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Category: Germany (page 2 of 26)

Study Abroad in Reutlingen Germany (Part 2)

Author: Shannon Ilg

Location: Milan/Reutlingen/Copenhagen 

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

October 5th

This is a chapel in a rather inconspicuous looking church and guess what those interesting decorations on the walls are?
Human bones.
That’s right. Hundreds and thousands of sculls line the walls of this chapel, very different from anything I had ever thought to use as decoration. Our tour guide said that it was actually fairly common in the Middle Ages to use this type of decoration as death was not seen in the same light as it is today. Rather than being repulsed or disgusted by the thought of death, it was a daily occurrence that no one thought twice about when presented with it, so there was no problem with it at all.

October 6th

Okay, so… you can’t go to Italy and not eat some pasta. I mean, would it really even make any sense at all? It was really tasty and the fresh basil made a great difference.

October 7th

Here is an example of the beautiful flowers decorating the city. This large pink flower was growing on a median in the middle of a street.

October 8th

Back in Reutlingen! This is a picture of the very small elevator in the dorms. The stairs just go around it in a square. I don’t usually use it because I live on the fourth floor and I can usually make it up faster than it would take to go all the way down and then back up to my floor.
Ooh, but here is a good time to mention the floors in Europe, or at least Germany… come to think of it I really don’t know if it is like this everywhere or just Germany… Anyways, it is like Wehrenberg as the ground floor is called the ground floor and after going up a flight of stairs you are on the first floor, etc. It takes a little getting used to but honestly it makes more sense to me now to number the floors in this way: when you walk up one flight of stairs you are on floor one… two flights of stairs and you’re on floor two…

October 9th

I want to mention the uniqueness of doors here in Europe. This is just someone’s front door in Reutlingen that I thought was geometrically interesting. But usually, every door is unique. Perhaps not so much in our dorms or office buildings, but in older houses and castles, there are rounded doors, triangular doors, doors with square cutouts, etc. In Copenhagen, I saw a lot of small rounded doors with circular windows. Oftentimes, in an older building there won’t even be two of the same door in the same building. I love how even just looking at doors throughout Europe there is something different and unexpected at every corner.

October 10th

This is right outside the door of the apartment building I live in. It’s interesting to see hot air balloons flying overhead every once in a while. In fact, since taking this picture I have seen the same hot air balloon several times. I have no idea where they come from or where they are going, but it’s always a nice surprise to look up and see one floating by.

October 11th

Okay. Above you see the beginnings of the best trip ever. No exaggeration at all. The magic 8 ball even said so. I’ll begin several days earlier: I asked my friend Andrea if she would want to join me for an adventure where we make no plans at all. We both were very excited and invited another student, Mark, to join us because we thought he would be very interested. We met and agreed to leave Thursday and get back sometime Saturday. That was the extent of our plans. See, the three of us have this rail pass (Eurail if you’re interested) that allows you to travel almost anywhere in Europe for two months. So we didn’t really need a plan anyways.
Thursday, Mark asked if he should bring the magic 8 ball from his floor. Obviously, this was a genius idea and it became our mode of all decision making on the trip.

October 12th

Our first stop was Zurich, Switzerland. You know, where they make all the watches. We got there around midnight and just explored the dark, quiet city at night. It was quite beautiful; all of the tall important buildings were lit so you could see them from very far away and nighttime gave it a very interesting appeal. Above you see the storefront of a lamp store. It was super cool and, though I wouldn’t want a single one of those lamps actually in my house, it was really cool to look at.

October 13th

I would love to talk about all of the things we did on this trip, but it would take far too long as we ended up spending time in 13 different cities over 41.25 hours, so I will stick to just this last bit. We ended up in a small town called Meiringen near Interlocken (Switzerland still), because we saw a cool waterfall from the train and the Magic 8 ball agreed that we needed to see it up close. On the way to the waterfall, we explored the countryside a bit with beautiful mountain views, a stunning river, and purchased fresh milk out of an atm at a farm (like… you give it some change and fill your water bottle with milk… it was great!). When we finally got to the waterfall, we decided to climb up to the top, and it was a treacherous journey ending in a beautiful view.

