Our first day in Berlin was taken up by a lot of traveling. After an exhausting plane and bus ride, we finally arrived in the great capital of Germany.
Friday, March 22
We met our outgoing Berliner tour-guide, Lioba, who will be with us for the rest of the trip. She took us to some key landmarks of Berlin, including her neighborhood (ein Kiez) and some famous parts of the Berlin Wall. The many colorful artistic murals that decorate the wall mask the hidden atrocities that it represents, and we were able to reflect on how far we have come as a society. We also visited a powerful museum about Anne Frank, got to meet many important Berlin dogs, took over a kindergarten playground and enjoyed the camaraderie of great people in a great town. The senior Scholars and chaperones are excited for the many other surprises in store on the rest of the trip.
Contributed by Alex Toner '19
Saturday, March 23
The Berlin Wall, decorated in murals and paintings, towered above us in the early morning sun. The Kiss, the Broken Berlin, and the random colors marked the atrocity of the separation between East and West Berlin. We visited the wall memorial itself, adorned with the ghosts of lost lives and heard Daniela’s story of her parents, grandparents and her own life under the Soviet oppression after WWII. The Holocaust memorial - a series of hilled, height-varied sarcophagi - sat as reminders of the past, nothingness to represent an era of senseless murder.
Potsdam’s Kaiser palace, last inhabited by Wilhelm II, had served as the primary diplomatic headquarters for the Berlin Conference between Stalin, Churchill and Truman. Lastly, after re-crossing the Bridge of Spies, we visited the Topography of Terror (a collective view of Hitler’s established regime) before heading to Hopfingerbräu for a traditional German pasta and chicken dish. The walks, the history and my incessant questions left us exhausted by dinner time.