On Friday we celebrated our country's birthday in Germany's capital city of Berlin, bringing our series of day trips to a close.
It was the best day yet with regard to trains- a direct ICE train to Berlin with seat reservations, and no delays!
Our first stop was to the Reichstag, Germany's parliament building, where we took an elevator to the cupola and got some great bird's eye views of the city.
We got pictures in front of the Brandenburg Gate:
found a little piece of home-away-from-home at our own American Embassy:
and visited the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe in the middle of Berlin:
We then took the subway to the Kurfuerstendamm, a large shopping street in Berlin, where we had a little over an hour to eat and shop. Most of the group ended up at the KaDeWe (Kaufhaus Des Westens), the largest shopping mall in Europe. We also made stops at the Berlin store and the Ampelmann Cafe ('Ampelmann' is the name for the little man in the streetlights telling pedestrians when to and when not to walk across the street- found only in the former East Germany).
After the lunch break we took another subway ride and walked to the river Spree, where we boarded a boat and enjoyed an hour-long boat ride down the river through the city- absolutely perfect for the sunny, warm weather we had! We got to see many of Berlin's attractions along the way.
That concluded our day in Berlin and we boarded our train just as the game began between Germany and France. We were lucky to be seated next to someone on the train with an Ipad and we got to watch the last 20 minutes of the game, enough to see Germany's win! It was a sweet ending to our already incredible 4th of July!