At the gate, Logan airport, ready to go!!!
14 June 2019
We are currently on the express train from Berlin to Nuremberg. This bit of down time is the first since our whirlwind arrival in Germany. Since landing, we have seen quite a bit of Berlin with some great history lessons from our local guides. All the students got a good night’s sleep and jetlag seems to have passed us by (except for those currently napping on the train!).
On to the photos! On Thursday we landed around midday and immediately hit the city center. After a quick lunch the students visited Checkpoint Charlie and the extensive Wall Museum. Our local guide Klaus gave us a tour from the checkpoint area through East Berlin to the Reichstag building. Everyone went to the top of the glass dome of the building with its gorgeous views of Berlin. After we drove to our hotel in Potsdam, checked in, ate dinner and promptly fell asleep! Such a great journey and first day!
On Thursday, we traveled back to Berlin for a busy morning. Our first stop was the area around the Brandenburg Gate. We started at the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, made our way through the Academy of Arts, onto Pariser Platz and the gate. At the memorial, the students did not fully realize the impact of the design until they themselves walked among the stelae and became disoriented and confused.
The morning continued with our traditional Berlin On Bike tour of the Berlin Wall. The guides provided excellent history and contemporary knowledge of both east and west Berlin and the role the Berlin Wall played during the Cold War. The students were also exposed to how the city is gentrifying: where there once might have been a Nazi camp or jail or the Berlin Wall is now a park or row of apartment blocks. Our group got to enjoy the city while bicycling and learned what it’s like to bike using proper bike lanes and stop lights. The weather was perfect too, if not even too sunny. It has really sunny and hot – nearly 90! It is expected to be a bit cooler in Bavaria (hopefully!). Afterwards we took a tram to Berlin Station, which brings us to this air conditioned train and blog post …
15 June 2019
Today was spent in Nuremberg, the second largest city in Bavaria after Munich. The history here is complicated – the rise and fall of the Nazi party, heavy Allied bombing during the war that leveled the entire city and the famous Nuremberg trials following the WWII. Our students were very engaged and inquisitive while sifting through all the excellent information available in the city.
Our first stop was the Nuremberg Documentation Center which shows the history of the Nazi Party propaganda machine. It also one part of a huge complex of buildings and grounds, some of which were so grand in scale they were never completed. We continued on and visited the Zeppelin fields at the former Nazi Party Rally Grounds. That site is scheduled to be used for a stock car race this weekend.
Then we traveled to the city center and enjoyed lunch with the locals. Midday was spent having a guided tour of the German National Museum which is an impressive collection of cultural history, including Mr. Dürer himself 🙂 The students had a great time with the interactive art outside the museum as well, as it was a lovely day.
Finally the students got to visit the Nuremberg Trial Courthouse where the events of the trials are presented fully, including the influence on our contemporary court in The Hague. They explored town center after for an hour or so to imbibe in some delicious ice cream before heading back to the hotel for dinner. Tomorrow we depart early for the Eagle’s Nest and Salzburg!