Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
The next day, we visited the Jewish Museum (designed by the architect Daniel Libeskind, whose design for the Freedom Towers was also accepted as plans for the memorial for September 11th) and it made for one serious history lesson. Our students behaved wonderfully and with the utmost respect and curiousity - nothing else a teacher could ask for. Afterwards, we walked to Checkpoint Charlie, where the students were free to eat lunch and roam about. Afterwards we walked further along the main roads and eventually made our way to the Reichstag (our parliament building), but not before stopping at significant points of interest, such as the newly premiered outdoor installation "Topography of Terror" and the Holocaust Memorial. Finally, we reached the Reichstag and climbed atop the fascinating dome and caught a wonderful view of the city. It was a fortune that we did not have to wait long in any lines, because as we were climbing the dome, the fan mile was already filling with hundreds of thousands of people in anticipation of the Spain/Germany semi-final game. We opted to watch the game near our hostel, but not before we were decked out in German shirts, war paint and flags and twigs of oak trees. We do not have to go into the details of how the game ended - the German octupus Paul had warned us all. There were some (many) tears. At this point, we ought to congratulate our sister program in Spain on becoming the World Cup Champion of 2010.
Thursday was a day of walking. We basically walked about the entire city and sort of let our interests guide us. Just by chance, inspired by curiosity, we enountered one of the best exhibitions (motions and art) we could have hoped for, while visiting the Bugatti store to oggle at the most expensive cars in the world. Afterwards we picniced in the city and eventually made our way to the Berlin Cathedral. This stop was especially interesting to many students, because it was a Lutheran cathedral and not Catholic (at this point, they've seen a lot of Churches) and also houses a crypt beneath it, which is home to several Prussian kings and queens, about whom we've learned in our classes. We also climbed on top of the dome and enjoyed yet another amazing view of the city. Thankfully, it was a beautiful day.
We eventually made our way back to the central station, where we grabbed some "grub" and got on the train. We anticipated that everyone would be exhausted and fall asleep - wrong! They are like Energizer bunnies, they keep going and going and going...
Berlin was truly a wonderful trip and so much fun. Some even said that they left their hearts in Berlin and plan on returning. What a success!
For now we wish you a wonderful time until your kids are back...there is only little time left and the next week will be bitter-sweet, "Parting is such sweet surrow..."
All the best from Krefeld,
The Krefeld Team and Co.
Sunday, July 4, 2010
Yep, it's time again. We are currently enduring a sweltering heat-wave, but that hasn't slowed us down.
We started the week off with a classic game of mini-golf - thankfully under a canopy of thick oak leaves and some ice-cream to cool us off. On Tuesday, we planned our regular creative activities, during which time we rehearsed for our small poetry jam and performance of the American National Anthem, with which we plan to grace (why are anthems always the most difficult to sing?) our host families come tomorrow at our slightly-delayed-but-just-as-special Fourth of July party. Perhaps, today, on the 4th, our students are remembering home and missing family and friends with a little less inhibition....
On Wednesday, it was finally time for our long distance field trip to Aachen - our first of three major trips. In our courses, the students had learned about some major historical figures that helped define Europe, most significantly Karl the Great (or Charlemagne, as you might know him) and Barbarossa. The most dramatic venture was to Aachen's Dom/Cathedral and the Schatzkammer (treasure vault). Our students' jaws were dragging along on the floor - they just couldn't conceive the treasures they saw, and to stand so close to Karl himself! It was so wonderful to see the students listen attentively to our (fabulous) tour-guide, take photographs and thoroughly enjoy learning about German culture and history. The students really observed the fine details, too, and independently took note of shell-damage on the outside walls of the cathedral - a sad reminder of World War II. They are really putting the pieces together - a demonstration of their maturity and sensibility for Germany's complicated history. Our trip to Aachen was a wonderful preparation for our three-day trip to the nation's capital, Berlin, this Tuesday.
We can only venture to guess what the students did this past weekend, but our best bet is that it involved ice-cream, water and the World Cup. Once again, our boys (yes, we, like the rest of the nation, claim them to be of us), celebrated a major victory. Yet another four goal game, this time against Argentina. Germany will enter the semi-finals against Spain (our highest competition) on Wednesday, when we are in Berlin. We hope that you will be watching these last two games and cheer on for Germany - it is a comforting thought to watch such a spirited and positive sport, knowing that across the great pond, your loved one is watching, too.
Well, this will have to do for now. There will be lots to tell after our trip to Berlin, but we only want to provide you with the guarentee that your children our enjoying a great time, without robbing them of their stories to tell you when they return home.
We send you the warmest greetings from hot Germany,
The Krefeld Team & Co.