Yikes–where does the time go? Life has been chaotic and busy–just the way I like it I guess!
Over Labor Day weekend, we went camping with friends in nearby American Fork Canyon. The hikes and scenery in this canyon are breathtaking:
Also, Fall has started early this year so it was fun to see trees starting to turn into oranges, reds and yellows:
Back to our family’s European trip. First of all, bad news! We tried everything to get our photos back, even sending them to a dark room in Denver to try to get the images off. NO LUCK. While having a little pity party about this sad news, I heard a song in my car that had these lyrics: “I am empowered to nurture a grateful heart.” This song made me put things in perspective and be grateful that:
1. Our family had the trip of a lifetime and had such a blast together.
2. We were all safe and had no mishaps along the way.
3. I’ve been able to collect some photos from iPhones and host families.
So–with that being said, here’s an account of our week in Germany.
As you know, we had an adorable German boy live in our home from August 2011 to June 2012. Konstantin von Drachenfels won all our hearts and we were very sad to say goodbye. Luckily for us, we were able to stay with him and his family for a week in Northern Germany and they were the perfect tour guides, showing us their beautiful country.
We rented a van and drove from Switzerland to Braunschweig, Germany stopping in Munich at the Dachau concentration camp. This was the first Nazi German concentration camp and served as a model for others. The mood was very somber and our family shed a few tears over the lives lost and the pure torture that went on this hallowed ground :
Even 11-year-0ld Sage, who’d just read “The Diary of Anne Frank,” understood the horrible events that happened at Dachau. Brecken also read two books about the Holocaust while we were in Germany: “The Book Thief” (I’m reading this book now and love it) and “The Boy in the Striped Pajamas.”
Our next stop was Braunschweig (where Konsti lives) which is about 45 minutes from Hanover and two hours from Berlin and Hamburg. Konsti’s family was so delightful (we stayed in their home during our stay) and they ensured we had an educational, informative and fun time! Every minute of our time, apart from Sunday (thankfully a day of rest–we were pooped!), was spent climbing towers, riding in boats, bike taxis and cars and seeing the historical sights of Northern Germany.
What can we say about Berlin? Wow! So much history and so many things to see. We spent two full days in this city and only scratched the surface.
Probably my favorite part was the Berlin Wall. I remember November 9th, 1989 well–the day the wall came down. There is a small portion of the wall still standing. Artists were commissioned to paint colorful murals on the Eastern side of the wall describing liberty, freedom and justice to all after the wall came down:
The Western side of the wall is filled with graffiti from the time the wall was in place. The original foundation of the wall is still embedded in the ground all over the city. It’s so interesting to have one foot in Western Germany and the other foot in Eastern Germany and remember how one side was free to choose for themselves while the other was controlled by the Soviet sector. All that was dividing this freedom was a wall. There are also towers up everywhere where soldiers would stand guard with their guns. Checkpoint Charlie (the crossing point between East and West Berlin) is also super interesting to see (there’s a neat museum there):
We also got an rare tour of the German Parliament Building called Reichstag (here is the Bearnson family with Konsti and his mom, dad and sister):
The top of the Reichstag has a cool glass dome that you can walk up. Here we are at the top:
Another stop, Hambug, has to be the most beautiful city in Germany. There are canals everywhere and the city boasts of beautiful architecture.
We also were able to see Wartburg Castle, the place where Martin Luther translated the Bible.
We also toured through Hanover and Braunschweig–very charming cities as well.
We all had a tearful farewell with Konsti and his family. They recently moved to France (after living in Germany their entire lives). We look forward to the day when we will see them again.
I promise to write again soon–sooner than later! I can’t wait to tell you about Switzerland and Italy.