Jul 7, 2017

Trip to Europe with our Staff Team!

 Airport excitement!

Our first meal/overnight was in Copenhagen, which I sadly have no pictures of.  We ate at an expesive restaurant that was a little disappointing.  But it was an experience. :)

Berlin was next.  Through our free walking tour, we learned and saw so much!  I really was surprised how much of Germany's history I didn't know.  This tour was one of my favorite parts of our whole trip.  This is the Brandenburg Gate.  This gate was a part of some important historical events.
 The Holocaust Memorial
This is one of several buildings built by the Nazi's that is still in use today.
The remains of the Berlin Wall, which has fascinating history, especially given that it happened within my lifetime.
Then on to Wittenberg, via train, with the interns.  This was also a favorite part of the trip.  Luther was used in amazing ways by God, but definitely was flawed too.  It made me reflect on how God uses weak, imperfect people to accomplish His purposes.
 The Catholic church (All Saints Church) where Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door.
The door has been replaced but this is the same location.
   He is also buried here.
Luther led the very first Protestant service ever in this (Town Church) church.
 Then back to Berlin for an evening of excellent saurkraut with bacon, and crepes with nutella, before a short night at our airbnb and and early flight to Cologne.
We jumped right into the Connexxion conference, where Nate and I led worship.
We met some amazing Germans who are living out the Gospel in various cities and campuses.  It was a privilege to see how they do ministry and get a glimpse of what God is doing in that part of the world.  It was also incredibly challenging to see how many people are fluent in English.  It makes me excited to learn another language in CC next year!
 The cathedral in Cologne.  We climbed up the narrow, winding stairwell (of over 500 steps) to get to the top!
  From Germany, we split off from the interns and it was just down to the 3 couples again.  Our first direction was a train to Amsterdam.
The next morning we found a cute little waffle shop before heading to the Rijks Museum.
Italian restaurant for lunch.  Pizza with "rocket" (arugula).

  After lunch we had one of the most miserable moments of our trip: a boat ride along the canals of Amsterdam.  Had it not been a stifling 100+ degrees with no air flow in that boat, the tour would have been really enjoyable!  We were basically in a green house.
 Then onto Paris for the last leg of our trip!  And what we anticipated being our most relaxing part of our journey.  We were sadly met with 100 degree weather and no AC most places anywhere (including our airbnb) except for one museum (De Orsay) which we stayed in ALL DAY.

Our first day was declared "couples day" and we split up and sight-seed the city with our spouse.
Notre Dame:
 Our lunch of the BEST CHEESE I HAVE EVER HAD and bread, by the Seine River.
We had a little incident with our airbnb key, but Nate was able to climb down and retrieve it from the river. :)
 Our date night meal of Beef Bourguignon (me) and Steak and Frites (Nate), overlooking the city through a narrow street near Sacre Coeur.
 Sacre Coeur:
 One of my favorite parts of the whole trip were the ancient artifacts on the ground floor of the Louvre.  Hammurabi's Code is engraved in cuneiform on this stone:
The entrance to the palace of the Assyrian Empire:
Something from Ur:
 A zoomed-in portion of a large carving depicting Ashurbanipal's reign.  He is pictured below.
 Can't go to the Louvre without seeing this lady: 
 De Orsay:
 Nate's favorite painting: The Sower by Van Gogh. 
 My favorite painting: The Prayer by Millet
 Sadly, there was not as much sitting in our airbnb, relaxing, and connecting with the other couples as we wanted.  The heat stole some of that.  Nonetheless, serveral memories, both serious and humorous were made over the course of the trip, and I cherished our time with these special friends we traveled with!  It was sweet to arrive home to our kiddos; I was ready to see them!

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