The New Zealand Academy of Highland and National Dancing

Highland Dance Company of NZ Germany Trip - Day 8 - 31st Jan 2014

Checkpoint Charlie Bike tour and Beer hall day

Today we saw Beyoncé and my life is complete.

Just kidding. But we did see Ban-Ki Moon (the UN Secretary General for those of you who have never heard of the name (probably most of you)) walking into the Aldon Hotel, the famous one out of which Michael Jackson dangled his baby.

This was seen amongst many other famous Berlin sights during the bike tour that most of the now-footless-from-frostbite dancers took with Fat Tyre Bike Tours, or a bus tour that the Mums, the Directors, and Sarah G and Shirana took to try to survive the cold, but to no avail.

With a high of -7 degrees, it was almost impossible to keep even a finger warm, but we enthusiastically mounted our bikes and took off to see one of the most amazing cities in Europe. We soon learned that even though the buildings looked as old as Sara, these were only rebuilt versions of the originals after around 80% of the city was bombed in the War. Checkpoint Charlie, parts of the Berlin Wall still standing, the Imperial Palace, Hitler's Bunker, the Jewish Memorial, Brandenburg Gate, the Reichstag Building, Museum Island and the site of the Nazi book burning were some of the things that impressed us, along with our tour guide's great knowledge of the city's history.

It seemed that we had had enough of old things by mid afternoon, and needed some new things so we headed to KaDeWe, the biggest mall in Europe housing some of the best brands, including the only Topshop and Topman in Germany. Even though we only had an hour there we managed to help out the German retail economy a little and thaw our frozen noses and fingers.

For dinner we met up with the band and went to a traditional German beer hall named HofBraü Haus to have some local delicacies such as pork knuckle and a stein.

Now that we knew how far the hotel was from the train station we were not keen to have to walk home again, so taxis were ordered and everyone was soon in bed in anticipation for what else Germany would bring us.

Lewis Gibson

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