Thursday, December 6, 2012

Oh Berlin, how you make us want to keep coming back!

Just one kiss Boris!
Emily and I, yet again, went to Berlin. However, instead of staying for only a day, we were there for 3 lovely days! It was amazing. We left early in the morning, boo, on Friday. Oh goodness was it fun, but cold since we decided to sit in the back of the bus. The energy on the bus was amazing. Everyone was excited and just couldn’t wait to be there, mostly to get off the bus. 

Our first stop was the Bundestag. The Bundestag is like our House of Representatives and Congress. The building was amazing and the view to die for! You have to make special reservations to sit in the room where the decisions are made though, boo again. However, they let you on top of the roof and there was a skyline tour offered. They pretty much gave us headphones and the recording would follow you walk around the dome of the Bundestag and the roof. Emily and I got some pretty awesome pictures. 

Memorial for the burned books
We were supposed to meet at the Brandenburg Gate, but since everyone was walking at their own pace we just met at the bus. I got done with the tour early so I left with Boris, a friend and he works in the ISO. He quickly showed me where the American and French Embassies were, since they were right next to the Brandenburg Gate. Emily and I both want to go back to get a better look at our embassy. It also started to so a sleet thing while we were waiting. It was at that moment a lot of people wished they dressed warmer.

Luckily for these people, we went right to the hostel after our little visit.  Our hostel was nice, since it was my first I don’t have much of an opinion.  I got to share a room with 7 other girls. We had no problem since we all chose to bunk together, yes there was bunk beds. We got to pick on the two British girls, they are now known as Mummy. Granted they started to make fun of us a bit, but what do you expect since we started it. 

The Holocaust Memorial at night

After we were all settled in Boris took us for a nice walk. We went to a Weihnachtsmarkt, Christmas market, where Emily, Kortnie and I got some yummy Glühwien.  On this walk half the people left because it was taking too long to get food, but what we got was more than food. Boris took us to the Holocaust Memorial in Potsdam Platz. It was eerie to be walking amongst the pillars so late at night. A few of the boys decided to walk on the pillars and we yelled at them. We also saw where they burned the books that Hitler banned. You would not see the memorial unless you were on it. The memorial was built into the ground. It was a white room with empty white bookshelves. Again, it was very eerie, but beautiful in its own way.  Not too far was a church that was bombed and only the roof was rebuilt. The inside is supposed to still be in the condition it was in during the war, or so Boris told us.  From this point we ran into a few more Weihnachtsmärkte, plural, some more pretty buildings, and prostitutes. It was funny watching the prostitutes tried to solicit the guys. I do have to admit that I did not know they were prostitutes and had to ask Emma what they were. Finally, after our adventures around Berlin, by foot, we finally got food. It was totally worth it! However, when we were done we did convince Boris to let us take the tram back to the hostel. It was a good thing we did, because we were wiped out from the day!
The monsters were let off the bus to enjoy the wonderful white stuff.

The next day started like any other day, but after breakfast an amazing thing happened. It snowed! My first snow in Germany, I was so happy. It started off as a light flurry then the snowflakes started to get bigger and bigger! Our bus driver was nice and stopped at a palace for a small photo opportunity for us, but I took advantage of it and threw the first snowball. I missed terribly, but my next one hit its mark.  After that I was just wiped out. Information overload, but it was nice to see everything and not have a marathon shutting down half the city.

Meet Theodore
Once all our tours were done we were left to our own devices. So what do we decide to do, well find a Build-A-Bear, of course. Kortnie had never made one and I really wanted one. So Emma, Emily, Kortnie, and I made our first teddy bears in Germany. They are all very cute and very special. I made mine for my nephew, but he will not get it until I come home. After the adventure to the mall we went back to the hostel, where we planned to go out. We never made it because we all fell asleep, oh no.
When we woke up we all scrambled, kind of, to get our stuff around since we were leaving that day. Emily convinced me to play a quick game of pool, and by quick I mean she owned me. After that we left the hostel. You would think that we would have left to return home, but nope we went to another museum. But this one was very fun; it covered the history of Berlin from the very beginning. Sadly we did not have enough time to read and look at all the stuff they had to offer there, because we had a tour of a bunker! This bunker was built during the 1950s to help citizens feel more secure in case of a nuclear attack. It was really really creepy, but so cool at the same time. I can just say I would never want to be in one with close to 3,000 people!

After that final museum we went home. It was pretty uneventful. Everyone passed out, like at my Rotary Conference. I can say I was beyond happy to be in my bed that night!

Travel Tips:
1. Try having your computer keyboard in your host language. Sometimes the host language has symbols you need to use, but your keyboard does not have.
2. You do not always have to be happy. It is okay to once in a while just sit down and cry. No one will think less of you.
3. Never be afraid to meet new people, unless they are prostitutes. If so then just be a bit wary.

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