Day 21 – Arnhem & Nunspeet

We started the day with a 3.5 hour bus ride back into The Netherlands to Arnhem. Arnhem is another beautiful city that has been rebuilt since WWII. It was the site of a key battle to gain a bridge over the Rhine river for the Allies. After lunch on our own, we went to the Airborne Museum to get that explained.

Then on to our last hotel for a great meal and our last class discussion time. Up early tomorrow to get to the Amsterdam airport and back to Calvin…just in time for the spring semester!

Day 20 – Bremen & Mercedes Benz

We did not have an early event today, so we slept in a bit. Then toured Bremen in groups seeing churches, statues, the square, the Schnoor (old fishing village), etc.

In the afternoon we toured the Mercedes Benz plant where they make 10+ car models. It was very interesting to see the inside of the plant. We have some pictures of the showroom and concept cars, but were not allowed to take pictures inside the plant.

We ate another traditional German dinner, including 2-foot long curry wurst. We thanked our awesome bus driver Joop. Then we toured the city at night.

Days 18 & 19 – Berlin, Hamburg, and Bremen

We began our day Tuesday at the Brandenburg gate. Then Holocaust Memorial and followed it with the SS museum–a moving experience. We also visited “check point Charlie” (the former gate between east and west Berlin) and a remnant of the Berlin Wall called the “east side gallery.” Then we had some free time to explore Berlin. People went to museums, landmarks, concerts, games…and of course, restaurants.

Wednesday started with a four hour drive to get to the north part of Germany. We stopped in Hamburg for lunch and a look around the downtown. Then we got a harbor tour by boat of Europe’s third largest port city.

On the bus again for an hour trip to Bremen, the hotel, and the dinner.

Day 17 – Wittenberg & Berlin

We woke up to a cold, but beautiful morning. The trees were all covered with ice crystals.

We stopped in Wittenberg to see where Luther taught and lived. Saw the church where he posted the 95 articles theses and the other where he preached. We had a great tour guide.

Then off to Berlin for a bus tour of the city and then we toured the Berlin Dom church, including city views from the top!

Day 16 – Dresden and Leipzig

We drove a couple hours back into Germany to get to a church service at Frauen Kirche in Dresden. The church was destroyed in WWII and left for many years as rubble by the communists. But was rebuilt in the 1990’s back to its beautiful state. After church, we ate lunch and toured the city a bit.

Another couple hour drive brought us to Leipzig where we visited St. Thomas Church and St Nicolas Church. These is where the famed German composer, musician, and conductor Johann Sebastian Bach worked and wrote much of his music. Then we ate another authentic German dinner at the Bayerischer Bahnhof restaurant.

Day 15 – A sunny day in Prague

Last night, we took a tram ride up to dinner and a look at the castle area at night.

We woke up this morning to a cold (17 degrees) and clear day. So we got our warmest clothes on and set out on a walking tour of the city with a local guide.

After the tour and an afternoon of free time, we watched the city light up and then had a traditional dinner with traditional live music and dancing!

Day 14 Dachau & Driving

We started our day going to the World War II Nazi concentration camp. A very sobering and thoughtful experience that I am sure some students will post about. Here are just a few pictures.

We spent the rest of the day riding in the bus and losing a few more hours in traffic jams.

Arrived in Prague just in time to get to dinner on the tram and see the city all lit up at night. But it is late now and we are tired…so more pictures tomorrow! Good night.

Day 13 – Neuschwanstein Castle and Munich

We started with a bus ride through the winter countryside to the foothills of the Alps where we visited the Neuschwanstein castle.

Next we visited a the Church of the Meadows. It looks fairly average on the outside, but is spectacular on the inside.

Off to Munich to make a company visit to Steelcase’s Learning and Innovation Center. An interesting tour and discussion.

Then dinner in Munich and back to the hotel (after sitting in another traffic jam).

Day 12 Gentex and DynaJet company visits

On the bus at 8AM and after some traffic jams, we arrived for a great visit at Gentex. Gentex is headquartered and has its manufacturing in Zeeland, MI. They are the market leader in supplying advanced technology mirrors to automakers worldwide.

After a “fast food” lunch, we were on to DynaJet company–a small firm that makes power washers for industrial use.

Then on to the hotel in Landsberg am Lech where we had dinner and a class meeting time to reflect on what we have seen.

Day 10 – Koblenz and the Rivers

After driving for a bit along the Moselle River we came to the city of Koblenz at the junction with the Rhine River. There we saw the sights and had lunch.

The rest of the day was a beautiful drive along the Rhine river with castles, roman ruins, vineyards, and churches.

We settled into our hotel in Hockenheim and had a class meeting and then a traditional German dinner.