Thursday, June 23, 2016

A study break to Berlin

Once upon a time I decided that I needed a break from revising exams at Oxford. So what did I do? I looked up train prices and flight prices . . . and found out that flights to Berlin were 25 pounds.

I've wanted to go to Berlin for a long time now. I've been fascinated with German history, I love German chocolate, and I took seven years of German (from junior high to university . . . that really means nothing--as you'll see later--but it does mean that I have a love of my German heritage and culture).

So, when I saw that the flights were cheap, I decided to just go. For a day. Yep. A day trip to Berlin.

And it was completely worth it.

I didn't have much time (especially after airport workers in France were striking, which meant that we couldn't fly over French airspace . . . which meant that I was delayed 2 hours). So I literally hit the ground running so I could fit in everything I had planned. (*Spoiler alert*: I did.) 

[At the Pergamon Museum. These are the Ishtar Gates of Babylon (which were absolutely stunning).] 

[Walking along Unter den Linden (Under the Lindens)]

[Unter den Linden after the rain.]

[Park outside Berliner Dom.]

[Trabi at the DDR Museum. Because now everyone wants to drive a Trabi. Just not back in the DDR days.]

[The perfect model of DDR homemaking.]

It has been a dream of mine to walk on both sides of the Brandenburg Gate (mostly because it was such an impossibility for years because Berlin was divided), and I was able to do that when I was at Berlin. 

[The Reichstag.]


[The Holocaust Memorial. It was very moving; it reminded me a lot of the Vietnam War Memorial in DC.]

[Remnants of the Berlin Wall at Potsdamer Platz. "Something there is that does not love a wall . . ."]

[Checkpoint Charlie. Surrounded by people selling Soviet paraphernalia. I found this satisfyingly funny.]

I had to remember how to read German again, but I was able to figure out the transport system well. I had no problems. I could also understand enough German and I was amazed how much came back the longer I was in the city. However, speaking German was really hard. I knew what I wanted to say, but it was all going to come out in Russian, and I figured that Berlin had heard enough Russian in its days . . . so when I spoke with someone, I ended up looking like a dehydrated fish. 

Fun fact: 5 different people asked me for directions. I obviously 1) looked German, and 2) looked like I knew what I was doing, one of which is partly true, one of which is not true at all. They all looked so disappointed when I replied (in broken German) that "ich kann nicht Deutsch." 

However, I did remember enough German to ask someone if they spoke English, and how to order a jelly donut. So, you know, the 7 years of German I took served its purpose.  

[Holding my life-saving pastry. I'm serious. I was on "Megan in Berlin" mode all day long, which means that I was rushing from place to place, trying to get everywhere I wanted to go and when I finally stopped for food it was while I was waiting for the bus. I have no idea what this was. (All I said was "I want that one," but oh boy oh boy oh boy it was gooooood.]

[Schloss Charlottenburg.]

[A piece of quite away from the bustle of the city.]

I liked Berlin. It was a whirlwind trip, and I would like to get to know the city better someday. Berlin has been a symbol for so many different governments and times . . . I think that the city is still getting to know itself, if that makes sense. 

In any case, it was a great study break. Berlin is beautiful. 


  1. Your Grandpa and I went to Berlin just months before the Wall fell. We were able to go to the Pergamon Museum and see the Ishtar Gates also. I loved it and still think of the beauty and marvel that something so ancient has survived in excellent condition.

  2. So fun! I love whirlwind trips here and there. Berlin is on my list, too.