Our last morning in the Hague began with a quick final breakfast at the hotel buffet, with many of us managing to even slyly sneak out a to-go sandwich to eat later on the afternoon train ride. We then all piled into taxis to head to the train station, bidding farewell to the Netherlands and our time visiting the International Criminal Court, Peace Palace, and more. Our first leg of the 6-7 hour trip from The Hague to Berlin was a quick forty five minute train from the Hague to another train station in the Netherlands. We all handled the train change with surprising ease, helping each other to lug our luggage from one train to the other (and commenting on how we should’ve listened to Dr. Birchfield’s advice on overpacking). The trip flew by, with many of us napping, reading, our catching up on assignments and blog posts. When we arrived in Berlin, we again lugged our luggage from the train station to the hotel, relaxing there for a few minutes before heading off to our first group dinner in Berlin.
Our first dinner was the perfect introduction to German culture. The restaurant offered traditional German cuisine, including Schnitzel. They even had delicious vegetarian schnitzel that Dr. B, Lauren, and Sanika all enjoyed. We all passed around our large portions, sharing food and getting to take in all that the restaurant had to offer. Throughout dinner, we all chatted about Berlin and what we were most excited to see. Personally, I am most excited to see the paintings on the East Side of the Berlin Wall. While the wall alone has monumental historical significance, I think the modern touch of the paintings on the wall add a unique cultural touch, showing how the city has taken such a negative aspect of history and made it its own, while still honoring the city’s past. Other students mentioned visiting the numerous museums in Berlin, including museum island and the Holocaust memorial. With so much culture and history to take in, we were all incredibly excited for the next week spent in Germany. This excitement only increased when Dr. Birchfield briefly spoke to us about our tour guide for the next day, a lady who has been living in Berlin since the rise of the Berlin Wall.
After a long day of travel and a large dinner, we were all ready to head to bed and rest up before the tour tomorrow. A few of us stopped by the local Haagan Daz (located dangerously close to our hotel) to experience the delicious ice cream chain in its home country. We then headed back to the hotel, excited for all that’s to come in Berlin!