After a week of living in Berlin, going to class every weekday, and occasionally watching German television, my ears are beginning to become attuned to the German language. It is easier for me now to compose sentences and piece apart larger words to derive their meaning, although it will still take some time to become accustomed to some words which, when thought of in English, do not seem to make sense.
For example, “hören” is a verb that translates to “to hear”, and “auf” is a preposition translates roughly to “on”. Now, considering this, take the word “aufhören” and attempt to derive its meaning. Translated to English, “aufhören” means “to stop”. To me, this is not intuitive.
On Wednesday, the school group took a boat tour on the Spree, the prominent river of Berlin, to learn about the history and bridges of Berlin. Though I don’t remember much of what the tour guide stated, I do remember that we passed under many bridges.
Friday, instead of attending class, the school group departed for Potsdam to explore the two prominent castles which rest there: Schloss Cecilienhof and Schloss Sanssouci. Both of these castles have, in different ways, important histories which had notable impacts on Germany, so it was with anticipation that I approached these two castles.
Cecilienhof, while not an exceptionally beautiful or skillfully crafted castle, is of course the location in which the three most prominent leaders of the Allied and Soviet powers, Churchill, Kennedy, and Stalin, met to discuss and negotiate matters involving the Second World War. Therefore, it has quite a bit of historical significance for the Western world, and as well the developing world.
Sanssouci is an extraordinarily beautiful castle inspired by French and contemporary Rococo architectural styles that was owned by Frederick the Great. Sanssouci is derived from a French phrase, “Sans Souci”, which mean “without worry”. It was meant to be a place to discuss matters such as philosophy, literature, and politics and be candid and carefree. It was also a place which brimmed with worldly items and influences from places such as China, Italy, Greece, and France. Each of the rooms has a different theme, and many different artists were commissioned to add artistic works and designs to the rooms.
For the trip, the scheduling was unfortunately led astray, which led to the group only having 15 minutes to walk through Schloss Cecilienhof.