Our European Adventure – Day 2

Rheinfall, Schaffhausen, Switzerland.

We left our hotel in Viernheim, Germany, and headed to Schleitheim, Switzerland. Our bus traveled along and then through the Black Forest. As we climbed a mountain pass, it began to rain. We soon stopped for lunch at an alpine complex of buildings that clearly was a stopover for tourists. Besides restaurants, we passed through gift shops displaying intricately made cuckoo clocks. I found one that cost over $12,000.

Where we ate and the $12,000 cuckoo clock.

From there, it was a short distance to the Swiss border, where our driver had to exit the bus and show several documents before we could enter the country. After a brief delay, we were on our way and soon arrived in Schleitheim, a rural Swiss village where Anabaptists met in February 1527. Though no list of participants remains, scholars are certain that Michael Sattler participated in this meeting of the minds to clarify the beliefs of these radical reformers.

The Schleitheim document contained several main articles that gave form and direction to the young movement. Sattler most assuredly wrote the manuscript that included instructions for adult baptism, the ban, communion, separation of church and state, pastors in the church, nonresistance, and forbidding the taking of oaths.

The Schleitheim Museum is housed on the top two floors of the town’s community building. Because our group was too large, half went upstairs while the rest of us were told to look around. So, we did.

When I opened a large wooden door, I startled three local ladies who were using looms to make scarves and other clothing items. Once we explained who we were, the women relaxed and graciously showed us what they were doing. I found plenty of photo opportunities in the large workspace.

The same was true for the museum. All sorts of antiques had been saved, from the sign on the railroad depot to the first hand-drawn fire engine. Of course, there were old documents, books, and bibles from the time when Mennonites flourished there.

After leaving Schleitheim, we wound our way through gorgeous farm country, where big round bales of hay had just been stacked. I tried to capture the scenery through the tinted bus windows.

Soon we arrived in Schaffhausen at the Rheinfall, a cascading waterfall that draws lots of tourists. A few of the tour boats that take you closer to the falls were operating. It was a beauty to behold, but I had a hard time believing we were standing on the banks of the Rhine River.

We left that beautiful place and headed to Zurich, where we would spend the night.

© Bruce Stambaugh 2022

Our European Adventure Begins – Day 1

The Reformation Monument in Worms, Germany.

My wife and I had never been to Europe. When an opportunity arose for us to join a tour group to visit Austria, Germany, and Switzerland, we quickly signed up. That was in pre-pandemic times. Consequently, our initiation into all things European was delayed two years until this spring when it was deemed safe to travel again.

The most influential element in the trip going forward was the rescheduling of the Passion Play at Oberammergau, Germany. The play is held once every 10 years by citizens of the small Bavarian town set at the foothills of the Alps. Click this link to read the fascinating history of why and how the drama began in 1634 and continues today.

The focus of this tour was Anabaptist history. That aspect was added to an established 10-day tour offered by a New England tour company. By trip’s end, those of us on the tour, all senior citizens save one, realized it was a bit much. We had difficulty keeping up with the rapid pace to cram everything in. Consequently, we only skimmed the surface of exploring this beautiful and historic area of Europe. However, that did not detract from our enjoyment of the tour and learning to interact with our fellow tourists and people we met along the way.

Given that, I will share highlights of our trip through select photos, going in chronological order. Please feel free to ask questions in the comments.

I hope you enjoy the trip via the photos as much as my wife and I did in person.

The photos above were all taken at our first stop, Weierhof, an early Anabaptist settlement. The images show a little free library; solar panels on an old farmstead; the Weierhof Mennonite Church; a walled garden, and the rolling German countryside with bike paths, farm fields, and windmills.

We traveled from the rural village to the city of Worms, Germany, where Martin Luther began his resistance to the ruling Catholic Church.

Our lunch stop in Worms, Germany, included touring significant sites where Martin Luther began his public resistance that eventually led to the beginning of the Reformation. Flowers and flowering shrubs were in full bloom. We visited the spot where Luther made a dramatic speech and the Reformation Monument at Luther Plaza. A plaque included the complete statement by Luther.

From Worms, we made an all-too-brief stop in the historic city of Heidelberg, Germany. Because of its rich history and preserved old buildings, the town was saved from the massive bombings of World War II.

All too soon, we had to leave Heidelberg and head to our hotel in Viernheim. Our first day in Europe was filled with wonder, beauty, and history. But after an eight-hour flight and a full day of touring, we were ready for a good night’s sleep.

© Bruce Stambaugh 2022

Explaining My Absence

I realize it’s been a while since my last post. I apologize for being absent. I have my reasons. Let’s just say that it’s been a busy spring for our family.

Below are some photographic hints explaining where I have been, and why I haven’t published either stories or photos lately. I am in the process of creating new posts, so these teasers will have to do for now.

Any guesses as to why these photos help identify my lack of posts? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Comment away!

© Bruce Stambaugh 2022

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