This was one of the trips I was not very excited about because it was a reminder of the dark times in Germany, and Europe in general. One main thought that kept going through my mind as I went through the Camp, and visited other museums of similar sorts, was how people could think of themselves as so superior to other people and treat them as they please, even though God created us all as equal.
I like the fact that these things exist to constantly remind Germans of the past and prevent such things from happening again.
Germany was AMAZING! It was a once in a lifetime experience, and even if I get to go to Germany again, I wouldn’t be able to go with the same people I went with this summer. Germany is very unlike the US and that in itself is something that I really liked because I got to experience a whole new environment and culture. We had two classes for 4 days a week – Engineering and German – and left the weekend for traveling and exploring. I was very anxious about the trip initially, and I didn’t imagine that I would talk to any of the people going on the trip that I did not know. It was a very strange and interesting mix of people that went on this trip and I am glad that everything went the way they did because I have formed some great relationships that I never thought I would.
The cities we visited and Berlin, where we lived, were all great. One thing that I noticed about all the places we visited was how flawlessly they lived in this modern age but still had many reminders of the past around them, from the statues, buildings, plaques, museums and other things. One of my proudest moments in Germany, were the times I was able to use the language or understand what the Germans were saying when they spoke the language to me.
We spent a total of 6 weeks in Europe and the fact that me, along with 3 other girls that were on the trip, got to go to Paris and see all the many structures that I have always dreamed of seeing, made me feel some sense of accomplishment and happiness. All in all, Germany, and the rest of Europe that we visited, was an amazing experience and one that I would never forget!
Reflect on your experience of worshiping at high mass in the Köln Cathedral. How is this different than your home church? What parts of the service did you like?
My church doesn’t have the preist in robes and we do not sing hymns or light incense down the aisles. My church is much more contemporary with a paster in jeans and a button down.
It is estimated that more than 20,000 people visit the cathedral each day – What were your thoughts of seeing all the “tourists” waiting to get into the church when we were leaving the service?
I thought it was very strange how the church does not have much privacy at all. Hundreds of people were flowing through the back of the church while church was in session. Surprisingly it was not that loud and I could focus on the sermon easily.
My trip to Germany was amazing! We spent five weeks in total in Europe. However, most of the time we were in Berlin. We stayed at St. Michael’s Heim and had class Monday-Thursday at the Technische Universität which was about a 30-minute bus ride away from where we were staying. While there we took an Engineering-202 and German Language and Culture Classes for the first four weeks. On the weekends we would spend our time traveling throughout Germany and touring many of the major cities there. Some of the cities we toured included, Bremen, Köln, Heidelberg, and much more. One of my favorite weekends was when a group of friends and I went to Paris. We toured there for two days and got to see the Eiffel Tower and other sights in the city. For the final week, we were free to travel throughout Europe and go wherever we wanted. My group of friends and I went to Fussen, Munich, Salzburg, and Prague. My favorite part of the last week was hiking in Fussen. We hiked a mountain in the Alps. Even though it took all day the view was gorgeous and it was a very fun time. Overall, my trip to Germany will be memorable for many reasons. I do not know the next time I will be back in Europe and I am happy I went. However, it was nice to come home. I missed my other friends and many American things that could not be found in Germany. I would do the trip again and would highly recommend it to others.
Eiffel Tower, Paris
This first picture was taken while a group of us were on a boat tour in Paris. For one of the weekends, a few friends and I went to visit Paris. We had a great time there and the sights were amazing. We visited the Eiffel Tower, The Louvre, The Notre-Dame and much more.
Neuschwanstein Castle, Fussen
During the last week when we were free to travel, I went to Fussen and we visited this castle. The view was incredible. It was our first time out of a major city in a while and it was great to be in nature. We spent half a day there and toured the castle, hiked around, and had a great time.
Finally, this was a picture from inside the Olympiastadion in Berlin. On our last day in Germany, our group went to a soccer game that was super fun to watch. Unfortunately, Berlin lost 3-0. The game was the best way to spend a final day in Berlin. I had always wanted to go to a game in Germany and even though it was not the team I wanted to see I still loved the game.
The high mass in the Köln Cathedral was very different from any church service that I had previously been to. There were many parts of their service that was different than my home church. One of the most obvious ones was the burning incense that took place during the whole service. Personally, there were no major parts of the service that enjoyed. This is partially because the whole service was in German and some Latin which are two languages that I am not fluent in. It also felt very ‘old’ in the way that they have kept all their old traditions and appeared to have not changed anything from what is described to have been like before the reformation. When exiting after the service I did not think much about the tourists because the previous day that was us looking in on the church. Overall, the Cathedral was magnificent and the architecture was incredible to look at. Another incredible thing was being able to climb to the top and look over the whole city.
Our visits to the Concentration Camp and Holocaust Museum were some of the most impactful moments on the whole trip. Personally, I enjoyed the concentration camp more than the museum. However, the museum allowed me to learn more through people who were affected and their stories of how they dealt with the Holocaust. The concentration camp helped open up my eyes more to how the camps were run and operated. It also made me more aware of the brutality and inhumanity that went on inside these camps. Overall the holocaust changed Germany forever and is still a huge part of their history that still affects Germany today. Specifically, in Berlin, you can see how most of the infrastructure is new due to the destruction that occurred during the war. Also, it affects how many people view Germans in the current day. The events of WWII has forever changed Germany but also plays a large part in making Germany what it is today.
Comment on your trip to Bremen. What did you find interesting about the history of the city?
I thought that the old cobble roads were very interesting because it told a time where the main mode of transportation was horse and buggy in the wide roads they had. The town seemed very close knit and it reminded me of pictures I see in history books. very cool
How did learning about Martin Luther affect you? If it didn’t affect you in anyway then why not?
It didn’t affect me much at all because he seems like a historical figure to me. Not someone who I thought about much over the trip at all. I knew a lot about Martin Luther before I went on this trip but learning about him again gave me a nice refresher.
I have been to a Catholic church a few times because my dad’s family is Catholic. However, this is not how my home church is. We do not burn incest or do all the other proceedings of a Catholic church. However, it reminded me of the times I had been to a Catholic church, except that this mass was in German, and I was able to follow some parts of the service. I mostly liked the parts where the congregation and the choir sang.
I was a little bit overwhelmed that even before the mass ended, there were already tourists waiting to get into the church. I tried to imagine what the locals thought and how they felt about that. It also shows how important and big of a monument and tourist attraction the Köln Cathedral is to everyone: Germans and tourists.