Wednesday, July 11, 2018

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 πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Ύ vs Portugal πŸ‡΅πŸ‡Ή; 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. 


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. 


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 ❤

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Day 20 - The Little Mermaid (JR)

Good Afternoon, it is currently 3:38 pm and I am on my way to Berlin, Germany. We have been on the bus for an hour and thirty minutes, but we still have six hours and thirty minutes to go :) . This morning three of us said goodbye to the other six in our group before they headed to the airport to head back to Nashville. After they left, I had three hours to spare before going to the bus stop; I went to the Little Mermaid with Jarrin. 


The Little Mermaid 
     I woke up at 8:30 to have enough time to pack up my last few items and have time to go to the souvenir shop before the group meeting at 10:00 am. I left a little later than I wanted to heading to the souvenir shop, but I walked quickly (lol). I arrived back at the hostel around 10:04am after running back to make sure that I was not too late to the group meeting. At the meeting, we were supposed to bring our luggage down so I headed to the elevators. They were taking so long because everyone was trying to use them. After about five minutes, the other girls got off of the elevator that I was waiting on and MaryEllen had my luggage (thanks girl!).

     After getting my things, Dr. V told me that I had three more hours in the city to explore. Ummm..for real? I could not even respond because I was out of breath. I was on the run last night so I was not planning to run today but I guess I got my workout in for the day. After I said goodbye to the girls, I decided to walk with Jarrin to The Little Mermaid. Well, my run had nothing on that hour walk to the statue and the forty-five minute walk back. Side note: Yes, she was very little.

      Once we went back to the hostel to rest for a minute, we decided to walk to 7-11 for a snack as I did not want to walk any further than I had to. We got back to the hostel around 12:50pm and Dr. V was in the cafe area. We were going to get our luggage at 1:00pm and then head to the bus station. We left for the bus station at 1:20 and arrived at about 1:35. The bus came at 2:10 and pulled off at 2:15. During the bus ride, we saw the countryside of Denmark. 

     After about two hours on the bus, we arrived at the ferry station. On bus drove onto the ferry and we chilled on the boat for two hours. Dr. V told us not to eat anything before we left because he was treating us on the ferry to a buffet. The buffet was delicious. There were different types of fish, potatoes, other meats, fruits, and HOT WINGS.  Let me tell you.. the hot wings were amazing! Yes, the German Chef threw down on the hot wings. I have not had wings since being in Europe, but I was not going to pass on them when they presented themselves.  For dessert, they had a soft serve ice cream machine and they even had water bottles. I was set for the rest of my journey to Berlin because I pretty much slept the rest of the trip once we got back on the bus (lol).

Driving on ferry

     When we reached Germany and the port, we got back on the bus for two more hours to Berlin. We got off of the bus and it was chilly and sprinkling. Berlin was supposed to come through with the hot weather, but no, I was cold and tired. Anyways, we started walking towards the metro station and when we arrived, I realized there were no escalators -- only stairs. Here we go again with the workouts, I guess Berlin knew that I skipped all of my arm days while being on this trip so it was trying to help me out (not needed). 

Welcome to Berlin!

     I lost track of how long it took us to get here, but all I know is when I got to the hostel after about an hour -- I fell asleep. 

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Day 19 - On the Run... (JR)

    Today, I started my morning by going to my last interview. After the interview, I came back to the hostel to meet Ev so that we could go to the mall, where we had lunch and I did a little shopping. We ended our last night in Copenhagen with a bang, and we attended the On The Run Tour II. We spent our night with Jay-Z and Beyonce; the concert was AMAZING! 

     I got up at 8:30am so that I could chill before getting ready for my 10:00am interview. This interview was a bit different because I actually got to sit in on the Toastmasters Copenhagen meeting. I arrived at 10:30am and they were on break which was a nice time for me to slide in.  I was able to participate in some of the speaking activities and see how the meetings run. It is an U.S. based organization that I had never heard of, but it was cool to see how they honed in on public speaking and leadership skills through different exercises.



    After the meetings, the group goes downstairs to the cafe for coffee and fellowship. At this time, I was able to ask Bek some questions about the organization as a whole and about their specific group.


Bek

After I left, I went back to the hostel to  meet Ev so we could go to the mall. The mall was about fifteen to twenty minutes away. The mall was huge and had so many stores and restaurants. We were in the mall for a couple of hours. We ate lunch first and then I looked for an outfit for the concert. Many of the restaurants were sit-down besides McDonalds in the mall so we were at the restaurant for an hour. I ordered fish and chips. It was not what I expected, but it was good.


