If you’ve been reading along, you know we spent the last day of our trip in Ulm, Germany. Ulm is a beautiful little city located along the Donau (or Danube) river. It was the birthplace of Einstein, and also happens to have the highest cathedral spire in the world (photo above). The lure of Ulm, however, had nothing to do with any of the above. Ulm is special for Brandy and I because we met at the Army base that used to be there in 1990. Some of you have heard about the eight year almost romance that led up to Brandy and I’s marriage. Ulm factors prominently into that story.
Another draw was that an old friend of ours is still living in Ulm. Inge worked as the youth director at the protestant chapel in Ulm when I lived there in 2nd grade. She used to baby-sit me. When we returned to Ulm in 1990, Inge was still there working hard in the chapel program. Now, at an 80 that is mighty reminiscent of 60, she is working at the Ulm Museum and visiting the “old folks” at the nearby retirement community for her current church. Our visit with her was fascinating. As someone who spent a number of years in the United States (while born German, Inge married an American Soldier in WWII) Inge has a unique perspective on American and German culture. She repeatedly expressed her support for our mission, and how difficult it had been for her to find another fellowship of believers in the German community once the Army closed the base. One of the more interesting points that she made is that while her pastor is constantly trying to reach out to young people, Sunday mornings at the church are devoid of any younger people. If I correctly interpreted the program, all the celebrated birthdays the previous Sunday were for people between the ages of 70 and 90.
Brandy and I had a lovely dinner and a long post-dinner chat with Inge after she met us at the train station and helped us navigate to our hotel via taxi. Then we slept, had a late breakfast and grabbed a bus downtown.
We wandered a bit. Explored the inside of the Cathedral, and actually got to go to an organ concert that they do everyday at noon.
Then we found lunch, and began to meander back toward the base. This was many miles of walking. We had done it 13 years ago when we were kids, but somehow memory left out what a long walk it was. 🙂 As you can see from the photos, though, Ulm is a beautiful old city.
This picture was taken in the “Bicycle Park.” Just across the street from the base, this was always a favorite haunt. I can remember having to run here for PE class in 9th grade. It’s filled with beautiful flower gardens, pools, picnic tables, and playgrounds, all crawling along the length of an old piece of wall.
Something in the way this photo was taken makes it look a bit like something from a dream, and in a lot of ways it is. This is the main hallway of what was once the American High School in Ulm. It’s now a special high school for engineering students, and yet it looks just the same. It’s like staring into a magic window to the past.
Our last stop is the building that used to be Wiley Chapel. Oddly enough it’s an Evangelical Free church. (The chances of this given the statistics in Germany is kind of like the chances of the American woman in the Gasthaus being related to a close friend of Durand’s.) This is where Brandy and I met. In this building I first walked up and introduced myself. The doors were locked and we couldn’t get inside, but it was nice to have stood in that place again.
After another evening meal and a little sleep at the hotel, we began our 20 hour journey home, navigating taxis, trains, airports, and connections until we arrived back in Colorado Springs.
I’ve spent much of the day today preparing clips for Jason to use to produce transcripts of all the interviews that I will use in the editing process for the Spark! video. (That and hanging out with my kids for the first time in two weeks.)
Thank you all for your prayers, and your support! God has blessed us richly to have people like you supporting us.