2013

School Work… Check! Time to Explore!

Hello Everyone!
Let me begin by saying, I CANNOT believe almost four weeks has gone by already! Time is literally flying by. I am enjoying my time spent at school and out exploring, of course! This is my main purpose of this blog today- to share several of my favorite places here in Germany I have seen during the past month! Of course, school work, lesson planning, and international homework come first… but it is MUST for me to take time to learn about the life, culture, and history of Germany! The history of Germany is phenomenal. Let the stories begin…

I am happily writing this blog from the porch of my apartment, enjoying the beautiful sunshine and 65 degree weather! The weather here is often gloomy and cold, but this week has been the complete opposite. This works out perfectly since I am on “Holiday” this week! Holiday is what we call Break or Vacation in Wisconsin. The staff and students from the BBS school have the entire week off!

Yesterday I decided to meet with a guided tour that was headed to Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp. Before I began, I knew I wanted to see this historical place and was beyond excited to have the opportunity! The Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp is not as well known as Auschwitz or Dachau, but it has very important historical significance. This concentration camp was the center of the Nazi concentration camp system. Here, thousands of innocent people were tortured, abused, killed, and psychologically tormented. As I listened to the history of the very place I was standing, I experienced the most surreal feeling. I wish words couldn’t bring the feeling to life for you, but it could never do the experience justice. It was eerie, cold, sad, hopeless, and emotionally exhausting experience. However, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I wish that every single human being would be able to go to such a place, it has forever changed my life.

Germany has layers upon layers of history, some of it from the not so far distant past. I am amazed at the willingness of the German culture to share their dark past which many are quick to hide and deny. It is enlightening and really hits home the importance of mankind standing together, and learning from our past to ensure we stand united to improve our future.

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In the courtyard before entering into the Sachsenhausen Camp yard.

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The barracks that housed hundreds of people. 

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The unthinkable end for thousands of innocent people. 

On a lighter note, I wanted to share the places I have visited so far!

Brandenburg Gate is Berlin’s most famous sight! It is located in Pariser Platz and is the most attractive gates built!

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The Brandenburg Gate at Pariser Platz

Reichstag is the seat of the German Parliament, it is  another fantastic landmark!

The Victory Tower commemorates Prussian victory against Denmark. The goddess Victoria stands tall at the very top of the tower!

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The Victory Tower

Charlottenburg Palace, Schlossgarten, and The Monument to the Great Elector are each located next to one another. There is a gorgeous palace, landscaping, statues, mausoleum, and garden… Simply beautiful.

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In front of the Monument to the Great Elector and Charlottenburg Palace.

Viktoriapark is one of the most popular parks! The hills, paths, trees, water stream, and at the top stands the Memorial of the victory in the Wars of Liberation against Napoleon.

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The view from the sidewalk looking up to the Memorial. 

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The Monument at Viktoriapark. 

I spent an entire morning/afternoon seeing the animals at Berlin’s Zoological Garden! This zoo is the oldest, opening in 1844, and is the best known zoo in Germany! I saw so many different types of creatures! Zebras, elephants, tigers, lion, bears, flamingos, birds, camels, monkeys, rhinos, polar bears, seals, kangaroos, nocturnal animals… and more! The zoo is HUGE! I could have spent all day there and still not seen everything!

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The entrance of the Berlin Zoological Garden.

The Neue Synagoge, Postfuhramt, Checkpoint Charlie, The Sony Center, and “The Water-Meatball” are just a few more places to mention!

I hope to see much more in the next seven weeks… I cannot wait to share with you!

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One thought on “School Work… Check! Time to Explore!

  1. Brittany,

    It sounds like you are having an absolutely amazing experience in Germany and seeing a lot of really incredible things!

    I was particularly interested in your description of the concentration camp. It is true how you say that many people like to hide their dark pasts, but there also comes a time when honesty and truth must come to light. Even in the U.S., the truth about the Japanese Internment camps has really only recently been talked about and shared.

    When I visited the Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C., it was hard to believe that something so horrendous could have actually happened to innocent people all because of one person’s dream. I can only imagine the feelings and thoughts you described when actually visiting one of the camps, but you are right in saying that that experience will be with you for a lifetime.

    I really liked how you mentioned the layers upon layers of history that Germany has because it is that history that makes the culture of Germany so rich. I think that sometimes Americans will look at our history and say that it is long, but really we are just a baby in comparison the age of the rest of the world. I personally can’t wait to see more of your explorations in Germany. Maybe I will have to visit there one day after all!

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