     After we left the mall, we went back to the hostel to get ready. It took about an hour and then we left for the bus station. At the bus station, there were a few people that were headed to the concert. When the bus pulled up, it was a full on concert bus. There was almost no room for anyone else to get on the bus. We were able to get on the bus and after one mere stop, there was no more room or air on the bus. 

     There was somebody in every crevice on the bus. People were standing, squatting, leaning, drinking amongst other things. As we passed other stops, there were hundreds of people waiting; the bus driver could not stop because no more people could fit on the bus. People were banging on the bus if someone had to get off at a certain stop. Others were waving and running after the bus. It was absolutely chaotic. Beyonce makes the Danes go crazy! 

     Once we arrived to the stop, the walk to the stadium was five minutes. At the entrance of the concert, there were sooooo many people outside drinking and smoking. It was fifteen minutes before the concert started and many were still outside of the venue. After we went to our seats, at seven, we realized the seats were still pretty empty. The concert did not start until 8:45. The Danes must know the deal because everyone started filing in between 8:25-8:30pm. The concert was amazing and ended around 11:00pm!







     After the concert, everyone was drunk and all over the place. Ev and I went to the two near bus stops that would get us back to the hostel. There were at least two hundred and fifty people at the stops already. It was insane and people were pushing other people and dancing everywhere. We realized that we were not going to get back until 2. The walk was an hour back to the hostel and the sandals I had on were not conducive for an hour walk. There were some bike carriages riding around and after walking for fifteen minutes through the big groups, we flagged one down. 

     Our biker was super fast and strong because I know I am heavy (lol). It was so much fun and made our night even more memorable. He took a way through a shopping area closer to our hostel so we just asked him to stop there so we could find some food. many shop sand restaurants open. We ended going to a kabob place that was playing Beyonce music and it was really good.




     We walked back to the hostel and told the other girls about the concert while we finished packing. Packing gave us a chance to let our food digest and gave us some extra sleep time because we were going to bed pretty late. It would also save us from having to wake up extra early in the morning. I took a shower and got in bed around 2:30 am.

This night was one for the books!!! Good Night!

Monday, June 18, 2018

Day 14 - Train to Copenhagen (JR)

     Greetings from Denmark! Two weeks and 233, 832 steps in; I have reached my third Scandinavian country! Today, we got up early to catch our five hour train from Stockholm to Copenhagen. We arrived at our hostel at 2 pm. The girls and I went out to find something to eat, went to the grocery store, and then took a nap after getting back. It is now 8:20 pm, and I am still tired. However, I need to finish this blog post.



6:00 am My first alarm went off but I was up off and on all night because I was concentrated on not getting downstairs late to leave for the train. 

6:30 am I got up, took a shower, and got dressed.

7:11 am Chloe and I left the room to head downstairs. 

7:30 am The group left the hostel and arrived at the train station at 7:45 am. We were given fifteen minutes to go find something to eat if someone did not eat at the hostel.

 8 am We went to our train platform/gate and the train arrived at 8:10 am and pulled off at 8:17 am.
Copenhagen Station

     I got on the train and realized that my seat was backwards but I did not think it would be a big deal. I had a good amount of leg room and I was pretty comfortable until the train started moving, lol. After about an hour and fifteen minutes, I began to feel sick riding against the direction of the train. I tried to fall asleep, but I could not. I sat in my seat for about forty-five more minutes and then I turned face forward in my seat to see if it would help.

     Dr. White was sitting next to me and was uncomfortable as well and told me that the Bistro car was more comfortable to ride in because he left earlier in the ride to find a forward facing seat. Two more stops after that, I moved to the Bistro car while the train was not in motion. I stayed in the Bistro car for about an hour and forty-five minutes to the Malmo Station. I bought some chips and salsa. Although that was not our initial station, our train was having technical difficulties so we had to change trains at that station.

     When we arrived at the Malmo Station and got to our train platform, it seemed as if the whole station was getting on the train to Copenhagen. When we got on the train, there were only a couple of seats available. I sat down at the closest seat to where I am standing to get out of the way and make more room for those who are still boarding. After everyone boarded the train which was filled to capacity, (we were packed in there like sardines) there was about a two minute delay before the train started moving. I quickly realized that I was sitting backwards AGAIN. *face palm emoji* 

     We had four or five stops until we reached Copenhagen but the ride was about thirty-five minutes. I was more preoccupied this time because I was thinking about how I managed to end up sitting backwards again. I was hungry and ready to take a nap. We reached the Copenhagen station and walked fifteen minutes to our hostel. We got our room cards and had a twenty minute break before orientation in the lobby.

