Our program wouldn't have been complete without a trip to Germany's capitol, Berlin. On Thursday, June 17, we took a train to Berlin which lasted about 6 hours. It was a long ride, but I read and dozed off for the duration. We finally arrived at the station and took a tram to our hostel. The hostel was nice and cozy compared to the one in Munich. We settled in, but soon left for our first tour of the Ministry of Economics & Technology. We had an engaging presentation with one of the employees followed by a brief Q&A session. It was interesting to get a direct perspective of what a typical day is like for an employee as well as what current topics are being discussed in the Ministry.
We had no official plans for the remainder of the day, so we took a slow walk back to our hostel and finished unpacking our luggage. I was quite tired from traveling all day, so I decided to take a nap and catch a late dinner. After dinner, a friend and I decided to head to one of the many clubs in Berlin to scope out the night life.
It was an awesome club with a ton of people and great DJ's. The club was on top of a huge building and had a great view of Berlin. This was my first real experience of a "big city" club, but it was extremely fun, considering we were heading back to the hostel while the sun was rising!
The next morning, our day consisted of a guided tour of the German Bundestag with a special presentation by Gunther Krichbaum where we could also ask questions relevant to politics and government as well as some current events.
Once again, the architecture of this building intrigued me due to its neutral color scheme and outdoor concrete style. Our group also had a quick explanation of the interesting layout of Berlin and the history of the Berlin wall. One highlight of our trip to the Bundestag building was being able to make our way up to the roof of a building which was interconnected with a few others, including the Bundestag. It was a great opportunity to capture a few photos of the city.
Our next stop for the day was the World Cup public viewing for the Germany soccer match against Serbia. The viewing had a great vibe to it. People were happy, drinks were flowing and the food was great. Unfortunately, Germany ended up losing the match, but made a great run for the cup!
There were many other neat attractions that we saw throughout the weekend which have great significance to the rich history of berlin.
The Brandenbourg Tor, the Holocaust Memorial, churches, markets, Checkpoint Charlie, and of course the Berlin Wall.
One highlight of the trip was our evening at the "Dark Restaurant." (http://www.unsicht-bar.de/) If you can imagine, the Unsicht-Bar is a restaurant specifically created for an experience in complete darkness. It is truly an amazing experience to be in complete darkness for the duration of a four course meal. Once you specify to the host at the entrance (which is lit) what type of meal you would prefer; fish, poultry, lamb, veal, or vegetarian as well as a mystery platter to heighten the experience. The meal was excellent and it was gratifying to have completed it without one accident! If you ever have the chance to eat at such a place, it's definitely recommended. It's great that I had to opportunity to visit Berlin, let alone all the historic venues. I had a great time with our group all around. It will never be forgotten.