Aug. 4, 2001
Courtney Adler, #1
“Its raining men, halleluiah, it’s raining men!” The music blares on the bus as Dori sings along on the microphone. The volleyball team is going out on the town in Berlin…..We arrived at the club around 10:45 not knowing what to expect out of the night ahead of us. The club was called Knaack and was set off the street in what looked like an old house. Three floors, each with their own personality. We, of course, hit the top floor to start our night with a little karaoke. Dori was already warmed up from the bus ride there. Our song choices ranged from Proud Mary (Tina Turner) to Shoop (Salt ‘n Pepa). I think we definitely put on a good show. After karaoke we strolled down to the 2nd floor to get our “groove on”. The night flew by, and we danced into the early hours of the morning. The 1st floor of the club started playing 80’s music late in the evenin, and that was the most fun of the night for me. It was also a memorable night for me, because earlier that day, at Georgia Tech, I earned my degree, although this trip prevented me from being there in person to receive my diploma. But, what a better way to share in my excitement than with my teammates.
After breakfast this morning we checked out of our Berlin hotel and headed downtown to Checkpoint Charlie. Checkpoint Charlie is a historic gateway that connected East and West Berlin before the wall came down on Nov. 9, 1989. The Gateway now only consists of a small booth surrounded by sand bags flying an American flag. Looking from West Berlin into East Berlin at Checkpoint Charlie, a plain white sign stands alone on the right side of the road. The sign reads “You are leaving the American sector” in four different languages. These six words may not seem very powerful reading them on paper, but standing on the street looking at the previous Communist run East Berlin dealt with, the words sank deep into my heart. Suddenly, thoughts were racing through my head about what it must have been like for an East Berliner to stand at the Wall knowing freedom and a better life was just on the other side.
There is a memorial museum located in one of the buildings on that corner and it took us about an hour and a half to go through it. The musuem is mostly about escapees that fled East Germany. It was both shocking and amazing how people snuck into West Berlin. Tunnels were dug, flying contraptions built, people were stuffed in hollowed surf boards and speakers all for freedom from the Communist regime. Reading some of the stories at the museum had an emotional effect on me. It is so hard to imagine not living in a democracy, today I am definitely not taking my freedom for granted.
The rest of the day was filled with shopping at a mall in downtown Berlin. Most of us all bought clothes or gifts for significant people back home. At 4pm, we loaded the bus for our trip back to Hamburg. Half of the way there, we stopped at a gas station where Mr. Pachale and Opa were waiting for us to say goodbye one last time.
I can not believe that our trip is almost complete. Germany has been a very exciting time and it will be hard to leave.