November 11, 2012
This sign welcomed us as we arrived in Bayrischzell. The greeting “Grüß Gott” on the sign is the traditional greeting in Bayern, for example, when you enter a store, a cafe, a train, etc. Another common greeting and farewell is “Servus.”
We spend two nights in Hotel Alpenrose, located in the heart of Bayrischzell. It was a beautiful, historic hotel with a very friendly atmosphere and a welcoming staff. If you’ve ever seen the old british comedy called “faulty towers” this hotel was very much like that, only without the “faulty.”
We did a lot of exploring around Bayrischzell on Saturday:
Bayern, and especially many of its small villages like Bayrischzell, are predominantly Catholic, so one see numerous catholic shrines such as the one pictured above.
This monument is dedicated to the German soldiers from Bayrischzell who were slain in WWI. The name of each slain soldier is listed on the monument.
This picture shows the Rathaus of Bayrischzell. Notice the paintings on the wall–nearly all the walls on the buildings of the towns are painted and decorated in similar fashion. Also notice that the people in the painting are wearing traditional German Trachten. We saw several families dressed up in traditional Trachten, not because they were tourists going to Oktoberfest, but because this is how people really dress in Bayern. In fact, there is a Trachten club in Bayrischzell.
More traditionally painted buildings
Many of the murals depict scenes of the virgin Mary
And people say the Flohmarkt in Freimann is small!
One sees three-wheeled cars like this all throughout Bayern. Many are used as miniature work-trucks. I think of Mr. Bean every time I see one.
We happened upon a wedding in Bayrischzell. This antique car was the get-a-way vehicle for the bride and groom.
We hiked through the woods and caught this glimpse of Bayrischzell
Overlooking the town of Bayrischzell
Then we took the Seilbahn to the top of Wendelstein, the high peak in Bayrischzell, and caught some amazing views.
From the top of Wendelstein, overlooking Bayrischzell
Not surprisingly, there is a little chapel on top of Wendelstein, named Wendelsteinkirchel
From Wendelstein (pictured here, which is 1838 meters tall), one can see Zugespitz, the tallest peak in Germany, and then the Austrian and Italian Alps in the distance.
Warming up with a cup of hot chocolate after braving the elements on Wendelstein. As I mentioned, we rode the Seilbahn to the peak. There was, however, a steady stream of hikers that made their way to the top. Germans on the whole are very outdoorsy, so I was not too surprised that many made the 3 hour ascent by foot.
If Melody had a wetsuit, she would have gone all the way in! Rain boots are part of her daily wardrobe.
In Schliersee we also explored St. Sixtus Kirche, which was built in 1712.
Be sure not to sit in the pew of Familie Färber. Each pew was marked by the name of a family.
The graves were well taken care of. Last week was All Saints Day, a catholic Holiday in which families in Bayern gather together, eat meals, gather around the graves of loved-ones where they share memories and decorate the graves, and just enjoy spending the day together as a family. This is a government holiday in Bayern, and one German has described it as her favorite holiday, since families gather together and spend the whole day together.
We explored the shops around Schliersee
We are now back in Munich, thankful that we finally got a chance to experience the alps. Today is St. Martins day, and many children will be singing from house to house while carrying lanterns. They will be rewarded with candy for their songs. There is feasting, much like during American Thanksgiving, only here it is common to eat goose.
The holiday traces its roots to St. Martin. Wikepedia explains, “He started out as a Roman soldier. He was baptized as an adult and became a monk. It is understood that he was a kind man who led a quiet and simple life. The most famous legend of his life is that he once cut his cloak in half to share with a beggar during a snowstorm, to save the beggar from dying of the cold. That night he dreamed that Jesus was wearing the half-cloak Martin had given away. Martin heard Jesus say to the angels: “Here is Martin, the Roman soldier who is not baptised; he has clothed me.” Goose became the common meal on this day because, as is reported, Martin hid amongst a flock of geese to avoid becoming a bishop. One goose squawked, and Martin was found.
November 9, 2012
We finally have an opportunity to take a little exclusion and do some traveling. I am blogging from the Alps right now. I brought HJ here to celebrate he birthday. She turned 27 this week.
I’ll be sure to post pictures after our trip. It is only about an hour train ride from Munich to this part of the Alps. We ate at an Italian restaurant tonight and had the whole place to ourselves. Ended up getting to chat with the Italian family who owned the place.
April 17, 2011
As you can see, I was pretty impressed by the architecture at LMU. Try not to get too dizzy watching the video.
