Our GCSE History students and Sixth Formers took a trip to Berlin at the beginning of February. Everyone involved had a fantastic time exploring the city and learning about German history. Aisling, Diba and Nina write about their experiences…
When I heard there was going to be a history trip to Berlin I was ecstatic and it did not disappoint. The journey there was early but that was quickly forgotten when we caught sight of our friends and it was only a short plane trip until we arrived. I really liked the hotel we stayed at due to the communal space downstairs that we all came down to every night to socialise, along with the really good breakfasts to start the day.
On the first day we arrived, we briefly stopped at the hotel and then the guided tour commenced. Despite the poor weather we were able to see a lot and our tour guide was very knowledgeable and happy to answer the many questions we all had. We saw the Holocaust Memorial, “stumble stones” commemorating victims of the Nazi Police State, the Soviet War Memorial and the Reichstag Building. In the evening, we had dinner all together at a local Italian restaurant – the food was really good!
On the second day we all woke up, had breakfast and boarded the coach to Sachsenhausen, a Nazi concentration camp on the outskirts of Berlin; while being distressing it was insanely moving and I learnt a lot about the atrocities that happened there. After this, we went to the Olympic Stadium where the 1936 Summer Olympics were held and heard about Jesse Owens’ story among other things. We headed back and concluded the day with another meal at a local restaurant.
Day 3, we had another walking tour with Martin, our guide from day 1; he took us around Berlin showing and explaining the timeline and how these places were influential and important in the Cold War. After we visited a prison called Hohenschoenhausen which was used by the East German secret police where we were guided through how interrogations happened and the events that occurred there in order to attempt to control the population in the Cold War period. We had dinner at a local German restaurant where we all got to try traditional food which was really tasty. Following this we all went up the TV Tower which we were all really excited about as the viewing deck is nearly as tall as the Eiffel Tower; the views were amazing and I loved piecing together all the places we had already been!
Day 4, we took a further look around the city including the memorial of the Nazi book burning, the Brandenburg Gate and the Neue Wache memorial to the victims of war and violence. All of these monuments were so interesting and Martin had so much to say about them. We also had time at lunch to go around and do a bit of shopping which was well received by everyone. We then made our way to Checkpoint Charlie and visited the museum and learnt more about the Berlin Wall, afterwards we wandered to the Topography of Terror where we looked at the outside and inside exhibitions. By this time the trip was sadly drawing to a close but just before we left, we revisited the Holocaust Memorial and then headed to the airport. I would conclude that this trip was such an interesting cultural and historical experience along with it being an enjoyable trip with friends. I learnt a lot which will broaden my personal knowledge along with benefiting and preparing me for GCSE and it was an opportunity I would not have wanted to miss.
On Wednesday of last week many of us year 10’s went to Berlin on a historical trip to see locations regarding the second world war. We visited many landmarks including a concentration camp, the Berlin Wall, the TV Tower which is taller than the Eiffel Tower, the Olympic Stadium and the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. It was very useful to see everything we have been studying about with my own eyes, because it gave me a vivid representation of how life was during this time. We had a few tour guides who brought us around the city and explained the historical aspects of every landmark which was a great change from learning about it in books. As well as this, the Hotel Transit Loft in which we stayed was very nice, there was a really fun area by the reception where we all would stay in the evenings. Overall, the trip was far better than I expected it to be and I am really glad I went, I would definitely recommend it to the people who have the option to go.
The trip to Berlin was a very engaging experience, and it was a great opportunity to feel fully immersed in the history of Berlin. During the trip we got to visit many captivating landmarks such as remains of the Berlin Wall and the Reichstag Building during the fascinating walking tours around Berlin. It was an experience that I will never forget, where my knowledge of history was deepened and enriched by visiting places where major historical events happened which really gave me a new perspective of the subject. As well as an amazing educational experience, we got to try lots of different German foods such as schnitzel and spend time with friends, shopping, and relaxing in the warm, comfortable hotel lounge in the evenings. I would highly recommend taking up the opportunity to go on this trip if doing History GCSE or A Level, or to just visit Berlin on holiday as it is a city rich in world history while at the same time being a huge, cultural city with lots to discover.