Side travel – where I’ve been, what I’ve seen and done
One huge advantage of studying the Core in London is that England is so close to other countries. After studying 6 years of German in high school, it was a dream of mine to one day make it to Germany and test out my language skills. The opportunity to do so arose after completing the Core in London; London being only a short 2 hour flight away from Germany. So after my 2 week study program in the UK, I took a flight to Berlin to spend a few nights there.
Berlin is a city that is steeped in history. There are many fascinating sites to visit and explore; many of which I was able to see during my 3 night stay. Here are some highlights of what I saw in Berlin.
Day 1 was a chance to discover the city and all it has to offer. I began the day visiting the place where Checkpoint Charlie once stood – the former crossing point through the Berlin Wall that divided East and West Germany during the Cold War. Next to the Checkpoint, I visited the Berlin Wall Museum, which gave me an interesting and detailed explanation of the history of the Wall, and how it affected the German people.
The next stop was Brandenburg gate – one of Berlin’s most iconic landmarks. The gate was built in the 1700’s, and is now a symbol of Berlin’s reunification after the fall of the Wall. Almost opposite the gate stands the Reichstag, where I visited next. I took many pictures of this huge and beautiful building, which is the meeting place for the German parliament, before moving on to see Berlin’s TV Tower. At 368m, it is the tallest structure in Germany. It’s great to look at from the outside, but even better was being able to go up on the inside and see an incredible 360 degree view of Berlin. It was definitely a highlight of my trip to Berlin, and I would recommend it to anyone planning to travel there too.
Day 2 took me on a day trip. A short train trip out of Berlin will take you to the historic and beautiful town of Potsdam. Potsdam was home to many former German emperors, and their influence is still shown there today. The town consists of many parks and palaces, including the famous Sanssouci Palace. The trip I chose was a bus tour, which gave great explanations of landmarks as we drove past them, and allowed us to hop off at various points to continue with a detailed walking tour.
On day 3, my last day in Berlin, I visited the East Side Gallery. The East Side Gallery consists of many different artworks painted on a long, remaining section of the Berlin Wall. Much of the subject matter shown in the paintings is related to the Wall. Many different artists from all over the world have painted pieces for the gallery, which was probably my favourite place I visited during the entire trip. The art is incredible and meaningful; it really allows you to envision how the German people felt about the Berlin Wall.
As my short trip came to an end, I was very sad to be leaving Berlin, however, extremely grateful to have had the experience to visit such an interesting and amazing city.