2022 Summit View West Germany Cultural Journey
April 7, 2022 -
April 15, 2022
Dates are tentative until airfare confirmed
Airfare not included in program tuition
|Deadline(s):||Enrollment deadline forthcoming|
Review all materials
What to Expect
Please read through all of the information below. More details will be added as your departure draws closer.
We do everything possible to run safe, engaging, and immersive programs for our travelers, but given the unpredictable nature of international travel we must remain flexible in our planning. Changes to a schedule are uncommon but if inclement weather pushes us off course or an unexpected opportunity arises which travelers are excited about, we reserve the right to adjust programming in the best interest of the group.
|1||USA - Berlin||Today we will depart the US for Germany, arriving to Berlin the following day.||Airplane|
|2||Berlin||Today we'll arrive in Berlin, get settled in our hotel, and enjoy a short stroll along the Unter den Linden boulevard to see the iconic Brandenburg Gate and the historical center before dinner. We will make sure to have an early evening after the long flight.||Berlin Hotel|
|3||Berlin||The best way to explore a new city is by bicycle and we will start our first full day in Berlin with a bike tour including Tempelhofer Feld (an airport-turned-park), the government district, and remnants of the Berlin Wall that once divided the city for 30 years. In the evening we will return to the Reichstag (Parliament) for a spectacular roof-top sunset and panoramic view over Berlin.||Berlin Hotel|
|4||Berlin||Today we will get to know the multi-cultural and dynamic Kreuzberg neighborhood of Berlin through through the stories and insights of our local guide. The walking tour includes a visit to one of Berlin's oldest mosques and lunch at a family-run Turkish restaurant.Alternativly we can visit the museum island with its main museums which hold more than 3000 years of art history, from the Pergamon altar to Monet. In the evening we will explore Berlin underground though tunnels built to escape east germany or WW2 bunkers, with a Berliner Unterwelten tour.||Berlin Hotel|
|5||Potsdam||Just outside the bustling Berlin metropolis lies the small city of Potsdam, capital of the province of Brandenburg and once a summer retreat of aristocrats. We will see the greenery, waterways, and palaces of Potsdam by boat. After lunch we will walk through the historic center of Potsdam and the palace gardens built by the Prussian kings. For dinner back in Berlin we will try one of Berlin's specialties - Currywurst.||Berlin Hotel|
|6||Dresden||After arriving by train in Dresden we will hop on bikes to explore this city known as the "Florence of the North." We will also visit the Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady) and learn about its fascinating story of 18th-century construction, complete destruction in World War II, and total reconstruction after the fall of the Berlin Wall. In the evening we will enjoy a typical German meal and a stroll along the river front.||Dresden/Altstadt Hotel|
|7||Dresden||Dresden hosts some of the most important museums in the world and today we will spend the day exploring the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, an institution comprised of 14 museums that feature all periods of art, as well as science and natural history collections. We will have some free time to explore the historic town center. We'll finish the day with a boat tour along the Elbe River Valley, a World Heritage Site.||Dresden/Altstadt Hotel|
|8||Dresden to Berlin||In the morning will have a walking tour of the city and in the afternoon we will visit the stunning Green Vault in Dresden's Renaissance-era city palace before we return to Berlin. The Green Vault is a unique historic museum that contains the largest collection of treasures in Europe in a Renaissance era city-palace. We will use our remaining hours in Berlin to enjoy a farewell dinner together and indulge ourselves at a fantastic ice cream cafe at Potsdamer Platz.||Berlin Hotel|
|9||Depart Berlin||After breakfast we'll board a plane back across the Atlantic. Auf Wiedersehen!||Your own bed, eventually!|
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In order to provide a safe and memorable experience, we follow strict guidelines when choosing program accommodations. Walking Tree partners with locally-operated, three-star equivalent hotels and guest houses which are centrally located, clean and safe.
Once your flight has been secured the itinerary will appear here. Walking Tree will secure a seat on the group flight for each participant unless otherwise instructed.
Travelers are responsible for checked baggage fees. Please visit the airline’s baggage webpage to learn if you should expect to pay anything.
We will provide a group manifest – complete with reservation codes and ticket numbers – to the Group Organizer/s before departure, but travelers will need to check in at the airport in order to receive their boarding pass and have documents verified. We recommend arriving no later than three hours prior to the scheduled departure, but contact your Group Organizer for specific details on exactly where and when to meet on the day of departure.
