There are some places in Germany that people say at least one visit is a must, and Berlin is one of them. I had the opportunity to be able to visit the capital of Germany with my classmates right before the Autumn Holidays. The class trip to Berlin spanned over 3 days and 2 nights. Our itinerary on Tuesday (26.09.2017) was filled to the brim with organized trips. But fortunately, the next day’s itinerary was only till noon, so we had the rest of the day to do whatever we would like to.
I was expecting a lot from Berlin, the supposed cultural hub of Germany. This bar was set really high partially because Nicholas, one of my fellow exchange students from Malaysia, is currently living in Berlin-Mitte and always boasts of how amazing Berlin is. I have to say that it didn’t disappoint. It was honestly an amazing trip as we got to see most of the important places in Berlin, whilst learning about the backstory of Germany and how it was when the Berlin Wall was still standing.
26.09.2017 – Tuesday
When we arrived in Berlin Central Station on that Tuesday morning, I was absolutely spellbound. I was expecting the train station to be big, but I didn’t expect it to be 4-storeys tall with shops, supermarkets and of course train lines in it. The amazement didn’t stop then, the scenery of skyscrapers and greenery really proved a point, Berlin is as amazing as it is described. After filling our stomachs, we head on to the Story of Berlin. To be honest, the Story of Berlin was actually really interesting and you get to find out a lot about the history of how Berlin/Germany was in the olden days. But one thing that I found a little unfortunate is that the whole tour was in German. Even though I could already understand most of what they were saying, I found it really difficult to follow as it took a lot of concentration to be able to fully understand German, as it is not my first language, and I was feeling a bit tired from the long-distance travelling. But it was still amazing otherwise.
We were given a bit of free time after that, and my small group decided to go to Alexanderplatz where we got to see the Fernseheturm which was pretty cool. There was also the World Clock which showed the time of most of the countries in the world, and Kuala Lumpur was stated there too! But we had to meet the rest of the class across the Bundestag at night because there was a Multimedia Show that was going to be held on that night itself. The show was absolutely stunning, there were images and videos projected onto the building which told the story of Germany and how Germany came to be and I thought it was an amazing way of portraying the story of Germany to those that wanted to know, rather than just reading it in History books. We then went on to visit the Reichstag after that. This governmental building was known for it’s distinct roof which is shaped like a dome, and people are able to walk in the dome while listening to audio guides which allowed people to see what Berlin looked like from a bird’s eye view while being able to find out the main functions of the important buildings in the vicinity of the Reichstag.
But as the night was still young, we went to the Brandenburger Gate which was our last stop for the day. This was one of the must-visit places in Berlin, and you wouldn’t have actually visited Berlin if you didn’t visit this gate. It was absolutely beautiful, the way the lights illuminated the gate made it stand out as it stood tall with the dark night sky behind it.
27.09.2017 – Wednesday
On this day, we visited a place where the Berlin Wall once stood, but it was turned into a memorial after the wall was broken down. Original parts of the wall were still standing, and it was a lot higher than I was expecting. We were lead on a tour where our guide explained how the wall had affected the lives of the Germans that were living during that time period. Names, information and photos of the people who had perished because of the wall were stated in the park. It was quite saddening as children as young as 2 were also mentioned. Hearing stories of how people tried to flee from one side to the other to be with family showed the desperation that people were feeling at that point in time.
We spent the rest of the day travelling around Berlin, visiting places like the East Side Gallery. The East Side Gallery is the place in Berlin where the longest stretch of wall was still standing. Paintings and murals were painted onto the wall to celebrate and remind everyone about the importance of the breaking down of the Berlin Wall which also signified the reunification of West and East Germany. Every mural that was painted had a meaning behind it, and it was quite prominent how important this was to the people of Germany.
Part of the class had decided to go to the Berliner Dungeon, which was like a 40-minute long horror show/experience with actors and gruesome scenes. It was pretty fun. The rest of the evening was spent shopping, as there were so many stores and brands available in the city, so why not?
28.09.2017 – Thursday
On the morning of the last day of our Berlin trip, we set off the Jewish Holocaust Memorial. This is also one of the things that you have to see when you’re in Berlin. The feeling you get when you walk through the memorial was something pretty unexplainable, which is why you should go there and experience it when you have the chance to. After that, we browsed through the exhibits that were in the museum. There were three separate rooms in the museum, and the one that left the biggest impact on me was “the Name Room”. In this specific room, names of the Jews that perished during the Holocaust were projected on a plain black screen whilst the narrator explained how the person had died. It reminded me of how every life that was taken during that dark period was special, every single one of them was different individuals and that they were not just merely a number in the death count.
We went to Brandenburger Gate again after that to take a class photo, and we were given free time after that. We spent that free time to visit the last few places in my checklist of places to visit in Berlin. We went to places like Checkpoint Charlie and the Rittersport “museum”, where I spent most of my money. But after that, we were scheduled to head home, and with heavy hearts, we did.
It was a pleasure to be able to visit the capital of Germany and be able to experience such an amazing experience with my classmates. There were a few places where I didn’t get to visit like the Frauenkirche but I can always visit Berlin again. I feel pretty satisfied because now I can say that I have been in Berlin. I hope that this motivates those that haven’t been in Berlin to take some time out to head over there as it will not disappoint.
I hope that you have enjoyed this post and I apologize for my tardiness in publishing this. I hope that you all have a great week ahead, God bless.