In order to see as much of Central Europe as possible during the 5 weeks I have abroad, I signed up for all optional weekend excursions. The first optional trip took us to Vienna; the second took us to Berlin, with stops along the way there and back.
Our first stop of the weekend adventure was Dresden. It was arguably one of the most beautiful cities I have ever seen. Despite much of the city center having been destroyed during World War II, it still retains an incredible old-world charm. And the ice cream was to die for.
Berlin is probably the least “pretty” of the cities we visited this summer. It was also quite possibly my favorite, apart from our host city of Prague. There is a vibrancy and energy to the city that is impossible to resist. More than any other we saw, it is a mix of a modern urban environment and a gem of history. A perfect example of this is the Reichstag Building, home of the German parliament, which we were able to tour as part of the trip.
Berlin has one of the most extensive park systems anywhere in urban Europe, with about one-third of the city covered by parks, gardens, and lakes.
Of course, no trip to Berlin would be complete without seeing what is left of the Wall. We were able to walk the length of what remains and get a close look at the artwork that covers every inch of it.
Finally, on our way back, we stopped at the site of the Wannsee Conference, where Nazi officials met to implement Hitler’s “Final Solution to the Jewish Problem,” culminating in the Holocaust. It is strange to think that such a beautiful place could be the site of such an ugly and dangerous moment in history
I would love to visit all of Germany one day, and Berlin is most definitely where I intend to start. I cannot wait to see this amazing city again and rediscover everything it has to offer!