FLIGHT INTERRUPTION DELAY OR CANCELLATION
Air travel is unpredictable, especially in a pandemic. Regardless of proper planning, there may still be instances when a flight is delayed or cancelled due to staffing shortages, weather, mechanical problems, etc. Please note that in such an event, Walking Tree Travel (WTT) is not financially responsible for unanticipated costs incurred by travelers en route. Our programs officially begin and end in the destination country, and because our staff doesn’t fly with the group, Group Organizers (the traveling faculty member/s) become the front-line advocate for the group in the event of a delay. In most cases of cancellations or delays, the airline will be the one who re-books travel or possibly arranges a hotel and food the night. Our primary role will be to keep families updated and provide support to the Group Organizer to reach a quick and effective resolution.
Host Community and Project Details
What follows is a sample packing list but you know yourself better than we do so please adjust accordingly. We recommend you bring a larger piece of luggage like a roller, duffel bag, or backpack, as well as a smaller backpack that you can bring on daily outings, weekend excursions and shorter activities.
“Less is more” is a packing tip we encourage for all our travelers. The list below should cover everything you would need, but know yourself and what you are comfortable traveling with. We suggest bringing only as much as you would be able to carry on your own.
Finally, we recommend consulting a weather forecast for your destination.
Most importantly, be sure to remember your PASSPORT!
CLOTHES (quantities depend on your trip length) :
- Socks (a mixture of good active socks and casual socks)
- T-shirts (some quick dry)
- Long sleeve shirts
- Sweaters or sweatshirts
- Rain jacket
- Travel/athletic shorts that are breathable and light
- Comfortable, everyday pants
- Nice shirt/top to be worn to more formal dinners (girls might want a skirt or something a little nicer for such occasions)
- Durable athletic/walking shoes
- Sandals (optional)
TOILETRIES: BRING THE BASIC TOILETRIES YOU NEED PLUS:
- Sunscreen (you will use a lot)
- Mosquito repellent
- Band Aids and Neosporin
- Hand Sanitizer
- Medication in properly marked original container
- Journal and pen
- Camera (digital, disposable, waterproof)
- Power Converter
- Alarm Clock and watch
- Debit card/US Dollars (we recommend about $50-$150, depending on amount of desired souvenirs, extra items etc.)
- Durable water bottle
- 1 quick-dry towel
- Deck of cards or other portable games
- STUDENT ID
- German/English Dictionary
At a minimum, one experienced Program Leader will travel on every trip. In addition to this full time leadership presence, Walking Tree has additional support staff in all destinations and 24/7 support from our headquarters in Denver, Colorado. Below you’ll find a list of the team members involved in the planning, organizing, and leadership of your program.
Italy Country Director; Germany Country Director
Bologna University – B.A. Political Science and International Relations
Born to an Italian father and a Canadian-Austrian mother, Devin grew up in Varese which is in Northern Italy between Milan and Switzerland. He grew up with a love for winter sports, dividing his winters between hockey and skiing. In summer he would enjoy mountain biking around the Alps and try to water ski as much as possible. After finishing school, in the English section of the European School, he went to Bologna University and achieved a B.A in Political Science and International Relations. In Bologna he also discovered his passion for food and teaching. Devin is now living in the exciting capital of Germany, Berlin, where he is a bike tour guide, part time cook, and English teacher.
University of Pittsburgh – PhD History of Art and Architecture; Certificate: Cultural Studies University of Pittsburgh – MA History of Art and Architecture Lawrence University – BA German, Art History; Minor: Gender Studies
Providing Germany-centered program development and outreach for Smithsonian Student Adventures and Walking Tree Travel is a dream job and coming full-circle for Annie. As a 13-year-old, she came home from her first summer as a villager at Waldsee, one of the language and cultural immersion summer camps of Concordia Language Villages in Minnesota, announcing plans to be a Fulbright Fellow in Germany. After a high school exchange and a full undergraduate year at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, she indeed returned to Germany twice as a Fulbright Fellow – teaching English in a secondary school and conducting independent research for her dissertation. Having traveled extensively through Europe with longer stays outside of Germany in Poland and England, she considers herself first and foremost a Berliner by choice who is also at home on the trails of Colorado. Her greatest accomplishments include being mistaken for a native speaker on the streets of Berlin, finishing two 140.6-mile Ironman triathlons, and owning, and actually wearing, a Dirndl.
