Prague, Czech Republic
A best friend of mine came to visit us in Prague this past July & I can’t remember having as much fun as we did while she & her husband were here. Shelby is a ray of sunshine that continually bursts into my life & I greeted her with joyful tears when we reunited at the airport. Being a ridiculously talented graphic designer, Shelby gave me new eyes & instilled within me a renewed appreciation for the design, architecture, & colors of the buildings around the city. Her husband, Michael, was constantly teaching us more about the history or background of Europe, which Dan (who's deeply interested in Czech history as well) absolutely loved. The four of us became a little community of inside jokes & sarcastic comments as we spent mornings making breakfast in our small flat together & our days eating gelato & trying countless new restaurants & bistros.
During Shelby & Michael’s time in Europe, we decided to rent a car & travel to Germany for a few days. Our first stop was Berlin, a city with an unexpected youthful vibe. In fact, it surprised me to find that Berlin had a mostly new wave energy despite its past; filled with grunge & littered with cool cafes. We even had some of the best meals of our time together while we explored the city, eating juicy burgers, Thai iced coffees, & a brunch consisting of croissant french toast.
As we toured the more historic parts of Berlin, we found ourselves coming to visual grips with the past of Germany. It was a humbling (& sobering) experience visiting the Brandenburg Gate & the Berlin Wall after learning about Germany's history throughout school in the United States. We read memorials, testimonials, & countless names of those who died fighting for their freedom as we walked around the wall together in silence & in remembrance.
Towards the end of our trip, we decided to go out dancing until (quite literally) dawn. We ate a late dinner, took the metro around the districts, & planted ourselves in the middle of a massive techno graffiti party. It was one the best memories that I have living in Europe: laughing & sweating & yelling at each other & throwing confetti & dancing within the club's smokey strobe lights. We got lost as we tried to find our way back to our airbnb, the boys looking up directions as Shelby & I linked arms - slaphappy & finding everyone & everything funny. We watched the pale sun slowly rise as we stumbled back to our flat, crawling into bed & mumbling our goodnights at around 5:30am.
On our way back to the Czech Republic, we spent a few hours in the quaint city of Potsdam: a pastoral & green town located on winding canals & large lake systems. We ate at a little Italian restaurant near the city square & later moved on to the massive Prussian garden grounds. Potsdam was the residence of Prussian kings & German kaisers in the past & the enormous palace grounds seemed to endlessly stretch on & on. Because we arrived so late in the evening, it was impossible to see all of the amazing castles & gardens before it got dark. By the time we reached the ornate Prussian palace at the end of the grounds, it was completely black outside. The buildings & spires were made even more wondrous by being lit up within the night sky, & we didn’t stop exploring the grounds until we were finally told to leave. It was an amazing end to the trip & I can’t wait to journey back to Potsdam for a better look at the beautiful palace.