Oviedo –> Berlin
This week marked my first out-of-country adventure…to Berlin, Germany. How did this come to be, you may wonder? Well, flashback to a month ago on a weekday evening in a local café. My friends and I were researching potential mini-trips around Spain when, to our surprise, we found a round trip flight to Berlin for about the cost of your average haircut. Boom! We decided without hesitation to seize the opportunity to see another part of Europe.
As the week slowly passed, I anxiously awaited the arrival of our trip. Finally, the last bell struck and off I went from school to my apartment to eat a quick lunch and gather my belongings. My friends and I reconvened at the bus station and we took at 3-hour bus to the airport. After a quick flight and exit off the plan, the fun began.
Coming to Germany with no experience with the German language proved to be…interesting. We were first tasked with navigating the Berlin transportation system, which was all in German (naturally). Our group, as well as the plane-load of Spaniards, stood on the train platform mildly confused as to which line we needed to catch in order to make it to downtown Berlin. Luckily for us, however, we were the only Spanish speakers that also knew English, so we were able to ask the one train conductor and translate to our newly-made Spanish friends.
After a successful train ride, we settled into our hostel and then began exploring. On this trip, we were able to indulge in various free activities, such as a tour and variations attractions. On the free walking tour, we were taken to the Brandenburg Gate, various memorial sites, the checkpoints where West Berliners entered into East Berlin and vice versa, and most importantly, the Berlin Wall. What a fantastic experience to learn about Germany’s history while being present in Berlin and to see first-hand its evolution as a country.
After these attractions we made a pit stop at Dunkin Donuts. (We wanted a little taste of home while we were there because Spain does not have our go-to food chain retailer). From there we visited the main Cathedral in Berlin, as well as the huge tower. Both were so large; we stood in awe adoring their unique and ornate structures. We kicked off the last part of our trip with a visit to the parliament building. At the top of the building sits a transparent, glass dome built in 2010. This dome, we learned, is a symbol meant to represent government transparency. At the center of the dome, you can look down through the floor and see the legislation at work. I found this progressive symbol to be a sign of hope for democracy during these trying times of nationalism and extremism throughout the world.
Overall, Berlin stole our hearts. It was clean and modern with a rich history and even more rich foods. Although at times it was challenging to communicate, the experience was worth every penny.
Now, it is time to get back on the grind to school! Until next time.