Day #17: July 15, 2009
After a long train ride yesterday and meeting our next host, Jannina (prounounced YA-NE-NA), Amy and I were delighted to have the time to sleep in! We were most thrilled to find out that Jannina has a washing machine in which we could wash our clothes!
Story: “Clean Undies?”
In Prague, I had to wash all of my clothes because my adored hair mouse’s explosion all over my outfits! Not to mention, clean undies were limited! So hand washing all shirts and shorts, we did a pretty good job. However, Amy and I are both weird about hand washing any undies, so we first soaked them…and then decided to put them in the dishwasher! (I know, gross. But we didn’t have to use the dishwasher for any dishes!) Once we set them up, put the laundry soap in, we went to turn on the machine. After about 10 minutes of pushing any and every button, we concluded it didn’t work. Great. We left them in there, in hopes to figure out the machine once we talked with the owner…only to find out they disconnected the washer! Ahhhh, so now we have somewhat clean-soaked/wet undies. When Jannina told us that she had a washing machine, Amy and I about fell on our faces, and lay prostrate before the Lord in praise and thanks!!! Oh how He provides in just the right time!
Once we did two complete loads of laundry and hung the clothes to dry, Rick Steve’s Europe 2009 took us out in Berlin, Germany! We first visited the Reichstag, the Parliament building where Hitler once ruled and 1,500 Nazis took their last stand, which extended the World War II by two days. As of 1995, for the building’s 101st birthday, it was renovated and to many Germans, the refurbished Reichstag symbolizes the end of a terrible chapter in German history.
From there we went to the memorial to politicians who opposed Hitler. There is a row of slate stabs imbedded in the ground. It is a memorial to the 96 politicians who were persecuted and murdered because their politics didn’t agree with Hitler’s. Apparently, these were people who could have stopped Hitler, so they became the first victims. Each slate slab remembers one man- his name, party, and date/location of death. They are honored here because it’s in front of the building in which they worked.
After, we walked crossed through what was the Berlin Wall, The Brandenburg Gate (1791), which is the last survivor of 14 gates in Berlin’s old city wall. It’s crowned by a four- horse chariot
with the Goddess of Peace at the reins. Napoleon took the statue to the Lovre in Paris in 1806, but after the Prussians defeated Napoleon, they took the statue back 7 years later and renamed it the Goddess of Victory.
After remembering and learning this morsel piece of Germany’s history, Amy and I were in need of a Starbucks break! I know what you are thinking, “Aren’t you supposed to be roughing it?!” And in defense to your supposed thoughts, I’d respond with, “Oh but once you smell that sweet aroma of freshly brewed coffee, and see the condensation dripping so seductively down that double-chocolate-chip frappicano …YOU’D CAVE TOO!” Just admit it.
After sitting and chatting awhile, we ate dinner at this great restaurant called Vapinos, which apparently is in the States too! We finished the evening by doing a little shopping and sitting at a café to write our postcards.
The day was pretty overwhelming with evoking Germany’s past, and well, all of Europe. I’ve mentioned this in my postcards and cannot help but say it again. Today beckoned serious contemplation of the past’s division, strife, & oppression, and instilled a hope for future unity, peace, and freedom.