Saturday, April 30, 2016

Refugee Project

Sister Landeen and Sister Bausman (Picture by Elder Greg Jarrard)
Two young mothers who are the Relief Society presidents of the two wards in Frankfurt had a desire to do something to help refugee children. They talked to Sister Stay who is here with her husband coordinating the church's ministry to refugees across the Europe area (30 countries). They developed their own project which grew into something that involved the wards, the community, and companies and resulted in 1061 kits for refugee children up to the age of 12 who are spread across several camps in different parts of Germany. It was a remarkable effort. Our friend Elder Greg Jarrard wrote a piece for the Church News and Elder Kirk contributed a picture. The link to the article and the photographs follows. You will see Sister Kirk in the middle of one of the pictures adjusting her sweater sleeve. ;)

As the Savior taught, "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these . . . "

Deseret News Article

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Miltenberg, March 19, 2016

The old city from the bridge over the river
Miltenberg is a short drive west from Frankfurt in Lower Franconia which is part of the German state of Bavaria. The town in small, medieval in character, and made for walking. It is pressed into a narrow bit of land between the Main River and the hills of the Odenwald. Across the river is mostly modern expansion of the city on the edge of a region called the Spessart. The town depends heavily on tourism, but it is not overly developed, and the tourists are mostly day visitors from the large cities to the west like Frankfurt and Hanau. The 13th century castle above the town (behind the two-spired church) belongs to the city. A portion of it has been restored and houses a museum. Unfortunately, it was closed the day we were here.

It was cold and damp the day of our visit, but we enjoyed it anyway. Janet and Sister Newman shopped some of the stores. It was small enough that Elder Newman and Jeff could wander about as they wished and not get lost of permanently separated from the rest of the group.
View from the wall of the castle

Hard to get just the right picture, but this was a favorite
Some of the front portion is restoration. The tower and other parts behind the restoration are just ruins.

Elder and Sister Newman
Jeff was freezing
Wouldn't want to walk down this when the stream is full
Someone with a sense of humor posted this sentry near the gate
The gate in the background is the one guarded by our skeletal friend
The riverfront is nice for walking

The bridge was senselessly destroyed by German forces at the end of World War II when it made no difference at all in the outcome.
Square below the castle. The fountain was decorated for Easter.

We love the old ornate signs

The town has strong Catholic roots and many homes are decorated with religious statuary.

A butcher shop on the street level of this building from the 1400s

Lots of half timbered houses

Sign for the Hotel zum Riesen with a star of David (Hotel of the Giants)
Steep path up to the castle from the city center

Need to catch my breath already

Pathway up to a park and garden on the hillside
Doors on ancient city hall

Town was repeatedly flooded by the Main. High water marks for centuries carved in the sandstone of the doorways of the old city hall
Spires of the Church of St. Jakobus
Interior of the church was simple

We could see our breath in the church. We have only been in one heated church. Our church buildings are heated and much more warm and inviting. I hope they get the heat on for services in these old buildings.
We love the ornate doors
This is a small Protestant church. It looks big outside, but the interior was very small.
One of the old gates to the city
Cemeteries are usually beautiful places like formal gardens. This is the old Jewish cemetery in Miltenberg. 
We loved this bit of "grafitti." We saw this on the drive to Miltenberg in Offenbach.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Würzburg, Bavaria - 2 April 2016

The spectacular Marienburg Fortress in Würzburg, Germany
We drove to Bavaria on the Saturday of General Conference to visit Würzburg. The first session of General Conference isn't until 6pm here. We admit that we did not stay up from 10pm to midnight to watch the afternoon session or from 2-4am for the general priesthood session. The internet is a real miracle because it allowed us to watch those two sessions of conference on Sunday morning.

The northern and western part of the German state of Bavaria (Bayern in German) is actually part of the historic territory of the Franks or Franconia. Frankfurt has its name because of the Franks. Würzburg is a lovely city with ancient history. The Marienburg Fortress is a prominent landmark, and the view across the river to the rest of the city is breathtaking. Pictures from the fortress follow.

As usual, Elder and Sister Newman and the two of us met the Jarrards and the Snapps (who replaced Elder and Sister Stevens as records capture specialists for FamilySearch) at the Residenz - the former home of the prince-bishop of Würzburg which was also considered an imperial residence. It was destroyed during a 20 second raid by the British late in the war. They fire-bombed the city and 90% of it burned to the ground. That is sad given the destruction of the historical landmarks, but fortunately much of the artwork, chandeliers and furniture had been moved to storage and were preserved. A massive restoration work was undertaken after the war, but only 17 of the 400+ rooms in the palace were restored. It's still impressive. And the entryway where we started the tour was formerly open for carriages and Napoleon's was so massive that the little general got stuck in the doorway.

First a Few Outside Pictures of the Residenz

Actually, we couldn't take pictures inside except surreptitiously. It's like that in a lot of museums here. Or, you have to pay an extra couple of Euros to take pictures.
Enormous gray building is the palace - took this from across the river at Marienburg Fortress
Snapps and Newmans with us in front of the palace. The Jarrards were our photographers. The fountain behind us actually survived the bombing

A sculpture

A writer

A philosopher

The light wasn't good for the front of the statue which is facing west

South side from the formal French garden

Too much clipping required. If you look carefully, you will notice that there is a statue at the base of the tree trunk

Not sure what this represents, but it is a popular spot for wedding photos.
Italian Gardens to the east

And a little child shall lead them
There were multiple wedding parties. Great place for pictures.
The part of the palace that is prominent in the center of the east wall contains the imperial throne room.

The roses were just coming up. We want to come back when they are bloom.

Lots of arches and walkways

The trees along this walkway have been "trained" to form an arch

There were a few freshly planted spring flowers.
Great view of a domed church from the garden wall.
Ornate gate to the garden

We liked the statuary along the garden wall

Ornate gate on the north end of the Italian garden

A Few Interior Shots and a Video of the Baroque Chapel

Ceiling of the grand staircase and entryway. The ceiling survived the war because an American lieutenant was an art historian and directed the construction of a temporary roof to protect the frescos during the winter of 1945.
Chapel is contained entirely within the palace walls.

Lunch at the Residenz

It was a beautiful day as the sun broke through. We stayed at the Residenz and had a nice lunch at the restaurant on the property. We sat outside on a patio overlooking the French garden. We got pictures of our friends except for our dear friends the Jarrards. They were sitting by us at the table and a picture was more challenging.
Elder and Sister Snapp (Illinois)

Elder and Sister Mumm (Idaho)

Elder and Sister Newman (Utah)
Marienburg Fortress

Starting about 1000 AD, the Celts built a fortification on the site. So, the fortress is ancient. The current structure (reconstructed after the bombing of World War II) was built in the 16th to the 18th centuries. It saw a lot of action over the centuries. The prominence of the site means that the view from there is spectacular.

Fortress on a mountaintop

One entrance to the fortress

A gate in the outer wall of the fortress

Tunnel opening

Interior wall of fortress and dry moat

Looking over the wall across a small valley

View of the inner keep from a corner
We want to visit this church on the hillside across from the fortress
Long view from the fortress wall

Residenz is the large gray building in the upper center right

City of churches

Close up of Residenz