The Romance of Northern Europe (9): Berlin: Bustling and Hopeful

IMG_0496Berlin, Germany,  built along the Spree River, IMG_0652 is the largest city in continental Europe, IMG_0424 and second only to London in the European Union. IMG_0482 During World War II, it was the third most populous city in the entire world, IMG_0359 and still today, its metro area hosts nearly 4.5 million people IMG_0353from 180 nations around the world. Checkpoint Charlie Before Alan and I visited last spring, Checkpoint CharlieI envisioned Berlin as a city still in recovery IMG_0372  from the massive destruction of World War II, IMG_0414 but I was truly delighted with what I saw.IMG_0452 It looks to me like Berlin has overcome Memorial to Murdered Jews —but not forgotten, and I hope will never forget—her past. IMG_0423  I believe Berlin is passionately pursuing the present O2 Worldand working toward a hopeful future. Museum Island The city is full of beautifully restored historic landmarks, IMG_0468 like the Brandenburg Gate IMG_0677 and the Berlin Cathedral (Dom), IMG_0402but the downtown area is filled with dazzling, new architecture, Spree River Downtownand everywhere you look, Berlin is still very much under construction. Banhof Posdamer PlatzIf you ever want to visit Berlin, know that it houses Europe’s largest grade- Train Stationseparated train station, the Hauptbahnhof, which has free internet, luggage Inside Train Stationlockers, some 80 shops, and provides excellent service to around 300,000 IMG_0412passengers every day! Also, if you’re downtown and looking for a good lunch IMG_0305 spot, I can definitely recommend Reinhard’s in the Kempinski Hotel! IMG_0388 Although many things have changed about Germany since World War II, IMG_0389some things haven’t changed…like their scrumptious traditional dishes IMG_0390and their world-famous apple strudel. (Altho, Jon’s Gerlinde makes the best!)IMG_0308Well, there’s no end to the fun things I could share about Berlin, but I want to IMG_0466leave you with a thought shared with us by our charming tour guide. IMG_0511The tallest building in Berlin is the TV tower, the Fernsehturm, which dominatesIMG_0521 the skyline. (Photo bombs in fact…look back at the museum & cathedral pix.) IMG_0621Our tour guide called this “the Christian’s Revenge,” because no matter where Berlin TV Tower (Fernsehturm)you are, the sunshine reflects so that you see a cross shining over Berlin, Crosses in Windowsrather like the crosses you can see in this hospital window, reminding us that Berliner Domthrough Christ there is forgiveness, healing, and hope for all nations and people.

“And be kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake has forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:32).