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Sauerkraut and Afternoon Tea

 

We barely made it to the bus stop in time.

Fall break had finally arrived and me and two other ORU students were headed for Berlin, Wittenberg and London. So began ten days of cramped spaces, running to bus stations, one missed train, a broken duffel bag, and enough coffee to fill Lake Evelyn. Also, arguably, ten of the best.

We started in Berlin, where the people are tall and the wind sinks icy teeth into any exposed skin. Rough German accents replaced the musical notes of French. Pretzels replaced croissants. We walked along the East Side Gallery and ran our hands over history, stood in the same places as Hitler. Berlin was Lauren’s favorite city. Every step there was a reminder that division can be healed, walls built in hate cannot stand against love.

After a few days wandering Berlin, we missed a train and caught a new one to Lutherstadt Wittenberg, Germany. In the center of Wittenberg sits the Castle Church, where Martin Luther tacked the 95 theses onto a massive door. We arrived on the 500th anniversary of that day, and Lutherstadt was lit with celebrations and memorabilia honoring Luther. A renaissance festival covered the tiny cobblestone streets, full of leather-vested vendors and the sound of flute music. I tripped down the hall that Martin Luther once tread, and ate a waffle on a stick. It was a nerdy dream come true, and Cassandra’s favorite city on our adventure.

We took a train back to Berlin that night, packed our bags, and got right back on another one to Hamburg. Honestly, Exhaustion had set in and all I remember is that I fell asleep on page three of the book I had picked up at the station.

Hamburg was on the list because of missions. The ORU missions trip to Hamburg in 2016 changed my life and hunger for Jesus. Two of the contacts there, Miri and Alim, have kept close contact with me. Seeing them again felt like coming home a little bit, coming back to the place where so much restoration first began. For me, it was a pilgrimage to remember where my heart began healing and to be with the people who helped stitch it back together. All five of us sat in Miri’s little kitchen and talked far into the night about life and heart healing and also about the world’s tallest people (Did you know that the tallest recorded man is 8 ft. 2.8 inches?). No matter where I wander, Hamburg will always have a piece of my heart.

We ran to a bus once again, but this time it was headed to catch a cheap midnight flight to London. We stumbled into London and wandered around on foot for three days. I was dazzled by Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, the London Eye, the British Museum, the British Library and a few of the worlds finest bookstores. There were little things that enchanted me too. The smell of old books that seemed to permeate every room, little British accents from uniformed tykes at recess. Maybe it’s because they spoke English, or maybe it was the bookstores but London was my favorite. It lacks the near-perfect beauty of Paris, but sometimes perfection can be cold. Sometimes I prefer a few flaws in a city. Then I feel comfortable revealing my own.

It was a trip I’m sure you’ll hear about if you ask, and I apologize if I obnoxiously tell the same story five times. But ask me about crossing the English Channel. I promise that’s a good one.

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