Berlin is full of life lessons. It's a city with such a vast history...albeit, it's mostly ugly history but Berlin is and has been one of the most famous cities in the world. Most of the history is depressing but to be in such a place, and to see the German people try to rebuild themselves after another ugly mark in their history was so incredible. This was probably the city in which I took the least pictures because I was trying to soak it all in and really think about the history through which I was walking. Whether it was passing through Checkpoint Charlie, looking at the beautiful graffiti on a wall that used to separate countless lives, or standing over the bunker in which Hitler killed himself, you really start to understand how much adversity that this city has survived. I admit that most of the tours were sad but I think it was so important to see and feel the history of this place in person so you can fully comprehend how vital it is to never let anything like the Holocaust, Cold War, oppression, etc. happen again. Thanks Berlin for that lesson that we all need as global citizens!
Everyone that knows my mom and I know that we absolutely LOVE Italian food so we were super excited for this trip to Italy LOL. We actually didn't even look up what to do in Rome before we got there because we just talked about the food! It definitely didn't disappoint though! It was actually amazing that each restaurant that we went to had a different spin on spaghetti, lasagna, even just pizza. It made eating one of our favorite activities!
Eventually we had to put down our forks and go explore the city though! So first stop is the land of our namesake, The Pope: Vatican City. We did a tour of the Vatican City Museum, the Sistine Chapel, and, of course the most famous church in the entire world, St. Peter's. What I thought was an interesting fact upon entering was that Vatican city is it's own city within Rome. It has its own police, mailing, radio/TV, etc. I thought it was just where The Pope and the Cardinals lived but you learn something new everyday! As expected though, the inside of the Vatican City museum (where the Pope and the Cardinals do in fact live) is enormous. The inside is filled with beautiful paintings and sculptures, some of famous myths, some of the Bible, some completely random. You have to appreciate the fact that looking at all of them together makes you believe a story about the world. What story is up to you but I thought that was interesting.
We then went to the Sistine Chapel but unfortunately we were not allowed to take pictures in it (you're not even allowed to talk) so all I can say is that it was breathtaking. I cannot believe that Michelangelo actually took the time to paint every single detail and did it while hanging upside down. It would be incredible if someone today could do that, let alone hundreds of years ago. As a Christian, it was amazing seeing all the pivotal moments of the Bible laid out before your eyes in one of the most beautiful ways possible! Definitely a highlight of the trip. The last part was St. Peter's and even though I am not Catholic, the church struck me in a big way. I loved all of the history that it held--from Michelangelo's original Pieta to the ACTUAL bodies of past Popes in the different alters. Then it brought it back to the present by holding an actual mass service when we were there. It's beautiful that a church has been serving God in the same place and in the same ways for so long. It was amazing to be in the church where the Popes have spoken to Catholics all around the world for hundreds of years. Like I said, I'm not catholic but the church almost brought me to tears--just absolutely impeccable.
Last stop was where hundreds of people gather to listen to The Pope give his sermons and were thousands would gather for the coming Easter Sunday! You only see this place on TV so it was a dream come true to actually stand there!
Next stop in Rome: The Colosseum!! Wow I can't believe that this place is still standing because it is just as old and demolished as it looks! It was used for hunting games and of course, the legendary fights. Today it is only used for tourism and sometimes, private concerts ( I could totally see Kanye doing that). But you see this place in movies growing up (like the Lizzie McGuire movie LOL) and you read about it but to actually be there....no words! Still can't believe I was there! My mom and I had fun taking pictures and of course I had to give love to my favorite quarterback Colin Kaepernick by throwing up his legendary move!
And being that my mom is UC alumni and I will be in a year...we had to throw up the UC in Rome before we left