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July 16

July 5-6, 2010

Elsie McGrath and I left St. Louis 11:20 am July 5. We flew to Dallas/Ft Worth where we caught our flight to Frankfurt flying back over St. Louis in the process!

We left Dallas/Fort Worth around 4:00 pm. The trip was gratefully uneventful. We tried to get some sleep, but a difficult task cramped into the small seat area with people all around. It was an interesting diversion to watch the progress of the plane on the large overhead monitor as we traveled east through the shadowy night area arriving in Frankfurt July 6 around 7:00 am their time or 12:00 am St. Louis time.

My friend Hermann Schirm and his wife, Waltraud picked us up at the airport and took us to their home in Wörth am Main to freshen up a bit before we begin the day's activities. On the way to their home we stopped by a bakerie (bakery) for some fresh pastries and to try out my German. I soon realize I have much more German to learn. We shared the pastries and drinks on their patio and spent some time just relaxing and getting our second wind. We soon learned that when someone in Germany offers you a glass of wasser (water) what you get is a bottled mineral water, usually carbonated. That took some getting used to. They also mix it with apple juice as a refreshing drink with meals or not.

I had met Hermann about 25 years ago when he attended a Christian Life Community Convention here in the US. We had kept in touch over the years and the hope was that I could visit them in Germany. It finally happened this year.

Our first visit was to Kloster Engelberg with a climb of 612 steps up to the monastery. Besides the beautiful and historical church and the incredible view there is a wonderful garden and a shrine to Our Lady. Since the Franciscans now run the monastery, the garden has excerpts from St. Francis Prayer to Creation at various places.   And of course there is also a Biergarten, the first of several that we visited on the trip. Although I'm not a beer drinker, I did enjoy the Radler Beer which is a combination of beer and lemonade, supposedly first drunk by bike riders during races who didn't want to consume straight beer. Rad is the German word for bike. Elsie being the beer purist stayed with her favorite dunkel or dark beer.

Kloster Engelberg is in the town of Grossheubach am Main. After visiting the Kloster we stopped by a castle that was the residence of the Archbishop who was also the Duke. This was a common practice in the day. While there, I discovered a European beech tree. We have one of these in Tower Grove Park a few blocks from where I live and it is my favorite tree in the park. It's the one I visit when I need tree energy. So to find it here and realize that this is a native tree in this part of the world gave me a great sense of connectedness. This was the first of many such experiences.

We then stopped by another Biergarten where we had more to eat and drink! Although I stayed away from the beer this time.

We returned to the Shirm's where Fr. Reinhold Ball joined us. He had also attended the CLC Convention with Hermann before his priestly days. He was picking Elsie and me up since we were staying with him for two nights in Waldeschaff which is one of the three parishes he serves. On the way there he took us on a tour of Obernburg, his home town and an old Roman fort.

We attended Mass with him as celebrant in his parish church and then went to dinner at Schloss Rothenbuch, a castle that now serves as a hotel and restaurant.

Franfurt is in the Hesse State of Germany. The other towns are in the Bavarian State of Germany.


Slide shows

Click on thumbnail photos for larger image. The order of photos is from left to right in the columns.




Map of places visited

Toasting in the Biergarten

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