Sunday, July 22, 2018

Day 20: Bond between Twenty Seven strangers

Day 20: The bond between Twenty Seven strangers.

It was the day when it was time to leave. Days passed so fast that it seemed a very short trip. Everyday meeting, going for excursions, exploring  different parts of the city, ensured me that Europe is a safe place for girls. I really enjoyed fully my whole trip. Now that I think of past days I figured I have traveled through tram, train, the second fastest train(China got the most fast train I read and Europe’s one is the second fastest), rode bike at a total different city, travelled trough cruises, explored canals, traveled through the taxi, Uber, bus, metro too! Oh yeah also experienced the top view of Paris through the Ferris wheel too. All the thoughts were making me nostalgic.
Early morning we all took our packed bags and went outside to start our journey back to Nashville.

TNCIS assured our comfort by renting a huge coach bus that took us to the Paris airport. Is was long for an hour and 30 minutes and very comfortable.

When we reached the airport and had to pass through all the security checks and finally at 11am we got to seat on the aircraft. The delta airways treated us very good and their customer service was appreciable. Our flight was eight hours long to Detroit. I watched three movies that I was planning would watch but somehow skipped all the time. So it was great watching those. Then I had almost 3.5 hours left so I took a nap for about 50 minutes. After waking up somehow the time passed gradually through having snacks, dinner, ice cream, then again snacks etc. for eight hours flight I must say delta airlines were very generous and took good care of us.

Paris, France; to Detroit, United States.

Landed Detroit safely and passed through immigration which took a awhile. But good thing was we had time as our next flight was almost after three and half hours. We freshened up and waiting on the gate area.

Hello Nashville!

We took the last plane trip of our study abroad program to Nashville. It was an hour twenty five minutes long. Then from Nashville we all started heading for our own homes and the group of twenty seven strangers(DrV isn't stranger to me, took two classes with him at TSU, also will take one more in the upcoming fall semester; otherwise it would've been 28.) who supported each other while exploring three totally different countries far from home but had to break the bond and leave through wishing everyone good luck and prosperity for future. 

Day 19: Palace of Versailles

Day 19: Palace of Versailles.

On the last day of Paris we had two options to choose from the Disneyland or the Versailles Palace. I chose Versailles palace because I don’t know when again I am going to come back in Paris to witness the heritage of Versailles.

I bought the ticket online a day before the visit. When I went there I had to pass through the long line. It was a hot day but finally I got into the palace. The Versailles Palace was created under the ruling of King Louis IV. It is a little far from the main city Paris. If someone wants to know how the royals used to live their lives I would definitely recommend this palace. Every space of the palace was created with care and a lot of hard-work of the working people which was very prominent when I took a glance. Starting from the entrance door looked like it was gilded with gold then through the audio guide I got to know everything was made with bronze.

Panorama view of the entrance: Palace of Versailles

One by one I was passing the rooms. I saw the hall of mirrors where thousands of mirrors covered a huge place, with lavish chandeliers, and mesmerizing artwork at the ceilings which we would call the ballroom at present days. The king’s room, princesses’ room, all was gilded with bronze. There was a room with a huge gilded clock, a lavish bed, furniture and some sitting spaces. Through the audio guide I got to know that was the meeting room of the king but not a bedroom. King Louis IV took all the decisions here until his death. There were so many rooms with so many stories. But I would definitely like to mention about the library where the Queen and others used to spend times. Also the artwork in the ceiling at one of the King’s room got 300+ characters which left me speechless to see how patient the artist was.

The Hall of Mirrors

After the palace I bought the ticket which was 8€(after showing my student's ID) to enter the royal garden to see the fountain dance. The garden got so many roads just like a huge maze. The fountains were so beautiful. One was like beautiful than the other that I couldn’t select which one was the best. But thing for sure the royals made sure to show their lavishness and power at every corner of the palace.

Garden of Versailles

Day 18: Shopping Mall Forum des Halles

Day 18: Shopping Mall Forum des Halles

First of all the architecture amazed me when I was passing it after spending almost whole day collecting data for my research. I went there to catch the a train from the RER of Chatelet les Halles so that I can go to Cite University from there. But I stopped and explored the underground mall instead for a while. They it it looked from the outside it was indeed very beautiful on the inside too. It was so clean I couldn’t imagine as it was close to the train station. This shopping mall welcomes 150,000 visitors daily including the locals and the tourists. Also it was still the second most visited shopping mall in France with 39.2 million visitors.

