Day 7 marked exactly one week in Germany! It’s only been a week but I’ve already experienced so many things that it feels like much longer. We began the day a little differently. Before heading out on a new adventure, we did a few quick sketches of the street we’ve come to call our home during our stay in Germany. Now having become familiar with the streets and everything it entails, sketching the street was a really interesting experience.
We then made our way to Charlottenburg Palace. Charlottenburg Palace is the largest palace in Berlin. In addition to its intricate architecture, the area includes several acres of forest, allees, and gardens. The gardens, especially Schlossgarten, located in front of the palace, are mainly formal gardens. Formal gardens are often identified by their precisely sheared hedges, symmetrical designs, and lavish water features, among other things. I personally tend to lean away from formal garden design, but seeing a formal garden as intricate as Schlossgarten definitely gave me a new appreciation for the garden style.
We focused on playgrounds and recreational spaces for the rest of the day. We visited one playground that I really really enjoyed! It was done in a natural, simple style, so it used a lot of wooden and metal elements. Despite its simplicity and lack of bright colors, it was a really enjoyable, popular playground! Our class had a little too much fun playing on it. One thing I found really interesting about German parks is the ping pong tables. Almost every park has an area with concrete or metal ping pong tables. People bring their own ping pong paddles and balls to play with at these tables. This is a park element that I have never seen before, in the USA or anywhere else, but I really enjoyed the concept of it!
Our final stop of the day was at Park am Gleisdreieck. This park, just like Sudgelande, a park we visited before, was created on an abandoned railroad site. It is now a community-led park with skate parks, trails, programmable areas, playgrounds, exercise equipment, and more. It’s amazing to see how an area that was once used for trains can have such an incredible transformation!
Day 8 was Sunday, our free day for the week! After sleeping in for the first time in quite a while, we decided to make a trip to one of Berlin’s lakes. Many of the lakes in Berlin are open to the public for swimming and boating. We successfully found our way to the lake via tram, which was bustling with people. It was a really fun and relaxing experience! The water was very comfortable and the sun was perfect for napping in the grass.
After a few hours at the lake, we came back to the apartment to relax before dinner. My roommate Amanda had planned a large, Israeli dinner for nearly everyone in our group. The dinner was so much fun! We all helped prepare the meal, and people from other rooms brought other dishes and drinks as well. Most of us had not had a home cooked meal like that in a while, so it was a great experience for everyone.
Day 9 marked the first day of week 2. Our entire day was spent at Tiergarten. Tiergarten is almost like the Central Park of Berlin, as it is one of the largest and most famous parks in the city. It consists of a variety of features, including memorials, forests, gardens, lawns, restaurants, and more. It is also marked by two important structures: the Brandenburg Gate and the Victory Column. The Brandenburg Gate is located at one end of Tiergarten, and is one of the most iconic monuments in Berlin. It almost serves as an entrance into Tiergarten. The Victory Column is located in the center of Tiergarten. It is a tower honoring Victoria, the Goddess of Victory. We climbed the stairs to the top of the tower, and the view from the top showed us just how massive Tiergarten was, because in every direction, all you could see was forest! My favorite part of Tiergarten was the Rose Garden. The Rose Garden had several rose species, beautiful open gazebos, water features, and was overall a very relaxing spot to sit and sketch.
Tomorrow we have to catch an early train to Potsdam, so we ended the day earlier than usual. We’ll be traveling to Potsdam for two days, and on one of these days, I’ll be giving my presentation on Charlottenhof Palace! I’m looking forward to it!