Berlin Trip

30 April 2013

 

Seventeen enthusiastic pupils from CHS visited Berlin during their Easter holidays with the Department of Modern Languages, accompanied by C. Allen and C. Irvine (Trip Leader). With temperatures plunging as low as -10˚C, the group managed to brave the freezing weather conditions to visit many places of interest including: Berlin Zoo, Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp, The Brandenburg Gate, Checkpoint Charlie, the town of Potsdam and Sanssouci Palace as well as a Bunker Tour that included visiting civilian shelters, the bombing campaign, the bunker complexes and remnants from WWII.

Highlights of the trip included visiting a sweet making shop to watch traditional German sweets being made, an evening of Disco Bowling, a boat trip on the River Spree, not to mention indulging in coffee, cake and doughnuts in the rotating restaurant in Berlin’s 368m high TV Tower. This experience brought a whole new meaning to Kennedy’s declaration, ‘ich bin ein Berliner!’ J

Despite the busy schedule, pupils still managed to find some time to shop in Berlin’s largest department store, KaDeWe. Although pupils were sad to say ‘Auf Wiedersehen’ to Berlin, they still have vivid memories of a fantastic trip that enabled them to practise their linguistic skills in German, enjoy local culture and history, as well as visit world-famous places of interest.

Pupil impressions of the Berlin Trip

 We thoroughly enjoyed the Berlin Trip. There were so many fun activities and the outings that we enjoyed were going to the sweet making shop, the zoo and buying goodies in the Ampelmann shop. In the sweet making shop we were able to watch a man making sweets and he allowed us to taste the sweets as he was making them. The shop was fantastic, we’ve never seen or tasted as many delicious sweets before! We had great fun at the zoo. It was snowing and this was a unique experience as normally we try to go to the zoo on a beautiful day at home! The zoo was actually in the city, we were able to walk to it from our hotel and we had such a good view of the animals as their enclosures were quite close to the visitors. We particularly enjoyed feeding time at the lions’ enclosure and also hearing the lions growl!

 

It was easy to know when we were in East Berlin as there was a wee Ampelmann on the crossing at the traffic lights. We were excited to find out that the Ampelmann (traffic light man) is such a popular symbol in Berlin and that there are even shops dedicated to him. In the Ampelmann shops we bought umbrellas, key rings, bags, pens and of course green and red Ampelmann sweets.  

However, the activities that we enjoyed best of all were disco bowling and dining in the rotating restaurant in Berlin’s TV Tower. Bowling in Berlin was great fun as they actually have loud music playing in the background, disco balls, the lights are dimmed and there is even strobe lighting – and all this when you are bowling. We also got a free mineral and we had great fun singing along, dancing conga style and of course bowling!

Having our lunch in the rotating restaurant in the TV Tower was a totally unique experience as we got an elevator up to the restaurant and as we were having our snack the restaurant rotated. This enabled us to have a fantastic view of Berlin as we were eating and we were able to see The Reichstag, Berliner Dom and the Brandenburg Gate. We are already looking forward to our next trip to Berlin.

Rebecca Curry, Aimee Junk and Rachel McKeown (10EB).

 

I totally enjoyed the Berlin Trip and I would gladly go back. Although many of the activities were really worthwhile and exciting, in my opinion the best part of the trip was when we went to Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp. We travelled by bus from our hotel in Berlin via Potsdam where we visited the Sanssouci Palace to get to Sachsenhausen. At Sachsenhausen we got a tour of the entire Concentration Camp. Our excellent English-speaking tour guide (who really resembled Wilma from Scooby Doo) made our trip so worthwhile as she thoroughly explained what each room was used for, showed us video clips and answered all our questions. She was so knowledgeable and I found this part of the trip emotional, but very informative. I hope to visit Berlin again, it is an amazing city!

Joel Anderson (Year 11)

It is hard to choose my favourite activity on the Berlin trip as there were so many! Personally, I really enjoyed the Bunker Tour. In order to get into the Bunker, we had to go into a train station and go through a locked, almost ‘secret’ door in the underground tube station. This was very exciting. Everyday hundreds of people walk past a green door in the Gesundbrunnen underground railway station in Berlin, unaware that within lies a subterranean labyrinth full of history just waiting to be experienced. Our tour guides brought us into one of the few remaining bunkers, as it was left after the war. I found the tour really exciting and informative as we found out about the life of the average Berlin citizen during the air-raids that destroyed up to 80 % of the city’s centre. We walked through the twisting passages and rooms, saw countless artefacts from the war that have been buried for decades. I particularly found the weaponry very interesting as there was a lot of machinery at the exhibition. At the end of the tour, we had the opportunity to sit in the train station and to see a part of the train which was used during World War II. I thoroughly enjoyed this experience and hope to return to Berlin one day to discover more of what is a breathtaking city.

Paul McAleavey (Year 11)

 

 

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