I got back to the hostel of Cite University and France was celebrating the Bastille Day. At night they will have beautiful fireworks. The group planned to go somewhere close to watch the view. I was excited too. But don’t know why I didn’t feel like going in the end with the group. But the fascinating fact is I couldn’t stop my excitement after going through some Instagram stories posted under the hashtag Paris that day. I found several places from there, googled many that how far what was from the place I were in. I was wearing my pjs and took my hoodie and called an Uber. The driver was very nice though after saying bonjour I couldn't speak a thing or understood and explained that I talk very little French nicely. I put my navigation to the planet food area which was just nine minutes away but got a good view before I even got there, though it was way far from the Eiffel Tower  but atleast I saw the fireworks a bit and that was enough for me. I stayed ten or twelve minutes and came back through the Uber. It was short but it was wonderful indeed. So here's a very bad resolution zoomed picture of that night.

Bastille Day

Day 17: Bonjour, Saint Germain l’Auxerrois Church

Day 17: Bonjour

Day 17th in the morning I googled where can I go to see something antique and different. I couldn’t decide so took the pass for the underground train  and headed towards a church named Saint Germain l’Auxerrois Church. I reached the close station and walked there.

I passed through an antique building but didn’t know the name of it. But it was pretty. Then I read and gathered a bit of information about it. So since the PLM law of 1982, the twenty communes that divide the city of Paris each have a borough mayor, in addition to the mayor of the municipality of Paris mairie d'arrondissement. So it was related to the city development works. After I passed that I finally discovered the beautiful Saint Germain l’Auxerrois Church. The glass painted windows, the unique designs, history wrapped up with every aisle, walls, specially the interior design was so wonderful. The rituals they followed, the story of Jesus etc was highlighting every corner of the church. I literally was starring at the beautiful creation for a long time and did nothing. The hardwork who designed this church and the people who built this church gave their full concentration and crafted this place with affection it was prominently visible. I stayed there for a while and roamed around the whole church.

Then I walked a bit more passed the Louvre Museum but didn’t meet Monalisa this time. I hope someday I will comeback again and see her. With that hope I moved forward to explore more. I passed the lovers bridge over river seine. People were playing the authentic music that I’ve always heard whenever I watched Paris in the movies. This time it was reaching to my ears directly and it was wonderful. From the bridge I saw the institute of France. At first it looked like an antique palace or court house to me but after learning I got to know about the institute of Paris.

The Institut de France is a French learned society, grouping five academies, the most famous of which is the Académie francaise. The Institute, located in Paris, manages approximately 1,000 foundations.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Day 16: Meeting the fabulous beast of all time!

Day 16: Meeting the fabulous beast of all time!

In the evening of the day 16th we went for an excursion. It was quite fun but I didn’t think it would be fun earlier. Because at first I didn’t know how it would be as I’ve never been to any Counterfeit Museum before. This museum is all about how the fake ones look and how the real ones look. People will find it very interesting when they will be able to figure the truth about the frauds ones. Sometimes it is very tough to understand that which one is the fake one as some people copy exactly like the same but by giving very lower quality materials.

Counterfeit Museum

Then after coming back from the Museum we went to explore the city with the whole group through cruising on the boat. The cruise at Paris on the river Seine was one of a kind experience in my whole life. We started at 10pm but left the hostel at 8.30pm. It wasn’t dark outside but when we reached their and the tour started it was becoming dark. So our tour started and the first thing that I saw was the Musee d’Orsay. This museum was built between 1898 and 1900 as a railway station. Then we passed through the beautiful architecture that’s resembled to the white house of America now a days but this one in Paris was build earlier than White House. We passed through alongside the river Seine where Port de la Concorde is situated with all the houseboats standing aside in the river bank. The view of the Grand Palais was amazing from the boat. This historical site is now an exhibition hall and museum complex. The cool breeze was making the tour beautiful and then our guide said we are about to witness something beautiful and that is a surprise for us. I got excited to figure what the surprise might be. But gradually as the cruise was moving I saw a bronze gilded huge bridge. It was the most famous bridge Alexandre iii. It was so gorgeous that it took me a moment to realize what the actual surprise was.
Alexandre III

 I saw a glimpse of a glittery tower. It was sparkling. I couldn’t believe my eyes that the tower that is coming close is the Eiffel tower! I was speechless and couldn’t take any pictures for a moment. It was like a dream come true experience. And at night the Eiffel tower looked so pretty that I wouldn’t be able to explain through words. This wrought iron tower put a modern touch to the antique city Paris. Our cruise boat was passing through and was leaving the Eiffel tower behind.

Eiffel Tower

The guide then point at a tomb by saying it is the institute de France which manages more than thousand foundations.Then the view of the rectangular Conciergerie showed up. This building used to a prison back in the days but now it is used as the law courts.

The Conciergerie

The weather became but chilly this time but the view and weather was very much enjoyable. The famous Notre Dame Cathedral was our last stop of the fabulous evening.

