Below is an account written by Alex Parry of Hugh Baird College about their recent study trip to Berlin in January 2015-
Last Monday I went to Berlin, which was amazing. It was organised by Adaptable Travel, which was brilliant. Everything was already planned and arranged, so it gave us students and Andy my tutor peace of mind-who is usually a stress head! The group and I stayed in the City Lights Hotel which was in the Mitte District. On the first morning we went to the BUCHSTABENMUSEUM which is the museum of letters. It was absolutely amazing, I loved every second of it. I would definitely go back again! We had a tour during the museum which gave everyone a great insight into the history of type and the museum. The woman who gave us the tour was called Yella, that might not be spelt right but even her name was different and exciting!
I also learned about profiles, which are the types of levels lights that are protected! And by that I mean neon lights. The bigger the profiles the more protection they need-1 being the lowest and ¾ being the highest. Later that day we all went to the Soviet War Memorial in Treptower Park. It’s located in the beautiful eastern part of the park. The architect Yakov Belopolskys wanted to symbolise something that stood for all of East Germany. When we walked in we were greeted by two kneeling soldiers which are standing in between two huge stone statues. After a little walk you are directed up some stairs which lead to a soviet soldier holding a rescued German child. He is also holding a huge Sabre. It’s very breath taking especially as the statue is 12 metres tall-It just was bloody brilliant!
Along the way we found a lot of interesting little pubs and shops that held a lot of history! We then started to walk to the Brandenburg Gate and came across a march holding candles saying ‘JESUISCHARLIE’ on them, it was thrilling, exciting, and just amazing to be part of. There were hundreds of people followed by a crazy load of news crew , reporters, police officers and even snipers on top of the buildings. We figured out it was a rally for the cause and it was scary-brilliant but scary! The gate was illuminated by colours, so eye catching it was hard not to look at it. The president of Germany was even there and made a speech, I had no idea what he was saying but most of the people loved it! Me and Kim also got talking to a woman who was trying to get her point and message across she was demonstrating that friendship should have no borders, she did this by taking Polaroids pictures of people then letting them write a message and put them on the board. Everyone who did it was laughing and her method worked. I’m really happy that I got to be a part of that.
The next morning we went to the Bauhaus Archiv Museum, that was something else, the building itself is art never mind everything that is inside of it. The ticket cost me €4 as I had my student card and it was worth it! I also got English tour speakers which were really good, it was nice having not to read anything just click a button! I think my favourite part was looking and reading about the chairs, and that might sound daft but it completely made sense looking at the chairs that were created with not just a purpose but a function and they fitted what they looked like, it was ascetically pleasing. I also read about a chair called the African Chair, once known as the romantic chair. It does not seem like the usual type of furniture that fits into this type of movement but the meaning and reasons behind why it look the way it did were honestly beautiful! The chair had 5 legs and the couple who created it gave meaning to every part of the chair. For example the legs, 3 represent the male and 2 the female. Then at the top of the chair the wooden legs cross over together as a symbol of commitment and unity.
I couldn’t resist not buying anything from the gift shop either, most of it would of cost me an arm and a leg but I did get myself two badges which fit perfectly on my camera bag! I then had a lovely cup of hot chocolate from the cafe. We then took a train journey to the Brandenburg Gate which was nice to see during the day and less crowded. Got some close up shots. It was once know as the Gate of Peace. After this we then walked to Holocaust Memorial. This area contains concrete slabs which take up the entire area of a city block. The blocks vary in size and the floor is very uneven. It represents the change of lights, the effects of movement, isolation, claustrophobia, and distance. Your perspective changes throughout the whole thing. It’s cold and you feel it when you stand in the very middle.
We then had a short walk and stumbled upon the Berlin Wall. There’s something very strange about seeing a scar run through the city, it’s a scary thought that up until a few years it was there and caused so much horror and pain-Really eye opening! I don’t think words can describe the memorials and the wall. It’s one of them things that you have to go and experience yourself and hopefully make others do the same.The next thing on the list was CHECK POINT CHARLIE. I was so excited to see this! I was quite disappointed that not a lot of people went in! They missed a lot, and I mean a lot of information and facts and history that was so sad and worth paying to know! Reading all the stories of family’s being separated and there missions to find ways to get across was so moving yet most were tragic. Such an in depth view into the wall and the Cold War.
I didn’t really feel like food after this as Kim, Faye and I found the rest of the group at this German bar/restaurant. It was lovely but I’m terrible eating foreign food-so it was a bowl of chips for me! I did however try a big of sausage in curry-tomato sauce! Bit different, probably wouldn’t try it again!
Overall I absolutely loved the trip, shared it with amazing people and learnt so much! I feel inspired, and generally more enriched by being in a new and different place. The feeling is lovely.
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