Well as most of you know I’m now back in the states and have managed to catch up on some sleep and start the massive pile of laundry. I wish I could have had the chance to write about my last few days in Berlin while I was actually there, but we were just so busy/tired that I never really made it to an Internet cafe long enough to write.
The last time I wrote we had just gotten to Berlin and were happy to have left Prague (and I’m still glad that’s over)! Our first full day in Berlin we had a walking tour of the city that took about 3 hours…Berlin is huge! We literally walked the entire city and saw pretty much everything there is to see. Berlin is so beautiful, but definitely much more metropolitan than Munich. There is still a lot of history there, but the amount of modern buildings is way more than Munich. I can’t even begin to tell you exactly what we saw because it would probably take me all day (plus the fact that I can’t remember what everything is called…it was a long day). But I would definitely love to go back to Berlin and have more time to explore everything.
That night almost all of us went out to dinner and planned on going to a club. By the time dinner was over and we got to the train station there were only 5 of us left and 3 decided to go home once we got there. David and I were the only troopers that made it there and we met up with three others from our group that were already there. The club was called Matrix Berlin and I’m SO glad we went. It was such a cultural experience — German people have a very different way of dancing than here in the states. We stood around for about 45 minutes just watching them “dance.” It involves a lot of stomping, step-touches and crazy arm movements. We eventually joined in and, although it looks really weird, it’s a lot of fun! Needless to say, we stayed out wayyy later than we should have and took a cab home since the trains had stopped running.
The next day — running on about 3 hours of sleep — we took a day trip to Wittenberg, where Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of the church. The town of Wittenberg is about a 30-minute train ride away from Berlin and it was such a cute little town. We got to see the church where he nailed the theses to the door (not the original door, but a memorial one) and saw his tomb inside the church. We then walked around the town in the freezing cold and ended up at the Martin Luther museum where our tour guide proceeded to talk for another hour about totally pointless things and we all tried our hardest not to fall asleep while standing up. We finally finished the museum and had lunch, then met back up at the bus stop to get back to the train station.
Transportation fail # 137: the bus never came! At this point, none of us were surprised that the bus was late since we really hadn’t had a good day of transportation the whole trip. As we were standing outside it began to rain/sleet…cue the umbrellas and penguin huddling. Luckily we weren’t the only ones waiting for the mystery bus, a few locals were also confused by the lack of buses going in the right direction. Finally it came and we got to the train station, where we ended up getting on the hour-and-a-half train back to Berlin, rather than the 30-minute train. It worked out though, seeing as almost everyone fell asleep and got a nice long nap!
When we finalllly got back to Berlin we all split up for dinner. The professors had been taking small groups out to dinner as a treat throughout the trip and this time was the last group, including me and 6 others. We had about 30 minutes to get ready by the time we got back, but we went to a great little restaurant right near our hotel and had a very nice dinner and talked with the teachers about how the trip had gone and what we liked/didn’t like. After dinner we met up with the whole group at the Sony Center to see “Valkyrie,” the Tom Cruise movie about the plot to kill Hitler. Friday night was opening night for the movie in Berlin and it was so cool to be able to watch the movie in the city that it was flimed in!
After the movie, almost the whole group decided to go back to Matrix with us! This time it was a Friday and the place was crazy! There were 5 different dance floors and it looked completely different from the night before. There was also a lot less weird German dancing and more dancing that we were used to. We all had a great time (despite some coat check problems) and again, stayed out way too late.
The next day, Saturday, was our last day in Berlin and we were all a little sad to see it end. Luckily we got to sleep in a little and after breakfast we went to the Resistance Museum which is all about the 15 attempts on Hitler’s life while he was in power. The main focus was on Operation Valkyrie which was SO cool because we had just seen the movie the night before. The building that the museum is in is the actual building used in the movie, and the building that was used during the real Operation Valkyrie during the war. I can’t even explain how cool/kinda creepy it was to walk around this building where they held meetings and stand in the courtyard where they were all executed after their plan failed. It was just amazing to be able to put the movie into real-life perspective.
After the museum a few of us went back to the hotel and took a nap. Then almost all of us went to the Reichstag which is the parliament building in Berlin. The top of the building is a huge glass dome and you take an elevator up to the roof and get to walk up to the top of the dome and see all of Berlin. Unfortunately it was a cloudy, rainy day, but it was still fun to walk to the top and be able to see all the places we’d walked around the past few days. That night we all went out to dinner with Dr. Hatcher at this really nice Italian restaurant and had a really great time on our last night of the trip.
The next day was our travel day back to the states 😦 but luckily there were no transportation fails. Our bus picked us up on time and got us to the airport with plenty of time to make our flight from Berlin to Heathrow. None of our flights were delayed and we all made it safely back to the states around 7:10 p.m. Brad and Carolyn picked me up from the Dulles airport and I had dinner with them and got to meet my new cousin Sydney! They dropped me off at a hotel and the next morning I took a shuttle to the airport and endured two more flights to get back to Jacksonville. Ricky picked me up from the airport and he is ridiculously tan from his 3 weeks in Barbados…I’m pretty much invisible standing next to him.
So now I’m home, doing laundry as I type and wishing that Florida would get back to normal and stop being chilly and foggy! I’m planning on posting lots of pictures soon, although I’m having a hard time finding the ones I saved on the computer last night so it might take a while to reload them and get them posted. Hopefully I’ll be able to post some on here, otherwise I’ll put them on Snapfish or something and send everyone the link!