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Murray Edwards College
University of Cambridge

Helena Ascough: Independent travel to Berlin, Germany

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    11 Dec
    Helena Ascough

    During the summer I travelled to Berlin with a friend from college. Having been lucky enough to travel the previous year using Gateway money, I was keen to visit another place I hadn’t had the chance to before. This is the first city break I had ever been on and we were keen to see as much of the city as possible. The experience helped improve my independence as we navigated between the famous landmarks using the S-bahn and U-bahn.

    On the first day we visited the Berlin Wall memorial. This gave us a chance to see some of the remaining structures of the wall and learn how it developed until the 1980s. Following this, we walked the 1.3km stretch of wall to view the East Side Gallery. It was really interesting to see the messages each artist had decided to convey in their section of the wall.

    We decided to hire electric scooters to be able to see a large amount of the city. We were able to visit many of the famous monuments including the Victory Column, Reichstag building, Brandenburg Gate and Memorial to the Murdered Jews. We also decided to go on a walking tour to learn more about the landmarks, including Checkpoint Charlie and the Berlin Cathedral. Staying in Charlottenburg, just outside the city centre, not only allowed us to see these most famous sights of the city but also gave us the opportunity to visit Charlottenburg palace and explore the extensive grounds surrounding it.

    A highlight of the trip was our visit to the German Spy Museum. Through many interactive exhibits we learnt about some of the rather obscure methods of surveillance and sending messages and how these developed with improved technology. We also visited the Jewish museum, where the unusual architecture is used so intelligently to draw links to the topics of the museum, as a compelling way of helping inform of the country’s history.

    Despite studying German at GCSE and A Level, this was the first opportunity I’d had to visit the country and I loved getting to practice using the language and seeing how much I could remember! I am really grateful that Gateway gave me the chance to explore such an amazing city and learn a huge amount about its history. I definitely intend to return at some point in the future!

    Helena Ascough
    Veterinary Science