October 14th

Coming back from our wild amazing adventures, I had a lot of homework to work on. Here, we see my attempt to capture the most boring picture in the history of the world. Have I succeeded? Perhaps not, at least it says hello!

October 15th

In the midst of so much excitement, October 15th I was doing homework and did not get around to taking a picture of anything new, interesting, or even boring. Instead, above I have provided a picture of a previous day, when I took a walk in Reutlingen. Beyond the university, there are miles of walkable paths through fields, hills, and small mountains. It’s always really pretty just to go for a walk or a run around here.

October 16th

Once again, I failed to actually photograph anything this day. Instead, I give you a piece of grass from my floor at the beginning of the semester. I thought it looked like a dinosaur.

October 17th

Another student and I went with my German teacher to go bouldering for the third time. Afterwards, she made us a wonderful dinner of pasta with pumpkin sauce. Afterwards we tried Quark, which is kind of  like yogurt but closer to cheese. I absolutely loved it. Here, you see some Russian nesting dolls that nested to an impressively tiny size. The little pink dot was the final doll. Overall, it was a very lovely experience in a very genuine German home.

October 18th

Above, you see the deck of the ferry to Copenhagen on my second journey there. This time, the ultimate stop is Stockholm, Sweden, with a day in Copenhagen. It was a really cool city so I was thrilled to explore it again.

October 19th

This is one of the many interesting finds in Copenhagen. It is a sun-heated sauna you can enjoy on like Wednesdays or Thursdays. We didn’t go in, but it pretty much shouted at us to look so we gladly did.

Study Abroad in Reutlingen Germany

Author: Shannon Ilg

Location: Reutlingen Germany

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

This is the second set of pictures from my adventures here in Germany. Since my first set of pictures, I have done a lot of traveling outside of the country. I have been to Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Denmark, and I’m on my way to Sweden as I write. It has been so much fun, and I have learned so much. Below is the second collection of pictures I took daily of the beautiful, strange, and mundane for me, your good-ol’ average Valpo student. I hope you can take a moment to see and appreciate the little things I have photographed, feel free to skip around, and maybe even be inspired to take on your own journey!


September 19, 2018

In Germany, we take the trains all the time. This is an underground entrance to one of the train stations that is particularly colorful. For the most part, the graffiti on the walls seems to have been paid installations. They are very interesting and colorful; it always gives you something to think about or appreciate. While traveling around Germany, make sure to keep your eyes open, because sometimes you’ll stumble upon really cool murals on the back of buildings or similar places where you wouldn’t necessarily expect.

September 20th, 2018

Here you see the first (and only, up to this point) attempt to make a pizza from scratch with the limited resources that my friend and I could find here. I purchased a circular metal plate for one euro to use as a pan which has actually been quite a good purchase. Since then it has been a plate, a lid to a pot of carrots and potatoes, and a tray to carry other dishes back and forth to my room.
Anyways, the pizza was actually really good. The only weird thing was that we used pasta sauce instead of pizza sauce or tomato paste, so it had a little bit of a strange flavor.

September 21st, 2018

We made our final full group trip to Liepzig which ended up being kind of a smaller version of Berlin. This building caught me off guard because it was so, you know, chopped in half. It was a really interesting café with statues of elephents in front of it.

September 22nd, 2018

Our second day in Liepzig we went to a Bach Museum. Around the museum, you could listen to the different musical arrangements that Bach had written, and in the room pictured above, you could listen to different pieces and decide which instruments you wanted to hear by pushing buttons on and off for each instrument. It was quite interesting.
Another cool thing about this museum was how evolved it was for the blind. It makes sense that a museum about music would be somewhere a blind person would enjoy, but they really go out of their way to make sure it is welcome and easy to enjoy for those who cannot see. At one point there were organ pipes hung from the ceiling that when you touched them, they played different musical compositions. In the above room, there was a book explaining every instrument in Bach’s time. Each page had a plastic page in front of it with braille, and the pages with pictures had a plastic page in front of it with a three-dimensional model of the instrument. I was very impressed that such accommodations were made so that those who cannot see have a wonderful museum to explore while discovering the beautiful history of music.

