Today is the last day of class in Berlin. Since the last blog, we have visited sites outside of Berlin as well as memorial and historic sites. On Tuesday, we made our way to the edge of Berlin, bordering on Potsdam. There we followed a guided tour of Schloss Glienicke, which was the summer palace of Prince Carl of Prussia, and is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site “Palaces and Parks of Potsdam and Berlin.” After visiting this site, we then went to Belvedere on the Pfingstberg, where we were able to get a view over the city and into the horizon. We continued going through the “Palaces and Parks of Potsdam and Berlin” the next day, where all of the sites were located in Potsdam. We headed to the Sans Souci Palace, which was the summer palace of Frederick the Great. We also visited the other palaces he built in the vicinity, ending with Charlottenhof Palace, in which Frederick William II resided in during the summer months. Yesterday was a short day where we spent some time at the Botanical Garden in Berlin. The Garden took us around the globe, with plants from almost every continent. We then proceeded to Treptower Park and the Soviet Memorial. The Soviet Memorial had a bigger impact because of the way they organized the entire memorial space within the park. At one side is a statue portraying a mother crying for the loss of her son from the war, while a huge statue of a hero from the war stood at the other end. The day ended early because we had to meet in front of our apartments at 7AM today, in order to make it to our guided tour of the Former Concentration Camp Sachsenhausen. This might have been the worst way to end our trip in Berlin because this was one place that made almost everyone feel uncomfortable. We were offered an option of exploring downtown West Berlin after visiting the concentration camp, but everyone was either too tired, or still felt uncomfortable from what they just saw and learned about.
Even though we ended our Berlin trip on a not-so-happy note, tomorrow begins our 3-day vacation, where we get time to relax and have fun before traveling to Essen on Tuesday. I am traveling with two other students to Copenhagen, Denmark, where I hope I can find some time to relax and explore another European country. Berlin was a very fun experience and we learned a lot in the short two weeks that we have been here. There were a lot of things that we were unable to do, just because we didn’t have enough time. Some students are using the free weekend to explore more of Berlin, but I’m already packed and ready to go to Copenhagen. I would definitely love to visit some other places in Berlin some other time, but I have enjoyed what I have seen so far. Hopefully I will still remember some of the places I’ve traveled to this time so I can take my parents next time.