Sunday, July 20, 2014
Berlin Day (Day 15 of 21)
Like each of the other two European Capitals, Paris, France and Amsterdam, Netherlands; I have found that Berlin is a city with a past of religious revolt. Sunday in Berlin started with a leisurely breakfast filled with thinly sliced prosciutto, cereal, cheese, bread, and of course coffee. I will appreciate some Folgers coffee when I get home. I said my morning prayers before I started my day so that I could have the blessings of the Lord upon our group.
After lunch we had our walking tour. We walked all over the city of Berlin, Germany with a guide named, Sophie. Sophie was very knowledgeable about the history of the city. She was actually born in Prague, but she took us on a tour of Berlin like no other. A few facts that Sophie talked about was the fact that Berlin was born in 1237. It is centrally located and was divided by The Berlin Wall. The Berlin Wall is not as massive as the Great Wall of China; however it served its purpose – to keep people from the Eastern side of Germany separated from the Western side of Germany. Families were literally destroyed overnight as the wall was put up in the middle of the night. August of 1961 it was started as barbed wire fence and progressed for 28 to be such a barrier that it is known worldwide. The Berlin Wall came tumbling down November 9, 1989. This day I remember as my brother was stationed here in Germany. He has an actual piece of the wall that commemorates the end of separation in Berlin. Families were reunited after 28 years. I have been on this study abroad trip for 15 days and I miss my family so much. I could not imagine being away from them for 28 years. God will make a way out of no way! For two years there was no communication from one side of the Berlin Wall to the other. But once Checkpoint Charlie was opened it allowed for communication between the sides. Checkpoint Charlie was at gate number three of seven.
Our tour took us past the Holocaust Memorial with it 2,711 slates of multi sized granite that represent the exact number of Jewish lives that were lost just because of their religion. I am proud to be an American as I can worship who I want, when I want, and how I want without recourse. Sophie said a man said “People who do not change with the times are crushed by the time”. This man was definitely correct. Life is ever changing and in order to keep up we must all change to some degree. I thought that change came with age, but I know now that change comes with knowledge. People with closed minds think that Gatlinburg, TN is the only vacation spot in the world. I mean Tennessee. While on the other hand there are people like me: willing to explore the world to see what else is out there. The joy of life to me is my family, my freedom, and my right to worship God in spirit and in truth.
Sophie also told the tale of how there almost was a World War III. She said People settled disputes by throwing people out of windows. The term for this was defenestration. Well, one priest was thrown from a window and lived to tell about it as he landed in a pile of horse manure. This was after the 30 year war.
April 29, 1945 Hitler married Ava Brown. The very next day, April 30, 1945 they committed suicide. Cyanide poisoning and a bullet in the head was the demise of Hitler. Wow! He did not want their bodies to be found so he not only killed Ava and himself, but he poured petro on them and set them on fire. Hitler made the saying “if I can’t have you, then nobody can” come to life.
I thought that I had completely finished my blog for the day until I went to a free concert in the park. Sayaka Shoji- Violine and Julien Quentin-Klavier was in a free concert. Our group was trying to find a free movie in the park, but stumbled upon this magical concert. To me this was the perfect ending to a very hot day. We walked a few blocks away from our hostel. We crossed a bridge or two to find a crowd of people, a cool breeze, and a melody that would make Mozart blush. This night was magnificent. Thanks Dr. V for suggesting this event.