Notre Dame Cathedral

Though after the cruise we all went to the Eiffel tower and took the stairs to go up. It was a magical day.

Day 15: Top of the world!

Day 15: Top of the world!

I started walking after taking breakfast that I bought from Franprix. You can say it as mini version of Kroger. It got almost everything but the main problem was I couldn’t read what was written on it. In France the biggest problem I faced in the beginning was the language because everything was written in French. First days in Germany went the same for me but I could guess what was written but with France I couldn’t get a hint even what was written. So I picked foods by seeing the pictures.
So after breakfast I started to explore by myself. First I started walking. Took my train pass and directly went to Rue de Rivoli. It was a bit confusing when I first use the train all by myself but I made it to the end and reached the destination. As I was walking I saw some souvenir stores and bought Eiffel tower souvenirs. I started walking towards the museum Louvre. My offline map was showing the Louvre Pyramid is close but for a while I couldn’t find where it was. Then finally I discovered the beautiful pyramids. 

It was wonderful just to sit and stare at the view of Louvre. As Paris is the city of love I saw couples taking pictures here and there. Some requested me to take a picture of them too. It was sweet seeing them. After I passed Louvre Pyramids I got to see the Carrousel de Louvre gate. From there the Paris city and the Louvre Museum and pyramids looked magical.

I saw a Ferris wheel when I was standing at the Louvre premises. I started walking towards that without giving any thought. I discovered that I was at the Jardines de Tuileries area. There was a carnival going on. I bought the ticket and got on the Ferris wheel. It was an experience that I would never be able to explain in words. From the top I saw the whole Paris city and I was overwhelmed with so much joy. I saw all the monuments as well as the Eiffel Tower. I’ve taken few pictures of the Jardines Park as I was literally swallowed by the beauty of Paris.  

Day 14: Heading for the City of Love

Day 14: Heading for the City of Love

It was the day when the clock was ticking and letting us know, it’s time to head for Paris, the city of love. I really liked my stay at the bike city Amsterdam. We again packed our bags and started early for the train station. This time we again took the tram to go to the stain and by this time I realized I started missing whatever Amsterdam offered me.

Starbucks Amsterdam

It was different this time I was getting familiar with the city. They city was also embracing me close. They people were so nice to me. They lady who gave me the interview for my final report became a friend. We mail to each other and share stuffs about our culture and to know more about the country. I kind of got a little emotional when I was leaving Amsterdam. I hope I will come back here someday, especially in Rotterdam because that city was lit!

We took the fastest train again to go to Paris. It was raining in Amsterdam. People were saying that’s the regular weather of Amsterdam but the days we were in Amsterdam almost all the days were sunny! I think it I got lucky there. Also the rain reminded me that what if the city is crying as I am leaving it behind. Don’t know.. Just some random thoughts probably..
We passed Belgium when we were going to Paris. Belgium’s glimpse was very pretty.

 I saw huge lawns, farms, a beautiful castle that I don’t know the name of, and green meadows. When we reached Paris the weather was clear and sunny. We took the underground train to head for our destination Cite University.

Day 13: I amsterdam!

Day 13: I amsterdam!

Day thirteenth was a pretty lazy day. In the morning I coded the data that I collected for my research. I treated myself with fish and chips from the stay okay hostel menu. I figured how to do the laundry at the hostel as I needed to wash some of the clothes. It was also the last day of my stay at Amsterdam. I was thinking which place I didn’t go and I should go before I leave. So I remembered even though I went to the Van Gogh museum I didn’t take a good snapshot in front of the famous I Amsterdam sign!

I charged my phone also my power bank and headed for the Amsterdam sign. I took a different route so that I could collect some more data for my research. The Amsterdam sign is always busy with tourists so it was a good decision to go a little late but when I reached the place it was still occupied with people. I waited, waited a bit more then took some good snaps also roamed around the premises of Rijk Museum and came back.

After dinner I went to my favorite place Vondelpark again to explore the whole park this time. I passed all the places that I’ve seen before then I found myself at a hexagon shaped garden. Since childhood I always tried to learn different flower names and that garden was filled with so many different kinds of roses, asters, bougainvilleas, chrysanthemums, canna, perwinkle and with many more flowers. I checked the map and was convinced this time that I completed roaming the whole Voldelpark as this garden was the end of the park. I came back from a different route, bought some food, checked out beautiful neighborhoods.

Day 12: Birthday Funday!

Day 12: Birthday Funday!

It was my Birthday on the 8th July. After finishing the breakfast and started a little late with some of my groupmates as the will join me for my birthday lunch. There was a good place named Crystal. I bought some souvenirs and then ate lunch over there with my group mates. They loved the food over there too.

