Berlin Day 1
The girls all arrived at school at 4am looking very bleary eyed although once they got on the coach they were surprisingly wide-awake!
We met Dave, our representative from Anglia Tours at the airport. He is a retired history teacher who now works as a tour guide for school history trips. Our flight to Berlin arrived a bit ahead of schedule and transfer to our accommodation was also very smooth. The youth hostel is an old renovated warehouse and is very bright, modern and quite stylish. It met the girls approval on the two most important criteria. One, it is spotless and two, it has free wi-fi.
We literally dropped our bags off here and headed out in to the city. Our first couple of hours was a stroll up the famous Unter den Linden avenue which takes in numerous landmarks and monuments. You get a real sense of the old and the new city. Many of the old buildings are under-going renovation and there is a lot of new development springing up. There is a definite buzz around the place and you can see why Berlin is gaining a reputation as a trendy city.
The weather was very cold most of the day but, thankfully, stayed almost dry for the duration. After lunch we paused at the Holocaust memorial which was a pretty extraordinary place. It is hard to describe but is a maze of over two thousand grey concrete blocks of varying height. As you walk through it you do get a bit overwhelmed by the scale and symbolism of it. It is very chilling in a very abstract way which I guess is what is designed to be. Freya Wentzel summed it up best. When I asked her what she felt about it she thought for a few moments and said 'oppressive'.
After this very sombre moment the girls had a complete change of mood as they spotted four guys dressed as characters from the 'Ghostbusters' movie literally just walking through town. Of course they all wanted to take selfies with them which they were happy to oblige.
Next stop was the famous Brandenburg Gate which, for a main tourist site was surprisingly relaxed and unstressful. You didn't get any of the souvenir floggers you get around places like the Eifel Tower. We took lots of group photos here which I have included one of.
After taking in some more places of interest we stopped for a much needed coffee or hot chocolate - it was getting really cold by this point.
We then went in to the German parliament for a walk around the glass domed roof designed by Sir Norman Foster. You get some great panoramic views of the city from up there.
After this we went to a local restaurant for a typically German dinner of curry-wurst and frites. After that we headed back to our hotel and all collapsed in to bed.