On Thursday 9th and Friday 10th March, Mr Ian Robertson and his wife did a very brave thing. They took Yr. 13 (seven girls and two boys) to Germany.
Accompanied by Ray & Pip Gurr, we headed off from Luton airport, a lazy 2.15am start. We landed at Berlin and were taken to the Checkpoint Charlie museum, which acted as the main border post during the division between East and West Berlin. We watched a 2hr film detailing how a family and their friends managed to escape over the border by building a hot air balloon, which left some of us (but not others) pretty white! We were then given an informative tour around the museum by a guide and taken to have German kebabs, ten out of ten to the chef, definitely worthy of comment.
We then walked from here past the remains of the Berlin Wall, past the German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s home, beside Hitler’s bunker, through the Brandenburg gate and back again and to the Reichstag building. We were also shown a memorial of the Second World War, consisting of over 1000 different sized concrete blocks to represent the types of people killed under Hitler’s regime. We then had a 3 hour drive back to Hamburg, where we tidied ourselves up (as much as one can do with no more than 100ml fluid bottles) and had a meal.
On Friday morning, we started off on a public German bus which took us to a public German train. Little did we realise, but we were later to travel on a public German boat and believe it or not, a public German plane home! We boarded the train and it kindly took us to the St. Nikolai memorial where we learned a terrific lot about the Hamburg firestorm and the extent to which it affected German people. We entered the lift and it proceeded to take us 75 metres up for a good view all over Hamburg and beyond. Unfortunately the building was being refurbished so the scaffolding obscured our vision a small amount but we didn’t let that get us down.
We then headed to the traditional ‘Yr. 13 German trip bakery’, which went down a treat. We then had a trip on a boat down the Elbe and saw a few more landmarks. The weather then dictated ice creams so a deal was done. They were good too. No sooner had we finished them, were we being rushed across a road (don’t cross the road until the green man shows, otherwise you’re breaking the law!) and down hundreds of steps underneath the river Elbe. We found a secret tunnel under the river and quickly came back up in the lift. (Actually, it’s not that secret, lots of people travel to and from work through it every day). From here, we then found our way back via the train to the airport and travelled home.
A massive thank you to Mr and Mrs Ian & Jenny Robertson – a brilliant two days and thanks to Ray & Pip Gurr too for accompanying us.