This is probably the best bloghop ever to do after a week on vacation!
My family and I were incredibly blessed to travel together to Northern Europe. This, in itself, was a gift of love from my Father, who said his greatest joy was to watch his children interact with each other. (Kind of sounds like Our Father, doesn't it??) Not so sure he could say the same thing when we were younger! We were a big, loud bunch, but come to think of it...nothing much has changed!
Here is a picture of us all in our nifty, matching jackets. My brother took charge and ordered them all for us. They really came in handy when the winds blew, and we had such a lovely sense of family unity wearing them.
Copenhagen is such a beautiful city. And everyone rides their bikes! We marveled at how all these bicycles were locked, but how easy they would be to steal in a big city in the United States. Yet these blocks and blocks of bikes would remain, and to me, it was such a wonderful example of trust.
Berlin was a contrast of old and new, divided history and unified reality. We were able to see a portion of the Berlin Wall. Most of it was destroyed, but the city was able to keep parts of it displayed to 'always remember.' The feeling here was just so somber, and I would say reverent. God was most certainly here, reminding us that we all belong together, and what evil comes when we deny that.
We spent two days in St. Petersburg, Russia. I could go on for days about that city. But, the most impressive thing for me, was to be able to see The Return of the Prodigal Son (Rembrandt) at the Hermitage Museum. It's not a great photo...there were tons of people and 'no flash photography', but I just love this painting. I had read the book of the same name by Henri Nouwen, and couldn't wait to see it myself. Such a beautiful expression of coming home.
I am including this picture, because part of the blessing of being together every night for dinner, was the story telling! We all talked about our favorite Thanksgiving foods, 'best vacation' and so much more. The love God shared with us in each other was just amazing. What wonderful memories!
Lest I forget, let's have a moment of silence for the revered McDonalds in Russia. Yes, they truly are everywhere! But...comfort food is comfort food, and it's a reliable place to go if you are missing your country's fast food fare.
Well, that's enough for now. We also went to Estonia and Finland, and I might get to that someday. But let me tell you, God blessed all of us with a view into parts of the world we had never seen. I would look at the cities, and know that God blesses all of us, everywhere, all the time. I am also so grateful for the time we spent together as a family. The touring, the games on the ship, the dinners and the quiet chats were just heavenly. And there is a reason for that! God's love here is heaven on earth.