We are halfway through our stay in Berlin, and much to our delight, the weather was better – no rain!
Students got to sleep in this morning, though most took the time to explore the area. Several took a long run to Brandenburg Gate, while others explored a few cafes in the neighborhood. We headed out at 11 am to a special exhibition at the Kennedy Museum in Berlin’s Mitte area on the 50th anniversary of the famous “Ich bin ein Berliner” speech. When we arrived, they had jelly-roll donuts waiting for us. Very clever and appropriate! Students then had lunch on their own and explored the trendy and more local area of Hackesher Market, replete with beautiful old buildings with inner courtyards filled with shops, art exhibits, and wonderful outdoor restaurants.
After lunch, we met up again at good ol’ Starbucks and walked to the DDR Museum where students got to see firsthand, through many interactive exhibits, how people in East Germany lived during the Cold War. From learning about the canned food fare and elections to vacations and typical household goods, we figured out that life during this era was more colorful and makeshift than we had thought. At the museum, we encountered a group of German students of roughly the same age and had a small dialogue in the cafe afterwards about life in high school in both countries.
We all walked together to Brandenburg Gate, took some photos, and then proceeded on to the Reichstag. We walked back to the hotel together, had some downtime, and then proceeded to a small boutique restaurant in the Hackesher Market area and tried Flammkuchen (flat bread pizza with creme fraiche and different toppings).
Then we went to a swing dance hall and watched some very savvy dancers try their hand at the old 1930s and 1940s music. Swing dance is experiencing a big revival here, and it was fun, if daunting, to watch a bunch of Germans swing their way around.
Tomorrow we are having another Cold War day and will see how the weather works! Stay tuned.