14 days in Berlin: A Photojournalism Trip

Jessie White in front of building.

Arriving in Berlin, Germany proved frustrating. After making it through the craziness of numerous airports and missing connecting flights, I arrived at the Tegel airport. Hopping on the TXL bus from the airport, I was immediately thrown into an overview of the city. The voice on the over-com was that of a German women both soothing and yet sinister. I tried to listen closely for, "Alexanderplatz," while trying not to fall down on the bus, holding on to my oversized luggage, and looking outside the bus windows to see for the first time the Berlin Hauptabahnhof, the largest train station in Europe. Layers upon layers of glass and steel encompasses the massive structure with the words "Berlin Central Train Station: Berlin Hauptbahnhof" written in modern red lettering. As the bus made its wide turns around the station, I couldn't help but notice the other passengers in awe of the large structure.

The bus rounded the corner and I had to reread the email my professor sent for the directions to the hotel. I kept repeating the steps and attempting to say the names of the German streets. On the plane ride over, I imagined myself getting lost from the Tegel airport searching the streets of Berlin for a bunch of Photojournalist Students to not avail. Instead of this dream becoming reality I had to pay attention and could only rely on myself for this task. As the bus came closer to a large white building with mosaic tiling and obvious communist artwork on the sides of the building, I knew I was officially in the East Side. From here I was to get onto a futuristic space trolley, or the German's would call, the M4 streetcar. The automated voice called out, "Alexanderplatz" and I tried politely to remove my luggage and self without bumping into the other passengers, thoughts flooded back to me scolding myself for not at least learning how to say, "excuse me" in German. After embarrassing myself by attempting to speak German, myself and my belongings were on the M4 waiting for "Immanuelkirchstrasse" to be called out by the mysterious women. The directions said to then cross the street with a falafel restaurant on my right. From there a strip club would be on the corner, and further down a long driveway would curve on my left. I walked down the drive way and saw a beautiful rebuilt apartment building with six floors of glass. Directly beside it was a dilapidated apartment building from the 1940s with vines and shrubs growing atop of it. As I discovered later on during the trip, Berlin is a city full of these combinations of buildings; torn between the desire to erase any shred of history from their past, and yet remnants from the destruction and devastation of World War II are still standing.

Building Eventually, I found my way to the hotel. The one thing I could go for was a much needed nap, but that was not on the agenda. We first went to see the Berlin Wall, by means of the M4. The graffiti-riddled buildings raced past, creating a blur of color.

After watching documentaries about the Berlin Wall and then seeing it and touching the wall in person, I realized how different my trip here would have been if in fact the wall was still up. Instead I was able to walk between the outer and inter walls and see where the machine guns and other traps were set.

My first escapade in Berlin was only the beginning of a 14 day long photojournalism trip.

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