A History Lesson

Trip Start Jan 2008
Trip End May 2008

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Flag of Germany  ,
Monday, April 21, 2008

The next trip was just Angela and I and it was off to Berlin, Germany. This trip was Angela's choice because she is German and wanted to get more in touch with her roots. I love the history that Germany has especially related to World War II, which I have taken a class on, so I was more than happy to tag along. We arrived in Germany late and caught a taxi to our hostel. The taxi driver was so nice and even ran up to the hostel to make sure we were in the right place. We went in and got settled in our room and where off to sleep. Originally we were supposed to be in two separate rooms but the hostel was nice enough to change things around so we could be together. The next morning we woke up somewhat early and headed out to explore the city. The subway system in Germany was not very hard to figure out and luckily all ticket machines could switch to an English translation, not so in every country. The city of Berlin itself looked very modern due to the fact that almost everything was destroyed during World War II. We really wanted to take a tour in order to understand the significance of what we where seeing. It was easy to find one so we happily joined the group. The tour started at the Brandenburg Gate . It was stunning to see in person and you can still see all the patches from the many bullet holes made in it. It was amazing to me that it even survived the war and stands tall and strong among an acropolis of new buildings including the US Embassy. We then walked through the gate and over to the Holocaust Memorial. The memorial truely looks as if it could be for almost anything it is a bunch of cement blocks. The symbolism of the blocks has never been disclosed the artist would like the individual to interpret it as they like. We walked among the cement slabs wandering alone and hearing random voices from many sides it was eerie, there even seemed to be a slight temperature changed inside the memorial and it felt colder. I wandered through thinking about what I had learned in class and the many lives that where lost and my heart ached. Next we headed to a very different memorial one for the German people. This memorial showed the reality of Germany and the oppression they felt after World War II with few job opportunities the people of Germany struggled and felt the need for change. There was a second picture showing the "German Dream" which was what the country projected to the world and what the government said they were working toward for the people. We then went to see some pieces of the Berlin Wall which separated East and West Berlin for 28 years separating both friends and families. It was shocking to me how thin the wall really was and how much it affected the past and future of Germany. Right down the street from the wall was Check-point Charlie allowing individuals in and out of the city during World War II. We stopped for some Haagen Daz ice cream which we found out later is not really German but the name sure is. Strangely enough we also saw the balcony that Michael Jackson dangled his baby from. We headed back to the hostel and found a really great restaurant along the way. They had some of the best colslaw I have ever eaten. Then we got back chatted with some people in the hostel and went to bed.
Love to my friends and family <3
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