Sunday, June 17, 2012

Thursday 31.05: Berlin day 4

Today started off with breakfast, and then some of the last few presentations. Once the presentations were done we had a free day. There were 11 of us that wanted to go to the zoo. The rest went to the Berliner Dom and I don't have a clue as to what else they did.
The Berlin zoo supposedly has more species than any other zoo in the world! I was super pumped. When we drove past it on Monday night, the outside had paintings of dolphins and whales. Maybe, just maybe I would finally see a dolphin!
The zoo was more expensive than the one in Stuttgart, which was expected, but not nearly expensive as the ones back home, like Brookfield. For the zoo and the aquarium it cost 15 euros for a student. Not bad at all!
We walked in as a group, but within 1 minute had already broken off into about 3-4 groups. I like the way German zoo exhibits are built. I feel like they are a lot more open, and there are less big walls between us and the animals. I feel like in America it is all fences.
When we started, we were all taking pictures of the animals and the information plaques, to try and learn more animal names, but after about 10 minutes we totally forgot about that...
I'm going to let the pictures do most of the talking here, until I get to one that has a story along with it! :)

It's a HUGE zoo

I pet this lil guy :)

Just for you Emily Dean :)

For the Dean sisters :)

Found some Ben & Jerry's for Sabrina :)

Sunbathing kangaroos

For those that are curious, no there were no dolphins or whales. Yes I was super bummed. We went to the aquarium and when I realized I wasn't going to see any dolphins I slid into a funk. A depressed that I couldn't see any dolphins funk. I was crushed. Really. Becky gave me a hard time about it, but they are my favorite animals and I had really high hopes I would get to see one. But alas, there were none.
The one thing that semi-but-not-really-made up for the lack of water mammals, was the petting zoo. I didn't get any pictures because I was feeding and petting baby goats. Eventually when Becky puts her pictures up I'll get the picture of the goat and me on here! :D
We ended our zoo trip at the gift shop, where I bought myself a stuffed polar bear. I needed a cuddle buddy and I really wanted a "Berlin bear" and figured this was as close as I would get. He has a cute ribbon around his neck saying greetings from Berlin. Totally worth it. It's the first thing I had bought for myself the whole trip, aside from some postcards.
Becky really wanted to be able to say she ate McDonald's in Germany and there was one across the street from the zoo so that's where we had dinner. To me, it was just McDonald's. Nothing special. I don't really ever eat fast food so I might not be a good judge.
The rest of the group met us there and we headed to the train station to get back in time to meet Anderson for a little excursion. After a little bickering about what trains to take, we made it to where Anderson was meeting us and started walking.
He took us to a memorial in Treptower Park for the fallen Soviet soldiers. It was a gorgeous memorial. My favorite part was the statue at the top of the hill. It was a soldier holding a small child and has a broken swastika at his feet.
The first archway into the memorial

Thank you Sara's hand for enhancing this picture

While I didn't appreciate it as much as I should have when I was there, now that I look back at it, I wish I had gotten some background knowledge before hand. But it had been a long day at the zoo and I had some intense foot pain going on.
It started to lightly rain so we continued walking until we came to a beer garden... which was closed. But the restaurant upstairs was still open! So we all sat around and had a drink. I had Berlin weiss bier, it is a white beer and then they add a colored syrup to it. It was really sweet. I could've had more, but Anderson was only paying for one :)

From there we headed back to the hostel. It was a long walk. In the pouring rain. I was wearing ballet flats, so they were soaked. The pain in my foot was overwhelming. I was soooooo not in a good mood.
I got back, changed into comfy clothes, and got to skype with Sabrina :) We talked for over an hour. It was really nice to finally get to talk to her. Sure the internet sucked and we got disconnected, but it was better than no skyping at all! 

Happy: Petting a penguin, petting a goat, skyping with Sabrina
Crappy: it raining and my foot hurting.

Lots of love from Germany!

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