Bucket List #6: Berlin

Good afternoon everyone! I hope you’re all staying safe in the midst of all the craziness going on in the world! These circumstances have taught me better than ever to be thankful for everything I have and to not take this life for granted. Although I’m not afflicted by this disease, it all goes to show us how quickly and greatly our lives can be altered. However, with this being a travel blog, it also gives credence to the fact that Rebecca and I want to see everywhere as soon as possible, because none of us know when our time will come, or when our opportunity to see some awesome places will pass. This should renew our vigor to pursue the rest of the world! With that being said, I’d like to dive into the best places I want to visit when our family visits the economic power of the EU, Germany! (More specifically, Berlin!)

First: The Brandenburg Gate

As we’ve all clearly come to know, I’m a huge history buff, and the Brandenburg will satisfy that craving immediately upon arrival to Berlin. Built in 1788, the Gate now signifies peace and unity in Europe. When the gate was originally built, only the royal family was allowed to actually pass through it (along with one other family, Pfuel, which you’re welcome to look more into. Too long for this article!). In the 20th century, the Nazis used this gate as a symbol for their party. At the end of WWII, people could freely travel through this gate until 1961, when the Berlin was underwent construction. When the wall was knocked down in 1989, travel was restored and this is when the Gate undertook the symbol of peace and unity in Germany. Many websites I’ve visited have named the Brandenburg Gate as the number one place to visit while in Berlin, and that’s most certainly what I’ll do!

Next: Jewish Museum Berlin

First and foremost, this building is one of the coolest buildings I’ve ever seen. Check my Instagram for a picture of it! I thought this museum would be an awesome experience because of the long struggles undertaken by Jewish Germans. This is also the largest Jewish museum in Europe. While this building is much more modern than anything I’ve suggested so far on this blog, the story about how it got here is quite remarkable. The original Jewish Museum in Berlin was built in 1933, but was seized a few years later by Nazi Gestapo. In the late 1980s, the idea for a design of a new museum came to life, and after holding an anonymous competition for the rights to design the building, it was reconstructed in 1999 and opened refilled with inventory in 2001. The museum has been under controversy lately, however. I don’t want to get into the specifics on here so as not to offend any readers based on their perspective, but it’s definitely worthy of some research if you care to dive a bit deeper into that.

Last: German Museum of Technology

I don’t think a trip to Germany would be complete without acknowledging and admiring their unbelievable technological and industrial work over the past few decades. Germany is the number one exporter of cars in the world by a very wide margin, and their vehicles are widely accepted as the most reliable (I’m sure there are those that disagree, but…oh well!). From planetware.com, the museum has several vehicles and air crafts that are on display, and they also have steam engines dating back to the late 1800s.

I think the most exciting part of the visit to Germany would be the fact that I’ve loved every German dish/beer that I’ve ever tasted! Needless to say, there would be an enormous amount of eating involved on this trip! Sauerbraten, Bratwurst, Schnitzel, Spatzle, you name it, I want it all! I know this wasn’t to most extensive post I’ve had so far, and I must admit, it’s totally my fault. I know much more about Western Europe than I do Eastern Europe, and that’s just because I’m more familiar with the culture. Doing research on this post has made me want to get into Eastern Europe much more, and I fully intend to do so. Don’t be surprised if you see a few more Eastern European cities this week 🙂

Blessings,
Madison

Bucket List #5: Prague

Prague was another idea that came from the trip Rebecca and I were planning a while back. Although you now know that we didn’t go on that trip, we spent a couple weeks just searching for a quality destination. Had we gone on the trip, we would have gone to Rome. We ended up planning our finances around that being our destination. When that didn’t work out though, I had myself a nice little list of places to consider for future trips. This allows us to research places that we never would have thought of, and one of those places was Prague! It’s a place that anyone I know that’s been there has talked about how beautiful it is, but I don’t think I’d ever considered it as a touristy destination, at least in the small bubble that I lived it. However, this was fun to research, and here are a few things that we MUST do when our family visits Prague!

First: Charles Bridge.

This pictures of this bridge are magnificent, and it’s one of many architectural masterpieces in the Czech Republic. The bridge is suspended over the Vltava River, the longest river in the country. One really cool fun fact about this bridge is the legend surrounding the exact time at which construction began. At the time, King Charles was fond of the power of numbers. The believed time of constructions was 5:31 a.m., on July 9th, 1357. The way dates and times were displayed (obviously different from the U.S.) would’ve made that date look like this: 1357 9, 7 5:31, effectively forming a palindrome (a number or word that looks the same backwards as it does forwards. I don’t know why he was so fond of numbers, but I thought that was a super interesting story! There are 30 statues along the bridge symbolizing different historical figures. Unfortunately, the statues are all replicas, as the originals are in the National Museum, also located in Prague (I’ll most certainly visit the National Museum, but I’ve written about quite a few museums already).

Next: St. Vitus Cathedral.

While I’m at St. Vitus, I’d be able to kill two birds with one stone, as this cathedral is located on the property of the Prague Castle, which is the number 1 ranked tourist destination in Prague according to planetware.com. St. Vitus is the seat of the Archbishop of Prague, and it’s the largest church in the country. While work on the cathedral started in the mid 1300s, it wasn’t officially completed until 1929, meaning that the project was never “officially” completed, although the cathedral was functional and would largely appear to be a finished product for most people. Another cool things about this church is that it’s the burial site for several Bohemian kings and Holy Roman Emperors. This is also the location of the tomb of St. Vitus himself, and of St. John of Nepomuk (fascinating read). Visitors are welcome to attend mass, and you can also climb the cathedrals main tower to get phenomenal views over the city, two things that I would most certainly take advantage of upon visiting!

Last: Old Town Square.

There’s so much to do at Old Town Square, I almost couldn’t narrow down where I’d want to go! The history of this small area is amazing. One of the cooler things I found was a statue in the center of Old Town Square dedicated to Jan Hus, who was burned at the stake for his religious views. If you have a couple minutes, search “Jan Hus” and read his Wikipedia page. I know not everything form Wikipedia is completely accurate, but the story itself is simply amazing. Perhaps the coolest thing I found about this area is Prague Orloj (or, Prague astronomical clock). This clock is 1) Humongous, 2) Beautiful, and 3) The 3rd oldest astronomical clock in the world (1410), and the oldest one that’s still active. If you follow me on Instagram, check out the picture of this amazing clock! This would also, be a fantastic place to visit over Christmas because the Christmas Market in Prague is ranked as one of the top 10 worldwide! Rebecca and I live across the street from a major Christmas market in Indiana, so this would be a really cool sight to see, especially since the perspective may be different being in a different country!

So, I’m done for today, but I wanted to say thank you to anyone that’s been reading! I hope I’m providing good enough content for you, but I’ve also had a blast just researching these places and thinking about the awesome time my family will have when we can visit and report back to you all about our time there!

Blessings,
Madison