This week has been an absoulte whilrwind! We have been in Berlin all week! Here is what I have been up to!
Today we arrived in Berlin. The plane trip over went smooth and great! We were greeted by Heike and she had a van take us to get checked into our hotel. We then toured the area around our hotel to become better aquainted with the area. We ate lunch at a little deli, then it was finally time to take a nap. Jetlagged was an understatement. After our nap we went to dinner and experienced our first German meal! My meal was a schnitzel with french fries. It was very delcious! After that the group of student teachers walked around Berlin and toured different parts of the city! We did not end up having wifi at the hotel, and I was a little homesick not telling my family we made it there safely! That soon ended!
The day started with a delicious breakfast at the hotel! We quickly got acquainted with the city transportation system and rode a train to the Reichstag. This building is home to Germany’s government. We toured the area and took pictures! We then got to go up in the Bundestag. This is the top of the Reichstag and is a huge transparent glass dome that overlooks the city! We then shortly viewed the Brandenburg gate and took a few photos. It rained on this day, but luckily we missed it!
Every day in Berlin is an adventure and I love it. However, I was very anxious about day 3. We were told we would be completing a 5 hour bike tour around 12 km long. I’m not the most skilled biker and was very nervous. We rode a couple of trains to the Potsdam area. This area is rich in beauty and history and has beautiful buildings! We got our bikes and I started out wobbly but soon got the hang of it. I was so proud of myself until…I wrecked. Jennay and I were riding side by side. the path all of a sudden narrowed and it was either ride into Jennay, or hit a pole. I hit the pole. And the bike and myself launched over it into some grass. I was very lucky and escaped with only some bruises. They are pretty intense bruises and I’m still alittle sore, but at least nothing was broken. I got back on and finished the day! My favorite thing we saw this day was the Sans Soucci palace. It was magnificent to say the least. In the afternoon a few of us in the group tried out the transportaion system and viewed some historic landmarks around the city.
Day 4 was full of activity! We first started in front of Brandenburg gate, and completed a historic walking tour around the city given by a native German Dr. McGee knows. It was beautiful! We saw the memorial for the Mudered Jews of Europe, Checkpoint Charlie, and more. We ate lunch in a shopping mall cafeteria and then the group accidently got split up. Jennay and I then had the unique opportunity to spend the afternoon with our contact person, Heike. She took us to the Berlin Walll memorial where we saw the last parts of the wall still standing. We climbed a huge watch tower and got the see the “death strip” people had to cross in order to get away. We talked with her about history and social issues for a few hours. She then took us to Tiergarten which is the largest public park in Europe. We found some row boats to rent and Jennay and I attempted the row Heike around. It was hilarious and so much fun!
Today was our last day in Berlin. A few of us in the group had the opportunity to visit Sachsenhausen Concentraion Camp near Berlin. I knew I would leave feeling sad, but the emotion was more than I expected. Walking where such horrible things happened was emotional, heavy, and haunting. It’s almost unbelivable that humans would treat each other in that way. The experience is one I will never forget. We then ate lunch with the rest of the group and visited a flea market.
I am so sad to leave Berlin tomorrow bt I can’t wait to meet my host family in Werne and start school! I have wanted to post pictures, but my camera isn’t recognized on the hotel computer. On a side note, my mom got to come home yesterday! I am overjoyed!