Then I started my excursion for the day by going at the Moco Museum. It was a modern art museum with a twist. The artists that painted the paintings there were Banksy, Icy & Sot Brothers.
Banksy is a British artist. In this museum he portrayed his creations, among them mostly are street art collected from several places.  One fact about Banksy is he loves to express his thoughts that are often different than any other artist. There are messages for the society in his art and he expresses those through sarcasm or through rebellious way. One of his art ‘the girl with balloon’ creates so many questions and thoughts in the human brain and while looking at the art for a while everyone figures the meaning behind it in their own way. It is like without saying anything the painting explained a lot itself.
Icy & Sot are brothers. Their art is also like Banksy. Art with several thoughts combined. These two brothers expressed themselves by portraying themes like oppression, fame, freedom, war and dreams. These two contemporary artists painted murals at several places that controversial dramas but they did not stop expressing them. Some of their paintings are so iconic that anyone with a well working brain would appreciate that. There were two arts where they created guns simply by portraying their paintbrush. It seemed like a paintbrush can talk and express way more than a gun. Gun cannot be the solution to all. Also the increasing amounts of gun violence that are going on, these paintings are an absolute sarcastic representation to them.

Downstairs they had several rooms designed very uniquely in three dimensions format. The rooms looked so lively that anyone would find that very interesting. I have never been to a museum like this before.

I got back and had dinner with the group at the stay okay hostel. At night we took a canal cruise to explore the Amsterdam city and it was beyond words. We saw many places like the seven bridges, the bibliotheek library, the floating Chinese sea restaurant, beautiful cruise boats, also the audio guide explained about the windows of the buildings of Amsterdam. The windows are big because when the houses were built with little doors and people couldn’t take their furniture inside the house, and as an alternative they used the huge windows to take the furniture inside. The canal cruise was the best gift for me on my birthday in Amsterdam. 

Day 11: The Busy Dam Square

Day 11: The Busy Dam Square

On the eleventh day I did the walking tour that I missed earlier. I was a wonderful day and the guide showed us the thin house of Amsterdam, the tall house, the royal palace, dam square etc some places. After the walking tour I roamed around a bit all by myself. I walked through the busy marketplace close to the royal palace. I discovered some fancy souvenir stores.

In the Netherlands, many things are legal that are very different in other countries. One can get weed very easily at stores close by. Fascinating fact is even though several stuffs are legal here in the Netherlands the people are very peaceful. It was a very safe city just like Berlin. Most of the time, I roamed alone on my Europe trip. I undoubtedly can assure that Amsterdam was so safe that I would rate it better than the USA’s road.

That day I almost roamed through the red light district, the close marketplaces over there and the albert cuyp market. I also went through the Amsterdam museum which was basically a pathway designed with all the historical stuffs. I’ve always loved architectural structures. Over there I saw the miniature version of houses in Amsterdam. At the end of the free Museum I saw a huge giant named Goliath.

While I was coming back I decided I would take the tram that I hated in the first day. I asked some people which tram will go to Leidseplein and people here helped me right away. Also the conductor at the tram helped me too. It was pretty easy to me after that day. And my opinion changed for trams of Amsterdam. It is cheap and will drop you fast super close to the place you want to go.

Day 10: Van Gogh Museum.

Day 10: Van Gogh Museum.

When we were in Amsterdam it was a must to visit the Van Gogh Museum. So one fine morning the whole group went to explore the Van Gogh Museum. This museum is an art Museum dedicated to the works of Vincent Van Gogh. This museum is also known for having the largest collection of Van Gogh in the world. It approximately got 200 paintings, 400 drawings, and 700 letters by Vincent Van Gogh. I got to know a lot after this museum tour and the best part was when I figured Vincent’s early paintings subject was the peasant life and their hardworking lifestyle. It convinced me to acknowledge Vincent different than others as he was not like the stereotypical artists. He put a lot of thought in people’s daily life and created amazing artwork through portraying that.

