Berlin & Wittenberg: J-Term 2017 Part 3

While I already talked a bit about our adventures with public transportation in Berlin, I wanted to share more from our time in Berlin and the day trip we took to Wittenberg! We landed back in the US last Thursday, and I have some catching up to do with blog posts about the trip.

In Berlin, we had several great meetings regarding energy policy, the environment, and transportation. We met with the Heinrich Böll Foundation (affiliated with the German Green Party), The Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy, and Deutsche Bahn (German Rail company). When we weren’t in meetings, we had some time to explore Berlin, and we also spent part of a day in Wittenberg, a town about an hour’s train ride from Berlin.

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Our first hostel experience wasn’t too bad. It was kind of a tight squeeze when four girls were getting ready at once.

When we arrived in Berlin, we went to the hostel and dropped our bags off. Then we headed out on a walking tour. One of the professors leading our trip grew up in Germany, and he was pretty knowledgeable about all of the sights we saw in Berlin and in Northern Germany. He led our walking tour through Berlin. Below are just a few of the places we saw.

It was really neat to see these historic sites. By the time the walking tour wrapped up and we got lunch, almost all of us went back to the hostel for a nap before dinner.Most of us hadn’t slept in a long time. I woke up at 4:45am CST on January 4th, and we arrived in Berlin around 7:00am GMT+1 on January 5th (there’s a 7 hour time difference, so 7:00am was like 12:00am). I rarely nap, but by this point I had been awake for almost 30 hours. I didn’t mean to take a nap, but I sat on my bed to read and fell asleep for two hours… Other than that little tired spell, I didn’t really feel the effects of jet lag!

We took a day trip to Wittenberg on Saturday, where we saw the church where Martin Luther posted his 95 Theses and the church where he preached frequently. It was a quiet town, with lots of cute shops lining the main street. This year is the 500th year anniversary of the Reformation, so the town is gearing up for some big celebrations later in the year.

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The Town Square in Wittenberg

On Sunday, we had some free time to explore Berlin a bit more. I went with four others from the group to the Jewish History Museum, Checkpoint Charlie, and the Berlin Wall. It was fun trying to figure out public transportation in another language. If you missed my post on that, here it is!

On Monday, we had a meeting at The Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy in the morning, where we learned more about Germany’s plans for energy policy. In the afternoon, we had a meeting at Deutsche Bahn, the German rail company that operates the majority of public transportation in Germany. Both of the meeting rooms were quite nice. There are not nearly as many tall buildings in Berlin as there are in US cities, so being on the 26th floor of the DB building made it feel like we were towering over the entire city.

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This was the view out of our meeting room on the 26th floor at Deutsche Bahn! Imagine the view if it wasn’t foggy.

That’s all for now! Next up will be a post recapping our time in Northern Germany.

~E

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