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Head of History Mr Winders kept a diary of the College's trip to Berlin in March - read it here.

 Day One:

"Humanities once again proved it does the best trips in the school at the end of last term with a GCSE/AS level trip to Berlin.

Fifteen students flew from Exeter to Berlin on 20 March 2015 to enjoy the sights and sounds of Europe’s most vibrant capital.

The hostel was newly decorated and pupils excitedly entered their bunk bed dorms.

I, more excitedly, entered my single room with en suite facilities.  

Friday started with a continental breakfast where pupils had to get used to the slightly harder than usual bread rolls filled with salami they don’t seem to serve in Ivor Dewdney’s.

We were then picked up by a VIP minibus and went to the Story of Berlin, an interactive museum.

The pupils enjoyed going in an underground nuclear bunker and we then went on a tour of Berlin’s Olympic Stadium, famously used for the 1936 Berlin Olympics, the 2006 World Cup Final and this year's Champions League Final.

Not famous, of course, for any English triumphs though the British did use the area as a base when Berlin was divided.

The guided tour took in dressing rooms, Hitler’s balcony and the VIP areas.

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After an hour tour we were back on the bus and off to Sachenhausen Concentration Camp where pupils were guided through how this brutal place came to be and how it developed over time.

"The medical experiments room was the most harrowing part," said one student.

Another said it was a "surreal place, knowing people were gassed right in front of where I’m standing".

Quite a first full day but it wasn’t complete until pupils entered the shopping plaza at Alexanderplatz, I sat down and had Subway, though there was no meatball marinara in Germany which highlighted how just far we had come from Plymouth.

"

Day Two:

"

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Day two of the Berlin trip and today’s focus was The Cold War. We woke up, had breakfast on time and made our way to the Berlin Underground Train System, known as the U-Bahn.

How To Join The Next Humanities Trip

During this time we gelled as a group making sure we all got off the trains together and caught connecting trains.
We visited the sights of the Cold War journeying through East Berlin to West, passing by Checkpoint Charlie and having our photo taken as we passed into the American sector.

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Some actors dressed as American GIs but, at 15 euros for a group shot, we thought better of it.

We visited Checkpoint Charlie Museum and learned about daring escapes before walking to the Topography of Terror, a museum about the Holocaust inside the old SS Headquarters.

We proceeded to have lunch on the West side of Checkpoint Charlie, a nice little restaurant called McDonalds, where a triple cheeseburger cost 3 euros.
We then walked along the East Side Gallery seeing a mile-long stretch of street art on the longest stretch of surviving Wall.

"To think, some people would never have known that river was just the other side of where they walked every day," said one student.

A welcome afternoon nap gave us renewed strength to tackle the German Reichstag, the famous German parliament building known for burning down in 1933.

Things got tricky when our train station was inexplicably closed for repairs, fortunately we could see the Brandenburg Gate less than a mile straight down the road.

After a strict security check we were allowed to go into the German parliament building.

Pupils were guided around the glass dome which gave amazing night time views of Berlin.

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An evening trip to the Brandenburg Gate and Dunkin Donuts was followed by a journey on the Brown Line of the U-Bahn.

"It was the fanciest underground I’ve ever seen," exclaimed one student.

"

Day Three

"On the third day we enjoyed our final continental breakfast and checked out of our excellent hostel and made our way via the underground railway to the
Zoologisher Garten or Berlin Zoo for short.
We saw giraffes, baby elephants, gorillas, lions, penguins – all the must-see animals were there, even two polar bears or Eisbarrens (pronounced ice barons) in German. One gorilla even photobombed a selfie I was attempting. As a result of having had three days of one shower per dorm room we had to double check we weren’t taking any zoo animals out as we left.

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After three days of History, pupils went shopping in the afternoon and prepared for the relatively short journey home.

Final souvenirs were bought and we set off for the airport. T-shirts, mugs, with the Brandenburg Gate, the Reichstag and souvenirs for both Hertha Berlin and Bayern Munich came back on the plane.

The plane journey home went well, with only one passenger panicking about the plane journey - but the students managed to calm me down!

We touched down in Bristol just after 10pm - a great trip, one that I hope will continue for many years.
If you are a parent of Year 11 or 12 student next year keep us in mind - with trips to Auschwitz and Berlin both available for year 12s there are worse reasons to choose History at AS Level.

"

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Busy Trip To Berlin

News from Stoke Damerel: Archive 2014/15

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