Kaliningrad is a secluded but amazing little province boarding Poland and Lithuania. It was once part of Prussia formerly called Königsberg, was a major stop on my History Trip to Europe. It was definitely an interesting experience and cool to see. It was so different from the other European countries which made it, even more, fascinating.
Crossing over from Poland to Russia was anything but boring. We had to depart our large tour bus, walk across the border and hop on another bus since ours was not authorized to cross into the Russian frontier. After an intimidating experience with the officials, we headed straight to the city of Kaliningrad. Our guide informed us that we were officially the first Canadians ever to visit Kaliningrad City. The drive into the downtown was something I’ll never forget. Abandoned farm fields along the highway, destroyed buildings and bridges were scattered everywhere due to the collapse of the Soviet Union.
As a group, we first visited some historic sites starting with the Königsberg Cathedral to pay respects to philosopher Immanuel Kant where his tomb laid. Next we quickly moved on to the House of the Soviets infamously known as the world`s ugliest building. Our guide was very knowledgeable about all of the historic buildings and monuments on the road we were very lucky and definitely learned a lot.
One exciting thing to look forward to was that we were able to meet up with local Russian students to interact and share cultures. It was an English and diplomacy local school so it was very easy to communicate with the foreign students. It was a beyond amazing experience, every student from our Canadian school was matched up with a student from Kaliningrad. We were able to spend the day together learning about each other’s countries and exchange greetings.
My favourite part of the trip was the Curonian Spit, a UNESCO World Heritage site. We toured with the local students and walked along the sandy beaches which peered out to the white waters. It was a freezing cold day of course in March but the weather didn’t ruin our fun. This park supplied us with one of the most beautiful spots in the city, the large stretch of land continued into the Baltic Sea which separated it from the Curonian Lagoon.
Once we left the beach we had individual free time with our new Russian friends. My group of friends and I walked along the downtown streets with our Russian partners exploring local shops and restaurants. We were all able to exchange emails and Facebook’s for keeping in contact in the future. Later that evening we went back to our interesting Russian hotel, it was one of the coolest places I’ve ever stayed. Since they spoke only Russian we had so much trouble with the language barrier but it really didn’t matter because we were so overwhelmingly happy being in a new foreign country.
Everything from the McDonald’s to the local mall was written in Russian’s unique style of writing. To foreigners like us we were excited to see any Russian street sign. Kaliningrad was definitely a fun place to visit. This city was one of my favourites on our history trip, it was heavily influenced by the world wars which made it into the spectacular city it is today.