Berlin Day 2

Trip Start Sep 16, 2009
Trip End Aug 18, 2010

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Flag of Germany  ,
Saturday, October 3, 2009

Got up early after a great sleep in the Hostel.  We had breakfast together with coffee!  The bus took us to the Reichstag where the parliament and offices and things are next to the Brandenburg Gate.  We got a great tour by one of the staff from the basement, into the parliament room and overtop of it.  We were able to see a tunnel that used to connect buildings together that was most likely used during a fire some years ago.  There also was a collection of all of the names of the heads of the parliament from Germany's entire history with a blacked out area for the time Hitler ruled.  We felt like VIP's since we got to enter through a special entrance (the one the Chancellor uses!) and we did not have to wait in the long lines.  After this tour we were able to listen to a tour through headphones of the city while we walked inside the Glass Dome ontop of the Capital building.  This was a beautiful view!!  The building has so many neat features, especailly for energy conservation. 

Then we walked back to the bus to pick up a few things and happened to run into the French troupe as they were leaving the festival area with a huge parade of their puppets and machinery!
Then we made our way back to the Brandenburg Gate to get some closer pictures of both the back and the front.  We walked through the Holocaust Memorial near the gate which consisted of hundreds of concrete blocks of varying heights.  It created a very interesting effect when I walked between the rows when the blocks were higher than my head.  We also passed some guards with machine guns and well trained german shepherds (are they just "Shephards" in Germany??). 

As we walked towards the Jewish Museum we passed some more interesting areas.  Checkpoint Charlie near the wall was very interesting.   This was a crossing point from East to West in the Berlin wall for members of the Allied forces.  This was also the location of the Berlin Crisis in 1961. 

We got a student discount at the Jewish Muesum, since we are students, and we walked for about 1 1/2 hours through the museum.  The information was interesting, it goes all the way back to the origins of the religion and the lifestyle of the Jews throughout history.  I would have liked to spend more time in the museum but we had to get back to the bus fast to get back to Braunschweig so we had to take the U-Bahn a few stops. 

This weekend was amazing in so many ways.  The people were great considering we were warned that Berliners are not nice to foreigners!  The reunification festival was similar to the Fourth of July in DC x10.  The food was great, the hostel was clean, the festival was one of a kind and everything was free, except for the 2.50 euro charge at the museum, and U-Bahn tickets!!!

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