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A Case of the Mondays?

Justin Liedel- Today we were back to our normal busy schedule after having Sunday off. We all spent our Sunday differently, with some of us (myself included) visiting the Berlin Zoo while others headed to the open-air market or caught up on sleep.  After a mild evening visiting with a student group from Hamburg in our hostel, we headed to bed for a good nights sleep to start off the week.

Today we met Professors Byrnes and Tucker at the Eberswalderstrasse U-Bahn station, which was recently reopened after a day of construction. After a quick debriefing on our weekend, we headed to Potsdamer Platz and walked to the Gedenkstaette Deutscher Widerstand, the office building that housed the central leadership of the Nazi war machine during WWII. This was without a doubt the most moving spot for me that we have experienced so far. In the courtyard of the building lies a memorial to the five leaders Wehrmacht who plotted to assassinate Adolf Hitler.  On the night of July 20, 1944, following the unsuccessful assassination attempt, Generaloberst Ludwig Beck was forced to commit suicide and his fellow conspirators were taken to the courtyard of the office and executed.  These five men are now regarded as honorable heroes in Germany, as they gave their lives in a final attempt to stop Hitler while others followed him blindly.  The museum occupies two floors of the office building,  and is filled with information about German resistance fighters that would take years  to even scratch the surface.

Following the museum,we headed to Potsdamer Platz for lunch.  After examining the mall and grabbing a couple Bratwursts and Gellatos, it was time to head to the Deutsches Historisches Museum, where we saw exhibits on posters throughout German history and an exhibit over the World Cup, which is coming to Berlin in only 24 days.  

 After the Deutsches Historisches Museum, we headed back to the youth hostel and brainstormed our activities for the night.  Instead of our normal routine of clubs and bars, we determined that a trip to the laundromat was in order.  Take my word for it, there is no funnier sight than a group of guys trying to operate a laundromat in a foreign country.

After bungling the laundry, we headed to a sushi restaurant and came back for another early night because we have to wake up early to meet Professor Wipperman, a professor at Huembolt Universitaet, for a visit to the Ravensbruek concentration camp.

This trip has gone far beyond my wildest expectations.  From conversations with random people at clubs to other tourists at the youth hostel,not only has my German improved leaps and bounds, but I have also dramatically improved my knowledge and understanding of European culture and everyday life. Not only that, but ordering food from people in a foreign language is a very humbling experience if you mess up.  We all agree that we'll be more patient with foreigners in our own country.  This trip has definitely been a growing experience.