Wednesday, December 12, 2012

"Ich bin ein Berliner"

Ash and I enjoying some Glühwein!

         As many of you already know, Ashley and I ventured off once again to Berlin. However, this time we went with Oldenburg's International Programs Office. Also, we were able to spend more than one day there, this time, we had 3 days to spend! And how did we spend these fun days? Touristing!

The view out the dome of the Reichstag!
         Friday we left the University extremely early (I do not like getting up this early, EVER) and made our way on a 6 hour trip to Berlin (usually takes only 4 hours by car on the Autobahn). On the bus many of us kept ourselves busy with homework, reading, sleeping, and music. It was quite relaxing. When we arrived in Berlin around 2:30 when we stopped first at the Reichstag. The Reichstag was beautiful and was full of very useful and interesting information. When we arrived we had to go through tight security but once we were in we were given a headset (in English) that we could walk around with and learn about German history and politics. The Reichstag building was completed in 1894 following German national unity and the establishment of the German Reich in 1871 under the architect Paul Wallot. The glass dome at the top was designed by Architect Norman Foster and built in 1993. The whole building was quite breathtaking.

          During our stay we spent our nights at the Three Little Pigs Hostel located close to the Sony Center and in a great location for spare-time tourism. In the room we stayed in there was a total of 7 girls in an 8 person room. It was not cramped or dirty but quite clean, open, and subtle.

Snow and friendship in front of Charlottenburg Castle

        On Saturday we started our day by doing a morning bus tour of the city. We were driven and guided by our own bus driver with translations into English. We were able to take quite a few stops for photo opportunities. A few of which were the Charlottenburg Castle which was delightfully blanketed in a thin layer of snow. Most of us were very cheery about the snow and played all around in it. A different stop was Museum Island. Which was not really an "Island" per say but more of a vast complex of different Museums located in close proximity. Again we took this chance to play some more! Following lunch we headed to a museum that explained the "Pass Center" for residents and non-residents coming in and out of East Germany. It was very eye-opening as to the turmoil the residents went through because of the government control.

An underground Cold War Bunker that could fit 2000 people

       Sunday we finished our Berlin trip by going to the "Story of Berlin" Museum. It was a small museum focused on the entirety of the German Lifestyle. From the start of the Museum you were in the 1200's then you slowly worked your way to modern day Germany. I really loved this Museum but unfortunately we did not have sufficient time to walk through and read all of what we would have like to read. After this we made our tiring and long journey back to Oldenburg.

The last standing Berlin Wall. 

      In our spare time we of course wandered around the city. We were able to visit some of the many Weihnachmarkts (Christmas Markets) that Berlin had to offer. We also were taken by Boris on a walk through some of the main attractions of Germany that we would not have been able to see within the planned days. Also, we went shopping, ate good food, and were able to get to know one another.

I soon hope to go back and visit more of the Museums and Historical land marks.

For those of you that dont know about the title of this post "Ich bin ein Berliner" was famously quoted by J.F.Kennedy and translates to "I am a jelly filled doughnut..."

Be safe and have fun XOXO ~Emily

Ash and I at Checkpoint Charlie

Travel Tips:

1. Before you leave home learn the bus and train routes in and around your city. It will come in handy when you need to find your way around the city when  you first arrive and you wont be stressed out too much about it.

2. If you are not sure as to how to do something: ask. It may seem silly, rude, embarrassing  etc, but when you need to do something (or want) people are usually very helpful even if they dont know your language. If all else fails a good game of Charades is always in order.

3. Try every food option that you are able to, even if it sounds weird or disgusting. You will find some of the best foods that you never thought existed this way.

The inside of the Reichstag, the glass helps to shine natural light into the debating chamber of the Bundestag

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