The way he become an artist was also fascinating. Their family business was related to paintings. So Vincent knew since childhood about the importance of someone’s artwork. He travelled, wrote letters to his brother who was very close to him. In the museum through the audio guide I heard the English translation of some of his letters. It reminded me of sister and how close we are. It made me a bit nostalgic too. Vincent’s father wanted him to join the family business but Vincent never wanted to do it after he figured his love for art. After the peasant life representation, Vincent painted several Japanese culture influenced artwork. In the museum there was several self portrait of Vincent. He loved to portray himself through his art. There were some drawings where it was portrayed that he was painting which was done by his friend Paul Gauguin. He also did some western art.
Vincent was a genius who went through some mental illness and that is why at one point he cut off his own ear. It is considered that he did that because of an argument between Gauguin and him. Later he at the age of 37 he shot himself in the chest with a revolver and died after two days. It is a matter of sorrow that so many people get inspiration from these famous artists but they end up killing themselves. Depression can swallow a person but there’s always hope, if our concentration is solely based on ourselves how will we be able to survive. While killing himself Vincent never thought of his dear brother Theo. As a matter of fact Theo died within a year after Vincent’s death. It might’ve happened for his physical condition but Vincent’s death put him into a shock for sure. Vincent’s sister in law knew how close Theo was with Vincent and she came up to save Vincent’s work. She took care of every so that Vincent could get the true recognition he deserved.  And because of her contribution Theo’s son is now taking care of his Uncle’s belongings. It was a wonderful visit indeed as I broadened my knowledge about Van Gogh. I felt the bond between the brothers and the paintings were meaningful to me.

After the van gogh museum tour some went back to the hostel, some went other places. I went with three other group mates at the Wagamama. Their food tasted amazing when I was tried first in Boston. I was craving for calamari fries of wagamama. When the food arrived it still tasted just amazing like the Boston’s one. After lunch I took off to collect data until dinner time and explored the city a bit.

Day 9: Rotterdam’s SPIDO(1919)!

Day 9: Rotterdam’s SPIDO(1919)! 

The next morning the marketing and economics group were scheduled to go to a different city called Rotterdam. We went through the fastest train to Rotterdam. The weather was wonderful that day. After reaching there we went to the bike station to rent bikes. I rode bikes on the roads of Rotterdam which was an adventurous and fun experience. Then through our bikes we went to the place where a huge cruise boat was waiting for us. We took the stairs and sat close to the railing of the boat named Spido(1919). The duration of the tour was 75minutes.

Gradually the huge boat started to move the first thing we saw was the Erasmusbrug Bridge, the audio guide then elaborated that this bridge connects north and south parts of Rotterdam. It seemed like Rotterdam is Amsterdam’s downtown to me.

The city life, busy with all the cool looking buildings, hi-tech architectural view, ports, business ventures etc convinced me to consider Rotterdam a place to come back again on my wish list. As the boat moved forward I saw one more bridge which was red in color which is called the Willemsbrug Bridge. This bridge connects the northern part of the city with Noordereiland and Feijenoord. There was a blue building named Rijkswaterstaat that maintains all the construction, design, infrastructure facilities of the country. Then we saw the highest tower in Netherlands which is Euromast. It is a tv tower where one can get a 360 degree view from the inside of the tower. Euromast also got luxury hotel rooms, restaurants etc in it.

Close to the Euromast there was a floating Chinese restaurant and the design of the restaurant looked so gorgeous from the boat. We saw the largest port in Europe which is the port of Rotterdam. This port is known for being the busiest port after Singapore and Shanghai. While looking around all the giant buildings one cute but huge cruise ship snatched my attention. It was written AIDAperla on it and I researched a little and got to know that it’s the newest and most modern cruise ship of that company. Also I got to see a glimpse of the Hotel New York where formerly the head office of Holland Amerika line was. At the end of the tour a huge ship was standing still named Rotterdam. And then the audio guide explained a bit about this huge ship. This ship is called the SS Rotterdam. It is a former flagship of the Holland-America line which sailed the seven seas. Now it is one of the attractions of Rotterdam tourists. It is now open for all as it turned itself into a luxurious hotel now. After the boat ride we took our bikes and headed to explore Rotterdam a bit more. While passing I was the Cube Houses near the station Blaak and the architectural view amused me and also the market hall. We were super hungry so we stopped by and ate lunch at fancy Dutch restaurant. Then returned our bikes and came back before dinner through the fastest train again.

Day 8: Unicorn and mermaid!

Day 8: Unicorn and mermaid!

After the journey yesterday from Berlin to Amsterdam was pretty tiring. But I woke up early to check out the breakfast menu of Stay Okay. As I mentioned earlier that the lounge was pretty amazing I found myself a favorite spot. It was the green room at the center cover with big windows and little green trees. I loved sitting there, having breakfast.

After the breakfast I met DrV to know about my schedule of the day. He advised me to join the walking tour at 1pm with the group. I was so tired and my ankle was hurting so I skipped the walking tour but in the afternoon I took my backpack downloaded the offline map of Amsterdam and started walking. I discovered some good places and took note for my research and collected data for a while. After passing the train station and tram lines I discovered myself at a shopping and food place. They had so many different kinds of stuffs there. Loved the gelato of the candy place Jamin, also they have two famous flavors named unicorn and mermaid!

