Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Prague and Germany

I'm behind on posts - but I do want to write about Prague and Germany because they were such AMAZING experiences!

A view of Prague.

At a church near the Prague Castle.
Paula, the friend I met in Prague.

Prague: After I left Switzerland I took a flight to Dresden, Germany and the train to Prague, in the Czech Republic.  I got lost for 3 hours trying to find my hostel while carrying 50 pounds of luggage... argh!!! At that point, I was crying and so anxious. I finally arrived at my hostel just to bit hit with the reality that I was now a-l-o-n-e and in a large city, which seems to be the worst place to be by yourself. Literally minutes later a German girl walked (Paula) in to my hostel room and said "hi, I'm traveling alone!" We got together for a beer, then ended up spending the entire weekend exploring the city together. She was like a long-lost best friend. Definitely a gift from God in that moment!

Hernnhut: After Prague, I went to Hernnhut, Germany from Monday-Thursday. Some friends recommended this location as a good place to go where I could be near a YWAM base and at a church-run hostel. Well, the town was much sleepier than I had hoped. In all reality it was like a ghost town. I spent my mornings at the YWAM base which was 10 minutes away and was able to hear 2 mornings of their teachings. The teaching was amazing and worth the very lonely and quiet afternoons I spent in the city of Herrnhut with no one to hang out with.  

The YWAM base in Hernnhut

I will do a post soon on some of the things God has been teaching me about His love, and what I learned while at YWAM. I'm reading "The Pursuit of God" by A.W. Tozer which is really good if you need a book to read. 
The Jesus-Haus hostel in Herrnhut

The Berlin Wall

B-E-R-L-I-N!!!!  I spent a quick 20 hours in Berlin on Friday, June 27th. Paula, the girl I met in Prague, put me in contact with one of her girl friends (Thurid) in Berlin to stay at her apartment. This turned out to be one of my greatest travel experiences. I arrived in Berlin while Thurid was at work, but her flatmate let me in (after I confused the 2nd and 3rd floors - silly Europeans calling the ground floor "zero"). Here I am arriving in a city to stay with people I don't know - and they completely trust me! They gave me all of their apartment keys, and Thurid's bike to ride around the city for the day. 

Artwork on the Berlin Wall
The cafes in Berlin had cute outdoor seating.

I pedaled around all over Berlin- and then in the evening met up with Thurid to go to the KW Institute for Contemporary Art which was hosting the "7th Berlin Biennale." (check it out at this website) It was an exhibit of art installations using artwork as a means for social change. Using what they described as "sub-art" or I might describe as pop art, or accessible art. Exhibits covered issues such as a creating a country for Palestine, alongside the Jewish Renaissance Movement in Poland, to lowering violence in Mexico city, to the power of the church. The exhibit was also hosting the "Occupy Berlin" group in the exhibit. So the occupy movement itself became an exhibit. Hmm...

After the exhibit, Thurid took me all over the city on her moped! It was a dream come true! (Now I want a motorcycle all the more). We zipped dangerously in and out of crazy traffic. Ended out evening with some authentic Indian food. 

Thurid and her roommates were all artists of a sort. She was an architect who had just opened her own firm, and another flatmate did theater sets, while another did cross-stitch art by day and was an extra in a crime series at night. They live in the Kreuzberg neighborhood which was right on the border of East and West Berlin before the wall came down in 1989. The neighborhood traditionally has been the home to many immigrants and the Turkish neighborhoods are very evident. However recently the neighborhood has become more chic and many boutiques and art galleries have moved into the area. I found the area completely charming! It is near the canal that runs through Berlin- and I found and open air market, as well as cafes with complete living rooms set up outside. The artwork, clothes and boutiques are beyond the quality and creativity of anything I've seen in the states or in most locations I've been to. 

Thurid's apartment in Berlin.
I HIGHLY recommend Berlin and hope to return there and it explore it more fully. Thank you Paula and Thurid!  

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