"Sabatical Highlight: Our Time in Berlin" by David Funk
As part of my sabbatical we had the good fortune of being flown out to spend three weeks with my sister Jen and her husband Paul in their home in Berlin. Here are some of our favourite things (and pictures) from that trip: We loved biking and walking everywhere! Germany (or at least Berlin) seems to be a much more physically active culture than here. Most people commute to work via foot, bike, and the excellent public transit system. Every day we would choose a destination, get on our bikes, and pedal for an hour or so. The bikes were perfect for getting around some of the amazing parks and enabled us to stop, go, and take detours to whatever caught our eye en route. Parks and the Zoo!
Berlin is a city made for kids. Playgrounds are everywhere, many of them so imaginative and fun they put our metal and plastic monstrosities to shame. Most of them would probably never pass the safety requirements we have for playgrounds here, but were they ever fun!
Berlin is also a city with many parks, many of them historic and huge. We spent hours pedaling through them on our bikes, stopping to let the kids play in the trees or on a playground, and just enjoying the fresh air and exercise. We also went to the Berlin Zoo two times. It covers 84 acres and is home to about 17,500 animals of more than 1500 different species, making it the most comprehensive collection of species in the world.
History, history, history. Everywhere we went in Berlin we were reminded of the events of the past - much of it very sad. We went to go see the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, the Jewish Museum, a huge memorial park for the Soviet soldiers who died in the battle for Berlin in World War II, and two museums about the Berlin Wall. How is it that a people who made so many advances in technology and industry and art were at the same time able to engage in genocide, justify it to themselves, and then ignore the facts of it for decades after the end of the war? How is it that a culture that was so thoroughly "christianized" could continue their religious observances while pretending that somehow the mass killing of Jews, homosexuals, the developmentally challenged and other minorities was not just ok, but good? It was a disturbing reminder of the depths of human depravity.
|At the Berlin Wall|
|Old Train Station - also the place where 9200 Jews, mostly elderly men passed through, |
on their way to their death at concentration camps