Wrapping up life in Hamburg

Last internship update from Hamburg!

I just can’t believe the summer is almost over, and it’s time to go back to Philadelphia. Yesterday was the last day at work and it still doesn’t feel real.

August was super short to me because it was mostly consisted of vacation days. One of the good things about the institute where I work is that it allows interns to have 2.5 vacation days per a month. I had 7.5 days for working 3 months, and I chose to use them all during August.

In Europe, it is very easy to travel around with so many options for transportation. As mentioned in my first blog, one of my goals during the internship is to get out of my comfort zone (which is mostly ‘my room’) and explore the new places. So! I tried to travel as much as possible. Two short trips in Germany were during the weekend and two long trips were to Czech Republic/Austria and Spain.

  1. Schwerin

My first short trip was to Schwerin. Believe it or not, I get a bit nervous when I’m away from home so try to stay as long as possible at home. Thus, it became obvious that my basic routine for weekend is lying down at bed, not doing anything except for simple chores.

Even though I was living in Germany, it didn’t feel like it because I mostly work at an office where staffs are all from different countries, and spend the rest of time at my room alone. Thus, except for time for public transportation, I did not have any time to know Germany for real. This made me set a goal to explore and travel. Schwerin became my first destination because it’s close to Hamburg and has a beautiful palace.

“Schwerin Palace”

It was bit raining but I think it was indeed a great choice to go out of the city and explore. The palace was amazing and since it was a really small and quiet city, I could relax, not rushing anything. The palace was a residence of Grandduke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin and right now it is used as a place for parliament. It also has a garden and museum that shows you the history.

2. Cologne

Cologne was the next destination and it was actually a trip to visit Morgan who was working in Bonn. It’s located in West Germany and it is famous for Kölner Dom, which is a cathedral with impressive architecture.

It’s not really hard to find the Dom since it is right in front of the train station. So as you walk out of the station, the Dom will welcome you. I’ve seen a lot of cathedrals in Europe and it was one of the most impressive cathedrals. It’s a Gothic building and its height and size will overwhelm you. To enjoy the view of the Dom and Hohenzollern Bridge together, it’s better to go to the other side of Rhine River.

“Bridge and the Dom”

It was good to experience another city in Germany since Cologne was so different from Hamburg as they are in two different countries. However, the best part was to see another IEDPer in Germany. Since Morgan was also working at UNESCO office, it was fun to compare our offices. Also being with Morgan reminded me of the time at Penn (which made me miss Penn and cohort more than ever).

The two trips above didn’t take more than 2 days and it was possible to travel by bus or train. Flixbus was the main transportation I used since it is cheap. Also I took an overnight bus when coming back to Hamburg from Cologne, but if you are sensitive when sleeping, I do not recommend an overnight bus…

3. Czech/Austria

I went to Prague, Chesky Krumlov and Hallstat because my family (except for little brother) was coming to visit me in Europe. I took one and a half day off for this trip. It only took about an hour to Prague by flight. I always fantasized about Prague because it always looked so romantic in pictures. But to be honest, I didn’t have space for enjoying the city because it was too crowded. Especially, in the center of the city where Charles Bridge and Old Town Square are located, you will be surprised to see how popular Prague is to tourists.

“View from Maria Observatory”

Despite its overcrowdedness, Prague was still an amazing place to feel old Europe. But, if you want to hide from people and enjoy Prague peacefully, I recommend you to go to the Letna Park. There is Maria observatory where you can see the whole Prague, and just few people go there so it is very peaceful place to enjoy Prague. Also, heading to downtown at dawn is also a good way to enjoy serene Prague.

4. Spain

Finally, my last and longest trip was to Spain. I used all my vacation to this trip and it was really worthwhile!

“Gaudi’s work – Sagrada Familia”

I went to Barcelona, Malaga and Seville. It was my second time to visit Spain, but it was impressive as it were my first time. All of these cities are very unique and have their own characteristics, so I can’t really choose which one was the best. If you want to see the mesmerizing architect by Gaudi and like metropolitan, I recommend you to go to Barcelona. And if you want to relax on the beach and feel the festive vibe, Malaga would be a perfect fit. Seville is the best when you want to stay in a small city where tradition is preserved well.

“Trying new food is always a pleasure”

All of them are amazing cities but personally, food was the best part of this trip. Spain uses diverse ingredients for food and since it is adjacent to sea, fresh seafood is available in good price. Also Spain has a long history of agriculture and it has been using a lot of exotic spices for longer time than other European countries. These factors lead to diversity in menu. Additionally, since you can order food in tapa size (which is a quarter size), you can taste a lot of menus. I recommend you to try as many menus as possible in tapas size. The best part is that it is not really expensive compared to the quality and size of the food!!

By having these trips, I feel like I got the most out of this internship in both aspects of work and rest. Summer was full of new experiences and it was both fun and fruitful. Now since it is almost ending, I am so ready for my last semester in Philadelphia!

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