September 23rd, 2018

This is Wartburg castle where Martin Luther hid after nailing his theses to his church’s door. We went on a tour throughout the castle and got to explore the halls for several hours. The day we were there it was rather rainy which made the view outside foggy and after leaving, we all got soaked to the bone. In general, it was a good fun trip: standing in the rain when everyone is just as soaked as you never fails to bring a few smiles.

September 24th, 2018

After our final day in Liepzig, we all went off to go on our own smaller excursions. A friend and I decided that Austria would be our next stop. This was a delicious hot chocolate from a small café we ate at while waiting to check into our Airbnb.

September 25th, 2018

We had one full day in Austria, and we decided to climb a mountain. It was a beautiful journey up, every turn different and more amazing than the one before. By the time we reached the top, it was pretty steep, and I tripped and fell, scraping my leg pretty good on a rock. We ate at a quiet restaurant at the top and then headed back down. Let me tell you, I laugh at every time I ever thought as a kid ‘dang it, I really wish I was going downhill’ when I was going uphill. I am not a mountain climber; I was clad in plain tennis shoes with a bit of a cold, along with a high level of clumsiness. I slipped and fell like at least twelve times on the way down. I honestly never felt so incapable of anything in my entire life, where every single step I took was one step closer to complete and utter failure. But even so, it was so much fun, and unbelievably beautiful. I would do it again in a heartbeat.

September 26th, 2018

Just look at this wonderful view we had from our Airbnb. Down the hill on the left is a field full of very large friendly cows. On the right is a beautiful panoramic view of mountains all around. Behind the photo where you cannot see is the mountain that we climbed. Everything was so unbelievably beautiful, and I would recommend the Austrian countryside to anyone looking for a calm and stunning view.

September 27th, 2018

Welcome to the Oktoberfest, in Munich! First things first… Thursday was a great day to go. It was lively, but we could still get a seat to get a drink. It was not impossible to walk. It was a blast!
In case you don’t know exactly what the Oktoberfest is, it is a German festival with wonderful food, music, beer, and carnival rides. I have also heard that the Munich Oktoberfest is actually not quite as genuine as some of the smaller cities’ versions of Oktoberfest because it has been turned into a bit of a tourist attraction. Of course, this makes sense, but it did not make it any less enjoyable for me… because I am a tourist.

September 28th, 2018

This entire semester, they have been tearing down this building. In this picture, I was standing on the seventh floor of one of the apartment buildings that Valpo students are staying in. Behind the large pine tree in the top right you see the other building where we are staying. That’s my building. In between there used to be a third similar building but now all that is left is several piles of rocks. Oftentimes, I wake up in the wee early morning to the sounds of construction, or rather destruction vehicles. It has been quite interesting to see the complete process of the tearing down of the building.

September 29th, 2018

This is a little potted plant in the communal kitchen/lounge on my floor. It was just sprouting a flower in this picture. At the beginning of the semester there was a cute note next to it asking people to make sure it was watered while the owner was gone. Thankfully it survived and is here to show us cute little red flowers.

September 30th, 2018

This is the top of Georgenberg, a mountain on the outskirts of town where you can see the entirety of Reutlingen. It makes for a decent hike and a beautiful view. My favorite thing about it is that from the top you can see and point out pretty much every major place we had been to in Reutlingen. You can see our dorm buildings and the University, you can see the Church downtown and between the two you can see everywhere else that we had been in town.

October 1st, 2018

This was an issue that I have had a couple times eating Pringles. When I went to open the can, the inside foil covering peeled away from the cardboard. It’s not particularly strange or anything, it just hadn’t ever happened to me before. But it of course does not affect the quality of the beloved Pringles so I still enjoyed them.

October 2nd, 2018

Above you see Johannesbeeren. It is a delicious fruit that I discovered at a local farmer’s market. I had never eaten or even seen them before but guess what? They are around in the US, too! It’s a currant! I mean, I just never thought that you can eat them plain and not cooked in anything. They are wonderfully sweet and sour, and you can literally put the whole stalk of them in your mouth and pull out the stalk and eat all of them at the same time. They are so fun to eat, and I am definitely going to see if I can find them as well in the US when I return.

