Everybody had to get up really early on Tuesday to leave for Berlin. Nevertheless, the teachers were met by an excited, if somewhat sleepy-eyed crowd of students at the Krefeld train station. Going by train with these kids is never boring! We played games, laughed and talked a lot, and got to Berlin in next to no time. On the first day, we visited the Deutsche Bundestag, sat in the assembly hall (Angela Merkel unfortunately was busy elsewhere), and met with a member of the German parliament. The students got to ask questions and took pictures, and then we had lunch at the parliament cafeteria. The first picture shows them in front of the Bundestag (in their defense, they normally don't look like that - we did ask them to stick their tongues out and act goofy!).
On the next day, we went to the castle Sanssouci in Potsdam, a town very close to Berlin. The castle grounds include an impressive array of other castles, a Chinese house and an orangery (what some of us jokingly called "our little breakfast room").
Here is a link to the castle: http://www.spsg.de/index.php?id=163
The photo was taken in front of the back of (oh, spatial prepositions!) the castle.
Afterwards, we took the S-Bahn into Berlin, visited the Berliner Dom and chose from a selection of museums. In the evening, we went to a show of the Blue Man Group. We had so much fun at this show that it would warrant a separate blog entry - there was music, percussion, theater, lots of paint, and a clever and witty script to tie it all together.
Here is a link to their international website; the kids will tell you that it is worth a trip: http://www.blueman.com/
On our last day we visited Checkpoint Charlie (the most famous border crossing between East and West Berlin), the KaDeWe (Kaufhaus des Westens - a famous department store built in 1907), and the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church. We spent lunch in the Tiergarten, a big park in the middle of Berlin, and saw the victory column there. Finally, before we headed for the train station, we took the S-Bahn to Ostbahnhof, where we saw one of the only remaining intact sections of the Berlin Wall. As is custom for people visiting the wall from all over the world, the students wrote their names and date of their visit on the back side of the wall.
On the train ride back home, we whiled away the time by listening to German music, talking, sleeping and playing games (I am still not so sure I know how to play Kemps, but after a couple hours, everybody definitely got the hang of German hangman!). All in all, a very successful trip!