Friday, March 27, 2009


Hello!! So last week I went to Berlin. AMAZING! that's all I can say about the city. It was by far the coolest city I have ever been to- not that I have been to many, but probably will continue to be my favorite city even after visiting others, it was just that good! I wasn't expecting it to be good, I have no idea why, but it was absolutley amazing. I went with three other girls- Mattie from Missouri, it was her 21st birthday which was essentially the reason we went, and Kailey and Lianna from Ontario.

After a long train ride on March 18th, we finally arrived and found our hostel. Totally the coolest hostel ever. It was like a club or something when you walked in- they had the bumping music, complete with bar and games room and a thousand comfy chairs, and extremely young and good looking people working there. Too funny. Didn't do much that night, just hung around the hostel!
The next morning we got up early, and we had read the night before about these Free Tours that a company gave for downtown Berlin. Which we thought would be awesome, and was especially awesome because somebody picked us right up from our hostel because it was on the way to the starting point for the tour. So the tour started out at the Brandenburg gate (the first picture), and we were split up into groups based on the language of our tour. Our tour guide was this tiny little girl from Scotland or Ireland who was an absolute history whiz, Im pretty sure she had a history degree and decided to come to Berlin to show off her skills. haha. The tour was absolutley incredible- I honestly didnt know ANY history about Berlin, or really any history at all for that matter, prior to the tour, and the tour guide was so amazing, like I was just SO interested in it! We started off at the area around the Brandenburg gate- and saw all of the landmarks around it- like the hotel where Michael Jackson dangled his baby ( the hotel in the second picture), and also the Reichstag- the German parliament building. We walked along and saw the Brandenburg gate, which still had bullet holes visible from WWII, and also walked past a Holocaust memorial site. We walked by the place where Hitler killed himself in bunker- which today is a parking lot, funny enough, but the ruins of the bunker are still underground so will probably someday be uncovered. We also walked past one part of the Berlin wall (picture 3) the Nazi Book burning memorial site, as well as many beautiful churches designed by very important people back in the day that I cannot remember. I found it crazy that 90% of the city was destroyed during the second world war, and so nearly every building has been built in the past 50 or 60 years. We also walked past this big TV tower (picture 4)- which looks similar to a mini CN tower or something, which was made like before all of the churches were rebuilt after the war by some anti-church guy or something, which turned out to be funny, because everytime the sun shone on this TV tower, a cross would form from reflections of the sun.

That night it was Mattie's birthday, and the same company that put on the tour also put on other tours that you could pay for, as well as a Pub Crawl, which i actually went on. It turned out to be a lot of fun, although the first couple of bars were super sketchy and full of graffiti- it got better as it went on! Our tour guide was from Australia and I ended up talking to him and his other australian friend most of the night, which was lots of fun! Im pretty sure i am in love with australian accents. seriously.

The next day we benefited more from this companies tours, and went on a tour of Potsdam. Potsdam is a little city about 30 minutes outside of Berlin, and the whole point of this tour was sort of to see how such a beautiful and peaceful town can exist outside of the crazy busy city of Berlin. It was absolutley beautiful and had many gardens, parks, and best of all- PALACES! The palaces almost all once belonged to the Kings of Prussia. The most famous king of Prussia was called Frederick the Great, and we got to walk all around his house. crazy crazy crazy. Also saw the palaces of his fathers and sons, which were equally as nice. Our tour guide for this day was another Australian called Daniel.. he was hilarious. He had crazy stories to tell us and was super awkward in general. He had like crazy mad scientist looking hair or something, and wore this nice long black trenchcoat. Since the back side of him is in like 10 of my pictures, Im pretty sure i will not be forgetting this guy's hair for a long time. He said he liked people like me who had zro knowledge in the history world because it made him look really really smart haha. Anyway, we got to see this other palace where the Potsdam Conference took place, which to me meant nothing, but to the history whiz's meant the place where three nations came for a big conference where they were going to divide up the conquered Nazi Germany after the war. Lots and lots of walking that day. We went out and got a delicious German meal for supper that night back in Berlin.
The next day, once again, benefitted from this companies tours (seriously, what would our trip have been without them?!), we went to Sachsenhausen Concentration camp- creepy to say the least. My absolute 0-history knowledge provided me with the most shocking experience of my life! I never knew concentration camps were really that bad- our tour guide was a guy from Missouri and he did a really really good job of explaining everything to us and giving us the facts and telling us really exactly how terrible it was back in the day. It was a concentration camp, not an extermination camp, so unlike the huge ones, it killed about 50,000 compared to like millions from the huge ones. They built this camp about 45 minutes outside of Berlin, and oddly enough- during the time that the 1936 Olympics were in Berlin. So while the whole world was watching Berlin, the Nazi's were secretly building this concentration camp. hard for me to believe, it is so crazy! He told us and showed us everything from the baracks that the prisonners lived in, to their daily tasks, to the extermination area of the camp. It was really sad, but Im glad I went because it really made me aware of the things that went on back then. Also one thing that was interesting- the buildings that the SS and their families lived in during the war are now houses that normal people live in, and the training building that the SS were trained in, is now a police training academy. interesting.
That pretty much concludes my amazing trip to Berlin- also bought some Birkenstocks. SO PUMPED TO WEAR THEM.! Enjoy the rest of the pictures!!

An original Nazi building. surprisingly still remained after the war.

The Holocaust memorial site.
The pub crawl! The girl on the right is Lianna, one that we went with, the other two girls are from Saskatchewan I think, and Liam our guide and i think Ryan from Australia!
haha. Daniel our tour guide for potsdam
Me sitting on one of the palaces!
Where the potsdam conference was held!
Kaileys unexpected photo of me in Potsdam!
The gorgeous brandenburg gate at night time!

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