By Megan Evershed
It’s safe to say I went into the Berlin trip with some reservations. Is a currywurst some kind of disease I should take preventative measures against? How many sausages and pretzels would I have to eat over the next five days? Could I handle all the lederhosen?
These questions plagued my mind on the twelve hour bus ride over to Germany. Yes, you read it right. Twelve hours. On a bus. As grim as it sounds, the ride wasn’t actually too horrifying. Everybody was in a state of post-midterm glee, songs were sung, and snacks were shared. We drove through the night and arrived in Berlin at about 8am on Sunday morning. We dropped our bags off at the hostel, and sleep-deprived, but giddy with the excitement of imminent exploration, we let our feet guide us.
The whole trip, in fact, was an exercise in unmapped exploration. Berlin is a fascinating place to get lost in. It’s a blend of old and new, history and innovation. Take, for example, the Festival of Lights that we saw on our first night in Berlin. Contemporary visual arts pieces were projected on some of the city’s oldest and most revered architecture. For me, the nature of the festival really captured the spirit of Berlin: the past is strikingly alive, but it doesn’t hinder the city from growing and moving into the future.
While in Berlin, we visited museums and sightseeing spots. We saw Checkpoint Charlie, paid our respects at the Holocaust Memorial, and posed in front of the Berlin Wall. We did all of these quintessentially Berlin things, but they weren’t my favorite memories from the trip. The highlights of my experience weren’t activities, but moments.
A moment like spontaneously dancing in a biergarten to folk music with a group of middle-aged Germans. A moment like having coffee with a woman from East Berlin as she recounted her experiences living under Soviet rule. A moment like wondering at the view of the city, laid out like a map, from the top of the Berlin Dome. A moment like finding an incredible piece of art graffitied under a shop window. A moment like watching Katharina Focke speaking beautiful German with locals. A moment like watching Logan Underwood speaking butchered German with locals. A moment like seeing Nathan Canadas break it down in a grungy, smoky underground club. A moment like waking up to the sound of Lorenzo Tyson trilling “Good morning sunshines!”
My trip was made up of these moments. These moments were what made my trip. My Berlin experience really proved to me that it’s the little details that make the best memories, and it’s the people you share the little details with that define your experience.
If you want to talk to anyone about their Berlin trip, just look for a Sciences Po student wearing a thrifted military jacket, because odds are they found it in a store in Prenzlauer Berg, and are more than happy to discuss the moments that defined their Berlin experience with you.