January 30, 2010

AMBEX Orientation Weeks in Review

Neuschwanstein Castle
After two eventful weeks of Orientation, students are looking forward to the start of Christian Worldview on Monday with Dr. Greg Trull, Chairman of the Ministries Department at Corban College. This course will accompany further lecture of Geography: People and Places, as well as German Language Acquisition.
A few highlights of Orientation consisted of visits to Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Neuschwanstein Castle, Nuernberg as well as a first taste of independent travel this weekend.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber is a charming, beautifully preserved medieval town just a few hours west of Regensburg. The rather large fortifications expanded as the city grew, and the students especially enjoyed scaling the walls & watchtowers as we entered. We discovered several bakeries selling “Schneebaelle” (Snowballs) pastries on our walk around the city and a few of us couldn’t resist the purchase. A visit to the “Mittelalterliches Kriminalmuseum” (medieval crime museum) gave students a glimpse into a world of ancient torture devices and ritual punishments common to that era. Rothenburg is known throughout Germany for its Christmas-themed store: Kaethe Wohlfahrt. This was our first introduction to several quintessentially Bavarian items like Cuckoo Clocks, Christmas Pyramids and hand carved nativity scenes.

Saturday marked the first, of many, train excursions. Our destination: Neuschwanstein Castle. The train ride was long, but we kept busy with preparatory study, fellowship and beautiful scenery as we made our way into the Alps. Around noon we reached Fuessen, a lovely town a few miles from the Castle, where we were greeted by beaming rays of sunshine, very unusual for this time of year. We hopped on a bus which took us to Neuschwanstein. On a side note, Germany has seen one of its coldest winters in decades, and everything was covered in a thick layer of powdery white snow. The two Alpine lakes surrounding the Castles were completely frozen over and we saw several people gallivanting on the slippery surface. Neuschwanstein, built by Bavaria’s King Ludwig II, is nestled atop a steep hill which students climbed to arrive just in time for the guided English tour. The Castle stands incomplete as Ludwig mysteriously passed away before he could see this project through, but it is magnificent nonetheless. Ludwig was fascinated with the composer Richard Wagner, and this Neuschwanstein is dedicated to several of his works, and his operas “The Ring of Nibelung”. Many paintings and even entire rooms reflect scenes of this fictional world. The guided tour included the two-story throne room, the King’s Master Suite, a room made to look like a cavern, the Singer’s Hall, dining room etc. It was well worth the visit.

This weekend students ventured out on their own. One group headed to Switzerland to visit with friends and another embarked on a day-trip to Posenhofen, the childhood home of Sissi, the Empress of Austria. Sissi is a beloved character in Bavaria’s history, and the students were introduced to her legacy as we watched the German movie “Sissi” earlier in the week. There are two additional parts which we will try to see before heading to Vienna early next week.

For additional pictures of the last few weeks, please visit our Picture Website.

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