Wednesday, November 26, 2014

In Two Places at Once (Berlin, Germany)

When you think of the term “History”, your mind takes them back to something that happened hundreds of years ago. In all reality, history is a very present thing. I realized this during our weekend trip to Berlin.  Though I was very excited to be spending the weekend in a new city with all of my friends, in the back of my mind I was not emotionally prepared for some of the things I would see and experience.

Friday, November 21, 2014: We started our trip with a nice 5ish hour train ride from our small city of Werne to Berlin. I was surprised how extremely comfortable it is to ride in a train vs. a plane! We arrived in Berlin around 7:30 at night, checked into our hotel and then walked to dinner! At this point, I still didn’t set with me that I was actually in Berlin, Germany!!

At dinner, I got to experience my first and not last Schnitzel. I am nearly 100% positive God himself made this meal because it was beyond the point of delicious, it was heavenly!! Schnitzel is basically a fried piece of thin pork with yummy sauce on it! Jordan ordered the same thing! I wish someone had snapped a picture of our faces when they laid our plate in front of us. Y’all think American portions are large? This Schnitzel was larger than our faces! And they served it with a salad AND fries!  (I wish I had a picture to show you but my phone was dead) Needless to say the Schnitzel defeated both of us because there was no way in the world we were going to be able to finish! After dinner we went back to the hotel so we could get some rest before our tour of Berlin the next day!

Saturday, November 22, 2014:  Our day began by walking to the location our tour guide would meet us at. While walking, I remember seeing a church that the steeple looked like it needed repair. I asked Heike what exactly happened and she quickly responded that the damage was from WWII. This is when it all began! My emotions were about to take me for a ride… the WHOLE day! I wasn’t mentally and emotionally prepared for just how much the history of Berlin would affect me.  Below are a few pictures of the church!

After looking around the church we started to make our way to the Berlin Wall.  Traveling there would be my first experience on a subway! It was kind of neat, but still strange and I had a hard time holding on to the rail just thinking about the bazillion germs that made their home there! Silly I know, but really… think about it!! Ewww!

Our tour guide had prepared many bit of historical information to tell us during our tour. The fist place we stopped at the wall was a plaque that was on the ground representing where the wall once stood. Each one of us took a picture with one foot on the east side and one on the west. (Hints the name of the blog, In Two Places at Once) You can see my picture of this is the first picture posted in the Blog.
Walking down the monument trail to the actual piece of the Berlin Wall really touched me. It put into perspective the actual separation and the pain it caused.  Families were split apart. Siblings, Daughters, Sons! We stopped at one point to see where a tunnel that went under the wall was once located. This was the only way for people to cross from one side of the wall to the other without getting caught. Here are a few pictures to show just exactly what I am talking about.

I believe the hardest part of this tour was actually seeing the berlin wall for the first time.  As I stood beside it to get my oh so touristy picture, I just imagined how many hands have touched the spot I was standing… longing to get to the other side not so many years ago! Seeing the damage done around the city doesn’t amount to actually walking on the same land so many people died simply trying to get to their loved ones and out of the Hell the Russians were causing them.  This is when I had my little emotional break down. It wasn’t because I felt the need to cry to make myself feel better, but that I owed it to all the men and women and CHILDREN that died.  Below you can see a picture of me by the wall and a few more pictures of the monument area as well.

Our tour of the wall ended by visiting observation deck to view a portion of the wall I had no knowledge of. There were in fact two walls that separated the east and west. In the middle of these two walls were different things to prevent the people from successfully making it across. Christopher, who is a student teacher here in Germany, told me that they planted land mines and other contraptions to kill anyone who tried to cross. They also had guards on the clock 24/7 that also shot anyone who attempted to jump the wall. Viewing this was another moment that brought tears to my eyes. Humans can be so ridiculous in the course of history!!  Below are a few pictures showing what exactly I was talking about!)

After all the tears were dried-up, out tour continued to the Brandenburg Gate. This is a sight to see! so beautiful and so much history! Not to mention we took one heck of a group picture with this beautiful structure. 

After spending some time here looking around, we then walked to the Parliament building a few kilometers (I'm so European!) down the road. The flags were breathtaking! Another group photo just had to be taken here as well! Looking back through all the photos i have taken while in Berlin.. i realized have one heck of a group of friends!! 

Our saturday ended with a nice dinner and a relaxing evening. The next morning we woke up and visited a few more sites before getting back on a train for Werne. I am thankful I was able to experience Berlin and i can only hope that everything i got from this trip will help me when i teach my students about the Berlin Wall one day. I know this blog is SUPER long and took me far to long to post but here you go! Until next time, Goodnight or Gute Nacht!!

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