered regularly, which they are not. These oranges trees are surviving naturally off of other things, so luckily I did not eat one!