Friday we arrived in Berlin. We also had the luxuary of experiencing an hour late train! it wasn't so bad waiting for the train with someone but it's getting so cold in Deutschland!!
Once we arrived our politics professor Herr Mattis met us at the trainstation and took us to where we would spend our next 10 nights. It used to be an old girl scouts home and it was turned into a seminar house slash hotel? I'm not really sure.
From there we had a small lecture and went straight to meet our "tour guide" Maria who would be showing us around the city during most of our excursion. I ate a pigs leg which I will never eat again. It was so fatty and salty I wanted to eat a salad the next day and chew on carrots.
Su and I were so tired that we just went to bed after dinner. For Saturday Maria had us walk all around Berlin so that we could get an idea of where we would need to go for the week. Since Su lived in Berlin before and I had been there it wasn't as magicall to see the city like it was the first time but it was still really fun and exciting. Later that night we also had another lecture with Herr Mattis about German government and what we would give our oral presentations on.
Sunday Su and I met Maria in Alexanderplatz so we could go to Potsdam to visit a couple of palaces. First we visited the palace of Fredrick the Great, Schloss Sanssouci. Built in a very rococo style and the fact that he had no kids it was easy to tell Fredrick was pitching for the other team. Our tour guide let us in on his life and how much Fredrick loved his dogs. Like my puppies (sorry mom!) Fredrick allowed his dogs to sit on the couches and sleep in beds like his other guests. His dogs are also laid to rest next to him in the couryard. The courtyard was really pretty but I can't imagine how nice it must look in spring or summer. There were grapes/berries growing all around (since Fredrick loved wine!) and we helped ourselves to a little snack. to keep with the theme most of the decorating inside the palace had to do with grapes. Fredrick was also a great collector of art and had tons of paintings throughout the palace.
After Sanssouci, we headed to Schloss Celieienhof, the place where the Potsdam conference was held. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potsdam_Conference
I really liked the palace, it was like a really extravagant cottage. It was really cool to see the pictures of the American president (Franklin D. Roosevelt/Truman) with Stalin and Churchhill. Crazy to think we were all on same terms at one point before the cold war. I didn't really like our tour guide she wasn't as personable as the one at Sanssouci and you could tell she didn't like her job, but she repeated herself a lot whiched helped me understand more about the palace.
We didn't have class today so Su and I went and picked up some groceries. The next day we would head to the DDR Museum, which deserves its own post along with our visit to Check point Charlie!