July 10, 2014

Journey to the Heart of Germany: Part 4

i just saw one of my best friends from CA last night and i miss her terribly </3 Yasmeen, if you're reading this, I LOVE YOU <333 (lots of trying-to-be-artsy photos to come in a future post)
Journey to the Heart of Germany: Part 4

Our last destination, Berlin, was filled with more music and history than we could ever imagine. After a three hour drive from Leipzig, we walked around the part of the Berlin wall where it was first broken. You could see the thick metal rods that were left over from the original wall that was broken up and you just felt the pain and the suffering just walking around there. It was really quiet; everyone was being respectful; it was chilly but the giant, yellow leaves that were scattered everywhere just made everything so peaceful and beautiful. We then boarded the bus to go to our hotel for a lunch of chicken cutlets and a jelly donut (not the best jelly donut, just saying). I wish I can find the name of the hotel; the hotel was really beautiful, with a classy-safari theme in the lobby and large spacious rooms. In this hotel, we were allowed to have 3 roommates, so I ended up rooming with two other friends and my previous friend/roommate roomed with two other friends. Our room was really nice too, but the views from the hotel in general weren’t comparable to those in Dresden and Leipzig. We had some problems with leaky bathtubs (every room had the same problem), but I think the nicest part about the hotel that we all really enjoyed was the buffet. We ate at the buffet for breakfast both mornings and also dinner the night after arriving in Berlin; the food at both buffets were varied and I think we all appreciated the fact that we got to choose what we ate as opposed to having to eat a pre-ordered meal of sausage and potatoes as usual.
those fall leaves
Berlin Day 1 OOTD: Coat from TJ Maxx, V-Neck from F21, Jeans (I DIY'd them) from F21, shoes by Converse, Bag (gift from my brother <3) by Olsenboye

Chicken Cutlets for lunch (sorry for the blurry iPod photo, the camera ran out of batteries)

 Berlin wall Day 1

 Berlin was the only city that I saw graffiti in
 see those bars? 
That day, we had another concert, so after settling down and exploring the hotel, we made our way to Funkhaus Berlin, a professional recording studio that lots of professional bands and orchestras record at. We performed with a local high school choir, band, and orchestra, and afterwards, we had a little cocktail hour (which served as our dinner) with the local German students and got to know some of them. They were all super sweet and it was really interesting to compare our lives with theirs; they heard so much about Superstorm Sandy and were really interested in knowing how we dealt with everything, and we also just talked about everything under the sun, from Leipzig, to New York City, to the languages we learn, to our school curriculums, to our hopes and dreams ;). One thing that I found particularly interesting is that the schools in Germany don’t offer orchestra class or any extracurriculars really; all of these students that we met in Berlin and the ones at the Leipzig Schule of Musik had to join these programs outside of school, which made me appreciate the fact that we have these activities offered to us in school here in the states.
 our hotel room for 3 people was actually smaller than the regular 3 people rooms that other people slept in since we had a rollaway bed

 Funkhaus Berlin

The next and last full day in Germany was packed with sightseeing. We took a bus tour all around Berlin. Our first stop was at another part of the Berlin wall, where hundreds of professional artists were hired to paint murals. We took photos with soldiers at Checkpoint Charlie, walked under the Brandenburg gate, and paid our respects at two Holocaust memorials. After the tour, we were dropped off at Museum Island. We walked around one museum, but after realizing that it was solely about ancient Mesopotamian artifacts and had zero history about Germany, we left and stopped by a souvenir shop to buy some matching Berlin hats ;)

 the most famous mural on the Berlin wall
 my favorite; i love anything tribal

Checkpoint Charlie

Berlin Holocaust Memorial

Brandenburg Gate

"Mother and Her Dead Son" ;  Holocaust memorial

Berlin Cathedral

 museum that we visited on Museum Island

It was raining and freezing by that point, so we ran into a small coffee shop, which epitomizes the classic European café. Brick walls, dim lighting (glowing yellow lights), all of the customers looked super urban and refined. Ah. I ordered the Miss Chocoholic muffin and I still think fondly of it to this day.
There wasn’t much to do in Berlin since it was a Sunday and most of the stores are closed on Sundays, so we wandered around on the streets, listening to street musician and watching people gamble (with very little skill too). I bought a hot dog from a street vendor, and it was crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside. I know, I don’t eat meat anymore, but I think I might revert back if I went back to Germany this second (it’s THAT good). We kept wandering the streets; walking past the Berlin Cathedral and window shopping in the only tourist-y stores open that day. Our last activity downtown was strolling through an art flea market, where I bought this beautiful painting of a piano; the artist used mixed media and it wasn’t the typical piano “portrait”; it was modern and quirky and I love it.
                                                  awesome street musicians
the best hot dog ever
art flea market (looks better at night)

That night, after dinner at the hotel, we went upstairs to a ballroom to watch a German “opera”/comedy. We stayed up until 3 am that night, talking and reminiscing about our favorite memories and having little “parties” in each others’ rooms before curfew ;)
                The next morning, after embracing some more issues with our passports (same issue that occurred on our way to Berlin; I definitely do not recommend Air Berlin), we boarded our plane and headed home. Home sweet home. I was distracted for most of the flight; I had taken such good care of my family’s DSLR camera the entire trip, and at the airport, when I rested my messenger bag on top of my suitcase, the metal handles of my suitcase probably bumped up against my bag without me realizing until I opened my bag to take a photo and realized there was a minor crack on the viewfinder of my camera L The crack is so slight and it doesn’t really affect anything; right now, it’s been over 1.5 years since that happened and I use that camera every day without really noticing that crack, but I was just bummed out about it for a while. I came home and my parents couldn’t have cared less about the crack, and I was just so happy to be reunited with my little brother. I surprised them with gummy bears from Dresden and German truffles from Leipzig, and they ate every single bite J Home sweet home. But we were definitely in a post-Germany depression for a while ;)

All in all, our trip to Germany was truly packed with lots of events and sightseeing; not only did we experience the history and culture of Germany, but the music as well. Music was right in front of us, from street performers at every corner to monuments of famous composers. To be honest, I’ve never really been that inspired or motivated by anything to enjoy playing classical music, but being in Germany and seeing how much the people love the music made me catch their contagious passion for music.

I hope you all enjoyed reading my “Journey to the Heart of Germany” series of posts, and I hope I’ve inspired you to want to visit Germany some time in the future! It’s such a beautiful country, and I promise you that you will enjoy this country!


xoxo, Hannah

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