I believe I left off right before I took a day trip to Dresden with the FUBiS group. I had never been to Dresden before, and I was seriously impressed! Dresden is a pretty small city that was bombed and mostly destroyed during the war. Now, a lot of it has been rebuilt in its original form. It is SO beautiful! All the buildings are enormous and so majestic. Every time I took a picture, I felt like I just could not capture everything I wanted to. Keep that in mind with my pictures - they seriously do not do this city justice! (Also please ignore all the tourists in my pictures and unprofessional quality!)
A 100-meter long porcelain mural of all of the rulers of Dresden over 800 years.
The grand inside of the famous Dresden Opera House.
On Sunday, we had a tour of the Berlin Wall. The tour was from many years ago, and everyone in our group felt like we missed some important parts of the wall. Even so, here are a few pictures from the tour.
Memorial for Peter Fechter, the 18-year old who was shot to death while trying to cross the Berlin Wall.
Here is one of the pieces of the wall that is still standing. To the right is the Topography of Terror, which I had visited before with one of my classes.
After the tour, we met up with Lennart, one of our old exchange students! It was really great to see him! He and a few of my friends and I went to a weekly flea market, where we walked around, listened to some karaoke, and got tiny ice cream samples. Then, Lennart showed us the best place to get Döner Kebabs for dinner.
The next day, my friends and I went to the Brandenburg Gate to be part of the Fan Mile for Germany's first World Cup game. It was great to be part of a huge crowd of Germany fans during such a great game and a Germany win! The newspaper estimated 500,000 people were there. We were lucky to be in the closest section to the Gate. You can tell from this picture how packed it was!
On Wednesday I went to the Jewish Museum with my class. This is the only picture I have from it, which at all doesn't show how impressive it was. The architecture, style, and symbolism of the museum was really cool. The museum was also interesting in that it focused more on Judaism throughout history, rather than mainly focusing on the Holocaust. I thought that was really great. I think it can be easy to think only about the Holocaust when we think about Judaism in Germany, and to forget that Judaism has been around for so long before that. I wish we had gotten to spend more time there!
On a much happier note, here is a picture of the adorable cafe we go to every day during our mid-morning break! Note the un-refrigerated eggs. It is amazing (and still sort of sketchy) to me that milk and eggs do not need to be refrigerated here!
Later last week, we went to see the East Side Gallery, which is the painted stretch of the Berlin Wall. It is about one kilometer long. We didn't see quite the whole thing, but here are a few pictures from it! These were some of my favorite quotes, plus me doing the Berlin Bear pose in front of a section painted with the German and American flags. :)
Ok, we finally made it through one week! This past weekend, we went to Hamburg with the FUBiS group. Once again, the buildings (and ships) were too big and grand to actually capture in a photo. But here are lots of pictures anyway!
The only water fountain I have seen since leaving the U.S.! Notice the large signage pointing it out and attracting attention. We were SO excited and all filled up our water bottles. Somehow it felt cleaner than filling up in a bathroom sink like we have been every day...
I had seen these "Love Locks" at every river in Germany, but our tour guide in Hamburg finally explained it to us! Couples attach a lock to a fence above a body of water to symbolize their love. Then, they throw the key into the water. Each person keeps a key too, just in case!
Impressive amount of canals in Hamburg!
Some of my friends on the boat tour of Hamburg harbor.
This boat was HUGE! The boats in the harbor were actually incredible - I have never seen boats that big, never mind so many in one place! It was really cool to do a boat tour to see the importance of Hamburg's harbor, which we couldn't see from land.
Hamburg from the water.
Drinking chai tea and trying all the kinds of sugar at the Tea Museum in Hamburg!
On Wednesday this week, I went to Tempelhofer Feld with my class. Tempelhofer Feld is an abandoned Nazi airport. Now, the airport is used for a lot of different things, including gardening projects, protection for endangered species of birds, and recreation. Community members are working on "Pioneer Projects," which aim to turn different parts of the airport into gardens or other projects that bring nature into the city.
That was so much! We have seriously been doing so much in Berlin and other cities. On top of all this, I have essays, presentations, and homework all the time (but no pictures of those ;))! It is definitely exhausting, but in a fun and exciting way.
One thing I have noticed that is really awesome about Berlin is the mix of historical and modern culture. For example, the artwork on the Berlin Wall shows recent paint and graffiti on such an important part of Berlin's history (even though I have to keep remembering that it wasn't really that long ago!). It sometimes takes me by surprise and seems disrespectful or out of place - like the cafe right behind Peter Fechter's memorial - but that is just what makes Berlin so unique!
P.S. Congratulations (and thanks!) for making it to the end of this massive post!