Category: Reutlingen (page 2 of 20)

My First Time in France

Vlogger:  Nicholas Kwiecinski

Location: Reutlingen, Germany

Leipzig, Wittenberg, and Eisenach/Wartburg Castle

Author: Devin Powell

Location: Reutlingen, Germany

Our next adventures took us to Leipzig, Wittenberg, Eisenach, and Wartburg Castle up north. This was a school trip rather than one of our own adventures, so things were a bit more planned. This region of German is often referred to as “Lutherland” due to the great reformer, Martin Luther, having made his stay in this area during the late 15th and early 16th centuries. Here, the reformation of the church began and Lutheranism began to form.

Leipzig Ferris Wheel: We happened to arrive in Leipzig during a very exciting time. The city was having a sort of Christmas fair downtown with an ice rink and traditional German food and their traditional drink, Glühwein (warm red wine with spices and herbs). The event was called Eistraum Auf dem Augustusplatz. You could purchase a Glühwein for 3 Euros but for an additional 3 Euros, you could also purchase the frosted mug that it came served in.


St. Nicholas Church (Nikolaikirche): This church is situated in the center of downtown Leipzig. It was constructed in the 15th century in a Romanesque style design but was later converted to a more Goth church in the 16th century. Johann Sebastian Bach was actually the music director of the Nikolaikirche during the 18th century, and the church was also the center of peaceful protests and demonstrations during the 1980s and early 1990s against communism.


Johann Sebastian Bach: He was born between March 21 and March 31 1685. He was one of the most influential composers of his time, and today, his influence even lives on at Valparaiso through the Bach Institute. As a part of our program, we will be visiting the Marienkirche in Reutlingen to hear the St. John’s Passion, one of Bach’s works. According to the Bach-Were-Verzeichnis, Bach composed 1128 works in his 65 years of life. 23 of these works were lost or unfinished and are only known via other compositions or clues left by history.


Stadt und Pfarrkirche St. Marien zu Wittenberg (Town and Parish Church of St. Mary’s): This church was first mentioned in the year 1187. Martin Luther often preached at this church in downtown Wittenberg. Not pictured but just off-screen on the top right of the tower are sculptures of swine. These swine sculptures represented the Jewish people that were present in Wittenberg. They were often the lowest class of people and were not allowed in the churches. The town wanted to get rid of the tower some years back due to what the sculptures represented, but they ultimately decided against it stating that it was a part of history and would be merely hiding an ugly part rather than embracing the ignorance of it.


Lutherhaus (Luther House): This building was originally constructed in 1504 and was a part of the University of Wittenberg where Martin Luther and his wife, Katharina von Bora, lived. When Luther wrote his 95 Theses, he lived here and may have even written them in his bedroom that is highlighted by the fancy looking window adornment to the right of the tower in the photo. He and his wife even taught here during the period.   


Schloßkirche (All Saint’s Church/Castle Church) and Church Doors: The Schloßkirche is the most famous of the churches in Wittenberg. This church is the very one where Martin Luther hung his 95 Theses. The doorway pictured on the right is the same doorway where they were nailed to the doors in 1517. A fire in 1760 destroyed some of the church and burned the original wooden door. Since then, a new bronze door has been constructed and every single line of Luther’s theses are chiseled into it to commemorate the Protestant Reformation. Luther is also buried here.


Wartburg Castle (Eisenach): Built around 1067 in the Middle Ages, Wartburg Castle housed St. Elisabeth of Hungary. It’s most legendary fact, however, is that this castle is where Luther translated the Bible from Latin into German allowing ordinary people to read the Bible and therefore interpret it in varying ways. This is also where Luther fled to hide from persecution after calling for a change in the church.

A Pop Over to London

Vlogger: Nicholas Kwiecinski

Location: Reutlingen, Germany

Our Own Adventures in Cologne (Köln) and Brussels (Bruxelles)

Author: Devin Powell

Location: Reutlingen, Germany

After we finished exploring Berlin and all of its historical context, we decided to make use of our German Rail Flexipass—this pass allowed us 10 days of free travel anywhere in Germany and select cities outside of the country—and head on over to Köln to see the largest cathedral in Germany. We booked an AirBnB for two nights and explored the city with no set plans.

The morning of our third day in Cologne, we made our way to the train station to see what adventures awaited us in Brussels, Belgium. I’m not sure how many of you know, but Brussels is actually the “capital” of the European Union (I’ll explain my use of quotation marks later on, don’t worry). Belgium has three official languages—French, Dutch, and German—so everywhere you turned a new culture was washing over you.


