In the early morning of the first Saturday of the Christmas holidays, when many Cranleighans were surely enjoying a well-earned rest, thirty dedicated V Form historians set off to the airport to fly to Berlin. Arriving in the city at lunchtime, the group took the U-Bahn to the East Side Gallery – a 1.3km stretch of the Berlin Wall, displaying paintings from over a hundred different artists. We were then very lucky to have a tour of the Reichstag, the German Parliament. Not only were the pupils able to learn about German politics and the history of the building, but they also enjoyed great views of the city from the glass dome.
The second day was particularly action-packed, starting with a walking tour of Berlin that included sights such as the Brandenburg Gate, the Memorial to the murdered Jews of Europe, and the site of Hitler’s bunker. A quick lunch was followed by some free time around a Christmas market, and then a visit to the Checkpoint Charlie museum to learn about the Berlin Wall. From here, we crossed the city to the Stasi Museum, a museum dedicated to State Security in East Germany due to the Cold War, and particularly interesting for those with an interest in James Bond style espionage! The evening allowed for some down time, with a meal at the Hard Rock Cafe providing good food and an opportunity to rest tired feet, followed by a fun hour spent at a local bowling alley.
The final day began with a trip out of the city centre to the Olympic Stadium, where the games of 1936 were held, and now the home of Hertha Berlin FC. We enjoyed a highly informative tour of the stadium, just leaving enough time to return to the city centre before the bus transfer back to the airport. By the time that the pupils landed back at Heathrow, they were very tired but had thoroughly enjoyed their visit to one of the most historically fascinating cities in Europe.
A huge thank-you must go to APF and SMP for their help with this trip, and their enthusiasm and good-humour at the end of a long term.