October 3rd, 2018

Above is our perfect, uncooked pie. It is made with apples directly off of a tree, and a wonderful blend of sugar and cinnamon (I haven’t been able to find brown sugar though, which is okay, just a little weird for pie). It turned out a little bit overcooked on the top and a little bit undercooked on the bottom, full of an inch of liquid from the apples… It tasted delicious, but this picture is definitely more fun to look at than the one of the cooked pie. Hey, but pie is pie, and it was a blast making-and eating-it.

October 4th, 2018

Here you see the first super interesting thing about Milan, Italy. I took a weekend trip there with a couple others and we ended up having a really fun time. In this picture you can see the track for the streetcars going right through the grass. There were other places where the grass was even growing in between the tracks. As for the rest of Milan, there were beautiful plants and flowers growing everywhere. And I mean everywhere. They were even abundant on the sides and rooves of buildings. I really enjoyed the feeling from this, as it gave the city a very green appearance and feeling.

Financial Advice from Germany

Author: Michael Boyaijan

Location: Reutlingen, Germany

Guten Tag reader, and welcome to my blog! For the past month, I have had the pleasure of studying abroad in Reutlingen, Germany. Throughout my time here I’ve seen many amazing places, made lots of friends, and already had numerous unforgettable experiences. Although there is so much to share, I have decided that the focus of my blog will be more financially-based. For many people, myself included, money plays a large role in whether one can afford to study abroad at all. Although Valpo gives out an estimation of what a student will spend studying abroad, expenses are different for each student. This semester, I will be reporting my personal budget and expenditures so that you, the reader, can get a real-feel for what it costs to study abroad in Reutlingen, Germany. Along with this, I will be explaining things I learn and mistakes that I make.

I started my semester with a budget of $3,133. Like I said before, expenses vary from person to person. Some people spend a lot of money, and some people don’t. At the same time, what people choose to spend their money on varies drastically. What I did not know is that Germany is primarily a cash-based society. Yes, credit and debit cards do exist here, but for everyday purchases (i.e., groceries, public transportation, etc.) Germans generally use cash. With that being said, here is tip #1: Open a bank account/get a credit card that has little to no foreign transaction fees. I have a Chase College account and every time I take out money from an ATM, I get charged a small fee. Additionally, the conversion rate from US dollars to euros varies. So far, I have paid for everything in cash. The amount of cash that I have taken out is $781.80. I have used that cash for groceries, trips, souvenirs, a guitar, and meals out. So far, of the $781.80, I have used $675, leaving me with $106.80 that will still be used. My current budget is now $2,458.

For the first month, we spent a lot of time going on group trips and excursions, rather than in class. As a business student at the ESB Business school here, my classes only recently began. Going forward, I expect to spend less money as I will be doing less travelling, and I will not be buying another guitar. I hope you find this post useful in your decision to study abroad! Tschüss!

My First Month Abroad: Reutlingen, Berlin, and Ireland

Author: Mark Young

Location: Germany/Ireland

One of our first days in Reutlingen we climbed Georgenberg, a nearby mountain with a beautiful panoramic view of Reutlingen and the surrounding towns. Nearly all of the houses here have red roof.


Walking through the city provides many gorgeous views of the natural and man-made landscape. Houses often have neatly paired stone and vines which give off a rustic and aged feeling.


The dogs are extremely well trained here — many are walked without leashes. This good boy was waiting outside a cafe for its owner.


We visited Tubingen in our first week here. Tubingen is home to the University of Tubingen which causes the city’s population to be one-third student. It is a very pretty and historic city.


Just a short walk from the dorm you can find many gorgeous views of the Swabian Jura.


Our first trip was to Berlin. This is the Altes Museum at night. Hitler once addressed mass rallies up to a million people on the steps of the museum. It now holds antique paintings, drawings, and other classical pieces of art or history.


This is the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin. It contains 2,711 slabs of concrete arranged in a grid. It was designed to replicate the Mt. Olive Cemetery.