April 11, 2011
When I get the chance to travel, I like to evaluate the trip based on the people I got to meet along the way. So, let me tell you about some neat people I got to meet while I was in Germany:
1. Alex. On the 8 hour flight to Germany I sat next to Alex. Alex is working on his masters at a University in Austria, where he is studying linguistics. We had quite a discussion about linguistics on the flight, and Alex was very interested when I told him how linguistics is being applied to the study of the NT. I also shared with Alex about how I am applying discourse analysis, a special field of linguistics, to the letter of James. As a result of our conversation, Alex told me he is very curious to read the NT and discover what it says.
2. Couch surfers. I had a great time with my couch-surfing hosts. Oz made some delicious lasagna. His friend and I (I forget her name), had a great discussion. When she learned I was hoping to study the NT at the doctoral level, she wanted to know what the NT says, especially what Paul says. I told her about Paul’s teaching in Philippians 2:5-11, where Christ’s self emptying is a model for Christians. This led to a great discussion!
3. My roommates in the youth hostel. I discovered that my elderly German roommate was staying in the youth hostel because it is located close to the hospital. His wife is in the hospital, awaiting brain surgery for a cancerous tumor. Zaher, my roommate from Damascus, is a doctor specializing in the field of embryonic genetics. He has just moved to Heidelberg to work for a few years. We have exchanged emails and hope to continue our discussions.
4. The lady next to me on the bus in Heidelberg. She turned out to be employed by the DAAD — the very scholarship fund I plan on applying to in order to fund doctoral studies in Germany. She was eager to answer questions about the fund, to offer tips on making my application more appealing, and she gave me her card and told me to use her as a reference on the application (she said she would put in a good word for me with the DAAD). Wow, what are the odds of that!
5. Renee, the woman I sat next to yesterday on the flight home. Renee was wrestling through reformed theology and wanted to discuss this, especially Romans 9-11. And of course, no discussion on that passage is ever short.
These are just a few of the people I got to meet in Germany. Soon, I hope to post some thoughts about my experiences with trying to communicate in German. Stay tuned.
April 11, 2011
Here are two videos I took in Germany. This first one was taken on my last day in Germany, on my hiking day. I was following a trail that led me to the top of a mountain. The closer I got to the top of the mountain, the more voices I started hearing. Soon I could hear singing and the sounds of clinging glasses and silverware, like you might here in a restaurant. It turned out to be a pub, and it just so happened that the people burst out into a song as I passed by. Oh, and if you ever happen to take that same trail when you’re in Heidelberg, make sure you take a long sip of water from the natural spring just opposite to the pub.
This second video was taken in Munich. There were many street musicians playing. In fact, when I was way up in a church steeple at one point, I could still hear the sounds of the street musicians far below. The musicians in this video caught my attention because they seemed to really be enjoying their music. Unlike some that seemed to play for money, these played because, it seemed, they enjoyed it and wanted you to enjoy it too. Don’t you love the children interacting with them in the video:
April 11, 2011
I arrived home last night from my trip. In the next few days I will be posting pictures and reflections from my trip. I do not think that I will post anything from my meetings with the professors, but if you would like to find out about my experiences feel free to talk to me in person or send me an email. Let me say, however, that I am glad I went on this trip and got to meet the professors face-to-face. As a result, I feel very confident about where I would like to study and the direction to take now.
In this post, let me bring you up to speed with an overview of pictures from the trip. Enjoy.
Overlooking Tübingen from Oz’s appartment in the morning. Quite a view! Can you spot the castle in the distance?
A statue in Tübingen’s old botanical gardens
This man was siting outside one of Tübingen’s old cathedrals. When he was done reading the paper, he picked up his chair and carried it away with him.
Inside of Stiftskirche (Tübingen)
An old Bible in Stiftskirche
Overlooking Tübingen’s Neckar
Tübingen’s famous photo spot
A view from Tübingen’s castle, which now houses the university’s archeology department
Inside of St. Johanneskirche (Tübingen)
Good by Tübingen, hello Heidelberg!
Exploring the streets of Heidelberg’s Altstadt
The cities had incredible used book stores. I managed to limit myself to five new-used books. HJ asked me what I got, and she was not surprised when I said, “books.”
Inside of Heidelberg’s Peterskirche
Karlstor, leading into Heidelberg’s Altstadt
The famous Brückentor over the Alte Brücke
overlooking Heidelberg from Heidelberg’s Schloss
Within Heidelberg’s Schloss (castle)
After my meeting on Saturday morning I spent the whole day hiking. I simply could not take another picture of any more buildings. I needed to get away, spend some time in the woods, and think and pray. There were plenty of woods and trails in the forests surrounding Heidleberg. I especially like hiking in pine forests, such as the one pictured. I was amazed at the types of people I saw one my hikes — 70 and 80 year olds walking and biking and climbing mountains!
