Sunday, February 21, 2010

Lutherstad Wittenberg

Let me start with a few side comments. First, allow me to continue my rant on the German transportation system. Today, I went to Wittenberg. I had to first travel about three miles to the main train station. There is a metro train (S Baun) that goes directly there from the station one block from our pension. It should have been a 10 minute ride to get to my 9:17 train. It wasn’t.

I had to change trains three times to get there. Add to that the fact that trains seems to run 10-20 apart. It took me almost 45 minutes and I missed the cheap 9:17 train to Wittenberg. No problem, I buy the expensive ticket for the nice ICE train. At least I get a nice ride for 40% more. I go to the #1 rail line, the train arrives, it has my train number on the outside and inside displays. I get in and sit down. But, it doesn’t leave on time. It doesn’t leave at all. I don’t know what happened, but eventually someone walks down the train and tells me, in German, to get off as the train was now out of service.

So I now get to wait 45 minutes and ride a cheap train with my expensive ticket. I never want to hear about German efficiency ever again.

Things get better. I arrived in Wittenberg to light snow and took a taxi to the historic town center. It seems that on Sundays everything but the historical sites are closed, which was wonderful. It left me with an almost empty, quiet, peaceful little village. A delight after the big cities we’ve been in.

This was a great visit. I toured Martin Luther’s house (which is now a great museum), the church he preached in, and the grand Castle Church where is 95 Thesis were posted (well, at least the re-built church, the original was mostly destroyed in a local war several centuries ago).

It was just great to walk down the same path the Luther would have walked as he strode paper in hand, from one end of town to the other to post his ideas for debate – not knowing how that action would change both Christianity and the world forever.

Some local color. Wittenberg is in the heart of what used to be East Germany.

The Town Church where Luther preached. A beautiful sounding choir was rehersing in Latin as I toured the church. It sounded heavenly.

Below is the Castle Church, where Luther posted his discussion proposals on the door and where he is buried.
Re-creation of the doors.

Tomorrow we fly to Amsterdam mid-day, to position ourselves for our flight home on Tuesday. I’m tired, but it’s been an amazing trip for me and I have over 2000 photographs to use as teaching resources into the future. This will probably be my last post, so thanks for reading. God Bless!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

It's Saturday, so we must be in Berlin

Let me say that I learned something I would have never guessed: even the French have a better metro system than the Germans. After not a single misstep in either England or France, both Shawn and I struggled with the Berlin S ban today. It is the most confusing system I have yet encountered. God only knows what will happen when I try to get to Wittenberg tomorrow.

Today was great once I got there. I got to look at loads of looted treasures from a number of places that are Biblically significant. This includes what many people think is the temple that is called the “Throne of Satan” in Revelation. Also, by completer accident, I stumbled onto some very important papyruses from Jewish soldiers in Egypt serving the Persian Empire, asking for permission from Jerusalem to replace a temple to Yahweh that had been destroyed. I had read about these letters, but had no idea where they were. Here are a few pictures.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Paris Misc

Again, too late and too tired to write much. Some pictures of Notre Dame and the Eiffel Tower. Enjoy

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Paris is called the city of lights. It should be called the “City of Stairs”. I did more stairs today than I do in a year. Unending stairs in the metro stations. More staircases in the Louvre than a human could count. No wonder the French can eat and drink all they want and not get fat. Their city is like a giant Stairmaster.

The Louvre is amazing and also the most confusing museum I have ever been in. Poor signs or no signs. Everything in French. Crowds everywhere. If it didn’t house some of the most interesting pieces of history and art in world history, you wouldn't go near it on a bet.

But, was able to find most all of the items I was looking for. We have a couple of days to poke around Paris, then on to Berlin.


I am getting a little behind in my posts. Yesterday, we took a tour of D-Day sites with a company that does battlefield tours. It was amazing. I won’t post many pictures, because without the background you won’t really understand what happened there.

Note the stain on this church bench. It is blood from a paratrooper who died there 66 years ago on June 6. This little church was used as a hospital.
But I will say that it reminded me of the enormous dept we owe to the WW2 generation for the amazing sacrifices they made in the face of great evil. Both allied soldiers and French civilians gave their lives so that both nations could be the free nations we grew up in. I fear when these brave men and women are gone, we will too easily forget how dear a price freedom always seems to require.

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Monday, February 15, 2010

Oxford & Normandy

Since I got all my shooting at the British Museum accomplished, I had Sunday morning free. So, I went on a pilgrimage--to Oxford. Specifically, to a pub. Let me explain.

Two of my favorite writers are JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis. For the many years they taught at Oxford schools, the met for lunch at a local pub called the Eagle and the Child, in a back room called the "Rabbit Room."

So, I had lunch in the Rabbit room, sitting in the same space where these men talked about their writings and their faith for many years. Not a life changing event for me, but wonderful to be surrounded by the ghosts of such influential Christians.

I'd like to go back to Oxford when I have more time.
We took an bus to the coast and an overnight ferry to Caen, France. A bus to Bayeux and a rental car got us to an amazing place Mont St Michelle. It is even nore amazing in person than all the pictures you have seen of it.

Can you guess what this is?
BTW, I thought England was expensive. See this cup of coffee:


I'll ask the price before I buy the next cup. Tomorrow we get a tour of D-Day sites and take a late train to Paris. Bonsoir.