I can’t believe it’s already time to leave Berlin. We arrived at 8:00 am (1 am Bowling Green/Owensboro time) on Tuesday morning and have spent the last several days touring the city to see the historical sites, going out to eat at both “sit down” restaurants and fast food, and learning more about living the German lifestyle. One disclaimer I’d like to mention is an apology to readers for a lack of posts over the last week on a consistent basis. This is my first and last blog in Berlin due to the fact that we have had limited internet availability and also very little time to be on computers. Everyday has been an adventure and we as a group have been touring the city from the time we wake up until the time we go to sleep every single day. Very little time has been spent in the hotel. I will hopefully be able to write more once I arrive in Werne and have more time and better access to internet. That being said, let’s talk about the week!
It’s hard to summarize in one blog all the experiences we have had in the last week. Touring the Reichstag building, walking through the Brandenburg Gate, visiting the East Side Gallery, a biking tour of Potsdam and the surrounding area, walking the courtyard of Frederick the Great’s palaces, sitting in the courtyard of the Berliner Dome, walking through the Holocaust Memorial, stopping at Check Point Charlie, and walking through and touring Sachenhausen Concentration Camp. Words and pictures cannot do justice to all the amazing things I’ve been able to see and be a part of in this week in Berlin. A variety of emotions and feelings have been felt; awe and amazement at being at the Reichstag building and Brandenburg Gate as well as sadness and a heavy heart walking through the remains of Sachenhausen. I have experienced things this week that I will talk about for the rest of my life. I have been able to see with my own eyes the places I had only heard about. Having the ability to say that “I was there” is such a great thing to be able to do from a teaching standpoint. I hope that at some point I will be able to incorporate my experiences into my lesson and show the students first hand the buildings and areas that most only get to dream about seeing.
There have also been some culture differences that have been interesting to see and a big change in my lifestyle for the week. Being a person who loves a tall glass of iced sweet tea, I was out of luck once we got here. No sweet tea obviously, but even more interesting was the fact that drinks rarely had ice (3 pieces maximum was what I saw), were extremely expensive, and no free refills! That did take some getting used to. The food of course has been different. We have eaten in a variety of restaurants both on the street and what I call “sit down” restaurants. I cannot tell you how many new types of foods I have tried, but the highlights include schnitzel, bouletten, currywurst, donor kebab, and many others. Being a picky eater, this has been tough for me not to have Taco Bell ready at any moment with cheap food and free refills! However, I have really enjoyed being immersed in the culture and experiencing the authentic lifestyle. I think the first thing I want to eat when I get home is a medium rare steak and glass of sweet tea (full of ice)!
I have taken so many pictures over the last week that I cannot wait to share with friends, family, and of course students of both my cooperating school and WKU. These images tell the story of a “once in a lifetime” trip. I will be posting this blog once I arrive in Werne and have internet access, and will begin the second part of my journey. Now Berlin is behind me, a great memory that I was able to share with old and new friends. It’s time to focus on Werne and the time I will be spending there. I can’t wait!