Tuesday June 5th
Today the La Lumiere squad went to Dresden, Germany. We took a bus early in the morning, with it being about a two-hour drive. When we got there we first went to a big mall and walked around the city square. We didn’t really have much time to see much. The one awesome thing we did see was the Volkswagen factory. This factory was one of the highlights of my trips because it had some of the coolest technologies implemented into their showcases. We took a tour group of the factory and it’s production lines. I was surprised to learn that Volkswagen gave their workers sausages to keep them happy! Near the end of the tour we were able to get into some of the cars and play with their different and unique functions. After doing this we went back to the main area and found the Virtual Reality section. It was a massive ring which had a chair in the middle with two separate VR machines operating at once. It was one of my favorite parts of the tour because I was able to use the machine and it was hyper realistic and fun. Overall Dresden was a fun day and a wholesome experience.
Today we got up early to go to Dresden, Germany. A two hour bus ride took us to the train station where we continued on foot. For lunch we went to a Middle Eastern restaurant and I ordered lamb shawarma. As a group we looked at several historical sites and statues. Later in the afternoon we went to Transparent Factory. This factory is owned by Volkswagen, a German automobile manufacturer. There are only three machines in this high tech modern factory. Everything else is assembled by hand. The factory is in the shape of an L to maximize space. There is a lot of open light and air flow, which differs from the standard factory. Only seventy cars are made per day in this factory. Tours are running through the factory constantly and the groups are taken to the floor where the cars are made. After the tour I used a virtual reality simulator that allowed me to experience driving a Volkswagen electric concept car. It was an amazing experience to feel like you are in a whole different world.
Today we planned to go to Dresden, Germany but instead decided to have a fun day out on the town. We split up into groups, some went shopping while some went to the zoo. Breakfast was good, I ordered the English breakfast. Before splitting up for the day we went to see the Head of Franz Kafka, a statue made by David Cerny. Franz Kafka was a German-language writer. This large, silver statue of his head is constantly spinning both clockwise and counterclockwise. An hour later we had lunch at a delicious Thai restaurant. We then went to stores such as Zara and H&M. We explored Prague for a couple more hours before meeting back at the hotel. We later had dinner at Caffe Vergnano where we had burgers and fried potatoes.
Monday began early as we got up to leave for Dresden, Germany. We missed our bus to go, so we ended up staying in Prague for another day. My day mostly consisted of walking around and shopping. After buying some Czech cloths, I headed back to the apartment. We got ready for dinner and met in the lobby to decide what to eat. We went to a random restaurant to see what they had to eat. I ended up eating a really good cheeseburger with potatoes. After dinner we decided to go back to the apartment so we can get some sleep in order to wake up early tomorrow.
It was a very eventful day today. We explored Praha, an old farmers market, and the Charles Bridge. The old farmers market was in a central location in Praha and there were many stands connected side by side. They sold everything from fresh strawberries from the Czech countryside to Buddha statues and nutcrackers. On our way to the Charles Bridge we stopped by the Lennon Wall. This wall was inspired by John Lennon’s lifestyle, talent in music, and ability to convey peace and happiness during a depressing period of communism in many countries from the end of World War I to present day. John Lennon’s ability to portray a style of Western freedom during a time of oppression provided many citizens with a feeling of hope. Everyone signed their name and got a picture by the Lennon Wall. Once we reached the Charles Bridge we had an hour to spend our time viewing and crossing the bridge. The bridge has been damaged several times and repaired due to war and flooding. The bridge offered surreal views of Prague and great statues with golden accents. We had a great lunch at an Italian restaurant. I ordered the Toscana pizza and it was fantastic. After lunch we hiked up to the Petrin Lookout Tower. It was a very cool experience being 63.5 meters high in the air but the wind was making the tower sway. Once we got down from the tower there was very good gelato at the base.
Sunday June 3rd
Today started off with a good breakfast and a travel around the city. Dylan wanted to see the Palffy gardens a lot. So we headed to the bottom entrance of the Palffy Palace but it was closed for security reasons. So, we went back to the top off Prague Castle but there is no entrance to the gardens like the lady said. It was a good exercise for our legs. After that we went back to our hotel rooms so we could get ready for a concert. This concert was called Wolf Parade. We were there for a very short time because they did not start the main show on time and the hordes of 40 year olds. So Mr. Tallman took us to a cool place that had foosball tables. Chase and I teamed up and beat Andy and Dylan 2 games to one. After that we went back to the hotel and decided to go to bed.
Day 6 we visited a very packed Charles Bridge. Before crossing the bridge we got ice cream and went to an old market from the medieval ages. We then visited the Lennon Wall. The small stretch of wall was graffitied on during the Cold War when the Czechs were occupied by the Soviets. The graffiti explored western culture like music and movies. However, the wall was named after John Lennon, the member of the Beatles who was assassinated. The highlight of the day was in the afternoon after lunch when we climbed to the top of a small version of the Eiffel Tower, called the Petrín Lookout Tower. At the top, we were able to view the whole of the city in all directions.