The dinner was at 6 o’clock at the stay okay hostel. So I came back and ate dinner. Their dinner was pretty good I must say. So after dinner I had some time left so I started exploring the park close by named VondelPark. It was a huge park and it was tough to walk the whole park in forty minutes and come back. Still I walked a little and the beautiful view, the happy people not using their phones but enjoying the weather cheered me up too. The beautiful benches, fountain, different types of birds left me speechless.

Day 7: Amsterdam Calling!

Day 7: Amsterdam Calling!

In the morning we woke up early to start our journey for Amsterdam. I liked our stay at the Baxpax hostel it was cozy and the lounge was relaxing. But didn’t get much time to think about all these stuffs and took my luggage and prepared to meet the group outside. We started early and reached the train station forty minutes earlier. I didn’t eat anything in the morning so I grabbed a coffee from Dunkin Donuts. So after coming back it was time that we start for Amsterdam, Netherlands. The train journey was wonderful. It was altogether seven hours an thirty minutes. I sat close to the window and took a nap for probably fifty minutes. When I woke up I was felt energized and took some snaps of the outside view.

I saw pretty house but one thing that amazed me was the solar panels. Almost all the houses got solar panels on their roof. They was people here thought about the environment and took initiatives was appreciable. The green fields remind me of Bangladesh. I always wanted to see huge windmills. The fields with huge white colored windmills and the landscape view attracted me so much that I forgot to take pictures and just enjoyed.

After almost eight hours we finally reached Amsterdam. From the train station we walked a little and took tram. I have never travelled through tram. The first day in Amsterdam, I didn’t not like the tram journey at all; with the luggage and everything. Also too many bikes in the road panicked me a little. Finally reached to the place where we would stay for 7 days. The name of this hostel was Stay Okay. The lounges were amazing but when I entered in the rooms it was congested to me.

Day 6: Favorite Place: premises of Bode-Museum and Brandenburg Gate

Day 6: Favorite Place premises of Bode-Museum and Brandenburg Gate

The last day in Berlin was pretty amazing. I found out which one is my favorite place. The park close to Bode-Museum, the canals, the premises, and the happy people dancing around close to the bridge, hanging out with friends amazed me. While walking I talked to a bunch of teen German girls. They were so friendly! They shared how much they love American pop music. One of them said she love Justin Beiber and would want to come to America just to see Justin one. Gradually I found out girls here have very unique and creative wishes and they are so simple and not fake. They prioritize their family and want to work to create a better world for everyone. After wishing them good luck I started roaming a bit more toward the museum premises. A guy there was plating violin singing an English song. And everyone there was enjoying it. Most of them probably didn’t know the meaning but the respect they showed and enjoyed they tune amazed me. It was getting dark so I came back gradually passing the beautiful river close to Bode-Museum and bridges.

At night Anais, one of my roommates suggested lets go somewhere and I was super hungry. We went to eat out and the food was super yummy. It was probably 12.10am suddenly Anais proposed lets go to the Brandenburg gate. I was thinking to go there before but couldn’t make any time for it as I was so busy in the past days to collect data for my research. So as she suggested I happily agreed and we went to the Historical Brandenburg Gate and enjoyed the amazing night view.

Day 5: Sachsenhausen Detention Camp

Day 5: Sachsenhausen Detention Camp

Since childhood I’ve heard stories about the Nazi Party and their torturous era. I’ve always wanted to visit a concentration camp to educate myself about this topic and also to understand more closely about the torments of those people who were in there. On the fifth day I got a chance to go there with the group. It took us an hour through train to reach Sachsenhausen Detention Camp. There we met our guide Chris, who was very resourceful and he took us everyplace one by one explaining about the camp.
While entering Chris told us that from this very camp no one ever could escape. Then pointed at distant corners where tall two storied towers were made for Nazi soldiers so that they can keep eye over the place from the top. This was not the only reason, starvation and tremendously heavy loaded works made the prisoners so weak that even if they escape some part of the camp they would not be able to make it to the end alive.
Before entering the camp, Chris showed us the kitchen where the foods were being prepared. Food was prepared for the soldiers by Jehovah’s Witnesses prisoners. These people were so strong in their faith that Nazi armies knew that they would never poison or harm them. So at one point the Nazi armies even offered them a way to become free and help them the way they are leading. But none of the Jehovah’s Witnesses prisoners accepted their offer.

