Tuesday, 12 November 2013

A German Roller Coaster Ride

Germany provided a diverse set of experiences for us during our stay.  Our emotions were taken on a rollercoaster ride from great heights to all time lows.  

We started off with a visit to Miniatur Wunderland in Hamburg.  Mark and the girls loved seeing the largest miniature railway in the world, compete with a working airport, more than 900 trains with 12000 rail cars, 250 computerized vehicles and 200 000 people. It is one of the most popular attractions in Western Germany, and well worth checking out the video on youtube.  If you know anyone that enjoys trains or miniatures, this is a must see.

Attending to an accident.

This picture shows the perspective we were given.

The miniature world cycles through day and night scenes every fifteen minutes.

In Berlin we stayed with a wonderful family who had lived in many different parts of the world. We learned to put our mangoes in a bowl of raw rice to ripen them!  We visited the Berlin Wall, the Pergamon and the Jewish Museum. We also visited the Ann Frank Museum, and the girls have added her diary to their reading list. The East Side Gallery was something to see. There, the wall was decorated with graffiti and murials, which seemed to stretch on for miles.  We saw Check Point Charlie and tried to understand this complex part of history.  Mark tried to explain, but still we heard comments like, “I don’t get it, was the wall to keep the people in or out?” and “Wait, did the wall go around the whole country?” In the end I think we figured it out, but I will definitely not be teaching a history lesson on it any time soon!  We thoroughly enjoyed our time spent with the Mollen family in Berlin.  It is not only the places we visit on this trip that make it such a wonderful journey, but the people that we have been so fortunate to spend time with.  Thank you for your hospitality, we thoroughly enjoyed your company and our stay in Berlin.
The Hallocaust Memorial.

Enjoying a pretzel outside the Parliament Buildings.

Museum Island, Berlin, Germany.

The Pergamon

One of the Seven Wonders of the World, The Gates of Babylon.

The East Side Gallery, Berlin, Germany.

The architect Daniel Libeskind created empty spaces in several parts of the Jewish Museum.  These voids extend vertically through the entire museum and represent the absence of Jews from German society.  The memory void pictured here is called ‘Shalekhet’ or ‘Fallen Leaves’.  The more than 10 000 faces covering the floor, are dedicated to the innocent victims of war and violence.
Dachau was quite a moving part of our visit to Germany.  Learning about this part of history was difficult, but something we felt was very important for our family to experience.  Ally captured in words some of our thoughts and feelings expressed during our conversation, after visiting the concentration camp.  This is what she wrote.  “Dachau was a very sad and depressing part of our tour and our world's history. What could have lead Hitler into thinking this was okay? How could one person's decision impact the lives of so many? People were happy, they traveled, went to school, had fun, just like us...but their lives were changed in a split second.” An estimated 50,000 people from all walks of life died at Dachau, and many more tortured, because one person didn’t realize their value as humans. We left the concentration camp understanding a lot more about Germany’s history, but could not help but notice how somber the people visiting were, including ourselves.  We were thankful for our visit, but cannot find peace with the extent of racism, intolerance and pain that so many suffered here.

This was the only picture we took at Dachau, and it was taken at the entrance.
 The writing on the gate says Work Will Set You Free.  We quickly realized there was
no sense of freedom here.
A stay in Germany would not have been complete without a visit to a beer garden.  We enjoyed sausage, sauerkraut and of course a beer at Hofbrauhaus in Munich, Germany.  The atmosphere was spectacular and the taps were flowing.  We were a little late for Octoberfest, but felt we experienced a bit of it, just the same.  We purchased Birkenstocks and according to Gisela, my dear German friend, all we have to do now is let the hair grow out on our legs to wear them properly!  Unfortunately, I think we have that covered too - Nora, we sure are missing you! 

Look at the size of that beer!

The main entrance of Hofbrauhaus, Munich, Germany.
Ally and Meg with our new purchases, we are going to need another backpack soon!

Now the ride continues to the Czech Republic, Austria and the Swiss Alps!


  1. To the Mitchell Family,
    We are so glad to hear that you are still having a wonderful time. We always look forward to reading about your adventures. Jeff, and I always ask each other, 'have you read the latest update'? No doubt you have had a small dose of home sickness by now. Not to worry...everyone is thinking about you, and the weather is getting cold and windy. I think I remember you saying that your family members are meeting up with you soon. :) Take care and travel safely.
    Jeff and Heidi

    1. Thanks Heidi and Jeff, it is nice to hear from you. Glad you are enjoying the blog. Grandma and Papa are on their way shortly, the girls have been counting down the days. We are having a great time, headed to Florence tomorrow. We have had some cooler weather here too, but today it was 23 in Pisa, absolutely beautiful. xo

  2. Papa and I are so very excited that we will soon see you in person. We would not have been able to let you go if there had been no Skype. Love and kisses Grandma and Papa

    1. We are excited too, Meg says only 17 more days and 16 more sleeps! xo


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