Because I lead an extremely blessed life,
(and not just in the #blessed way)
I spent my Spring Break in Berlin, Germany.
For some reason I’ve always been interested in Berlin.
There’s a rich history in just the city alone.
It helps that it’s in Germany, a country that I’ve always had a soft spot for.
Even better than getting to travel to Berlin,
is getting to explore the sights with two extremely amazing people.
Kyley, my best friend from high school,
braved her first international flight,
and trusted me to lead her around a foreign country,
just to have another adventure with me.
Stefan, my Big’s boyfriend’s fraternity Little brother,
Or more easily explained, a spectacular friend,
traveled from where he is living in Frankfurt, all the way to Berlin to hang out for a few days.
He spoke German for us, he lead us around, and let me where his coat when I got cold.
(Why am I NEVER properly prepared for cold?!)
Anyways, here’s a rundown of the trip.
Sunday we landed, and I was so happy to be home in Europe.
I’ll never understand my love for Europe,
But I’ve learned it’s easier not to question love, and just allow it to happen.
We wandered around the city, getting lost multiple times.
To be quite honest, I was beginning to freak out and question how the week would go.
Monday was quite a Jew day.
Because as my grandfather always made sure of, I’m a good Jewish girl.
(No, really, I’m Christian, but we all like to please our grandparents)
We wandered to the Brandenburg Gate, then over to the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe.
And after that we got pretty lost trying to find the Jewish Museum, but once we found it we enjoyed our time in the maze there.
After learning anything and everything we could about Jews, we headed off to the New Synagogue in Berlin.
I don’t know why but I LOVE old buildings like Synagogues and Cathedrals, so even if I am not Jewish, I can enjoy the Synagogue.
Tuesday was my third concentration camp visit.
We visited Sachsenhausen, which was located outside of Berlin.
It was liberated by the Soviets, and then became a camp for the Soviets after the Holocaust.
It has quite the chilling history, as do all the camps.
I’ve always been fascinated by that terrible time in history,
which I guess is why I’ve visited three concentration camps…
Wednesday was the day we decided to go a little easier on ourselves.
We’d spent the entire day before learning about the Holocaust, and Wednesday was raining,
So we went to Madame Tussaud’s wax museum.
If you’ve never been to one of those wax museums, they’re designed for you to be able to pose and take photos with the wax figurines.
As we walked through the “historical/political section” we saw people like Angela Merkel, Obama, JFK, Anne Frank, and many others.
Then we rounded a corner, and there was an enclosed area, curious as always, we walked towards it.
Behind that enclosure, was a wax figurine of Hitler.
We were not allowed to take photos, out of respect for all of the victims, but it was truly eerie to be face to face with Hitler.
After all of this, we went shopping, because what’s a trip to Europe without a shopping spree?!
I find my best outfits there…
Tally Weijl, I love you.
Thursday, all my dreams came true.
We went to… THE OLYMPIC STADIUM!!!
Anyone that knows me can tell you, I have an unhealthy obsession with the Olympics.
This year for the Olympics my mom mailed me a Switzerland shirt just so I could root on my team properly.
She also mailed me a Germany shirt saying I could wear that one if my Switzerland was dirty…
(I never wore it, because, HOPP SCHWIIZ, all the way)
Anyways, this stadium is now used by a soccer team in Berlin, so there stuff was everywhere,
But that didn’t change the fact I WAS AT AN OLYMPIC STADIUM.
After that morning of excitement, we crossed the entire city, because I’m bad at maps, and headed to the East Side Gallery.
We walked the Berlin and took tons of photos of all the amazing artwork.
I’d wanted to see the Berlin wall since I can remember, so really Thursday was the day of dreams.
Then to put the icing on the cake for the day, we went to Ritter Sports Bunte Schokowelt, where we got to design our own chocolate bar.
I made a milk chocolate bar with rhubarb, vanilla cookie and yogurt bits.
Can’t tell you how it tastes though, because I haven’t been brave enough to eat it yet,
(mostly because I’m still so excited I made one…)
Friday morning we dedicated to going to the Supermarket.
I have a weird obsession with supermarkets in foreign country.
I will walk up and down every aisle, just to see what’s going on.
Of course, some things were new to me there, but they also had some of my favorites.
I bought way too much Kinder chocolate and Balisto bars.
But they didn’t have Hazelnut yogurt… I’m still crying.
After our morning of supermarkets, we headed off to the train station to pick up STEFAN!
All week I’d thought, “how weird, Stefan and I are in the same country,”
And then when we hugged in the train station, I was like “woah, you’re actually a person”
I don’t know… things are hard for me…
With a fluent German speaker joining the ranks, I handed over all my navigating duties to him.
We then went to the DDR museum, and then to the Berliner Dom.
But you had to pay and take a tour of the Berliner Dom, so I walked in, looked at it, and walked out. Exciting stuff.
THEN, we went to the Fernsehturm, which is a super tall tower in Berlin.
We had VIP status, (casual hair toss), and we had dessert in the restaurant at the top, watched the sunset over the city, and sat and talked for 4 hours.
Saturday we woke up earlier than normal, because Stefan likes that kind of stuff…
First on the agenda was a bakery for breakfast, because Stefan was helping me search for Rum Kugels.
Which according to his sister, Christina are the best thing in the world and I NEEDED one,
According to Stefan, they don’t seem too special.
But he stilled searched every bakery that we saw for them so I could try one.
(They were never found…)
We went to two museums that day, Checkpoint Charlie and Topography of Terror.
Both were really interesting.
Checkpoint Charlie is more about the divide of West/East Berlin, and all that went with that.
Topography of Terror is about the Third Reich.
Biggest thing I learned at both of these though is, Stefan’s a reader, Kyley and I are not…
(I look at pictures, because I am a child)
But he was really nice about us speeding through the museum and sitting while he finished.
Unlike when my parents say I speed through museums.
Queen J… you know you do this.
After our museums we went to an old East Germany airport.
I don’t actually think I fully understood, but it’s now a park mainly, so we walked around.
The grass was green, and buildings were only in the distance,
So you know the nature lover in me was enjoying it.
Sunday came and it was time to leave.
Our taxi came to pick Kyley and I up a little after 4 am,
And Stefan carried our luggage down the stairs without his arthritis flaring up.
(Yeah, I’ve got grandpa jokes…)
Of course, Berlin airport and I had our issues, as always.
I might have spoken in a stern tone with an employee, but hey, at least I did so in German.
I don’t understand why German airports hate me, but they do.
At least I didn’t cry, which is more than I can say for Frankfurt airport.
Finally at 5 pm, we landed in Oklahoma.
I love Europe, I really do, but Oklahoma will always be my first home.