We also visited Sanssouci, the summer palace of Frederick the Great. It is often considered the German Versailles.


After our trip to Berlin, I went to Ireland, with a two day delay in Mallorca, Spain. The rocky coastline of the Celtic Sea was gorgeous and sublime.


As if the rest of the coast wasn’t magnificent enough, the Cliffs of Moher commanded respect and admiration. Standing next to such a sheer drop-off was both terrifying and exciting.


Back in Reutlingen, a couple friends and I climbed another mountain and watched as the sun set over the city from a ruined castle’s tower.


The one month I’ve been in Reutlingen has been wonderful. While language barriers can sometimes cause minor issues, the people are accomodating and friendly; the city is historic and pretty; and the landscape is a nice change from the plains of Indiana.

The First Month

Author: Liam Bodlak

Location: Germany/Denmark

I’ve been in Germany for about a month now, and it already sort of feels like home. My classes started today, and while being the only American in my Business Stats class is kind of weird, it’s not too bad. I’ve been traveling a lot, meeting people from all sorts of different backgrounds, and learning a lot about Europe in general. I had a lot of time to do what I want given that I’ve only had two classes up until now, but even with a full course load my schedule isn’t too terrible. Not speaking German has definitely been an issue, but I’m learning a little bit every day, and most people here speak a little bit of English anyways.

So far I’ve been to a number of places in Europe, both within and out of Germany. First, I was in Berlin for about a week, then I spent the weekend in Copenhagen. Both places were amazing, filled with culture, nightlife, and great people. Berlin especially has great historical significance. We went to a number of WW2 monuments, and the tone of it intrigued me greatly. As Americans, we have such a positive view of World War 2 because we won in just about every regard possible. The US benefited from that war more than anyone, and we’re proud of that to this day. However, the Germans suffered the greatest defeat of the war, and the tone of their monuments reflect that. They’re somber, reflective, and show a country that wants to move strongly forward without forgetting its dark past.

The Berlin Wall was also incredible. So much has been said about the wall, its significance, and its eventual tearing down. But one thing stood out to me when I was looking at the wall. There was a lot of graffiti on the wall, some of it political, some of it apolitical. One piece of graffiti stuck with me, however, and I still think about it now two weeks after leaving Berlin. The message reads “ TO ASTRID, MAYBE SOMEDAY WE’LL BE TOGETHER ”. It’s not clear who wrote this, or when it was written. It’s heartbreaking to imagine someone who misses someone else badly enough to get near the top of the wall and write a note that might not even reach its recipient. I figured that, with the amount of people who saw this message every day, and the far reach that social media has, that someone would have found the story behind it. However, doing research on the message just leads to tourists taking pictures of it. It sounds sentimental, and I doubt that any sort of conclusion will come on what happened to these people, but I can’t help but wonder if the writer of this message ever found Astrid, and if that someday ever came.

Then we went to Copenhagen, which was a fun experience even if it was only for two days. We marched with the Danish army through the streets for the changing of the guard, got lunch on the Nyhavn waterfront, and wound up bar hopping in the city for a little bit. We weren’t there too long, but even so, I can honestly say that Copenhagen is one of the most aesthetically beautiful cities I’ve been to.

After a few days back in Reutlingen, we were back traveling again, this time to Leipzig. I honestly didn’t expect Leipzig to be as much fun as Berlin given its size (Leipzig is slightly less populous than Milwaukee) but it’s an amazing city. The nightlife was surprisingly great, every club we went to had great music and fun people, and the cities small size worked to our advantage, as everywhere we went was within walking distance. After Leipzig me and three friends went to Munich to partake in Oktoberfest for a day. It absolutely lived up to my expectations, the vibe there was like nothing I’ve ever experienced. The Scottish guys I hung out with there had been there for three days, and if I have the opportunity I definitely want to spend a week or so there. I had an amazing experience, but I feel like I barely scratched the surface of Munich Oktoberfest.

So, all in all, it’s been a fun month. I’m looking forward to the rest of this semester, and all the traveling, experiences, and growth that comes with it. I’ll be keeping this blog updated regularly, so hopefully you’ll all be hearing from me again soon. Tschuss!


