Well, I’m back in the United States, and I’m looking back on the amazing time I had in Europe. This past semester in Sevilla has been my second study-abroad experience; last spring I studied with the Ithaca College London Centre in England. At the end of my semester there, I knew I was going to miss Europe when I went home, but I was also nearly positive that I would be studying abroad again this spring, so I didn’t worry too much about all the countries I wanted to visit that I had yet to see. However, this semester (with the CC-CS program in Sevilla) was different. Although I’m sure I will return to Europe someday, with my senior year coming up and who-knows-what on the horizon after that, I have no idea when I will find myself on the other side of the pond again. I tried to make the most I could out of the thousands of amazing things Europe has to offer and now that I’m home, I’ve been reflecting on my favourite places I’ve visited in the continent (in chronological order of when I visited).
This’ll be my last post about spring break (are you bored yet?), and hopefully it’s a fun one: food! Food is something I didn’t really think about when I decided to go to Germany and the Czech Republic for spring break, and maybe I should have. As it was, I asked some people a few days before I left what people eat in Germany and all of the answers were the same: meat. Googling “traditional German foods” gave me the same answer. Perhaps I should have given this a bit more thought. Spain isn’t exactly a vegetarian-friendly country either, but at least in the south fish is a main staple of the diet, so once I decided to go pescatarian for the semester (and I’m probably going to stay this way when I go home; I like fish a lot) I was doing just fine. However, although I’m sure that the Germans eat fish, most of what I found about German cuisine went something along the lines of sausage, sausage, beer, sausage. Luckily, throughout the week I was pleasantly surprised to find delicious food that I could eat. Here are a few of my favourite meals:
I decided to separate this post out from the city-specific posts because those were about having fun and this one has a more serious tone. Going to Berlin, Munich, and Prague was a fun experience, certainly, but it also was an educational one. Something that is different between Europe and America, or at least certain places in Europe, is that history is inescapable. Walking around Berlin, it seemed like every block had a memorial for some group of people persecuted or killed during the Third Reich, or a piece of the Berlin Wall still standing as a reminder of the Cold War. In Prague, even something as simple as a designer store in a certain area of town was significant (the Jewish quarter, now home to a fancy shopping district, had a Hugo Boss store; the designer apologized just a few years ago for having designed the Nazis’ uniforms).
I didn’t know a lot about Prague before I visited. Most of my knowledge came from the multitudes of people who told me how beautiful it was, and the play Rock and Roll by Tom Stoppard, which I saw with my dad a few years ago. On Sunday evening, Stephanie and I took a train from Berlin through the German countryside (and past Dresden, which I enjoyed as I was reading a novel by Kurt Vonnegut at the time) and into the Czech Republic. As soon as we arrived, I understood why people think the city is so beautiful. Even at night, I could see so many different kinds of architecture, which I love. Also, like Germany, most people we encountered spoke some English which was good because, unlike Germany, I don’t know a single word of Czech. We met up with Liz and Rachelle, who were coming in from Sevilla, and Jovita, who had spent the weekend in Amsterdam, and had a quick dinner before turning in for the night.