Monday, December 26, 2016

Church on the road

I’ve made some interesting observations over the years about faith development while traveling. During August 2014, we were in Chicago and Quebec, attending church in both places. My home church had Bible readings each week that followed a sequence, known as the Lectionary. I don’t remember anymore which passages were read that month, but I noticed that the passages followed each other over the weeks. For example, at home in Massachusetts earlier in August, I heard the beginning part of a certain Bible story. The next  Sunday in Chicago, the sermon referenced the reading that week, which was whatever happened next from the passage the previous week. Then in Quebec, the church was following the same Lectionary, and we heard more of the story. Now, many stories are already familiar, but it was really neat to travel many miles and hear that continuity!
In Europe, we have the opportunity to attend church on base or off base, depending on what type of service we want to attend, such as contemporary, traditional, Gospel, etc. When we are on the road, we are sometimes lucky to find an English speaking service, like in Prague, with phenomenal music, too! Other times our flights or drive times or no English services nearby have resulted in us listening to podcasts. Well, someone more talented than I has arranged for automatic downloads so we can listen to good preaching and sermons. My favorites are: Nadia Bolz-Weber, Jon Niketh, Rick Warren and the team at Saddleback, and Fourth Presbyterian in Chicago. We usually listen in the car, but one time we were “stuck” in Copenhagen waiting for a bus, so listening to a podcast straight off the iphone helped to pass the time in a constructive way.
What are your favorite podcasts? We also have motivational podcasts such as Byron Katie, Martha Beck, and others to inspire us.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Krakow and Boleslawiec, Poland

We enjoyed our time in Krakow, even though it was very short, and would recommend it. If you can snag a cheap flight, it will be better than driving (we drove 6 hours from Kaiserslautern to Dresden, stayed overnight, and then drove another 6 hours to Krakow).

The Advent Market in Krakow included some unique vendors we had not seen previously at Germany markets. Their “hot chocolate” is literally melted chocolate with a spoon, not the drinkable kind. It tasted great but was way too intense to finish (think: hot brownie batter). Dinner was tasty in an Italian restaurant on the main square, and after walking around in the cold, we enjoyed tea and a snack at a café- try the raspberry honey tea!

The reason we drove (instead of flying) was to pick up “Polish Pottery” where it is manufactured, in Poland! The items were priced competitively, so it is worth the drive if you would like to get a bunch of plates, bowls, etc. Boleslawiec is close enough to the German border that you could make a day trip out of it if you wanted to stay overnight in Dresden 1 or 2 nights (not a day trip from K-town!). Friends who have wanted to go to several different pottery places have stayed overnight in Poland.

We were grateful for the many English-speaking employees we met throughout Poland- we also offered to speak German, but English seemed to be preferred. I wish I had taken photos of the smallest shops ever along our walk from the hotel to the market, but it was cold and we were hungry, so I didn't prioritize pictures at the time. We passed by dozens of tiny stores, specializing in 1 type of item/category, such as bathrobes and pajamas only, writing papers and notebooks only, 2 manicure stations only, soaps and bubble baths only, etc.!

P.S. I cannot post a photo of the Auschwitz Concentration camp museum. It horrified me to the depths of my soul, and is very meaningful, if you can visit. It is in the region near Krakow, and there are tours departing from Krakow.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Quebec to Boston by cruise ship

I just figured out that I never shared photos of this trip back in 2014! I caught a cold at the end of the cruise and was sick when we got home, then planned for the Life Coach Training trip in October, then was preparing the house to sell for our move.
We flew to Quebec and enjoyed the city despite the rain at the beginning of the cruise. I didn’t take as many photos on this trip, but the scenery throughout was beautiful even on rainy days (we learned on Prince Edward Island that when the cows are lying down, it means rain is on the way…sure enough, it rained shortly thereafter).
In Nova Scotia, the museum dedicated to the rescue of passengers on the Titanic was sad but memorable. I have never felt unsafe on a modern day cruise ship, though this one disappointed us when the outdoor hot tubs were closed and covered at 9pm- um, hello?
We did have some sunny days, too.
Bar Harbor, Maine, included a free shuttle bus to a state park, thanks to Jeff’s military ID card, and a beautiful walk around a lake. One of the reasons I like cruises is that on-board internet is so expensive that it’s nice to “check out” mentally from being connected all day to the outside world. These days, most cruise ship terminals have free wifi, and I almost took a photo of dozens of passengers on their phones, checking e-mail. Only for the sake of our cat-sitter, I checked e-mail, too, and found out about a job that was being posted for only 2 days, requiring extensive paperwork to be uploaded to the job application website before we got home. Um, no can do, really? Good thing we moved to Germany and I found a job right away then. We would recommend this itinerary- but if you like to enjoy the hot tubs after 9pm, don't go with a cruise line that is known for hosting the retirement age crowd (we liked the people just fine, nothing against retired folks!).