Monday, November 2, 2009

Backpacking through Europe- Part 2

Italy was superb. I visited Milan, Florence and Rome. Each city had its own, unique flair. Milan was a posh city which was filled with shopping. The main square had a striking church in the center, the Duomo. It is the third largest church in .
the world. It looks like a massive sand castle, although extremely intricate. The church was absolutely spectacular. Along the top, there was a roof-top walk. Walking along the top and seeing the detailed architecture was breathtaking

Florence was delightful. The Florence Cathedral was striking. Ghiberti’s Gates of Paradise stand across from the cathedral and is most remarkable itself. The Academy holds Michelangelo’s David. The sculpture of David is astonishing to see in person. The rivers along Florence are quaint and pleasant to look at. The well-known city has such a small-town appeal.

Rome provided me with such a sense of astonishing history that I never thought I would experience. From the ancient Coliseum to Vatican City, there are no words that can give them justice. The Coliseum had an epic air that made me feel as if I was in a place of great importance. Seeing Circus Maximus where gladiators trained to being blessed by the Pope at St. Peter’s Basilica, I made the most of being in Rome. Experiencing the Sistine Chapel full of Michelangelo’s frescoes was a once in a lifetime experience. Rome has a powerful hybrid of art history, religious history and political history which makes it truly one of a kind.

Munich was one of the most historic cities I visited. As being the place of origin of World War One and World War Two, the monuments Munich contained were inspirational and educational. To actual see how a country re-invented itself post war, rather than learning it in history class was remarkable. The city was marked with many monuments to commemorate those who suffered in World War Two. I had no idea Munich had such an abundance of history to offer. Munich also had Glockenspiel, which was a huge clock in the main square, a staple of its local culture. When the hour struck, bells rang and jousting figurines came out like a cuckoo clock. Visiting Augustiner Keller, Munich’s oldest beer garden, was a real cultural experience also. Bavarian food and beer are considerable roots in Munich’s interesting culture.

I wasn’t in Berlin, Germany and Prague, Czech Republic for very long. However, I was able to get a vague sense of both cities. Berlin was historic, yet more metropolitan than Munich. Prague was quaint and consistent with similar architecture through out.

Last, I visited the Frankfurt area. I was in Frankfurt, Germany during the Iron Man competition, which was a huge triathlon. It was very interesting to be in the city at that time. I then met up with some of my family who live nearby in the small city of Lohr am Main. I visited Lohr, where I can trace my family’s roots and learned so much about family history.

I took a day trip to Wurzburg, Germany where I visited the Residence, which is an elaborate building modeled after Versailles. The Residence had beautiful gardens surrounding it with an extravagant church next to it. The church was filled with gold leaf decorations inside. After seeing an overabundance of churches in Europe, the church in Wurzburg was the most impressive.

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