Last Monday we went to check out Checkpoint Charlie 😉 For those of you who don’t know what Checkpoint Charlie was, during the war it was the crossing point between East and West Germany for the allies. This was the only way they could move between the two sides. The name Charlie comes from the NATO phonetic alphabet (Alpha for A, Bravo for B…). Anyways, there’s not much to Checkpoint Charlie now. There is, though, a pretty awesome museum there.

I really enjoyed this museum because it taught me things that I had not already learned from our history classes here and all the other tours of Germany that we had received as a class. For example (and this shocked me) if families tried escaping to the West and they were caught, the parents were forced to put their children up for adoption. How horrendous would it be to get taken away from your parents for trying to get a better life for yourselves? The sad part was that the people that were adopting them didn’t even know where the children had come from. They were only given to them so that they would learn the communist ideals and grow up with them so they could be outstanding citizens.

There was a section of the museum that had nothing to do with World War II. It was a section that focused more on political activism from around the world. This part of the museum was very interesting because it told stories of people who had stood up for what they believed in, no matter the consequences.

There was another museum that I went to that day that I really enjoyed as well. It was the Jewish Museum of Berlin. Ok, so I know that museums can get pretty boring. Believe me, just in the past couple of weeks I have seen my fair share of museums. Our group has started using the term ‘museumed out’ to refer to the fact that we can’t go to anymore museums because we’ve already been to so many. But let me tell you. This museum was fun because it was interactive. Call me a kid, but sometimes I like a museum to have a little more than just facts on a wall to read. Another cool thing about the museum was that it didn’t just talk about the Jewish community during WWII. It talked about their entire history, as well as their religion, which was also really neat to learn about.

The next day we went to multiple museums again (there really is more to do in Berlin, but you can find a museum for everything in Berlin). We went to the Eastside Wall Gallery. This is the part of the Berlin Wall that was not torn down after the war. Instead, they invited artists and other people to come and paint on the side that faced the east, because they had not been allowed to draw on the wall, unlike the west. The artwork on the wall was amazing! It ranged from really serious pieces to very abstract ones. Afterward, we went to a nature museum that is basically like the Field Museum in Chicago, but it was still really neat to go to.

We then went to an area in Berlin called Museum Island. This is where most museums are. There we saw the Pergamon museum, which is one of those museums where you go in take pictures and leave. It’s not really one where I would spend too much time in. The place is really  big in order to fit larger sculptures such as a large set of stairs.

That night we were all really tired (as you would assume after all of the time we spent in museums over the past two days!) so we had group movie night. It was actually really fun. Somehow, and I wouldn’t be able to explain how anymore, all eleven of us fit on two small couches, a small bed, and two chairs. It sounds like a lot but all together it was not a whole lot of space. I guess you could say the movie really brought us closer together 😉