After the amazing first week I had in Berlin and all the places we visited, I was doubtful that the next week wasn’t going to be as good. However, I was highly mistaken. Just when you thought you saw all of Berlin, you turn your head and begin a whole new adventure. It is astonishing how many monumental spaces and structures Berlin beholds.
To start off the second week we visited a park called Schlossgarten Charlottenburg. It is a beautiful green space with an amazing lake that overlooks one of my favorite palaces on this trip, the Charlottenburg Palace. This palace was absolutely breathtaking. It was massive and had a stunning baroque garden in the backyard overlooking the lake. If you are ever in Berlin, visiting this place is a MUST.
In the middle of the week we went to a town located right outside of Berlin called Potsdam. This town was a temporary escape from the urban lifestyle of Berlin. Potsdam felt more like a traditional German village. It had cobblestone roads and castle gates entering and leaving the village. Along the road were a series of restaurants that served traditional German foods. It was this town where I finally felt like I was in Germany. In Potsdam we visited two historic parks which were called Park Charlottenhof and Neuer Garten. Park Charlottenhof is definitely the biggest park we visited so far on this trip. It is absolutely enormous. Within this park was a series of historic palaces and gardens such as Neues Palais and Charlottenhof Palace. My favorite space within this park was the garden of Charlottenhof Palace. It was an Italian garden with beautiful fountains and trellises. I was in complete tranquility here. Here is a picture so you can see the beauty of it as well.
Neuer Garten, similar to Charlottenhof Park, consisted of various palaces and gardens. What was so distinct about this park was the grand lake located in the middle of the park. This park had good water quality, so multiple people were here swimming and laying out on the banks. This was the perfect park to pass time and relax. Our class dipped in the lake ourselves. None of us planned of swimming that day so no one had bathing suits! We all swam in our clothes and had the time of our lives. The palaces here were Marmorpalais and Schloss Cecilienhof. What I thought was unique about Schloss Cecilienhof was that Winston Churchill, Harry Truman, and Joseph Stalin wrote world history here and discussed how to partition Germany. What I found to be the most memorable part of this day in Potsdam was the last place we visited was Belvedere Auf Dem Pfingstberg. It was built as a viewing platform for King Friedrich Wilhelm IV of Prussia in 1847. The place consisted of a series of decks and platforms in a square shape with a huge pool in the courtyard. What I loved most about this place was the ability to climb up to the top terrace and overlook the entire city of Potsdam. It was truly breathtaking.
On the last day this week we visited the Oranienburg Concentration Camp. This visit was truly unforgettable and brought out a mix of emotions. I learned about concentration camps during the Holocaust before in class, however a textbook can only teach you so much. Nothing compares to being at the site first hand. We were able to see the bunks the slept in, the punishment center, as well as the medical clinics. Everything had such a depressing dark feel. Even though this wasn’t the most exciting place to visit, I definitely do not regret visiting this site and attained a whole new perspective and insight on the Holocaust. Here is a picture of the bunks the prisoners slept in.