The mountain trail I hiked led to this structure. The picture below tells about it.
Good bye Germany, I hope to see you soon!
April 8, 2011
I arrived safely last night in Heidelberg and feel great this morning after a great night’s sleep. This was my first time to stay in a youth hostel. To be honest I was pretty nervous about it — sharing a room with 3 complete strangers? What if I got stuck with 3 teenagers that wanted to listen to punk music all night? But, I was pleasantly surprised to find my roommates all very pleasant. My three roommates are: Zaher, a young doctoral student from Damascus studying the embryonic genetics. Soon after we met last night, it was time for him to do his nightly prayer facing Mecca. When he was finished, we had a lengthy discussion because he was very interested that I’m studying theology. He has studied theology and was eager to talk. My two other roommates are both German, one is 20, the other in his late 60′s (who thankfully speaks no Englsih=good practice). I am eager today to meet with professor Konradt, and even more eager to get home. Tomorrow I will meet with an admissions supervisor at the University, and then in the evening take the train to Leipzig and begin my flight home.
I am very pleased with how the trip is going. I am especially thankful that this trip has been filled with opportunities to share the gospel. Even if I never end up coming back to Germany, it has not been wasted time for the Kingdom. Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers. This may be my last chance to use the computer before coming home. If it is then Lord willing I’ll post pictures and updates when I’m back next week.
April 6, 2011
No pictures today, just a brief update. I have arrived in Tuebingen. I was able to get here by train. Surprisingly my train out of Munich was an hour late, so I was reassigned to a different train than the first. The train made several stops along the way as it meandered through southern Germany. When I arrived this afternoon in Tuebingen, I spent several hours looking for Oz’s place. As I wandered through the city I discovered a great bakery, helped a blind girl across the street, got directions several times, and did a lot of walking. I arrived at Oz’s right when he was getting home from work, at around 5:30 and we had a long conversation, on such topics as bottled water being a rip off, on Oz’s emotional experience in a gospel service in Atlanta, the welfare system (I was severely rebuked for being a closed-minded, brainwashed American), and we have read some from the Hebrew NT together. Shortly we will be having dinner together, and who knows what afterwards.
April 5, 2011
I forgot a watch and an alarm clock. Usually I keep time with my cell phone, but since I left that at home I realized as soon as I got here that I was “timeless” so to speak. So I bought the cheapest wristwatch and cheapest alarm clock I could find. Germany is very punctual and no place to be late!
April 5, 2011
Hey everyone, I made it safely to Germany and have found access to a computer. Things are going great and I have a lot to report. Rather than tell you about my flight or about the Collegium or about my meeting with Professor du Toit today, I´ll simply share some pictures of Munich and offer a few comments. Enjoy.
Just leaving the Collegium, walking towards the U-Bahn (train).
Many restaurants like the one in this picture have chairs outside on the sidewalks. Yesterday was rainy so nobody was eating outside
There is sooo much old architecture in Munich — this American is amazed!
Amazed and “trigger happy”
There are many archways in the city, such as this one and those that follow
Honestly I have no idea what most of this architecture is. I was simply wandering around downtown in between appointments. If I move here, I will find out what these are and possibly explain the pictures then.
Now this, I beleive, is called St. Joseph´s cathedral. This was right downtown amongst all the other buildings. I curiously wandered in and, to my surprise, the door was not only unlocked, but it was free to wander around inside — no cost!
Munich is a very culturally diverse city, a fact which is displayed by this McDonalds
You see lots of gardens and flowers, and you see them in creative places
I spent the better part of today at Munich university. This picture is one of the main, central buildings of the campus
And this is the Hauptgebäude, which is across the street and which houses the office of Prof. du Toit and the evangelische Faculty. The pictures which follow are all from inside this building (as you will see, the architecture is amazing inside, there are numerous hallways and atriums).
This scene greets you just inside the building
This central atrium with the two statues may look familiar. It was the location of the famous, true story of the “white roses” — the student group who rebelled against the Nazi´s by dropping pamphlets. The dropped them in this atrium, the same atrium shown in the German film about them. It was an eerie feeling to be walking in a place filled with such a past.
This statue graces one of the central hallways
Now we are leaving this huge building to make our way to the tower of Peter´s cathedral, where we will hope to see the alps, since today is such a clear day.
Oops, I forgot to show you this picture, located above a doorway in the main building.
Now we are in the tower, overlooking the city. I only had to pay on Euro to get to the top of this tower, but my sore legs paid a lot more than that with all the stairs climbed (oh, that reminds me, you do a lot of walking in Munich, and get lots of exercise).
The narrow descent from the tower
I told you I was going to sneak my girls along, or at least their pictures.