Christmas in Berlin

Dated: 8 January 2019

Christmas (almost) at Potsdamer Platz 
Trip report by Maya Eagles - German A level student 
"Last December, early on a Wednesday morning, 14 students from the Woodhouse College German department woke up at an unnatural hour to fly to Berlin...
After arriving to our hotel at East Side Gallery, we continued our journey to Alexanderplatz, the centre of former East Berlin. A walk past the ‘Fernsehtum’ a big TV tower, which could be seen from our hotel, followed this. We continued to the ‘Little Big City’ exhibition where the story of Germany over time was presented in mini figures.
After we visited the DDR museum, which showed how life would have been like for the former GDR residents, Marlon a year two student commented how ‘it is difficult to comprehend how different people’s lives were during the division of Germany.’ The museum was situated right next to the river Spree.
At the Brandenburg Gate 
The next day we took the S-bahn to the Brandenburg gate; once part of the berlin wall, and only accessible to East German border guards, it is now a bustling site with tourists taking photos in front of the famous site.
Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe
We also visited the nearby Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, a haunting experience. Then to the Tränenpalast, a crossing point for east Germans.
We travelled to Tempelhof to visit ex-Woodhouse student Phoenix’ grandma, who told us about her experiences living with the Berlin wall. Wiktoria spoke about how ‘visiting Frau Schallert was inspirational’ as she told us of her escape to live with her husband, then fiancé. We then went to Potsdamer Platz, which is very modern as the whole area was bombed in the war.
In the nearby cinema, we watched the ‘Grinch’, which added to the Christmassy feel of Berlin.
On our last full day we visited Checkpoint Charlie and the Mauer Panorama exhibition which was extremely moving to image what the different sides of the wall would have seen. We saw the famous Kadewe, on the Ku’damm - the German equivalent of Oxford Street. We saw the Gedächtniskirche which they have left bombed to remind people of what happened during the war. Next door a modern church was built.
A surviving stretch of the Berlin wall 
On the last day we visited the East Side Gallery - a 1.3km stretch of the Berlin wall, displaying paintings from over a hundred different artists.
Throughout the trip we visited multiple Christmas markets ( there are around 80 in just Berlin) and ate the German delicacies such as curry wurst and doner kabab. Hanna states ‘the doner kebab was the best kebab ever.’ There are more doner kabab places in Berlin than in Istanbul. We saw how multicultural Berlin is.
By the time we returned to London everyone was tired, but we thoroughly enjoyed our visit to this fascinating city."

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