As our trip comes to an end I have been thinking back to all the different places we have been, and all that we have seen. It is pretty unbelievable to think that I was standing under a great Roman aqueduct in Segovia, burned myself in the hot sun on the Amalfi coast, saw works of art like the Mona Lisa, the David, or Primavera, toured through Versailles and sat down for a cold beer at the Hofbrauhaus in Munich…all in the past two months! And that is really just a small fraction of what I have done.
Now that it is almost over I wonder how my experiences will affect me over the next couple months, years and my life? I know that it has given me a broader perspective about the world as well as taking away some (and only some) of my ignorance giving me an appreciation for different cultures. But it has also allowed me to see the similarities between all people both the greatness possible in man as well as the evil we are capable of. From seeing structures like aqueducts and cathedrals and learning about people like Saint Francis of Assisi I have seen the genius and love that has been produced by mankind. But we have also visited places like the Dachau concentration camp and D-day beaches where I stood in the same place that horrific acts were executed. When we were in Assisi I remember standing at the highest point of the city and looking around at the endless hills and valleys and thinking it made sense that Francis found God so easily here in the beauty of nature. Then a couple weeks later we went to Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest in the Austrian mountains and going into the bunker I was taken away by scenery just like in Assisi. But when I came out of the museum feeling very depressed having learned about the programs Hitler and the Nazi’s put into place in the countries the controlled I looked around at the mountains again and felt confused. How could equally beautiful places both be the cites of such opposite thinking? I don’t understand how such opposite extremes can exist in the world, or how man can be possible of both. These questions came up for me again and again throughout the trip but I am no where close to an answer yet. I don’t know if I ever will be.