     After the orientation, the girls and I went to go find something to eat. We ended up going to a inexpensive restaurant and I ordered pizza. I told myself that in Denmark, I would not order burgers or fries. (Update: 6/27/18 That did not go as planned :) ) Although, Chloe gave me a couple of hers -- I did not order them. That is what is important but, I will see how that goes (lol) with every other restaurant on the street being a burger place.


     Anyways, we went to a grocery store after our meal to see what snacks were offered. We came back to the hostel and all of us fell asleep. We woke up around 8:00 pm. We decided to get out of the room for a bit and explore the hostel. We ended up going to the basement and playing ping pong and then we played Kala upstairs in the bar area. Ev and I went to 7-Eleven after the game to find a snack since we did not get anything from the grocery store. I got a water and a small chicken taquito.

     We got back to the hostel and I took a shower and started back on my blog. It is currently 2:37am and I done, but I will add the pictures tomorrow so that I can try to go to sleep now that I finished with the writing portion. Good Night!

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Day 13 - Swedish Meatballs (JR)

On Sunday, Chloe came with me to my last interview, we had the best ice cream in Sweden, and ended our last night with Swedish meatballs, potatoes, and lingonberry jam!



Sunday was a pretty chill day like Saturday. I stayed in the room up until it was time to leave for my last interview. We met up with Dr. V at 4:30 and he walked us to the station. At my interview, I was able to learn about a Brazilian dance, Forro, and how this organization used this fun dance to help immigrants integrate into the Stockholm community by being able to meet new friends and others who have gone through the same difficult process. Muss is one of the cofounders; he migrated to Sweden from Libya. 


Muss



After we left the interview, we headed towards Old Town. Chloe looked up an ice cream parlor that coined the title as the best ice cream in Stockholm. Because the ice cream parlor closed earlier than most restaurants in the area, we went there first. 


Of course, I got cookies and cream but it was my first time in Europe getting a waffle cone. I loved the ice cream! After the ice cream, we went to a famous restaurant known for their Swedish meatballs. 


     We were greeted with by the suit pictured above and a basket filled with different types of bread. It did not take long for us to receive our food. The meatballs were really good! After dinner, we walked around a bit and visited a few stores. When we finished, we rode the metro back to the hostel and packed to be ready for our journey to Copenhagen.
Last picture in Stockholm 









Saturday, June 16, 2018

Day 12 - Skansen (JR)

On Saturday, everyone rested until about 1pm and then the girls and I went to the mall for lunch. After lunch, we visited the zoo.  We spent two hours at the zoo and then got ice cream. We came back to the hostel and then we went to Ev's favorite kabob place again for dinner a couple hours later (lol).


    On Saturday morning, the girls and I decided to sleep in and then everyone just chilled in the room until 1pm. We all decided to go explore the same island where we toured the Vasa Museum to visit the zoo. We stopped at the mall on the way there to get lunch. As we walked through the mall, I saw these cute Swedish flag donuts and had to take a picture. We ended up going to an Italian restaurant. Chloe and I shared a pizza (I took off the tomatoes and buffalo mozzarella).

These were so cute! 



     It took thirty minutes to get the zoo. We were able to get the student discount and even though we got there two hours and fifteen minutes before it closed, we had enough time to see all of the animals. Before getting to the actual zoo, we had to go up a mountain that seemed to never stop winding. We surely got our workout in before even walking around to visit the different animals.

     We saw two or three bears, moose, European bison, seals, otters, reindeer, ducks, ducks, and more ducks (seriously, they had their own field). One of the first places you reach once you get to the top of the mountain is the children's zoo. At the children's zoo, you get to pet baby goats. They were super cute! We just went in a circle around the outer edge of the zoo until we saw most of the animals. The lynx and wolverines were playing hide and seek; we did not get to see them. However, one of the bears smiled when I took a picture.  We got to the reindeer last; we could not tell them apart. MaryEllen said the one pictured below was Prancer (lol). The zoo was very big and had great views of the city. We took a few pictures at the end. Chloe wanted to go to the Abba Museum that was down the street so MaryEllen, Ev, and I got ice cream and walked around while we waited on her to finish the museum.


"Cheese"

European Bison

Moose/Elk






Prancer


    After Chloe finished, we walked back to the hostel to rest. A couple hours later, we went out for dinner and went to the kabob place again. I ordered a chicken and fry dish, I forgot the exact name of it. It was pretty good. When we got back to the hostel, we just chilled for the rest of the night.