We're back in London and although the trip was wonderful, it is good to return to almost routine. Berlin was great--the highlight for me being visiting the Monument to the Murdered Jews of Europe.
We had seen it last year as it was under construction and I was glad we got to go back--it is really something--the title is so honest and terrible. Berlin has an awful lot of history and with it a lot of baggage. I met a kindly older man from the east side and he spent 2 hours telling me how everything about the re-unification was unfair to East Berlin and how Marx and Engels were great men and how he wishes it could all be like it was before--I didn't know what to say to him--it made me sad. Another huge treat was visiting the famous Berlin Zoo. I took tons of photos and had such a great time--it was fun to see Berkeley get so excited about so many mammals in one place--she misses all of her beloved pets so much. Another worthwhile thing we did was to wait in the line to go to the top of the Reichstag building. The dome is a giant kaleidoscope-type thing that is really cool--a photography lover's dream. We had a lot of fun setting up photos in the mirrors. Another noteworthy event was an amazing meal shared with Joe and Melinda, Gary and Jennifer, (the other teachers at the Centre) Tony and Tina, the resident directors in London, and Chelita Pate, (the Coordinator of Study Abroad in Provo who happened to be in town.) She had learned about a famous restaurant that was the oldest in Berlin (from some time in the 1600's) and we ate ourselves under the table--a good reference for a restaurant is such a valuable thing in a new city--eating can be so stressful and grocery stores, while interesting, just don't cut it after awhile.
Then we went on to Prague, one of the most beautiful cities in all the world. I took hundreds of pictures but they just can't quite show how amazing it really is. There are some super touristy spots, but once you break away from those, it's peaceful, clean and still beautiful. One night I just started walking and I found block after block of gorgeous buildings and charming window displays and the only thing that would have made it better would have been if the sky had not been clouded over the whole time, thus making all my photos not quite as picturesque as I would have liked.
Sadly though, that's where we found out that London had been bombed again. First we thought the worst, then we heard it was a lame copy-cat attempt and we relaxed a bit, but now that we're home and have access to the news, it is really unnerving. Jennifer and I were on a walk yesterday and we came across this t-shirt:
and while it's a great sentiment, I do feel nervous, and I will continue to do so until the other 3 are caught. Knowing that they are still out there and their intent is to kill as many people as they can, is a terrible thought. On the other hand, Scotland Yard is really something--they have worked around the clock and they have found out so much already, that I am quite confident that they will catch them and not only that, Tony Blair does a good job of talking about it and explaining the bigger picture and he says really reasonable, sensible things and answers hard questions and I look to him as a good example of what a politician should be like--he doesn't shrink from the hard stuff and he is articulate and he can really think on his feet. Politics are so different here--there doesn't seem to be as much spin and it's feels less staged. Anyway, life goes on and our trip is nearing a close. We will have to start thinking about the real world again soon and while I look forward to it, the pace when we get home will be swift and I hope we're up to it. That's all for now, tomorrow we go to the London Temple and next week we go to Dover and Sissinghurst and that will be our last big day out. Later. . .