Adventures in Berlin & Budapest

I’m so exhausted, but I wanted to upload my photos from my week in Berlin & Budapest. Both cities were definitely worth visiting. Berlin was über cheap, but rather sad because of its history (both WWII and the Cold War). Budapest’s architecture was beautiful, but it felt a bit too foreign to me since I know about five words of Hungarian.


In Berlin, I stayed at Helter Skelter hostel, which was fine except for the annoying boys who snored all night making it impossible for me to sleep. I went to the Käthe Kollwitz museum and then did a 4 hour walking tour of East Berlin, which included Museum Island, the Berlin Cathedral, Memorial to the Victims of War & Tyranny (sculpture by Käthe Kollwitz), Bebelplatz (site of book burnings during WWII), the French Huguenot Protestant church & Catholic church built directly across from each other, Checkpoint Charlie (so so fake!) & small section of the Berlin Wall, the SS headquarters (which is now just a flat lot), the site of Hitler’s bunker (which is no longer there), the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe (how ironic and sad is it that the company who painted the blocks with anti-grafitti paint is the same company that made Zyklon B for the gas chambers???), the Brandenburg Gate & the Reichstag. On the second day, I went to the Pergamon Museum and saw the Gate of Ishtar. Then I headed up to Bernauer Straße, where there’s another section of the Wall that is still standing. Then it was over to Charlottenburg Palace and the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church.

Berlin, Germany Photo Album

In Budapest, I stayed at Aventura Hostel which is the best hostel I have ever been to. It didn’t feel like a hostel, but rather like I was staying at a friend’s place. I highly recommend it if you ever go to Budapest. The first day, I wandered around the Buda side of the Danube (a UNESCO World Heritage site) where there are a lot of castles, museums and the palace. The next day I stayed in the city center and saw St. Stephen’s Basilica (as well as his mummified hand – so bizarre), the Great Synagogue (Europe’s largest synagogue – of course the largest in the world is in New York), the Opera House, and the Hungarian National Museum (which had very few translations in English…). My final day was spent at Hero’s Square and the Szechenyi thermal baths, followed by a walk around Margit Island.

Budapest, Hungary Photo Album

I managed to not go over my budget at all and even came home with 20 forint (which is not even 8 euro cents, but still!) Now it’s back to worrying about finding a job and not going broke this summer…

Off to Germany and Hungary

I leave this afternoon for Berlin and Budapest. I won’t be back until late Friday night, and I probably won’t get online much during the week. I’m excited about seeing two new countries but I’m not so excited about flying. If only it weren’t so much cheaper and faster than taking trains. The liquid restrictions […]

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About About.com

There are very few language sites that offer useful, free information to help you actually learn the real language (slang, idioms, informal speech, etc.) About.com’s language sites do include a lot of useful information, but the problem is finding what you want among the bazillion pages and sponsored links that look exactly like the content. […]

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Marathon of the Annecy Lake (including walk on the lake in boat)

The Lake Annecy marathon and half-marathon were this past Sunday, April 13. Obviously I did not run in it (me? run? HA!), but it’s usually a big deal in Annecy every year. I’d like to point out the English version of their website, however, and how badly it was translated. It almost seems like a […]

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Que faire ? / What to do?

Peut-être avez-vous remarqué que je fais un effort pour parler (euh, écrire) plus en français. Maintenant que j’ai le droit de travailler dans ce pays, il faut trouver un boulot. Et pour trouver un boulot, il faut bien parler français ! Cependant, j’ai peur de ne pas réussir. Aux Etats-Unis, j’étais intelligente, brillante, sage… J’ai […]

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Carte Vie Privée et Familiale

So remember that list of documents needed to obtain a vie privée et familiale carte de séjour due to being PACSed for a year? Let’s review and see if it was what I really needed. 1. Copy of passport & visa2. Copy of ID card of French partner Ok, these were fine. Except they also […]

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Qu’avez-vous dans votre assiette ? / What’s on your plate?

Je triais toutes sortes de papiers hier quand j’ai trouvé un sondage de la cantine, Enquête “sur votre assiette.” J’ai trouvé quelques questions sur les habitudes alimentaires tres révélatrices, en ce qui concerne les habitudes françaises. En général, les repas en France sont plus équilibrés: une entrée, un produit laitier, un plat chaud, un dessert, […]

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No jobs for Michigan

Forbes recently ran an article on the best and worst cities for jobs in the US. And surprise, surprise, Michigan cities appear most on the worst list. It’s understandable that New Orleans is currently the worst city for jobs, and it’s probably obvious what #2 and #3 are as well: Detroit and Flint. And how […]

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On teaching English in French lycées

I have officially completed my second year as a teaching assistant! And I got my car back Thursday night, so I could drive it to work and back one last time. I finished my last few hours by having the students play Apples to Apples, Scattergories and doing a mock speed dating session. Over the […]

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Y en. (Not a French donkey.)

I hate y and en. These little words have caused so much confusion for me in French. The basic rules are: 1) y replaces a prepositional phrase (except those beginning with de). It translates as “there” or “it” and sometimes it is not translated into English. On va à Boston demain. We’re going to Boston […]

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Why is Jennie no longer in France?

I created this blog in September 2006 when I moved to France from Michigan to teach English. Many of the earlier posts are about my personal life in France, dealing with culture shock, traveling in Europe and becoming fluent in French. In July 2011, I relocated to Australia to start my PhD in Applied Linguistics. Although I am no longer living in France, my research is on foreign language pedagogy and I teach French at a university so these themes appear most often on the blog. I also continue to post about traveling and being an American abroad.

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