This past week has been full of excitement. Our class traveled to Berlin to not only learn about the capital of Germany but to also experience a different side to Germany; the more modern side. The first day in Berlin we arrived in the evening, so a couple of us went to the opera house to see The Wizard of Oz ballet. This was the first ballet I have ever been to and it was just so amazing. My favorite part would have had to have been the scarecrow dance. The scarecrow is a limp character (for lack of a better term) and so his dance was kind of all over the place and very funny.

The lion had a very funny walk that brought the crowd to laughter everytime he walked somewhere. The best part would have had to have been when the clan has to get ready to meet the wizard and must therefore wash up. The production used clear balloons to represent the bubbles in a bath and the dancers on stage used them as props to dance with.
At one point a white screen was on stage in order to give them time to change the set behind it, and during this time leaf blowers were brought out and they blew the balloons forward to make it look like the characters were actually taking a bath with soap bubbles floating everywhere. The cool thing happened at the end when after the curtain call, the cast kicked the balloons into the audience. You can bet the kids in the audience had a blast with that.

The neat thing about the ballet was that it had its own original music. There may have been parts where the orchestra would play certain parts from the songs in the movie, but all in all everything was an original, which was really amazing.

The next day my class had a tour of Berlin, mainly the east side. There were some things that I had already known about from taking some of my German classes at Valpo, but there were some things that I learned that were very interesting. Apparently in order to escape east Berlin, a man took his son and wife to an office building and then placed a sign on the bathroom door indicating it was out of order and they hid in there until nightfall. At nightfall they climbed out onto the roof and threw a rope to the other side where the man’s brother was waiting for it. This family slid across to the other side without anyone noticing until the next morning when everyone saw the rope leading from the east to the west. Or so they thought no one had noticed anything the night before. It turns out that the guards on duty that night had seen them but had thought they were spies being sent to the west. That just goes to show how professional the family looked and just how difficult it must have been to have made it look like they were spies.

This all is just the tip of the iceberg, so to speak. There will be more to come this week, including Checkpoint Charlie and the concentration camp Sachsenhausen, as well as multiple museums that are definitely worth going to if you ever visit Berlin (which, by the way, is well worth it!).