Europe has long been considered as a dream destination for many travel enthusiasts. Its medieval cities, verdant meadows and diverse culture has always acted as a magnet for travelers. But it is also known to be prohibitively expensive especially for people from countries whose currency exchange rate is abysmal as compared to the Euro.So when I was selected as an exchange student to study a term of 3 months at Toulouse Business School, France the first thing I wanted to do was to devise a plan to experience Europe on a budget as I was a student and was not earning since a year. I checked my curriculum and found out that I had 15 days to travel during the hectic term. The idea that I had in my mind was to experience Europe rather than just marking places off my bucket-list. I spoke to a lot of people, did a lot of research and came to a conclusion that one needed to spend at-least 2 days in a particular city to get the real feel of it. I had heard from my friends that the EuRail is the cheapest option to travel in Europe, but I found out that the statement is true only if you have more than a month to travel, For a shorter time and for a solo traveler (EuRail gives couple discounts) the most inexpensive option to travel is by bus, and EuroLines buses were the best and most convenient for me.Planning:
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Brandenburg Gate (Brandenburger Tor)
Brandenburg Gate (Brandenburger Tor) is a beautiful town gate near western end of the avenue Unter den Linden. It is famous because it symbolizes the division of Germany and the country’s reunification. The gate was named Friedenstor (Peace Gate) because it symobolized peace at the time of difficult war. he sandstone structure is composed of 12 Doric columns, the gate has five passages. The central and widest one was reserved for the royals, the adjacent passages were used by the aristocrats while ordinary citizens used the outer two. The Brandenburg Gate, a monumental gate it is the national symbol of Germany, it was built in the eighteenth century, the gate stood between East and West Germany and is Berlin's most famous landmark. The gate is decorated with reliefs and sculptures. The design of the Brandenburg Gate was inspired by the Acropolis in Athens. The monument is crowned with the sculpture of the Quadriga, a four-horsed chariot driven by Victoria, the winged goddess of victory.
One of Berlin's biggest tourist traps is worth a visit, if only to observe the slightly absurd, but entirely self-aware spectacle of watching tourists pose for pictures with men dressed in military costumes. What used to be a US Army Checkpoint to control movement of people between East and West Berlin, is today a monument to the Cold War, appropriately flanked by a glittering McDonalds in the background.
We visited the Reichstag building. A building which was originally used to house the Imperial Diet until it was damaged by fire in 1933 and then fell into a period of disuse. It was partially refurbished in the 60’s but was reopened in 1999 after a full restoration and now houses the German Parliament. The restoration included the addition of a giant glass dome at the top which gives a 360 degree view of the city. We know nothing about politics, but the dome was really cool.
Victory Column (Siegessaule)
The Victory Column is a monument in Berlin, Germany. Designed by Heinrich Strack. It is one of the best symbols of Berlin. It is known as "Golden Lizzie" in Berlin slang. The reason for its being built was Prussia’s victory in the German-Danish war in 1864. The 8.3 metre high bronze sculpture weighing 35 tonnes, which was created by Friedrich Drake, represents Victoria wearing a helmet and holding a laurel wreath in one hand and, in the other, a staff bearing an iron cross. The victory goddess Victoria from Roman mythology is analogous to the Greek equivalent of Nike. Her eagle helmet also lets Victoria appear as Borussia, the female personification of Prussia. The 285 steps of the spiral staircase inside the Victory Column don't lead to the spindle and a hundred years of slumber, you will however need to be rather determined and fit to climb the tapering staircase. The base is decorated with large bronze reliefs that depict scenes from the wars. The colonnade above the base is decorated with a mosaic frieze created by Anton von Werner. It depicts the Liberation Wars and subsequent unification of Germany in 1871. The statue represents the Goddess of Victory, but Berliners affectionately call her Goldelse.