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Berlin Dreams: A Transformative Youth Trip to the Heart of Europe

Chronicles of My Youth Travels

By Gabriela Trofin-TatárPublished about a month ago 3 min read
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Berlin Dreams: A Transformative Youth Trip to the Heart of Europe
Photo by Gilly on Unsplash

“To me, Berlin is as much a conceit as a reality. Why? Because the city is forever in the process of becoming, never being, and so lives more powerfully in the imagination.” — Rory MacLean

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Attending the Dreaming Europe Student Congress in 2006 was an eye-opening experience for the 20-year-old me. This trip left a lasting mark on my journey of self-discovery and wanderlust.

The visit to the hall of the European Parliament in Berlin fueled my passion for international affairs and diplomacy, igniting my determination to pursue studies abroad. During this transformative journey, I also had the unexpected pleasure of making two Danish friends, foreshadowing my future adventures in Denmark.

Another memorable and humbling experience was exploring the Museum of the Holocaust. I was moved to write my name in Hebrew, a gesture of respect and remembrance. For me, this museum was a reminder of the importance of understanding history and promoting tolerance.

European Parliament, Berlin — Photos by the author taken in summer 2006
European Parliament, Berlin — Photos by the author taken in summer 2006

More than anything, though, all the below charming, unexpected details of the trip made my adventure unforgettable:

  • One night, while seated atop the TV Tower, I ate a massive turkey sandwich while admiring the city’s glittering lights below. It was a one-of-a-kind eating experience that provided me with a bird’s-eye view of Berlin’s grandeur.
  • As the sun began to set one evening, I found myself standing in amazement in front of the Brandenburg Gate. Its imposing figure stood against a painted sky, providing a captivating view over the historic site. It was a moment when the past and the present collided, and it felt pretty amazing.
  • We gathered for a BBQ under the stars in the middle of Berlin’s Tiergarten. The grill’s darting flames echoed the warmth of the new friendships I was forming. I still remember the aroma of hot food floating through the air. It was clear that Berlin was not only reawakening my interest in diplomacy but also developing my sense of community.
  • I found peace of mind in writing postcards on a pyramid-like grass area in the midst of Potsdamer Platz. I was also reflecting on the profound relationships I was building. A photo show in Arkade Mall nearby captured moments frozen in time, enhancing my grasp of the city’s history.
  • From the historic Unter den Linden to the stately Bundestag, a double-decker yellow bus tour took us around the city’s main attractions.
  • The breeze on top of the Bundestag, near the Glass Cupola, energized my spirit as I gazed out over Berlin’s skyline. I remember indulging in a delicious pretzel right there.
  • I remember having a “Blue Bottle” cocktail at Bitte ein Bit pub with my new Danish friends.
  • Among the most treasured recollections were those made with fellow students at the Congress. We met in front of the Brandenburg Gate for a group photo (of all 70 participating students), proudly carrying the EU flag as a symbol of our common ambitions.
  • Another beautiful moment was at the Opening Ceremony when three kids played the EU song on violin and cello. That brought tears to our eyes, strengthening our commitment to a united Europe.
  • The “1 Europe, 25 Countries” workshop inspired lively debates about cultural diversity, extending our perspectives, and deepening our connections.
  • The reception at the Finnish Embassy in the Nordic Countries Embassy Complex served as a reminder of the global ties we were making.
  • As I boarded the plane back home, I delved into my newly bought book, “Freakonomics”. As a tradition, I always buy a book when I visit a new place, as a tangible reminder of the intellectual growth that accompanies my travels.

The memories of Berlin, a city of history, culture, and newfound friendships, inspired me to continue my journey of self-discovery and travel. The lessons and experiences I gathered at the Dreaming Europe Student Congress were precious. They fueled my search for new experiences abroad.

This congress was a pivotal moment in my life. I felt that an insatiable thirst for exploration drove me the whole time. It was in Berlin that I realized I couldn’t stay in one place. The world had too much to offer, and I was eager to seize every opportunity to study and travel abroad.

By Mateo Krossler on Unsplash

***I originally published this article on Medium.***

Thank you for reading! Your support means a lot and fuels our passion for travel and my motivation to write about our experiences. It takes me a few hours to craft an article about various travels, and we do travel quite a lot! So expect more in the future :)

If you feel generous, send me a tip, Buy me a coffee, or a tea, and let’s chat in the comments.

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About the Creator

Gabriela Trofin-Tatár

Full Stack Developer in the making and mother of 3 littles. Curious, bookaholic and travel addict. I also write on Medium and Substack: https://medium.com/@chicachiflada & https://chicachiflada.substack.com/

Reader insights

Outstanding

Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

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  1. Compelling and original writing

    Creative use of language & vocab

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Comments (3)

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  • Zélia Alyieabout a month ago

    It's so amazing you got to visit Berlin so young and as part of a congress!

  • Nature Loverabout a month ago

    Indeed transformative! I loved the bits and pieces of memories you listed. Very unique way of story telling.

  • Ameer Bibiabout a month ago

    I really enjoyed your stories but specially those that are based on your travel experience

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