Köln Cathedral (Cologne Cathedral): This massive structure was first constructed in the year 1248 after the “Old Cathedral” was burned down on April 30 of the same year. A little over two centuries later, the cathedral remained unfinished and the project was halted in 1473 due to the lack of monetary funds and support from the people. Gradually, the construction resumed throughout the years but is still receiving repairs to this day due to the 14 hits it took during the Second World War. None of these bombs collapsed the building, but damage was certainly done. UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization) added it to the World Heritage List of important sites in 1996, making this building a protected historical monument.


Köln Triangle: Imagine a platform that is so high above the rest of the city that you can see 360 degrees of Cologne. Well, that’s exactly what we did. For only 3 Euros we were able to go to the top of this sky deck to see the city. The glass had etchings that you could align with the real monuments with small facts about what you were viewing giving a bit of history and thrill to the experience.


Köln Cathedral (A Closer Look): Here lie those who once preached at this very cathedral or who were nobility of the town during the old ages. This is a small cemetery on one side of the Cathedral that faces the Lower Rhine River.


Köln Lovelocks Bridge (Hohenzollern Bridge): This bridge has become notorious (much like the Lovelock Bridge in France) for people hanging locks on the bridge that symbolize their love. Some of the locks were even dated back to the 60s or early 70s! Some of the locks weren’t your regular locks either. There were owl locks, camel locks, locks the size of someone’s head, car locks—you name it, they were there. The bridge was constructed in 1907 and finished in 1911 and has been standing ever since. Out of the seven bridges that cross the Rhine, Cologne’s bridge is the most famous.


Now let’s head on over to Brussels, Belgium!


Royal Palace of Brussels (Palais Royal de Bruxelles): In case you were wondering, we got to Brussels rather late, so some of the pictures will be a little darker than others for our first day exploring the city. This was one of the first sites that caught our attention. This right here is the Royal Palace of Brussels of the King and Queen of Belgium. Now the King and Queen don’t actually reside here but live in another palace on the outskirts of Brussels instead. The palace here is smaller in floor space than the Buckingham Palace, but it is 50% longer.


Metal Ball Fountain (La Fontaine de Pol Bury): Since Belgium does not have any lakes, rivers, or beaches, they supplement with fountains that litter the country. Brussels alone has 20 or so fountains throughout the city. Pol Bury was a Belgian architect who designed this 21 steel cylinders based fountain in downtown Brussels in 1995.


Parc du Cinquantenaire (Park of the Fiftieth Anniversary): This is the main park in downtown Brussels which was created in 1880 in order to commemorate Belgian’s independence. The centerpiece (pictured above), was created in 1905. The piece shows a woman charioteer who is raising the national flag of Belgium.


Atomium: This is the Atomium. It was originally created in 1958 for the Brussel World’s Fair. The inside is a sort of retro designed museum telling the history of the structure and also giving a 360 degree view of Brussels from the top sphere. Only 6 of the 9 spheres are accessible to the public, but the top sphere was actually closed off when we went.


Manneken Pis (The Peeing Boy): This is one of Brussels most famous fountains and is what they’re actually pretty notorious for. Statues depicting the boy and sculptures made out of chocolate lined the streets leading up to the renowned statue. The original was erected in either 1619 and has now been replaced by a copy in 1965. The original still exists, however. You can find it in the Museum of the City of Brussels. The statue is meant to symbolize the humor and independence of the people of Brussels. It only stands at a height of 2 feet making some of the chocolate statues bigger than the actual piece!

Staying in Reutlingen

Vlogger: Nicholas Kwiecinski

Location: Reutlingen, Germany

Devin’s Photo Blog

Photographer: Devin Powell

Location: Reutlingen, Germany

Marienkirche (St. Mary’s Church): This is the main church of Reutlingen which is centered in the middle of the marketplace downtown. Here, Matthäus Alber spread the word of the reformer, Martin Luther, to the small town of Reutlingen during the early 1500s. Lutheranism now has a large religious presence in Reutlingen as well as the state of Baden-Württemberg, and a majority of Germany.


Tübingen Universität: The University of Tübingen is a mere 10 minute train ride from Reutlingen and is full of historical context. One thing to note in particular is that Tübingen was one of the few towns not completely destroyed during World War II, so most of the buildings are as old as they look! Only a small portion of the town was destroyed due to a bomb that was actually meant for Reutlingen. Other than that, there was no need to bomb the town due to the high number of students living there and no factories or production being exported from it.
Tübingen University is one of the oldest universities in Germany, established in 1477, and has remained one of Germany’s top universities throughout the years. Many of the studies include theology, philosophy, medicine, and law.


