Saturday September 2 we arose early and headed for the train station. We hit our first train problem, a breakdown and long-term repair forced us from the train to a bus and then back onto the train. We arrived into Karlsruhe, Germany and checked into a modern economy motel just across from the station. That afternoon we met with Pastor Johnnes Spies and his wife Elizabeth. They took us to the Karlsruhe Castle. The castle, built in the 1700’s, sits in the middle of the city and the streets go out as spokes from the castle. It is surrounded by park and a arboretum.
We were going to hang around and watch a multi-media presentation that is displayed on the front of the castle. We opted for pizza and fellowship at their house before heading home.
We had met the Spies’ at one of our fellowship parties in Prescott years ago. (I mentioned those parties to Paul Arps once and he said with a far away look, “the Hansston parties”.) We have stayed in touch over the years with Christmas cards. Johannes was the first member of the first church planted in Germany so many years ago. Now he is pastoring, his son is pastoring and his daughter is married to a pastor. Church had hit a tough spot and he tried to bow out; but hopefully Joan and I could be an encouragement to them. They picked us up for church that morning. We would have people attend both services which was a blessing that went along with his sigh of relief.
Sunday would include the two services. After the morning service we had lunch at their house. Lunch was wonderful and they brewed up a wonderful cup of coffee. That evening we came to church and watched a clip from the Jesus movement days. This is the part I remember: “listen to your heart before your mind rejects”. After church that night we went with Marvin to the basketball court where we played some basketball and did a one minute bible study. Kind of cool. Here is Marvin and another disciple whose name I cannot remember.
Their life was busy. They were renovating the house they owned. That house’s rent underwrote their ministry. They took time off to take us up to the Black Forest on the Monday following church. We had visited the Black Forest in the 90’s when we took the girls to Paris for a Valentine’s dinner. Reiner and Louise had taken us into the forest where we bought a clock. The snow was coming down and we found ourselves pushing the car through the snow to get us along our way. This day would be much easier.
They have a route they take visitors that stops in several towns. You go up one way and come down another. Beautiful walks, good fellowship and then an excellent meal. It all added up to a good feeling share by all of us. Here are some photos:
Tuesday would be our free day in Karlsruhe. We had discovered a small café that we visited Monday and Tuesday mornings. The coffee was delicious in large cups and the pastry selection was worth the view. The fact that our hostess spoke no English just made it better. We had taken the tram to church that Sunday evening and we were finding the town easy to navigate. We eventually would view the media show at the palace. All I could think about was how this would look on drugs, and other than the dazzling display of technological wonderfulness there was no message. It’s like I used to tell my girls, protest on college campus seems to center on killing babies, after that what is it they want to communicate to me with any kind of passion?
I found when I would try to recount my Zambian trips the further and further out from the trip I waited to write the more details I forget. So on with our free Tuesday. We went up north along the Rhine to a little spot overlooking the vineyards. Great walk, great coffee with Joan getting her Black Forest Cake and me trying a plum pie dish. Took trains and trams to move around. Visited a fortress, or what remained of it, and enjoyed the days. Got home walked downtown and watched the light show and made ready for The Netherlands on the morrow.
One last German note. I have been enjoying the fresh fruit all along our trip. I always am looking for an apricot taste that usually escapes me. I had a few apricots in Italy and Croatia that were OK but nothing that was great (the figs were great). We would pass by a market and go through the zoo to walk to our café, the church and the castle. I noticed at the market “Turkish Apricots”. I knew Turkey produced the most apricots. These did not look like the standard apricot. They were smaller and had a more yellow appearance. I had to buy some and was pleased to find them quite delicious. Little joys keep coming. So we travelled on with sparkling waters, our delicatessen and Turkish apricots.