It is currently very early in the morning of our final day in Berlin (about 1 AM), and I am sitting in my hotel bed reflecting on the past few days. Even though it has only been a short time, it feels like we’ve had weeks of CR already. The days have been packed, and we’re tired in all the best ways possible.
With most of Berlin in the rear view mirror, here is one of the first highlights from this incredible city:
I’ll begin with the experience that occurred just after we were assigned our groups (shout-out to team Alpha). After leaving the beautiful Brandenburg Gate with team Alpha and Dr. P, our attention was immediately captured by some drumming and yelling in the middle of the square. We soon found out that there was about to be a protest to highlight the need for healthcare for the Taiwanese population. Admittedly, I am not even remotely close to being an expert in the plight involving healthcare for the Taiwanese, but our group was moved by the passion of the others in the square. Team Alpha elected to support the protest and walk with them for part of their route, and Dr. P elected to lurk on the sidewalk and take some pictures showing our enthusiasm. Despite not understanding the meaning of the words we were responding to, team Alpha never failed to give a hearty “Taiwan go go go!” To each chant.
In classic CR fashion, this protest, of course, was not on the scheduled itinerary. Although it was unexpected and fun, this protest taught us a valuable lesson regarding passion. Despite language and culture barriers, passionate people can draw new members to their cause, even for a short period of team. The passion from those in the protest helped energize team Alpha and get us started on the right foot to squeeze as many memories and as much learning as we can in Berlin and in the rest of the places we will visit.
An item that did happen to be the itinerary for yesterday morning was the Berliner Dom (Berlin Cathedral). For those who do not know, the Cathedral is a magnificent structure that has been around for many years, and it has been affiliated with multiple religions and governments throughout its history. It sustained damage from Allied bombings in World War II, and it’s reconstruction was not completed until 1993.
A unique feature about this Cathedral is it’s rooftop access. From the very top, the city of Berlin sprawls past the horizon and out of sight. One unique aspect of Berlin that is noticeable from the top of the Berliner Dom is that the city does a great job of connecting the past to the present with the future in mind.
In the picture and video above, there is an integrated variety of buildings from many eras and ages, and the Cathedral has been there to witness multiple rises and falls of the city. Berlin is a unique city because of how it remembers its past, especially the darker moments. By remembering Germany’s misdeeds, Berlin can move past them to ensure they do not occur again. The Berliner Dom is a representation of Germany’s past, present, and future because if reveals how German architecture integrates the past and present together to help shape the future. Like the people of Berlin, the Berliner Dom is resilient and refuses to fall apart when under attack. These are the thoughts that ran through my head while standing on the Cathedral balcony overlooking Berlin. I know, deep thoughts for standing on a balcony, but magnificent views never fail to inspire.
So long for now …