My experience in Germany was very good. I am very glad I went on the trip. Since I’ve been at Calvin is the longest time I’ve been in the States, so its been very nice to travel around a bit. I’ve enjoyed getting a taste of life in Berlin. Highlights for me were exploring several of the German national parks, cliff jumping in the Mediterranean, and experiencing some night life in Prague.
Me looking at some rocks in the distance.
Me with some buds on top of a rock.
Me on a old bridge between a couple of old rocks.
Worshipping in the Köln cathedral was a very cool experience of which the highlight was the beautiful organ music. The atmosphere was almost magical, reverent and imposing, but it was ruined for me by the constant babble of tourists from the back of the sanctuary. They provided an incessant hum that kept strong throughout all the prayers and times of silence. It made me feel sorry for the worshippers and clergy who frequented the cathedral and had to deal with the tourists all the time. That being said, I am very glad I had the opportunity to attend a worship service in such a cool place.
Visiting Sachsenhausen was a moving experience. Upon entering the camp, and going up the the main gates, the thing that struck me the most were the words, “Arbeit macht frei.” I imagined what it must have been like to walk through those gates and see those words, knowing that you might never leave that place alive. I think Germany does a good job of remembering the evils that took place in their country in the past without bringing them to the forefront of everyday life. The camp is there, and it is not hidden, but at the same time it is not advertised around the city. I think that this is relevant to life in America today, with the controversies surrounding the removal of Confederate icons that represent a certain heritage to some but pain and suffering to others.
After being in Germany for a week, one thing that struck me is how normal life is just normal life no matter where you live. I had an idea in my head that Germany would be a special place with extraordinary food, people and culture, but after spending some time here I realised that you get used to the normal things in life wherever you are. I miss free refills for drinks, and I miss free water. I wish the drinking age was lower back home.