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