mixed feelings: Waiting in the airport.

Today is a day of mixed feelings – we are sad that the interim is coming to an end and some of us are looking forward to the second semester starting in a few days.

We have arrived safely at the airport and said farewell to our bus driver Joop.  We now have a few hours to wait for the boarding call.

We should arrive in Detroit around 5:30pm and then one last bus trip back to Calvin College.

Thank you to everyone for your prayers and support!


Leonard De Rooy


Jan 24 – Thursday

Edit:  Today’s step counter was 14359 steps.

This morning the students had a liesure breakfast and some free time to explore the city of Bremen.   The two professors had a meeting at Airbus to coordinate some of the summer international internships.

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In the afternoon we had a tour of the Mercedes Plant.  While we could not take pictures inside the factory it was an amazing site to see robots systematically putting various cars together.  The plant we were at produces 1400 cars every day all of them are customized to the special order of the customer.

It looks like this car may not be the right car for someone that is 6′-9″ tall.


Some students were excited to find that their parent’s credit card worked for a down payment…..

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The original Benz automobile


Later we had dinner in a local restaurant and then went for a group walk through the town.

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Jan 23 hamburg in Hamburg?

11976 steps today.

We left Berlin this morning and headed to Hamburg for a short visit on our way to Bremen.  Most of us had lunch in Hamburg.  Some even had a hamburg(er) in Hamburg.  I was thinking of doing the same but settled for a donut and coffee.


Hamburg has a inner lake in the center of the city.

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This building looks like it might have survived the bombing during the war.


The City Hall


St. Nicholas’ Church was bombed during the war and left in the destroyed state as a memorial.

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We then loaded the bus again and headed to Bremen. Where the sky was blue and the sun was shining!


Jan 22 – Berlin

Jan 22 Tuesday

Today my step counter reads 19265 steps.  The student mileage may vary 🙂

Today our group went on a tour of Berlin.   We started at the Brandenburg gate and Reichstag Building.   We were all amazed at the amount of security police etc. at this location until we found out that the president of France was visiting at that very moment.  We all think we saw him leave a car and enter the French Embassy that is located near the Brandenburg gate.

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From there we walked over to the holocaust memorial and spent about an hour going through the museum.

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Then onto the East Side Gallery which is a portion of the original Berlin wall left in place after the wall came down.  At the time artist from around the world were asked to paint the wall.  One of the famous ones that I remember is the kiss between Brezhnev and Honecker.

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Later that afternoon and evening the students had free time to explore Berlin.

Jan 21 – Wittenberg

10210 steps today.

This morning we headed to Wittenberg where Martin Luther studied and nailed the 95 articles to the church door – an event that we celebrate as reformation day.  Our tour guide took us through the Luther House as well as a tour through the town including the two churches.


Here our group is standing infront of the famous doors of the castle church.   The church is current being restored to prepare for the 500 year anniversary in 2017,

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An original hymnal



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Look into the lecture hall. It was noted that the students would stand for up to three hours to hear the lectures.  I am not sure if this would work at Calvin.

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The following picture depicts the 10 commandments

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We then headed to Berlin.  Before stopping at the hotel we visited the Berliner Dom.


Jan 20 – Sunday- Driving through Narnia

Sunday Jan 20
12639 steps today.

We left Prague Sunday morning and headed back to Germany to Dresden.  In many places the snow/ice on the trees reminded me of what I imagine Narnia would look like before the return of Aslan.  If you do not know what Narnia is then you must read the books some day (by C.S. Lewis)

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In Dresden we attended the church called Frauenkirche (Church of our Lady).  This protestant church was destroyed along with the rest of the city on an air raid on Feb 13 and 14, 1945 (the night of a thousand bombers).  The church was rebuilt after the iron curtain came down.  We were not permitted to take photos during the service, but I took this picture on our way out after the service.  It is an amazing church building – but more importantly it was a wonderful service.



For lunch I had Soup and Buttercake with coffee.  I thought I would take pictures of our food today to show you how nicely food is served here in Germany.


The Buttercake came with a whipped topping made from red currants – just like my mom used to make!



We then drove on to Leipzig for a short visit and to spend the night.   Our dinner was also a great dinner including cloth tablecloths and napkins and candles.

Salad included slices of ham


The main course:  pork medallions with mushrooms and noodles along with a small saladIMG_7522

Dessert included mousse with fruit.




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I had someone complain that I am not in many of the pictures so I had someone take a picture of our table:



After dinner we had one of our class meetings where the discussions ranged from global companies to our “right” to vote.


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Jan 19 (with pics) Praha (Prague)

Jan 19|
Praha (Prague)

This morning we went on a wonderful walking tour of the city of Prague.  The weather was crisp (cold), but the stories were interesting.

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Praha has its own version of the eiffel tower:IMG_7446 IMG_7445 IMG_7444 IMG_7443 IMG_7442 IMG_7441 IMG_7448 IMG_7449 IMG_7450 IMG_7451 IMG_7452 IMG_7453 IMG_7454 IMG_7461 IMG_7460 IMG_7459 IMG_7458 IMG_7457 IMG_7456 IMG_7455 IMG_7462 IMG_7463 IMG_7464 IMG_7467 IMG_7469 IMG_7472

Along the “Golden Lane”

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After the tour Prof Nielsen and I had lunch with the tour guides and a colleague of them.   They told us how exciting it was for their country that they now have a presidential election coming up and that for the first time the people of the country were allowed to vote.  Until now, they were never allowed to vote for either the local or presidential elections – the leaders were selected by the parliament.  It was quite interesting to see these three people so excited about something that we take for granted.



Dinner was in a basement restaurant.  It was great food in a comfortable atmosphere.  An accordion player and dancers entertained us.  Even I got up to dance for a short while.  My dance partner helped me to count in her broken English 🙂 The songs were very traditional Czech songs along with some tunes that we were familiar with.  He played some songs from the Beetles and even a piece from “the wall” by Pink Floyd.

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