In Summary

Germany was such a cool experience. Our class of students was a ton of fun and bonded quite well together. The engineering class was interesting and the profs well at teaching it. The German class was a lot of fun, and I do feel like my German got much better through the course of our time. Berlin the city was amazing. It is both beautiful and interesting, with so much deep history that it took us most of the 5 weeks in Berlin to get even close to seeing everything. The German food was decent, though they do have a lot of meat in their diet and very few vegetables. The food in berlin was also very cheap for the size and quality which was nice. The weekend trips were well planned by the professors who, after doing this for so long know the best things to see and where spending the money is worth it. Going to Rome for a weekend was also just another bonus of this course, another beautiful city with attractions and streets to explore. Overall Bremen was my favorite however, its quaint back streets and beautiful houses were beautiful. Germany was worth the trip.

Some cool pictures

This was our favorite pizza joint. We only went there 4 times, but the owner knew our faces and would yell out of the store “Michigan!” whenever we passed. The pizza slices were a decent size and cheap. You could get two pieces each the size of a personal pan for 5E. It was a fun place to eat and take a break from homework and eat a good dinner.

This picture is from Me and Andrew Luker’s trip to Rome. Because we are RA’s next year we are not getting to stay the final week and travel around, so we got the opportunity to take one weekend off and fly down to Rome. It was beautiful there. This picture is from the top of the Spanish steps. We had some fantastic food and a great time. This was such a cool opportunity.

This picture is from inside St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City. This was by far one of the largest cathedrals we went in on this trip, and the grandeur and vastness of the entire Vatican was insane. The popes did not spare any expense when slowly forming these massive rooms in honor of God.

This picture is from inside St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City. This was by far one of the largest cathedrals we went in on this trip, and the grandeur and vastness of the entire Vatican was insane. The popes did not spare any expense when slowly forming these massive rooms in honor of God.

Every Day

At first I thought that my inability to write a blog on time was a problem. As I try to write now however, I find that I am grateful that I didn’t write it on time. Sure it would have been nice for my friends and family to know what I have been up to the previous weekend, but the thoughts I hove would have been rushed, quickly jotted down without a second thought. this way I think back and remember what I liked the most about that trip.

With that being said, there is a large amount from Köln that I will remember for a long time to come. My favorite part of the trip was the Cathedral. It was a couple of weeks ago, but I can still the the enormity that it had. every inch of the outside had some sort of detail or symbol on it. As you got closer you got to the Cathedral you could see all the dedication that people had put into it after hundreds of years of work.

As I walked into the Cathedral I held my breath in anticipation. It was spectacular, and I knew the work that is put into Cathedrals to make them sound incredible. We walked in as tourists as an evening service was taking place. My heart stopped when the organ played. It filled the space, and no matter what direction you turned, the sound was perfect.

It is incredible to think that people made that building all in dedication to God. We don’t do that anymore. How often do we go through our day doing things only for ourselves? How many times do we sleep in a Sunday instead of worshiping the God who gave us everything? If building a Cathedral is what a group of people could do in a lifetime, imagine what we could accomplish if we lived every day to the glory of God.

Reflections on the Trip

Germany was unbelievably great. It’s amazing how much we were able to do during the time spent there. Even the first day was filled with historical monuments like the Brandenburg gate and I even accidentally found Checkpoint Charlie. The trip was a perfect mixture of planned activities and trips and down time. While the entire experience has been great there are a few key highlights. The Koln Cathedral was absolutely amazing, it’s impossible to describe it without seeing a picture, and even the picture doesn’t do it justice. The top is 157m (515 feet tall) –  that’s like stacking nearly two football fields on top of each other. Besides its height, the detail was magnificent. There wasn’t any part of the whole building that wasn’t handcarved using extreme care in the details. (There is a reason it took 800 years to build.) Also, the Heidelburg Schloss was really amazing, along with many of the other castles and palaces we saw. Then there’s the food – which was so good. I will need to try going to more German restaurants to find some authentic ones. The brats were especially good and are not comparable to the brats we have in the US – the ones in Germany are just exponentially better.

 

Our group was able to visit most of the different regions all over Germany. We visited many of the key and well known places in the country and when there weren’t planned trips, I was able to visit some of the beautiful National parks – Jasmund National Park in very northern Germany and Switzerland Saxon National Park a few hours south of Berlin. Jasmund is known for it’s salt cliffs and ancient forests and Switzerland Saxon is known for its towering rock structures and arched bridge roads at very high elevations. Both parks were amazing and I don’t have anything in the US to compare them to as a reference point.

 

What really made the trip the best was the people I got to meet and know better in our group. I knew a few of the people before I came on the trip, but I got to know so many more. Having these old and new friends made the entire experience amazing.

Reflections on Wittenberg

In a country with so many elaborate churches, why do you think religion has lost its importance and does not appeal to people like it used to? Do you think this could happen to America in the future? Why or why not?

It is hard to see how a country with so many beautiful church structures and the cradle of the Reformation could have grown so cold with regards to their faith. Many people were so passionate about their faith that they were burned at the stake and died because they wanted to read their Bibles in their own homes. However, now I would say that religion has lost its much of its importance in Germany and all of Europe because the people are moving farther and farther away from God. Also, secular teaching for several generations that separate the secular and the sacred make it easier for people to put religion in a box they don’t have to think about unless they want or need to. Viewing churches just as architectural and artistic masterpieces without the acknowledgment that they were built that way as an act of worship also helps make religion very cold. Continue reading “Reflections on Wittenberg”

What’s it like?

The food here is amazing. “Bayerisches Schmankerl,” a Bavarian dish, was offered at a traditional German restaurant. Notice how it was served on a wood plate or platter. It included a kind of Bavarian meatloaf that does not taste at all like American meat loaf, 3 Numberg-style sausages and one regensburg-style sausage. The Numberg-style sausages have a lot of flavor as they are typically spiced with ginger, nutmeg, chilies and cloves. What is interesting about the Regensburg sausages is that supposedly they are made like a restaurant in Regensburg, Germany makes them that has been open since around 1135 AD. I don’t know if this is really true, but it is an interesting possibility. The meal also included fried potato slices, and sauerkraut in the front. This has so far been my favorite meal here. Continue reading “What’s it like?”

Köln Cathedral

Let me start by saying that I have attended many types of worship services. I went to a conservative Lutheran Church until I was 7. I have worshiped in several different countries, seen charismatic and high liturgical services but no church service or mass that I have ever attended was as amazing as the mass we attended at the Köln Cathedral. By saying this I do not mean the content of the service was amazing as I only understood parts of it, but the grandeur of the service itself was overwhelming. The service involved almost every sense from smell with the incense to sight with how the Cathedral was beautiful and absolutely colossal. It’s a form of worship all by itself. The service was quite different from my home church. My home church is in the inner city on the west side of Chicago. It’s very diverse and much smaller than the Cathedral, not to mention the difference in language, content, worship music and tone of the service – people shout out in our services and that wouldn’t happen in the reverent Catholic mass.

Continue reading “Köln Cathedral”