We are currently travelling on the bus to Prague Czech Republic. However, for the past 3 days we have already checked off two countries on our European Encounter tour. Our first day of our tour got off to an early start as we made our way to Amsterdam, Netherlands. Considering we only had a limited amount of time here we cruised through the canals getting to know the rest of the group and we explored the Red Light District. If you need to look up what this is on Google, fair warning it is NSFW (not safe for work). The narrow streets and alleys were swarming with people. It was unfortunate we only had a limited amount of time here. I will definitely have to go back!
We just finished one and a half days in Berlin, Germany. This was one of the destinations on the trip that I was personally excited for, maybe because my dad has prepared us by watching many post war videos of Berlin on YouTube. After a 12 hour drive day we arrived in Berlin for fantastic dinner at a restuarant near our hotel. The restuarant was also hosting a group of people aged 50-70 from Trafalgar tours (basically a Contiki tour buy 30-40 years later). By the time we arrived they were already a few drinks deep and were dancing away between the tables to the singer singing in the corner. What better thing to do but dance with them. We got down and boogied to “Dancing Queen”, “Sweet Caroline”, and “Cantare”. My dance partner was a nonno from Montreal, originally from Rome. His wife accompanied him on the trip but he chose to twirl me around and have shots of Jagermeister with me coaching him instead. He was quiet the character.
Our full day in Berlin the next day was so eventful. We started the day with a historical tour of Berlin, learning about the different buildings that were influential in Berlin’s history. We learned about the work of the Nazis and how Berlin today chooses to share the memory of their horrific actions. To be surrounded by buildings on streets that were reduced to nothing post WWII was an idea that was hard to imagine. Our guide was very eloquent in the way he explained the presentation of different memorials and how they can be interpreted to appreciate their symbolic significance.
In the evening we switched gears to learning about the more recent gentrification of Berlin once the Berlin Wall came down in 1989 and Berlin became united. Coined an “alternative Berlin”, the areas we explored were painted with street art as a way to express the communist ideas that once controlled that area. We walked along the East Side Gallery which is a portion of the Berlin wall that has been decorated with art work depicting different meanings of freedom, expression and peace. To finish the evening of course we had schnitzel which was delicious!
We are making a quick stop in the town of Dresden, Germany before spending the rest of the day in Prague.
Ciao ciao for now