6 Things That I Miss About Germany

Vlogger:  Nicholas Kwiecinski

Location: Reutlingen, Germany

My First Time in France

Vlogger:  Nicholas Kwiecinski

Location: Reutlingen, Germany

Leipzig, Wittenberg, and Eisenach/Wartburg Castle

Author: Devin Powell

Location: Reutlingen, Germany

Our next adventures took us to Leipzig, Wittenberg, Eisenach, and Wartburg Castle up north. This was a school trip rather than one of our own adventures, so things were a bit more planned. This region of German is often referred to as “Lutherland” due to the great reformer, Martin Luther, having made his stay in this area during the late 15th and early 16th centuries. Here, the reformation of the church began and Lutheranism began to form.

Leipzig Ferris Wheel: We happened to arrive in Leipzig during a very exciting time. The city was having a sort of Christmas fair downtown with an ice rink and traditional German food and their traditional drink, Glühwein (warm red wine with spices and herbs). The event was called Eistraum Auf dem Augustusplatz. You could purchase a Glühwein for 3 Euros but for an additional 3 Euros, you could also purchase the frosted mug that it came served in.


St. Nicholas Church (Nikolaikirche): This church is situated in the center of downtown Leipzig. It was constructed in the 15th century in a Romanesque style design but was later converted to a more Goth church in the 16th century. Johann Sebastian Bach was actually the music director of the Nikolaikirche during the 18th century, and the church was also the center of peaceful protests and demonstrations during the 1980s and early 1990s against communism.


Johann Sebastian Bach: He was born between March 21 and March 31 1685. He was one of the most influential composers of his time, and today, his influence even lives on at Valparaiso through the Bach Institute. As a part of our program, we will be visiting the Marienkirche in Reutlingen to hear the St. John’s Passion, one of Bach’s works. According to the Bach-Were-Verzeichnis, Bach composed 1128 works in his 65 years of life. 23 of these works were lost or unfinished and are only known via other compositions or clues left by history.


Stadt und Pfarrkirche St. Marien zu Wittenberg (Town and Parish Church of St. Mary’s): This church was first mentioned in the year 1187. Martin Luther often preached at this church in downtown Wittenberg. Not pictured but just off-screen on the top right of the tower are sculptures of swine. These swine sculptures represented the Jewish people that were present in Wittenberg. They were often the lowest class of people and were not allowed in the churches. The town wanted to get rid of the tower some years back due to what the sculptures represented, but they ultimately decided against it stating that it was a part of history and would be merely hiding an ugly part rather than embracing the ignorance of it.


Lutherhaus (Luther House): This building was originally constructed in 1504 and was a part of the University of Wittenberg where Martin Luther and his wife, Katharina von Bora, lived. When Luther wrote his 95 Theses, he lived here and may have even written them in his bedroom that is highlighted by the fancy looking window adornment to the right of the tower in the photo. He and his wife even taught here during the period.   


Schloßkirche (All Saint’s Church/Castle Church) and Church Doors: The Schloßkirche is the most famous of the churches in Wittenberg. This church is the very one where Martin Luther hung his 95 Theses. The doorway pictured on the right is the same doorway where they were nailed to the doors in 1517. A fire in 1760 destroyed some of the church and burned the original wooden door. Since then, a new bronze door has been constructed and every single line of Luther’s theses are chiseled into it to commemorate the Protestant Reformation. Luther is also buried here.


Wartburg Castle (Eisenach): Built around 1067 in the Middle Ages, Wartburg Castle housed St. Elisabeth of Hungary. It’s most legendary fact, however, is that this castle is where Luther translated the Bible from Latin into German allowing ordinary people to read the Bible and therefore interpret it in varying ways. This is also where Luther fled to hide from persecution after calling for a change in the church.

A Pop Over to London

Vlogger: Nicholas Kwiecinski

Location: Reutlingen, Germany

Our Own Adventures in Cologne (Köln) and Brussels (Bruxelles)

Author: Devin Powell

Location: Reutlingen, Germany

After we finished exploring Berlin and all of its historical context, we decided to make use of our German Rail Flexipass—this pass allowed us 10 days of free travel anywhere in Germany and select cities outside of the country—and head on over to Köln to see the largest cathedral in Germany. We booked an AirBnB for two nights and explored the city with no set plans.

