As a member of team Alpha, I started my CR experience off with a protest for Taiwanese Health Care for All. The title of this blog is the chant we all yelled with great pride. Why they were doing this in Germany is still a mystery…. but team Alpha was all in! As we led the protest (see picture below), Dr. P looked on with a amused look on his face.
I quickly realized that CR was something else. Seeing and doing things you never expected you would ever do is definitely a theme of Cultural Routes. In Berlin, the most shocking thing to me when the Soviet Memorial in Treptower Park. Why in the world would Germany have a massive memorial to the power that once spilt their city in two? Through the meticulously well kept memorial, we found the answer.
In the stone sculptures that line the graves of unknown soldiers, the story of WWII is told from the point of view of the Soviets. From the bombing of cities to the rallying of the people behind the military, I was able to understand why this memorial stands. They were heros of the war and saved their people from the Nazis. This is a fact that is often overshadowed by the actions of the Soviets after the war. Nonetheless, the Germans realized that they were essentially saved in part by the Soviets and honor them in an indescribably symbolic memorial. Remembrance of what happened rings throughout the grounds with little, often overlooked, details. Berlin as a whole is not afraid to recognize its past, no matter how complicated it might be.
Berlin is overall an amazing city full of history and life. The Brandenburg Gate is possibly one of the most historic places in the whole city. Both Napoleon and Hitler marched their troops through it as a sign of power during their reigns. If you get close to it you can see where they patched over bullet holes from the Battle of Berlin. And atop the gate stands the Quadriga, a massive horse drawn statue, that sat in a museum for many years before being returned to the gate. This is also where we started our CR journey. The overwhelming feeling of awe that I got as we walked towards the gate is something that I never felt before. I did not know what to expect from Berlin, but I do know that it will be hard to top.
From dinner in the dark, where we ate with our hands and were fed mystery meat to walking around a church that took direct bomb hits in WWII to an insanely spirited soccer match to learning our to ride the S and U Bahns, Cultural Routes is off to an amazing start.
I also want to give a special shoutout to Team Alpha: Lauren, Kynnedi, Taylor, Peter, and Harris. You guys are the best group of people! Never forget your #(cultural)routes! We will never walk alone with amplemann! Alpha on one!
Also hi to mom, dad, Tessa, and Lexxa!
Catch you in Munich,