Free Day in Bremen

There’s no better way to end a trip than spending a relaxing day in a city originating from the 11th century. Bremen, Germany is a city straddling the Weser River in northwestern Germany, and so it originated as a marketplace for maritime trade. More specifically, Bremen was part of the Hanseatic League, a group of cities throughout Europe that allied together to protect each cities economic and diplomatic privileges. These origins could be seen as we spent the day exploring.

We began the day by walking through the Sunday morning marketplace and noted how Europeans purchase food for the next day or two, which is vastly different from many American household. We then walked through the chapel, St. Petri Don, which was originally constructed in the 8th century as a timber cathedral. That cathedral was burnt down, and the now standing cathedral was constructed in the 11th century. The cathedral had beautiful stain glass windows (pictured), and some of us even got to experience a small organ concert later in the day in one of the rooms of the cathedral.

After the cathedral visit, we split off and each explored different parts of the city. We saw things such as the Roland statue, erected in 1404 to protect the city of Bremen. Roland was a paladin for the Holy Roman Empire Charlemagne and is know in legend because of the Battle of Roncevaux Pass, which is ironically Charlemagne’s only military defeat. We also got to witness an interesting clock near the city square, which lasted much longer than we expected. We were also able to view the statue of the Bremen City Musicians, a well known fairy tale about a donkey, dog, cat, and a rooster. It was a beautiful day in an authentic German city.

Zutphen and Operation Market Garden

Zutphen and Operation Market Garden


It has been a fun trip in Europe! This last full day was spent going back to the Netherlands. Today we learned about Zutphen and got to go the a museum on operation Market Garden.
Zutphen is one of the oldest towns in the Netherlands. It has a church named St. Walburgis which dates back to. The 11th century. The town is also home to one of the five medieval libraries in Europe and it contain very old books and manuscripts still chained to their ancient wooden desks. The town still has many monumental buildings dating back to the 14-15 centuries despite the fact that part of the town was destroyed by WWll.
Operation Market Garden had the objective of securing the bridges across the Rhine for crossing to Germany. The Market was the first airborne division taking control of the bridges. The Garden was the Grand forces attempting the cross the bridges. Unfortunately the operation failed due to the Germans demolishing a bridge before it could be secured. Grand forces where delayed so the Airborne division had to evacuate. This delayed the end of the war. While I was in the museum that was teaching us about this I was most affected by what they had in the basement. It actually gave a bit of sense of what the battle actually looked like and felt like. It was quite grim looking but it was very interesting to experience.

Christopher Pappageorge


1/15/17 Blog Post
Kolbenz, Heidlberg

In the morning, we had a three hour bus ride ahead of us to go to Kolbenz and Heidlberg. After getting all 29 of us on the bus, everyone closed their eyes right when they sat down in the bus which has been a recurring event every time we get in the bus. Once we got on the highway, I opened up our morning with devotions for today.
Yesterday we went to go to the American Memorial in Luxembourg and Professor Brouwer made a note to the team to be cautious when talking about war while we were in France and Germany. This resonated with me all night and was the focus of my devotion this morning.
I referred to two verses this morning about loving our neighbors as ourselves and that whoever does the will of God, they are our brothers and sisters. I found this verse to be especially relevant to what we have been seeing during our time here. There are two sides to every story and I believe that we are all created in the image of the Father and we are called to love one another. This starting off our morning with this in mind, my prayer was that we would be open to all the people we would encounter.
We drove to our first stop at Deutsches Eck. Driving along the Rhine river was so impressive and all the castles that were built into the mountains. The amount of history and stories that are held in every one of the buildings are probably endless. The colors of every B&B, restaurant and business were so cohesive and quaint. The water levels were so high and this made me realize how big of a problem this could be for the local people.
As we continued throughout our day, our last stop was Heidlberg and it gave me so much context to my church history. I am not Dutch and I was raised in Los Angeles California. It was eye opening to see how the history traveled and made its way to Grand Rapids, MI. I learned a bit more about the Heidlberg Catechism. I also had my very first German dish! I had Schnitzel and Sauerkraut. Because I am Korean, I was used to the pickled cabbage. It was very delicious and very filling!
The market place that we were at had many places to buy chocolates! I feel that on trips like these, there is a lack of fresh veggies and fruits so I also bought myself some strawberries to eat.
Visiting a castle ruin later in the evening was definitely the highlight of my day. Trying my best to fantasize about the stories that the tour guide would tell us helped me visualize what this castle might have looked like during that time. However one of the highlights was the 54,000 gallon wine barrel and a piece of the castle tower that was cut in half because of a bombing from gun powder. Apparently the symbol of this broken tower is that love does not last forever. This romantic message was beautiful because the castle was originally a gift to the princess at the time. This imagery was beautiful to me and made me wonder what I would do if my boyfriend ever bought me a castle haha.
In conclusion, spending the day fantasizing and trying to picture what it would have been like to live during that time was so fun and I came home with a lot of chocolates to give to my friends and family so I would say, it was a successful day.
Janette Ok