The morning of our third day in Cologne, we made our way to the train station to see what adventures awaited us in Brussels, Belgium. I’m not sure how many of you know, but Brussels is actually the “capital” of the European Union (I’ll explain my use of quotation marks later on, don’t worry). Belgium has three official languages—French, Dutch, and German—so everywhere you turned a new culture was washing over you.


Köln Cathedral (Cologne Cathedral): This massive structure was first constructed in the year 1248 after the “Old Cathedral” was burned down on April 30 of the same year. A little over two centuries later, the cathedral remained unfinished and the project was halted in 1473 due to the lack of monetary funds and support from the people. Gradually, the construction resumed throughout the years but is still receiving repairs to this day due to the 14 hits it took during the Second World War. None of these bombs collapsed the building, but damage was certainly done. UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization) added it to the World Heritage List of important sites in 1996, making this building a protected historical monument.


Köln Triangle: Imagine a platform that is so high above the rest of the city that you can see 360 degrees of Cologne. Well, that’s exactly what we did. For only 3 Euros we were able to go to the top of this sky deck to see the city. The glass had etchings that you could align with the real monuments with small facts about what you were viewing giving a bit of history and thrill to the experience.


Köln Cathedral (A Closer Look): Here lie those who once preached at this very cathedral or who were nobility of the town during the old ages. This is a small cemetery on one side of the Cathedral that faces the Lower Rhine River.


Köln Lovelocks Bridge (Hohenzollern Bridge): This bridge has become notorious (much like the Lovelock Bridge in France) for people hanging locks on the bridge that symbolize their love. Some of the locks were even dated back to the 60s or early 70s! Some of the locks weren’t your regular locks either. There were owl locks, camel locks, locks the size of someone’s head, car locks—you name it, they were there. The bridge was constructed in 1907 and finished in 1911 and has been standing ever since. Out of the seven bridges that cross the Rhine, Cologne’s bridge is the most famous.


Now let’s head on over to Brussels, Belgium!


Royal Palace of Brussels (Palais Royal de Bruxelles): In case you were wondering, we got to Brussels rather late, so some of the pictures will be a little darker than others for our first day exploring the city. This was one of the first sites that caught our attention. This right here is the Royal Palace of Brussels of the King and Queen of Belgium. Now the King and Queen don’t actually reside here but live in another palace on the outskirts of Brussels instead. The palace here is smaller in floor space than the Buckingham Palace, but it is 50% longer.


Metal Ball Fountain (La Fontaine de Pol Bury): Since Belgium does not have any lakes, rivers, or beaches, they supplement with fountains that litter the country. Brussels alone has 20 or so fountains throughout the city. Pol Bury was a Belgian architect who designed this 21 steel cylinders based fountain in downtown Brussels in 1995.


Parc du Cinquantenaire (Park of the Fiftieth Anniversary): This is the main park in downtown Brussels which was created in 1880 in order to commemorate Belgian’s independence. The centerpiece (pictured above), was created in 1905. The piece shows a woman charioteer who is raising the national flag of Belgium.


Atomium: This is the Atomium. It was originally created in 1958 for the Brussel World’s Fair. The inside is a sort of retro designed museum telling the history of the structure and also giving a 360 degree view of Brussels from the top sphere. Only 6 of the 9 spheres are accessible to the public, but the top sphere was actually closed off when we went.


Manneken Pis (The Peeing Boy): This is one of Brussels most famous fountains and is what they’re actually pretty notorious for. Statues depicting the boy and sculptures made out of chocolate lined the streets leading up to the renowned statue. The original was erected in either 1619 and has now been replaced by a copy in 1965. The original still exists, however. You can find it in the Museum of the City of Brussels. The statue is meant to symbolize the humor and independence of the people of Brussels. It only stands at a height of 2 feet making some of the chocolate statues bigger than the actual piece!

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