One of the many perks of taking a language at GCSE is the trip to that country at the end of year 10, and I had been looking forward to the Berlin trip for months. Standing outside the school at midnight that day in July, cases packed and families waiting to say goodbye, excitement lingered in the air.
The trip didn’t get off to a great start. First the coach was a little late, and then we were stranded at the airport for four hours waiting for a delayed flight – it wasn’t the start we’d been hoping for!
The flight flew by, and as the plane touched the ground we all couldn’t wait to get going. We headed to the hostel and checked in, and took a quick nap and freshened up. After dinner and a little free time to explore we went swimming! It was a very fun end to a tiring day, and I can safely say that we all slept like logs.
On the first full day we had an early start and took a tour around the Berlin Parliament Building – the Reichstag Building. It’s an incredible place, history mingling with the future. It also has a glass dome you can see all over Berlin through.
We visited the Brandenburg Gate and did a little shopping at Alexander Platz, where we had lunch and then headed to Checkpoint Charlie. Checkpoint Charlie is a museum all about the ways people attempted to get over the Berlin Wall. It was incredibly heart breaking to see, and humbled me to my core – the idea of having to fight for your freedom and being so desperate that are willing to die to escape is terrifying.
After Dinner, we went to the Fernsehturm tower. It’s a TV tower that stands a whopping 368m tall with a revolving restaurant close to the top. Standing in the viewing platform the people below look like ants – the view was spectacular.
The last full day was all about sightseeing. In the morning we visited the East Side Gallery. The Berlin Wall separated the Communist controlled Berlin from West Berlin. It was built overnight separating families, and now only the ruins remain from when the Wall was torn down in 1989-1992. The ruins are covered in colourful paintings, and it was amazing to see such a symbol of both tragedy and hope.
We finished the trip with a boat trip through Berlin, getting to see the sights before we headed back to the hostel to pack, ready to head home the next morning.
The trip was amazing – it was a lot of fun and something I know I’ll remember for long after we’ve all left Thorns.