40 Sixth Form students and 4 staff from the History Department departed Thorpe St Andrew School and Sixth Form at 1.20 am on the morning of Tuesday 5 February for a residential trip to Berlin, Germany. Recap their journey and experiences from the week with our student travel blog.
After a smooth journey down to London Heathrow by executive coach, we had breakfast before boarding our British Airways flight to Berlin. The flight was equally smooth and we arrived in Berlin ahead of schedule to cloudy skies and temperatures of 5 degree Celsius. A short transfer by coach took us to a local shopping and food complex for some lunch. After lunch, we proceeded to visit the DDR Kulturbrauerei Museum, which was just a 40-minute walk away. While walking to the museum, we were able to discover the streets of Berlin for the first time and even came across some parts of the old Berlin wall. We spent an hour on a self-guided tour at the Museum, which explored the living and social conditions of the German Democratic Republic.
Later in the afternoon we arrived back at our hotel for check in and some much-needed rest, with neither students or staff receiving much sleep the night before the trip. After dinner, we experienced Miss Algar’s ‘World Famous Quiz’. The quiz featured six rounds of questions on a variety of topics – from German history to questions about Miss Algar’s dog, Hugo. Congratulations to team Moorish Moores who won the quiz!
On Wednesday, we took the coach to the Haus der Wannseekonferenz. Set by the river, we stood in the room where the Wannsee Conference was held by senior government officials of Nazi Germany in 1942. It was during this conference that the Nazis coordinated the ‘final solution and the Jewish holocaust.
Our next stop was the Berlin Olympic Stadium. Unfortunately, we couldn’t go in the stadium due to a match happening that night, but we did still get many photos by the Olympic rings in order to remember our visit.
In the afternoon, we travelled to the Memorial and Museum for the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp. We spent just under 2 hours at the Nazi concentration camp, looking around the memorials and the remains of the camp used by political and other prisoners. This was a difficult visit for all, but an important one.
In the evening, we enjoyed spaghetti at the hotel before heading back out to see the city by night. After a team effort to navigate the U-Bahn and S-Bahn systems (Berlin’s tube network), we were able to spend time at Brandenburg Gate and the Alexanderplatz shopping centre, before returning back to the hotel for some card games and then heading to bed.
It was a fair bit colder in Berlin on Thursday but still dry, unlike the UK.
We started off the day by splitting off into two groups. Two tour guides, Bernie and Karen, arrived at the hotel to show us around Berlin on a walking tour. Some notable points of the tour included stops at Checkpoint Charlie, Brandenburg, the centre point of Berlin, and even a chocolate shop!
We all came back together at 1.00 pm for a walk up to the Reichstag Dome, on top of the Reichstag building. The Dome was at some height, giving us a great view over the city.
After visiting the Reichstag, we went to the Topography of Terror where we were given tours and information in groups, in particular about the criminal trials of members of the Nazi’s SA and SS organisations. After a day of walking over 10 miles, we went back to the hotel for a deserved short break before dinner.
We spent our final full evening in Berlin at the city’s bowling house for 2 games of bowling. Mr Whiteman and Mr Lennard were particularly competitive and were the high scorers.
Next, we continued to the DDR Museum via the National Art Gallery where we stopped outside for lunch. The DDR Museum explained the lives of people living in the German Democratic Republic. The self-guided tour of the museum was an enjoyable and informative experience, especially due to the level of interactivity in the museum.
From the DDR Museum we caught the underground to Alexanderplatz, a local shopping and leisure complex. Here, we had 90 minutes to eat an early evening meal and complete some shopping, before heading back to the hotel to collect our luggage.
We arrived at Berlin Tegel International Airport, checked in and departed for London Heathrow just behind schedule at 9.00 pm. We had a bumpy landing back at Heathrow’s Terminal 5 after circling above Southend-on-Sea for some time due to particularly windy conditions, and arrived safely back in Norwich at 2.00 am.
The Berlin Trip 2019 was a big success and enjoyed by all. The trip was a once in a lifetime experience and was the first time overseas for some of the students involved. It was not only educational and informative, but also created many memories for all involved to treasure. A big thank you has to go to the staff on the trip, and in particular, Mr Whiteman for organising and ensuring the smooth running of the trip.
Thorpe St Andrew School and Sixth Form, Laundry Lane, Norwich, Norfolk, NR7 0XS
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The Yare Education Trust is a charitable company limited by guarantee, registered in England and Wales with company number 10301555. The registered office is at Thorpe St Andrew School and Sixth Form, Laundry Lane, Thorpe St Andrew, Norwich, Norfolk, NR7 0XS. (Telephone - 01603 497711)