Days 12-14: Berlin!

Guten tag—I just arrived back in Prague from a whirlwind weekend in Berlin!

We left first thing on Friday morning for Berlin by bus. After driving for a few hours we stopped for lunch in Dresden, Germany! While we were there we did a short walking tour and saw some palaces, gardens, and cathedrals. We learned a lot about the history of Dresden too—the entire city was demolished by bombs in World War II. This means that all of the historical palaces and churches we saw were actually only recreations of the original buildings. The architects had used any salvageable pieces of the original buildings that they could, so many of the buildings had exteriors that looked almost charred because of the damage caused in the war. Another thing that struck me was how empty the city was—there were no local people there, only tourists. Overall, it was a beautiful but eerie city. After lunch, we got back in the bus and drove for a few more hours until we reached Berlin! I had no idea how huge the city was—it is actually seven times the size of Paris! We stayed in a hotel on the East side of Berlin, and after we checked in we did a short walking tour of the area where we were staying. On Friday night we got dinner at a great Lebanese restaurant and explored the city some more. One thing I absolutely loved about Berlin was how green it was: there are parks, gardens, and flowers everywhere!

On Saturday, we did a bike tour that took up the majority of our day. I had an amazing time—biking through the city was so much fun, and we saw so much of Berlin! We started off at the Fernsehturm TV Tower, a huge needle-like tower that can be seen from all over the city. We then rode all around the city and saw Checkpoint Charlie, many different parts of the Berlin Wall, the location of Hitler’s underground bunker, Potsdam Platz, the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, the Reichstag building, the Brandenburg Gate, and many other places! Halfway through the tour we rode through a beautiful park and stopped for lunch in a beer garden. After the tour was over, we went and explored an enormous five-story bookstore, and then went up to the Reichstag Dome! From the dome we were able to see amazing views of all of Berlin. We finished the day up at another beer garden!

This morning, we started out by going to a huge outdoor market—it seemed like a combination of a farmer’s market, an antique show, and an art gallery! We then did some more touring of the city, this time by bus (which we were happy about, because it was cold and rainy!). We saw more of the Berlin Wall, and then went to the House of the Wannsee Conference. The house is now a museum, called The Wannsee Conference and the Genocide of the European Jews. The house itself was beautiful, located right on the river with gorgeous gardens all around it. But it was a very somber part of our tour—part of the exhibit was in the exact room where the Nazis held the meeting to plan the deportation and execution of European Jews. I definitely learned a lot, and the museum itself was very interesting even though it was emotional.

After leaving the Wannsee house, we stopped at (yet another!) beer garden for lunch before leaving Berlin! It was a fantastic trip, and I’m already looking forward to traveling to Vienna next weekend!

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