His Benevolence Mr Hornor allowing an 8:30 breakfast time, the students awoke refreshed and ready to tackle a walking tour of central Berlin. Unfortunately, instead of strolling through the typically scenic snow and steady cold, we slogged across town in a constant, numbing drizzle. Making our way up Stressemanstrasse, we reached the hyper-busy crossroads of Potsdamer Platz.
The students at remnant slabs of the Berlin Wall:
Across from the massive Tiergarten, we toured the evocative and moving Holocaust Memorial:
The iconic Brandenburg Gate, the silhouette of which is seen everywhere from subway cars to cheap souvenir shops:
Mr Hornor detailing the history of the squat and imposing Reichstag, looming out of shot to the right:
Escaping the rain, the group enjoyed a leisurely lunch of hot chocolates for some and hearty fare for all. Whether through telepathy, keen psychological insight or straight-up witchery, one student shocked and shook the others with feats of mental dexterity while we waited for our food.
Through still-sprinkling rain, we made our way next to Checkpoint Charlie, the former American connection between East and West Berlin.
Entering the American sector, with, almost too perfectly, McDonald’s and Starbucks in the background:
Blithely taking up the entire sidewalk on our trek through the city:
We next returned to our hostel to prepare for a group meal at a nearby Greek restaurant before taking the U-Bahn to the Philharmonie for a performance of selections from Ravel and Mussorgsky. Seeing such technically proficient yet emotive playing in an architecturally dramatic space was a profound experience for all.
Dining in fancy dress:
Surreptitiously taken shot of the interior of the hall:
Shadowy crowd outside the hall: