A couple of weeks ago, my school and I, departed on an adventure to Germany’s to visit the beautiful city of Berlin as organised by Adaptable travel. It was mine and many others first time visiting Berlin, and it didn’t fail to meet expectations! It’s ridiculously jam-packed with a large variety of places to visit and activities to do, that without Adaptable travels organisation, I feel we would’ve been too overwhelmed to make the most of our four day holiday.
Our trip catered for students studying Art, Photography, History and German A Levels. We stayed at a lovely hostel called the ‘Industrie-Palast’. The staff were very friendly and helpful and the rooms were clean and comfortable, which was especially useful to get a good nights sleep from all the days activities! The hostel was literally situated directly opposite to the train station, which was extremely useful for quickly jumping on the train every morning! As well as our outings, we did a lot of walking and exploring, and what amazed me about Berlin is the pure extent of its history! It’s as if each paving stone has some historical story behind it!
The architecture of the city is also breath taking, which is very useful for art and photography students, but also beautiful to look at when just being a normal tourist. During the trip the art and photograph students visited many galleries whilst we visited numerous places; The topography of terror which is a museum covering Nazi reign, a three hour walking tour of Berlin, a visit to the Jewish museum, a visit to the DDR museum which covers the history of East Germany, a visit to the Olympic stadium and a visit to an old Stasi prison, ran by the secret police of east Germany. Oh and of course lots of shopping! Being a German student, it was very useful for me being able to have conversations with the locals who where very patient with my dodgy grammar! I may not study history; however the insight to the history was still very interesting.
One of my favourite parts of the trip was the visit to the Jewish museum. I didn’t personally know what to expect, however the guides were very respectful and it was so interesting learning about their culture and history! I’m sure many would be in the same position as me being completely naïve towards the Jewish religion, and many other religions, and so I really enjoyed gaining an insight to their way of life. One thing that amazed me was the sheer depth of thought and meaning that went into every aspect of the museum. On the first floor of the museuml, which was about the holocaust and bad times for Jewish people, not one floor, wall or ceiling was at a right angle to one another, which created a disorientated and nauseous feeling. I feel this minute detail has such a large impact to the feeling created by the ground floor and really reflects the distressful events shown on that floor.
The building has very few windows, however, where the daylight does shine through, the space is empty. I feel these empty spaces highlight not only the deceased but the emotions and experiences too. In one area of light in the museum, there is an artist’s piece. This was my favourite part of the museum because it is designed with the most meaning. The design is a corner which slowly gets narrower and darker, and the floor is covered in metal slabs with distressed faces cut out of them. The aim of the piece was for people to walk across it. As I walked across it, I felt completely on edge, the experience of walking all over the distressed faces as they create an uncomfortable clanging sound is definitely an experience, and really does justice to those who have suffered.
Along the Jewish lines, I also enjoyed visiting the Jewish/ concentration camp memorial. This is made up of thousands of concrete blocks, all different shapes and sizes. It spans the horizon, and gives off an almost eerie feel. Once inside the maze of blocks, it feels completely different; claustrophobic, dark and cold. It’s also very disorientating, which I feel could demonstrate the fact that from the outside you don’t understand how it feels, however on the inside, representing those in the concentration camps, is a whole other world. What I like about this memorial, is that it’s completely open to interpretation, and this justifies the fact that no one really understands the full extent as to what happened.
All together, I absolutely loved every aspect of the trip, and I would definitely recommend going! There is so much to see and do that it’s impossible to be bored! Some great advice is to wrap up if you are going in winter, as it is freezing!
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