Thursday, January 3, 2013

From Berlin to Hamburg--Happy New Year!!!

Hey all,

I'm back and hopefully the internet here in our new place will be better than the old one.  CAN'T be much worse.

There was so much I would have liked to share about Berlin.  Overall it was a great town with lots to do and many things to see.  Churches, museums, and memorials were everywhere.  You couldn't turn around without seeing something.

For Jonathon, it was like a dream come true, since he's a WWII buff.  It was interesting to see the many memorials and information placards all over town about the war, the Nazis and how the city handles them.  And then later...when the Berlin wall went up...that, too was quite fascinating to discover all the facts about how it came to be.

One of the things I'd wanted to do while in Berlin was take a weekend trip to Poland and visit Auschwitz.  I knew it would be horrifying and I was right, but I needed to go.  To try and understand what exactly happened.  It's one thing to read about it in a history book, but quite another to see the remains of the tortured and dead.  Too see what they left behind and to experience the pain that still lives on, even to this day. 

For some reason, seeing these shoes, taken from murdered Jews, had me in tears.  The single bright red slipper against all the others was too much for me to handle. 

I knew my empathic gift would make it hard for me, and there were times where I felt so battered, Jonathon had to gently remove me from the area, but down deep I knew it was important for me to feel and understand what had gone on in that place and while I barely managed to deal with it, I feel stronger for making the journey.

There were other concentration camps, closer, but I knew I couldn't handle a second one, so the remaining time we spent in Berlin, I enjoyed the Christmas markets, visited some truly wonderful museums and drank enough Gluhwein and Hot Chocolate with Amaretto to float the whole British Navy!!!

We had a wonderful Christmas, celebrating Berlin style with traditional foods and drink and a tradition for us...going to the movies.  We saw the Hobbit and enjoyed every second of it.  And are extremely irritated we have to wait until NEXT Christmas to see part 2!!!

And on New Years we enjoyed one of the biggest street parties in Germany and watched a magnificent fireworks display from the window of our apartment.  It may have sucked in all other ways, but the housing was AWESOME for location, especially on New Year's Eve!

But now we are in Hamburg.  I'm doing my research as to what is available here and I'm seeing tons of stuff to do.  Within walking distance from our hotel are churches, museums, lakes and shopping.  And there was even a small Christmas market, so we were able to enjoy that the first night here as well.

So the adventure continues.  And if the internet cooperates, I'll be back as usual.  I'll stick to once a week...Thursdays for now until I know I'm caught up and things are on track.  Then I'll try and get back to twice a week.  At least through the end of Hamburg.  Then it's off to South America and who knows what things will be like then!!!

Hugs to all and again...

Happy New Year!!!!!

CJ England
Coming Soon--Life's A Dance

Follow Your Dreams


Ray said...

I think I am glad the person I was supposed to go to a concentration camp with left without me when I had to see a patient. I ran out when I finished, but the van was almost out of site. I did get to go see Gdansk (Danzig WWII and before). It was the German Baltic port for Germany, before it was given back to Poland. You can tell it was once part of Germany. One of the two crew members who went with me spoke fluent German, but not Polish. Just about every shop had a German speaker. It helped us get some good bargains, especially buying amber. The city was on the Amber Road.

Phylis said...

Good to have you back. Visiting a prison camp like that would be hard and for you it must have been horrific beyond description.
Looking forward to more pictures and surprises!

CJ England said...


There was a part of me that didn't want to go, and Jonathon was quite worried for me, but I knew somehow I had to. I don't know why yet, but my visiting that horrible place was important.

CJ England said...

Thanks, Phylis. It was hard, but very worth it. I'll share some next time about the trip to the Salt Mines. Now THAT was impressive.