While entering the main door of the Sachsenhausen Detention Camp we witnessed the main tower at the top of it, where all the roll calls have been taken of the prisoners. These roll calls sometimes were eight or nine hours long. And if somebody fainted during the roll call Nazis would shot them right there. There were tall walls with barbed wire all around covering the camp.
We saw some rooms as we went to the left side. We went in there and witnessed how little the bunk beds, the toilets, the benches and other furniture were for the prisoners. After passing that room there we a little museum where posters where hanging on the wall of that time and also what the prisoners used to wear and armies as well. We saw the whole camp’s map how it was made in order to watch all the prisoners very efficiently.
After leaving that place we saw a huge 3D triangle shaped tower. This tower was taller than any other tower at the camp. Then Chris explained us it was made to show honor to the people who were in the camp. At the last we came to tower Z where we saw the map of execution, how the Nazis brutally planned to execute some without giving them a hint. Chris explained how the map worked and the process of they how they kill the people. I was shocked the whole time but it was so unbearable when I heard about the loud music part. Soldiers used to take prisoners in a manner that the prisoners would think they would get reward for something, and then they would take them one by one in the music room separately. From the other rooms no one could ever guess what would be happening. Also the loud music was only there so that it could swallow the noise of the shooting taking place in the other shielded room; where the soldier would shoot the prisoner through a hole directly into the head from another side room without even seeing whom he was shooting. After tower z our tour ended and while coming back for the last time I took a glance at the whole place. Just took a deep breath and thought how inhuman a sick powerful maniac like Hitler could be. The Nazis brutality is an example of how racially profiling people ruined so many innocent lives. And at the end the Nazis couldn’t survive as well. That is why there is a saying; justice will be served to all as the time goes by.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Day 4: All Exclusive!

Day 4. 

Woke up in the morning by natural breeze of wind. It was a wonderful day. The baxpax hostel in Berlin got a beautiful view which relaxes the mind before starting the day. So took a look at the wooden cafe and the green hangout patio. It indeed soothed the mind. 

Then for my independent study I went to DrV, to get my schedule. Got to know that the whole group is going at KaDeWe. It’s abbreviation in English means department store of the west. The most expensive and largest shopping mall at Berlin and second largest in the whole Europe. Here consumers will get all the exclusive brands like Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent, Louis Vuitton, Prada, Rolex, Balenciaga etc.

The was founded by Adolf Jandorf and designed by Emil Schaudt in 1907. And in 1927, the ownership changed to Hermann Tietz. As Tietz was Jewish according to the Nazi law the company had to change through their rulings and the name changed into Hertie. When World War ll was taking place allied bombing destroyed most of the place and the place had to close. The store reopened again on the 1950. Also finished the full construction by 1956. The Germans call it German economical miracle as the store changed west Germany through economic growth. In 1989, KaDeWe recorded record breaking people going through the store, also it is a must go place now while visiting at Berlin, Germany. 

This beautiful luxurious departmental store got 8 floors altogether. In the first floor it got all the men’s apparel, second floor decorated with women’s clothing to accessories, third floor it designed by displaying all he glamorous branded shoes as well as women’s lingerie. The fourth floor it got wedding and gift items. The fifth floor displayed books, toys, office supplies electronics, souvenirs etc. Top floors were entitled for food and beverages. As our guide for the day DrV said before, that these floors altogether got 110 cooks and 40 bakers and confectioners supplying more than 30 counters. Also it got a huge restaurant where 1000 people can dine together by spending good amount of euros. If you got money then it is the best place where one can get all exclusive things. Shopaholics might spend all their money as this store is so much resourceful. It was quite an amazing experience. I got chocolate eclairs from the bakery and it was so good that I could say it tasted something like out of the world. Also in the restaurant I’ve seen they got so many dishes from so many countries. They even had the famous black tiger shrimp from Bangladesh! On the other side there was a lounge were people were enjoying their food and watching soccer. From the big glass windows it was amazing to look the view of Wittenbergplatz. 

After coming back I watched the the Fifa World Cup game, Uruguay 🇺🇾 vs Portugal 🇵🇹; with a cup of cappuccino at the baxpax hostel’s lounge with other soccer lovers from various parts of the world. Which was indeed an amazing experience. 

Day 3: People are above the government

Day 3

Day three in Berlin started with a speech. Mr. King one of our speech course professor got his friend Mr. Marlin Williford. He’s an entrepreneur, also a singer too. Mr. Marlin talked about how it was when he first moved to Germany from USA. How fate brought him and showed he can be comfortable living in Germany. He talked about the German culture, he shared about his singing career and also he told us about his clothing line that he started with bunch of his friends for big men. It was amazing to know that German people love American pop-stars. Also they help a lot to grow new businesses. They sponsor, donate, and help new entrepreneurs who comes up with innovative and different ideas. Lastly he sang a song for us. His voice range was so powerful while balancing with the notes. 

After hearing the speech my day started with my individual data collection. I headed towards starting walking and planned to go to the Alexanderplatz. While going I discovered a park which was beautiful. Then I looked up and figured the tall tower that I witnessed it was the famous TV tower of Berlin. I passed a market close to the TV tower and that was so busy and colorful. People were shopping and hanging out outside, relaxing as every food places they got, they all had amazing outdoor space for their customers to enjoy the beautiful whether sitting underneath the umbrellas. 

