Monday, March 23, 2009

Berlin Over Spring Break

I didn't get a chance to blog about the little trip we took the week before ladies retrea
t. It was such a memorable time that I didn't want to miss saying a few words about before too much time passes.

Dave flew in from the States to Berlin on Sunday, the 1st of March, where the kids and I met up with him at a hotel - we arrived within a half hour o
f each other which is pretty amazing when you consider he'd been flying for 24 hours and we'd driven 7!

For years we've been wanting to visit Berlin, but had just never made it there. When we were thinking about what to do for our last spring break together, before Tyler heads to college, we decided Berlin was a reachable and interesting destination. What a good decision that was!

If you have never been to Berlin, I can't recommend it enough. It's not a place that I'd want to necessarily "vacation" (I'm not a big city kind of girl for vacations), but for a chance to see some really cool historical things, it's a great destination! We were only there an evening and a day, but we packed it in!

Highlights...definitely, seeing what's left of the Berlin wall and the Checkpoint Charlie Museum. Also loved the Pergamom Museum which houses, among other things, the Ishtar Gate and the Procession Way of Babylon together with the throne room facade of Nebuchadrezzar II. Very impressive!

We also loved walking on the Un
ter den Linden, a famous street in former East Berlin, visiting Potsdamerplatz (an amazing shopping complex built after Communism fell over the ruins from WW2), seeing the Brandenburg Gate, the Berlin Cathedral which is a beautiful Protestant cathedral dating back to the 15th century, and...Starbucks! LOL! I bet you would never guess that there are 20 Starbucks in that city!

It was very moving to be in a city that was such a bastion of freedom vs oppression during the years of the Cold War. I don't think I had really understood the significance of West Berlin all those years. It was an island of freedom right in the middle of oppressed East Germany. For Americans, you had to take a US troop train in through the night to visit it during those Communist years - something we wish now that we'd done during our years in Germany before the wall came down.

There are bricks on the streets throughout the city that show where the wall was -
a rather incomprehensible reality of what formerly was. The wall literally tore a city in half when they built it in 1961. What a tragedy for those who lived on the wrong side. They suffered many years, while the West Berliners just over the wall lived in freedom. I can't imagine what that must have been like.

Great time with the family, great time of soaking in history, great time of giving thanks to God for the freedom that came to Eastern Europe.

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