With 3.5 million inhabitants, Berlin is definitely a metropolis. Students made a lot of use of the public transportation system, traveling via bus, tram, subway and local train. Sitting in the front row of the top level of a double-decker bus is a great way to see the city.
As the capital and the former symbol of a divided Germany, Berlin is full of history. Students were able to see the Brandenburg Gate, which many adults would recognize as the backdrop of news reports during the cold war. President Reagan gave his famous “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall” speech here. We also took a great tour of the Reichstag (the German parliament building). Other important and sobering sites were Sachsenhausen, a Nazi concentration camp, and Hohenschönhausen, a former prison run by the East German secret police.
Students also had a chance to explore the city on their own, to enjoy shopping at the impressive department store KaDeWe, and to eat Döner and Currywurst for dinner. We also experienced the Blue Man Group – in German and English!
Our time in Wittenberg was a restful change of pace from Berlin. We toured many places where Martin Luther taught, preached, and lived. On Saturday we worked on two service projects: in the new Luther Garden and in the tower of the city church (over 500 years old). I have never seen students that excited about sweeping!
After ten days on the road, students were excited to return home on Sunday. This week marked the halfway point in our courses, and as of this evening students are on Easter Break. It will be exciting to hear about their adventures when they return.