Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Steinau an der Strasse, June 25, 2016

Queen Janet reigns in Jeff's heart
And any queen would feel great in a pair of neon yellow sneakers sitting on a golden throne. We spent this particular Saturday in Steinau an der Strasse. It is a small town about 45 miles east of Frankfurt. The name includes "an der Strasse," meaning on the road, because it was a stop on the main road from Frankfurt to Leipzig anciently. It was also the home of the Grimm family. The castle that remains is home to a museum dedicated to the remarkable family and their contributions to German language and culture. There had been a heavy rain, and the tiny Kinzig river was a muddy rush, but the old town has a good bit of remaining wall and the castle.

The town is also home to some interesting people. We met a nice young woman who teaches theater, mainly to children. She was our tour guide at the castle and was a delightful person. Jeff chatted with her about her life and interests and discovered that she has been involved with the refugee community - there is a camp in her home town. Jeff discussed the church's efforts with the refugees and gave her a pass-along card.

We met an old man who runs a tiny junk store. Sister Newman found a piece of pottery she liked, but the store was an odd sort of garage of cast off items. The man assured Jeff that what was in the store was only 10% of what he had accumulated over the years. As Jeff talked more with him, he broke out some documents, including a reply to a letter he had written to the current Pope and certificates for degrees he received from some online sort of "university" that operates in the Pacific Northwest. He was really proud of an obviously worthless degree, but his English was good and he was animated. His speech was laced with profanity, but his biggest lament is that no one in Germany believes in God any more. That's not true, of course, but faith has faded in a country that produced Martin Luther and was the seat of the Holy Roman Empire. When the man started a rant, it seemed like a good time to leave the store to other visitors.

We met a man who was fascinated with our name tags. He was also excited that we are in Germany trying to help people come to Christ and find peace in Him. Elder Mumm gave him a pass along card and invited him to learn more.

Germany is wealthy and its citizens are like many in the United States. They are seeking gods of gold and putting their faith in what men can do and create with their own hands without acknowledging or even thinking about the creator of those hands. But there are lots of good people who care about their neighbors and seek to do good. In a revelation to the Prophet Joseph Smith, God commanded, "And from this place ye shall go forth . . .; and inasmuch as ye shall find them that will receive you ye shall build up my church in every region." (Doctrine and Covenants 42:8) So, we search for those who will heed the Master's voice -- those that will receive us. We keep looking. Those who hear the voice of the Good Shepherd come to Him.

The castle is in wonderful condition

Flood stage on the Kinzig

No tubing allowed

The metal basket was part of a jail - must have been an early form of water-boarding
The town is quaint and is a nice quiet place to stroll. Just like in many German towns, by 2pm on Saturday afternoon, virtually every shop in town was closed. Here are some shots of the town's architecture.

425 year old Gasthaus where we ate lunch

Colorful paintings attached to the building exterior illustrate Grimm Brothers fairy tales

Town square

Jeff is never in a picture

Everyone was gearing up for a Eurocup soccer game, so the streets were deserted

Fountain in the town square. Fairy tale characters showed up periodically leading tour groups. Germans seem to love tour guides in costume. 

Interesting carved granite adornment for a post at the entrance to the main square

17th century buildings at the castle that are now apartments.

Walkway connecting buildings at the castle -- inside the dry moat

Jeff and a white-haired German lady admiring a fach-werk or half-timbered house. Gee, their hair is almost the same color.
Love the entrance to the museum inside the castle

Beautiful illustration from an old edition of Snow White

Elder Mumm thought he found his daughter. Love these people.
We literally passed behind a curtain through a hidden door with our tour guide into a stone staircase that took us up to another floor where there was an exhibition of art figures based on Grimm Brother tales. They were all created by the same artist. Some of the tales were uncommon and we had never heard of them. Others were familiar. Of course, the Grimm tales were dark and often brutal. Disney cleaned those up so that they aren't so terrifying for children. The art pieces were amazing and that was worth the trip in an of itself.

They are basically life-sized figures reminiscent of marionette puppets

Didn't know this story

The Wolf and the 7 Little Kids

Some of the figures are a little creepy

Check out the eyes

Hansel and Gretel

My Grandma, what big teeth you have

The witch from Hansel and Gretel looks menacing

The Frog Prince

Snow White and the 7 Dwarves

The Fisherman and His Wife

Bremen Town Musician Rooster

Bremen Town Musician Cat

Bremen Town Musician Dog

Bremen Town Musician Donkey
We paid a visit to the castle kitchen and a dining hall. And at the last we climbed the tall tower for a view from the top.

The hall is used for wedding parties now

Jeff talking about refugees with our guide

Portraits exaggerated how fat people were -- only wealthy people ate well in those days so a round middle signified wealth and power. Notice that his head is smaller in proportion. Looking in the mirror, we look really wealthy.

Part of the village from the castle tower

The main church and more of the village

An actual parking lot is rare in Germany

Interior courtyard of the castle. Look close to see those who waited below rather than climb the stairs.

A beautiful valley

Imagine living in this picturesque place

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