I’ve decided that this blog post will be essentially a summary of the travelling I’ve done across Europe during my time in Germany. A few months ago I went into detail on my first few trips, including before my semester started in Belgium, Luxembourg, and quite a few cities in Nordrhein-Westfalen (the “Bundesland” or state of Germany in which I’ve been living). While the semester was mostly occupied by lectures and other activities, we did have a week between my orientation course and the official begin of the semester. In early June, there was also a complete week that we had off for a religious holiday. Of course, after my lectures and German class finals, I have around two weeks “free” before I head back to the States. I put quotations around the word free since, as I mentioned in previous posts, I’ve been busy preparing for my engineering finals.
Let’s start off with the places I’ve visited in Germany. I’ve been to most of the major cities in Nordrhein-Westfalen, including Düsseldorf and Köln (Cologne in English). Aachen is in the west of the state and lies near the border with the Netherlands. South of Köln is Bonn, which used to be the capital of West Germany and is famous for the Haribo brand of gummy bears. In the north is the Münsterland and its capital Münster. I was able to see the start of the Tour de France in Düsseldorf. Köln is where all of parties usually are (although you can party almost everywhere in Germany), as well as where I was able to see an amazing display of fireworks.
My first major trip outside of Germany was Italy. There I had the opportunity to visit most of the famous central and southern Italian cities. The next weekend I visited a friend of mine who studies in Zürich. After spending a day in the financial capital of Europe, I was able to spend some time at the lake near his parent’s house in the western part of Switzerland. My next stop was Geneva, which is in the southwestern point of Switzerland and probably my favorite city in Europe.
My other major trips were to famous cities in the countries Österreich (Austria), France and Denmark. For the trip to Österreich, I traveled with the same company that I traveled with to Italy. We visited Hallstatt, and town with a stunning view of the lake surrounded by mountains next to it. Salzburg is a city not far away from the border with Germany, and we had the opportunity to see Mozart’s birth house from the outside.
On my day trip to Paris in France we started by visiting the Eiffel Tower. Yes, I know a lot of people will complain about me only taking one day in Paris. And yes, I will visit the city again in the future if I get the chance again. Our next world-famous stop was the Louvre. A collection of some unique roman sculptures was followed by an amazing display of countless paintings, large and small, famous and yet-to-be-discovered. Of course, we had to see the Mona Lisa, although you couldn’t really get a good view of her since she is constantly surround by a dense semi-circle of desperate tourists trying to get the proverbial selfie with her.
My last major trip before the end of my lectures was to Copenhagen in Denmark. As a college student on a budget, my first observation was that everything in Scandinavia is significantly more expensive than in Germany. Of course, it being a tourist didn’t help much either. We took a boat tour, saw the famous Little Mermaid statue, and had some fun walking around Tivoli, one of the oldest amusement parks in the world.
This post obviously wasn’t able to touch on every single place I visited this semester, but it should suffice as a decent overview of my travel-packed weekends. My last blog of the semester will be up in a few days!