Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Berlin, Pt. 1

Berlin, Germany
I apologize ahead of time for the text heavy post. The other ones won't be so text heavy because I kind of forgot what I did already. Anyways, back in June I decided to suck it up and go to Europe by myself. I know I moved to Russia alone, but something about traveling alone is more terrifying to me. My sister and I planned to meet in Amsterdam, but I had more time off and thought I'd regret not spending more time there. The days leading up to my trip I stopped eating and had constant anxiety. I'm introverted by nature so going someone alone terrifies me. I had no other choice after I bought my plane ticket so I just went for it.

I booked my flight through WOW airways which I guess is out of business now? That's surprising to me because the flights were packed. I had a layover in Iceland and then a direct flight to Berlin. On my way to Berlin I sat next to a girl named Elizabeth. I don't even know how we got started talking but she ended up being pretty great. Elizabeth is an American who was studying German. This was super helpful when I needed to navigate the German metro. By trial and error, when we landed, we made it to the same metro and she helped me figure out how to pay and where to go. The German metro was seriously so confusing but I was a pro by the end.
My first night in Berlin was terrible. I hadn't eaten more then peanuts and craisins in about 24 hours and I was extremely overwhelmed being in a city that I didn't know. I cried a lot that night and wished that I was back home. J and I had just started dating as well so that didn't help. The next morning I was texting my cousin who had been to Berlin and she was telling me all these places to go. So I got up and walked about 30 minutes to a little Russian cafe called Gorky Park Cafe. It not only had the best food but it filled my need for Russian food. While I was eating my cousin sent me a list of things I could do. I ended up not taking her suggestions and walked to the DDR museum. The DDR museum is an interactive museum that gives you a glimpse into life in East Berlin. If you didn't know, East Berlin was occupied by the Soviets after World War II. I love anything Soviet which is why I chose this museum and fell in love with Berlin. The museum was really busy so I didn't take any photos on my camera, but I do have a lot on my phone.
After walking around the museum I headed out and asked someone to take a photo of me in front of the church. I don't really like photos of me but I decided that I should have some of me so that I can enjoy how much I've changed and I'm sure if I ever have kids it'll be something they want to see as well. I no longer care about asking people either because most people have no problem taking your picture. I sometimes offer to take others photos without them asking. After admiring the church and canal I headed towards a cemetery that was near the restaurant I ate at. It was back towards the direction of the hotel and I'd pass a second cemetery on my way back to the hotel. While I didn't want to be there alone I kind of realized that I prefer being alone because I can do whatever I want and enjoy the scenery of the city.
After checking out the cemetery I sat in Invalidenpark because they had wifi and traveling alone is kind of lonely so I wanted to talk to familiar faces. Invalidenpark has this interesting fountain. For a summer day there weren't many people out and about but there were several people and dogs bathing in the water. I decided to just walk to the top of the fountain and look around from the top. It wasn't the best view because it's surrounded by buildings but when you have an urge to climb something like that you just do it. Close by was the second cemetery that I walked to. I finished my evening by grabbing a burger and beer at Peter Pane and then spent the night talking to my new roommates. I'm not a foodie at all. I usually just walk until I find something good so don't take my food suggestions. While the food was delicious I'm sure there are better places out there.
Have you ever been to Berlin?

Friday, January 11, 2019

Quick Trip to Lake View Cemetery

12316 Euclid Ave, Cleveland, OH 44106, USA
Over winter break J told me he had a place to show me. After lunch at Cheesecake Factory and milkshakes at Tommy's we were on ur way towards Cleveland. He said the place had really old gravestones and before we even got there I guessed the place. I visited Lake View Cemetery on my birthday before moving to Russia, and I've been wanting to go back. Since I wasn't expecting to go here I didn't have a list of graves I wanted to visit and the James A. Garfield monument was closed so we didn't spend a lot of time there. To be honest, I was also feeling very discouraged since I haven't picked up my camera in a while and I felt like I couldn't take a good photo.
This was my first week back to work since December. Being a teacher with 2 weeks off is a blessing and a curse. I planned on editing a ton of photos from my European trip this summer but clearly I didn't get that done. I guess it was good to just relax and stay away from the computer. I'm going to try to get an hour in a day of editing so I don't fall too behind. I've been working out so that usually takes up most of my night, but I'm going to make this blog part of my New Years Resolution. I really miss writing in it and reading all the blogs I follow.
Do you have any New Year's Resolutions?

Monday, January 7, 2019

Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls, NY, USA
Back on November 3 J and I took a little day trip up to Niagara Falls. Neither of us had been there and he kept saying it was on his list of places he wanted to visit. I have always been fascinated with famous landmarks that you learn about in school - hence why I lived in Russia - and Niagara Falls was always of those places that felt bigger than life. Surprisingly I have never been to Niagara Falls or Canada before even though they are both just a few hours away. It was also my first time in New York state. One of the stipulations I made for myself for leaving Russia was that I would take more road and day trips because I felt that if I was going to move back to a place I didn't really want to be that I would explore it more and maybe find the same love for the USA as I did for Russia. Unfortunately, I haven't done much of that, but this quick trip I think sparked something.
We picked the perfect time to go! I'm not a fan of heat at all, so the fact that it was cold made it much more manageable. We also went on the last day the Maid of the Mist was running which meant it didn't take us long at all to get on the ferry. I can only imagine how terrible it would be sitting in the scorching sun. Also, if you couldn't tell by my photos it was the perfect time in fall when the trees are all different colors. The whole drive up was absolutely amazing. Even more, on the drive from Ohio you get this really beautiful view of Lake Erie while driving through Pennsylvania. I really don't know why I don't travel to New York or Pennsylvania more often.
The drive there felt super quick, and we didn't really do much except walk around playing Pokemon Go (because I'm 7) and go on Maid of the Mist. My one regret was not dressing slightly warmer. If I remember correctly it was either warmer in Ohio or it was winder in Niagara than I expected so I only had my windbreaker on. I also have a bad habit of planning out fictional trips but never actual trips, so when I get to a place I have no idea what to do and I don't do the research for those off beat places that I love. I think that was fine for the first trip anyways because J hadn't been to Niagara and I think it's important for him to do the touristy things as well.
I'd love to go back in the spring before it gets too hot and explore a little more of the area. I'll definitely be going back with a list of things I want to see. A teacher told me that there's a cute little town in the north called Niagara-on-the-Lake that I'd love to visit as well as checking out the Canadian side if J gets a passport.
If you'd like check out this video J made with his iPhone from that trip.

Do you have any suggestions of things to see or do near Niagara Falls (preferably the American side)?
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