Touching down in Germany was awesome. We were thrashed after not sleeping for over twenty four hours, but the thrill of traveling sustained us. We left the airport and hopped on a six-hour train to Berlin. We finally reached our destination and after grabbing a quick meal of Durner (lamb roasted on a spit and then shaved off onto fries) we hailed a cab that took us across the city at the pace of roughly two hundred miles an hour. Once we reached the hotel we collapsed into the beds, having gone thirty-four hours without sleep.
The next morning we ventured out to a European McDonalds and then set out to explore the city of Berlin. Throughout the day we hopped on and off the tour buses as we wandered around the city, inspecting Checkpoint Charlie, The Wall, the holocaust memorials, and a myriad of other historical sights. While the city was amazing, much of it was oriented towards tourists. Most everything had an English translation
available and much of the city was very westernized.
It was even better to get into the eastern part of Germany, where my Dad served on his mission. We got a car and the adventure really began. The next two weeks were a whirlwind of amazing places, people and experiences. Dresden was beautiful, its large main church has recently been rebuilt from the pile of rubble it had been reduced to during the bombings of World War Two. The palaces were gorgeous as well as the River Rind. Meissen's beauty is beyond words, it easily ranks as my favorite spot on earth.
If you ever have the chance to go to Meissen, go. Don't hesitate.
Traveling to Europe made me realize just how superficial mankind is in America. We think that our country is old and settled, but in Germany you wander streets of cobblestone that were laid centuries ago. Thousands of years of mankind have built up on themselves and have resulted in cities that the Romans once traveled through. Wherever you go you can see bits of history everywhere. While we were visiting Meissen Steve and I were wandering the steep cobblestone streets popping in and out of antique stores, Steve bought a beaver top-hat and a metal WW2 helmet. I found a German WW2 field typewriter and a Prussian bronze enamel letter opener.
I'm excited to travel back someday and it was a great finale to my high school experience, not to mention a great start to college.