Hey everyone, I hope you’ve had a good week! Since I was originally supposed to fly to Berlin in less than a month to do a semester long study abroad (which has since been pushed to the Spring 2021 semester), I wanted to put together a small list of places, memorials, art, etc. I’d like to visit while studying in Berlin for four months.
What I want to see isn’t strictly in Germany, and although I do wish to spend more than half my time exploring my host country (I’ve heard stories of people who’ve studied abroad and regretted not spending enough time in the country where they went to school), there are some things I’d like to cross off my bucket list whilst in Europe, including, but not limited to:
- The Hill of Crosses in Lithuania
- The Louvre in Paris (specifically to see Théodore Géricault’s “The Raft of the Medusa” as it’s my favorite painting)
- Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe in Berlin
The above images are of Hill of Crosses, a religious site in Lithuania with over 100,000 crosses. You can read more about it by clicking on the link provided above and here. I won’t go into much detail about the formation as I’d much rather explain why it is I’d like to visit this site. Traveling here would mostly be for my grandma; she’s still very much alive and well, but she is a devout Catholic and I want to place a cross or rosary here on her behalf. I know that long after she passes away, I will still have this connection to her through religion and visiting this site is a must for me.
I’ve never been super interested in traveling to Paris, but the sole reason I would go is to see Géricault’s “The Raft of the Medusa”. After much thought, I think I can safely say that this is my all time favorite painting. I was first introduced to it in an art history survey my sophomore year of University and immediately fell in love with the composition and was highly intrigued by its grotesque backstory (in short, the men painted above were stranded at sea and resorted to cannibalism to stay alive).
Last, but not least, is the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. “On a site covering 19,000 square metres, Eisenman placed 2711 concrete slabs of different heights. The area is open day and night and from all four sides you can fully immerse yourself in the fully accessible spatial structure” (Visit Berlin). You can read more in depth about the Memorial by clicking on the link provided above. The reason I’d like to go is, firstly, it’s right in Berlin which is where I’ll be living, and two, I want to try and see as many Holocaust/WWII memorials, museums, concentration camps, etc. as possible. Learning about the World Wars, especially WWII has always captured my interest and I feel almost obligated to learn even more about the history while studying in Germany and having easy access to other countries such as Poland or France.
There absolutely are several other things I’d like to do during my study abroad, but that list would make this blog post very long! I really hope that I am able to go as this will really help strengthen my German language skills and maybe help me pick up some French (learning those two languages as an art historian is important!) along the way.
I hope everyone has a great week and y’all are able to stay safe and healthy!