Then I reached Alexanderplatz. They had a beautiful fountain in the middle and close to that a guy was blowing gigantic bubbles. Like the Kids I also got so excited seeing those.


If anyone wants so shop anything Alexanderplatz got almost all brands there. Middle range price would attract all and that is why it is very popular with among the tourists as well. When I was heading back I tried kababs as they are very popular in Berlin. Like a must try thing. It was indeed delicious. 

After coming back we had to go for a group excursion. It was at the Reichstag Dome. This wonderful dome was created by architect Norman Foster. This dome also hold a very significant meaning as they are trying gradually to overcome the horrifying past. When someone is on the top of this glass dome they get a total 360 degree view of the Berlin city. It looked so beautiful from the top. The whole antique city looked mesmerizing. Also a fascinating fact is the German parliament of Bundestag can be seen from the top of the dome which means the people are above the government; it was so amazing to see how Germany turned them from the horrendous eras into a free democratic country by embracing diverse population. 

Day 2: Vintage Berlin

Day 2

Hello y’all! Good morning from Berlin! After getting here I couldn’t stay up and slept. I woke up in the midnight and was enjoying how different it was than the US. Here they have way longer days and the sun sets almost at 10pm. On the other side, sun shows up early too! By 5am the look of the city will be clear. 

The hostel starts serving breakfast by 8am.  

After breakfast it’s time to sort my day’s schedule with Dr. V. He gave me my assignment for the day so I was going through that. Met a girl named Jai’lyn, got to know she goes to my college at TSU as well. She seemed so friendly. So I started my day roaming around to collect data for my research and Jai’lyn helped me with the map. 

We went through some places, saw some gorgeous shopping outlets, amazing places to eat, also went through the famous Checkpoint Charlie. 

Now what is Checkpoint Charlie?
Checkpoint Charlie (or "Checkpoint C") was the name given by the Western Allies to the best-known Berlin Wall crossing point between East Berlin and West Berlin during the Cold War (1947–1991). On the night of 9 November 1989 when the Wall was taken down. Now Checkpoint Charlie is a tourist attraction. The Replica of the checkpoint is to give it an image on how the checkpoint used to be. Close to the checkpoint area the gift shops they got were all based on the theme of Charlie’s checkpoint. 

It was already late for lunch when we were roaming around. I was craving for pasta. Luckily found a cool place callled Vapiano. Never had salmon pasta before and it was delicious! 

After lunch we checked some more places. It was wonderful just walking around in Berlin. They have trains, buses always available. The bridges were beautifully too. While passing the train station watched a man selling hot-dogs. Highlighting fact is the man was carrying the whole grill machine on his arms. Just think how much hard-work it needs to do such stuff. Also they were delivering fresh hot-dogs to their customers.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Day 1: Sayonara Nashville!

When I applied for the Grand European Capital II program through TnCis, I was  excited since then. Gradually I got accepted for the program and started to plan how can I get the most out of my study abroad activities. 

It was a fine evening after the heavy clouds pour all the anger through rain. Took a snap after I checked in and was waiting for this aircraft to carry me all the way to Atlanta Airport.

Sayonara Nashville! Couldn’t sleep the night before the day because of my excitement thought would take a little nap on the plane but a mesmerizing view took my breath away! Take a look! Do you see the cloud castles?! Probably for some it might be a normal thing but for nature lovers indeed it’s an exciting view! I was  glad that I got the window seat!

It was pretty busy and we were in rush after landing to Atlanta as we had to catch the almost 8 hours long flight to Amsterdam. KLM Airlines carried our group of 28 people to the destination. 

The flight was went well but just the fact that I couldn’t sleep. But their customer service was simply amazing! They served us breakfast, snacks then a full meal. Also tea, coffee, soft drinks were available always. 

After reaching Amsterdam we took another flight and headed for our final destination Berlin, Germany. A place which was always on my wishlist. It was a short flight of around an hour and a half. 

Willkommen(welcome) to Berlin! Have a look! How sophisticated view they got! Indulge the view the way I did!


Finally landed and collected the luggage went through the bus went to the station, took the train and reached the hostel by walking. The hostel at the downtown Berlin got an essence of pure relaxation. Even when you are too exhausted you’ll feel different just by having a glance on it. Also the interior designs gave the place a boho look. You won’t be in the Coachella in real but you definitely would get the vibe here! 

Now I’m tired. Will go and get a nap. Also will be posting soon. Till then whoever reading stay safe and stay with the blog! 

Auf Wiedersehen(goodbye) for now! 
#peace ❤