Running through Berlin

After many long and boring hours of traveling we finally made it to Berlin at 7:30am Tuesday morning. It was a cold and cloudy day but we kept moving to keep us awake. We learned quickly that the people of Germany respect crossing signals. They don’t just run out into the road, they stop and wait for the light to turn green to walk. During our walk we saw an old church whose roof had been bombed off by the Allies, climbed all 200+ steps of the Victory Tower, walked to the Brandenburg Gate, and did a little souvenir shopping before dinner. On Wednesday, we went to the Story of Berlin museum and learned about the Berlin from the time it was founded until present day. When we left it started snowing and we had to make a quick stop to buy hats and gloves because we were not prepared for it to snow. Everyone in Berlin can tell that we don’t belong here because of how clueless and unprepared we constantly look. We then took a train to the DDR museum which was about the way of life in East Germany. It was really interesting learning about the differences between East Germany and West Germany. After dinner, which was at an amazing brewery, we visited the East Side Gallery.  The East Side Gallery was really cool because it was different parts of the Berlin Wall that have been painted by artists to commemorate the peaceful fall of the Berlin Wall. Thursday was one of the coolest days in Berlin because we got to tour the Reichstag building, which is home to the German Bundestag or the Parliament. We got to take pictures in the room where Parliament meets and then we went upstairs to the dome that looks over the city to take more pictures. It had one of the most amazing views that I have ever seen. We even got to take a tour of the building with the staff of a Representative in Parliament which was amazingly cool because of all the different stories we were told and all that we got to to see. On Friday, we traveled about 45 minutes to the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp which was pretty intense. It was hard to believe that such horrible things actually happened where we were standing and that in reality it happened not all that long ago. We took an audio tour that allowed us to move at our own pace around the camp. While listening to the information and first hand accounts being told, there was also information to read inside the buildings. I think it’s a place that everyone should experience at least once to realize the magnitude of what happened during the Holocaust. We then went back into the city and saw the Holocaust memorial and Checkpoint Charlie. I never realized Checkpoint Charlie was literally in the middle of the road. We ran out to the median and fought through the crowds to take pictures. We soon realized that the men dressed as soldiers charged you to take pictures so we took some selfies on our own and ran back across the street. It has been a fun, tiring, and adventurous few days and I can’t wait to see what it to come.

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