Berliner Dom: Our first trip consisted of traveling 8 hours via train to reach Berlin and further explore an area that was of great interest during war times. This “cathedral” was built in order for the Protestants to have something of equal stature to that of the Catholic Cathedrals often found throughout continental Europe. I use the term “cathedral” loosely because the Berliner Dom is not deemed a cathedral due to it being a place for the Protestant faith, not Catholic. However, the Germans often overstep this trivial difference and refer to it as a German cathedral.


Johann Georg Elser: However odd this may sound, Hitler often gave speeches in public pubs and/or bars in the evenings due to the presence of alcohol and being able to keep people in one place in order to listen to his speeches. One evening in particular, a man named Johann Georg Elser decided to kill Hitler and all of the top Nazi officials that had followed him to a particular bar in Berlin. He created a bomb and set it below the stage, but Hitler had taken the train into Berlin this night in particular due to the weather and had to leave early in order to make his train back. As is such, the bomb exploded minutes after Hitler and his officials had left killing 12 people instead of the men he was initially after.


East Side Gallery: A quick train ride to the east side of Berlin allowed us to explore the remnants of the Berlin Wall that were still standing. Here, 118 artists had decorated each paneling of the Wall with various images, each representing their own unique artistry. The Wall spans 1.3 km and officially became the world’s longest open-air gallery in 1990.


Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp: This was single-handedly one of the most sobering and eye-opening experiences on this trip. Every step puts you into the shoes of those who found themselves prisoners of the Germans under Hitler’s rule. The heavy feeling that surrounded the camp made you stop and really take into account the fact that these atrocities actually happened and were no longer words on paper that you read for history class but rather a reality that caused the suffering of millions of people.


Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe/Holocaust Museum: Rows upon rows of either thin cement blocks or short concrete slabs lined up in front of you create an almost eerie scene of getting lost in a maze. There are 2,711 of these concrete slabs, each one attempting to capture the atrocity that swept through Europe. Architect Peter Eisenman and Buro Happold, an engineer, designed this field of cement in order to give those who were massacred a place to rest and be remembered.


Filmmuseum Potsdam: Fun fact number 1—most film industries in the US have used the set in Babelsberg to shoot very popular and successful movies such as: Valkyrie with Tom Cruise, V for Vendetta, and Captain America Civil War. So if you’d like to catch a sneak peek at someone famous perhaps walking down the street, make your way over to Babelsberg instead of Hollywood!

Berlin, Cologne, and Finally Brussels

Vlogger: Nicholas Kwiecinski

Location: Reutlingen, Germany


2017 Photo Contest Winners: Grand Prize

Grand Prize

Name: Peaceful Request
Photographer: Ian Olive
Location: Venice, Italy
Program: Germany Study Center
Description: A calm protest and request

2017 Photo Contest Winners: Sense of Place

Category: Sense of Place 

1st Place:

Name: Descending to Ascend
Photographer: Emma Chelsvig
Location: Varanasi, India
Program: World Internships
Description: Locals and Indian tourists flock to the ghats in Varanasi where they bathe themselves in the Ganges’ holy water.

2nd Place:

Name: We Have  Seen the Light
Photographer: Savannah Jorgensen
Location: Florence, Italy
Program: England Study Center
Description: Florentine people celebrating

3rd Place:

Name: Nymphenburg Palace
Photographer: Kostadin Pendev
Location: Munich, Germany
Program: Reutlingen Summer Engineering Program
Description: The Nymphenburg Palace was built from the 17th to the 19th century for the Bavarian royal family. Behind the palace, there is a garden that is 88 square miles.


2017 Photo Contest Winners: People

Category: People 

1st Place:

Name: A Picture’s Worth a Thousand Words
Photographer: Savannah Jorgensen
Location: London, England
Program: England Study Center
Description: Local artist showing his chalk talents off at the National Gallery

2nd Place:

Name: Reflective
Photographer: Katherine Carlson
Location: Mirror Lake, New Zealand
Program: Summer in New Zealand
Description: Self portrait of me looking off in the distance at Mirror Lake

3rd Place:

Name: Gondoliers in their Canals
Photographer: Amy Klass
Location: Venice, Italy
Program: Germany Study Center
Description: Venice, Italy is a beautiful city consisting of hundreds of canals ruled by boats, tours, and of course, gondolas! Taking a ride through the canals is the best and most unforgettable way to view the historic city of Venice.

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