Paris, je t’aime

Manchester
I've always wanted to go to Paris. I took French for 11 years (though apparently the only thing I have to show for it is being able to order food and read billboards) and spent time learning about French music, film and landmarks. Seeing them was just awesome. Caitlyn and I hit the ground running on Friday morning. We first headed to the area near the Louvre — unfortunately, the line looked to be about a three-hour wait, so we didn't get to go inside. We went through a huge beautiful garden. We walked along Champs-Elysses, where we saw (among other things) the most posh Abercrombie & Fitch ever with an actual line to get in. And, of course, that walk ended in a view of the Arc de Triomphe.…
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Ever-changing Germany

Manchester
I really liked Berlin. It seemed to still be in a state of transition — a state of moving on from its rough recent history. Because of this, it was a very relaxed and creative place, if you knew where to look. I got the hardest part of the visit out of the way first. I spent Tuesday touring Sachenhausen, a former Nazi (and, later, Soviet Union) concentration camp. I've always been interested in World War II history, but seeing the horrors of it in person is a completely different experience — as one person on my tour said, the Nazis were "disgustingly smart" in how they built and ran the camp and killed millions without drawing much attention from the surrounding community. Not a lot of it was left…
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Beautiful Belgium

Manchester
I've been told that I chose a great weekend to visit Molly and others in the Mizzou Brussels internship program, and I agree — Belgium was nothing short of beautiful. On Saturday, several of us took a train to Dinant, a small city along a river. We began the day by seeing the obvious sites: the saxophone statues (the creator is from there), the Collegiale-Notre Dame and the Citadel. The view from the top was worth all 408 steps we climbed. After that, we went exploring. The city had a lot of ruins and paths to them, which were all really cool. The ruins were small and scattered until we reached a vast open space, which contained ruins of Crevecoeur, this castle. (No pictures yet -- my hard drive crashed…
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Those Barcelona Beaches

Manchester
Barcelona reminds me a lot of Southern California. So, obviously, I loved it. I spent most of my first and last day here at my favorite place: the beach. I couldn't have asked for two more perfect beach days. The temperature was hot, but it was balanced out with a cool breeze. The sky was bright blue. The water was turquoise up close, and a deep blue far away. It was beautiful. I spent the other two days walking around a lot, and I saw some really cool architecture and street art. I ventured down Las Ramblas, a famous tree-lined street; saw the famous Sagrada Familia, a large and beautiful cathedral; and went to a park on a hill, from which I had a great view of the city. I…
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When in Rome …

Manchester
OK, cheesy blog post title. But I had to do it. I spent nearly a week in three parts of Italy — Rome, Milan and Venice — and loved them all. Each had its own atmosphere, but good food and great weather was the same throughout, thankfully. I thought Rome was beautiful. The guided tour we took of the Coliseum and adjacent ancient Roman ruins enhanced our visit, I think. I learned a lot about the history of the area, such as that citizens took metal out of the abandoned Coliseum's infrastructure during the Middle Ages, and that the Romans constructed new buildings literally on top of old ones. (Now I understand why creating a third subway line was such hard work for the city — archaeologists have to work…
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