Co-Founder of Walking Tree Travel and Business Lead - Denver, CO
Colby College – B.A. International Relations and Government
While at Colby, Gabriel spent a semester in Spain at the University of Salamanca studying contemporary Spanish politics and Spanish language. He also lettered for four-years on Colby’s lacrosse team and earned All-American honors. After graduating, Gabriel hit the road. He fished commercially in Alaska, taught in Chile and China, led programs for students in Spain and Costa Rica, and traveled to over 50 countries and all 50 states in the USA. Regardless of where Gabriel is located, he is constantly haunted by his naive faith and unconditional love for Denver sports teams.
Below is a list of the travelers enrolled on the program.
Blog and Communication
During travel we will work hard to keep families updated as frequently as possible with blogs and photos, giving you peace of mind that your traveler is safe and thriving on their program. Students regularly contribute to these posts, giving parents a great way to vicariously track the progress of the trip. You will receive an email notification when the first blog is posted, after which we recommend you check in regularly via the black “Program Blog” button at the top of this page.
Beyond this proactive approach to communication during the trip, most destinations are wired enough to allow participants semi-regular access to WiFi so you can also expect to communicate with your traveler directly. Ask your Walking Tree representative about the degree of connectivity on your program.
Walking Tree has developed a curriculum of activities meant to help travelers get the most out of their trip before departure, during travel and after they return home. These simple and engaging activities are meant to spark discussion, frame experiences, and prepare participants to travel ethically and effectively both on this trip and on future adventures.
For more information about student learning objectives and the format of the curriculum, click on the ‘learn more’ button below.
To view and complete the Pre-Program Activities, visit our online portal at the button below.
Standards of Behavior
In order to run a safe and successful program, it is important that we create an environment of trust, security and respect. All individuals participating in our programs are required to take responsibility for their actions and adhere to a high standard of behavioral conduct.
- Possessing, consuming or distributing alcohol or illegal drugs.
- Associating with participants while they are in possession of or are consuming or distributing alcohol or illegal drugs.
- Behaving in a way that consistently damages the group dynamic or jeopardizes personal or group safety. This includes consistently displaying a negative attitude, intimidating or excluding other participants, sneaking out, disobeying group leaders, and any other behavior that is not conducive to an atmosphere of trust and mutual respect.
GROUNDS FOR DISMISSAL OR IN-COUNTRY CONSEQUENCE
- Failure to abide by COVID-19 restrictions.
- Stealing, or deliberately damaging or defacing any personal property, buildings or materials.
- Possessing weapons.
- Riding mopeds, motorcycles, or any other type of unauthorized vehicle.
- Getting a piercing or tattoo.
- Being out after curfew.
- Breaking group rules.
These standards of behavior are essential for the successful completion of your program. Please take the time to review these as a family and make sure everyone understands and agrees to them.
Health and Safety
We strongly recommend visiting the CDC Germany website to get the most updated information on health and vaccination considerations in your destination country. In addition, we encourage you to consult with your personal family physician so you can be as informed as possible when making important decisions about vaccinations and other necessary health-related preparations before travel.
Beyond these recommendations, our in-country staff prepare meticulously for all programs. WTT will register our programs and travelers with the U.S. Department of State Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) in case of emergency. In country staff also verify the safety records of our partner organizations, vendors, and transportation providers, thoroughly vet homestay families via in depth interviews and home visits, and keep up on important current events in the region.
Program Leaders are seasoned travelers who are CPR and First Aid certified, undergo thorough training in crisis management, and participate in a multi-day leadership training retreat. We do our best to prepare for any eventuality and have detailed emergency protocols for our leaders, in-country staff and U.S.-based staff.
We receive medical disclosures from all participants to ensure we are able to meet every students’ needs during the program. Please inform us immediately of any additional health issues that you did not list during your initial registration process. Program Leaders will also hold an online information session before your departure, as well as an arrival orientation in-country, in order to give participants important instructions on food safety, hygiene and preventing injury and illness. Leaders and in-country staff always respond immediately to any mental, physical or emotional health issues and follow comprehensive emergency protocols.
While we work hard to ensure the safest experience possible for our travelers on program, experience teaches that travel is never without risk. For this reason, we recommend that all travelers consider a travel insurance policy with two additional provisions: Cancel for Any Reason (CFAR) and Bed Rest. Detailed explanations of both provisions can be found on the link below.
To provide families with a quality option, Walking Tree has partnered with Travel Insured International, one of the most respected providers in the industry. Begin by getting a quote here.
IMPORTANT NOTE: in order to secure coverage with CFAR included, you must purchase the plan within 21 days of your deposit/first payment. You must also insure 100% of your trip cost, so program tuition + flight.