Research needs to be done in Basel Switzerland. And I should be able to do this without making many more trips to Europe. This might be my last time to see more than simply the research bits so I decided to get a railpass and visit friends. It’s not like Europe is all that big. Many countries and several languages and I always feel my lack of facility in anything other than English. I thought I would get more written on here while I was traveling but My Grand Tour is winding down. I still have another week to go but it is mostly taking pictures and doing touristy stuff until I get ‘home’ next Sunday.
I began my tour visiting friends in Amsterdam visiting Tyndale Seminary and meeting students from all over the world there before spending the weekend with my Greek professor from seminary, enjoying his kids and the English church.
We also saw a few windmills and very fat cows! I’ve never seen such fleshy dairy cows. They said it is due to the lush grass on the polders, the drained fields. That is also the reason the Netherlands has the tallest people on earth. The extremely nutritious dairy products grow people tall enough that the chairs and cupboards and mirrors are all too high for me. I would have to cut down the furniture if I lived there.
Next I took the train through Germany to Switzerland. An all day trip in lovely sunny weather. I carried my raincoat instead of wearing it – a major changed from the UK. I had a transfer in Cologne with a couple hours to wander around the beautiful cathedral and square.
I realized that if I went instead I’d probably get lost and miss my train so I contented myself with the activities on the square.
A choir was singing, a man was painted silver and standing on a block of stone.
Bikes and dogs and bikes and people and bikes. Did I mention how many bikes there are in Europe?
Seeing the countryside in Germany made it clear that our Pa Deutsch ancestors came over and stopped when they recognized similar land. There seem to be more hills and steeper ones, but otherwise very homelike!
The lay sisters from the archives in Basel met me at the station and dropped me off at my B&B. That was a very good thing since I don’t think I would have found it. In my mind I pictured a house in a flower garden. However, it is a fourth floor flat above a grocery/merchandise store on a major shopping street. A little tiny button to push, keys and locks and doors to open and close and an elevator that has no sides by the doors so you can’t lean against them. And the doors don’t open on their own so I have to push open the door when it stops. So far, I’ve managed not to push at the wrong times.
The B&B is quite comfortable otherwise, the hostess very helpful, the rooms comfortable even if there is no view from the windows but balcony gardens and the stores across the street. But, it is an elegant old apartment. Parquet floors, a very large broad hallway with 6 rooms opening onto it, a couple of which are used by the hostess who lives here.
I made that promenade 4 times a day. On Friday Autumn returned but I’ve not been caught out in the rain so it’s all good! My research went well. I transcribed a large amount of German to translate later. When my hands have rested up a bit. The sisters were a quiet but friendly group and invited me to lunch the last day I was there, a delicious “plain” lunch of soup, potatoes, fennel, bread and apples. Then they had coffee around the coffee table and everyone pulled out their knitting!! That, of course!! was the one day I had not left my knitting in my computer bag! aargh! So, I had to content myself with talking about strickenin and steeks.
That same afternoon, I had tea with von Speyr’s daughter-in-law and grandson. We had a lovely chat. They are more then pleased to counter the one-sided picture that has been painted of their delightful Adrienne. They gave me a packet of their memoirs and we had tea on a tablecloth that Adrienne had crossstitched for her son’s 40th birthday.
Those dates and stories are in German, too, so I have more work to do. And the last two days here will be hunting down points of interest and taking pictures. And I will get to walk along the Rhine wherever I go!
After this I head for Paris and back home to Aberdeen. Since Ignatius Loyola is very important in von Speyr’s life (and, thus, my thesis), I hope to find some remnants of his time at the University there. Makes it more of a research project than “only” tourism!
Oddly enough, in all the traveling I’ve done, I’ve only been to one place that I’ve wanted to go all my life.My first overseas trip was to Romania. No reason to ever go there and I’ve been there 3 times! On the other hand, I had always wondered where my Great Aunt Annie had gone as a missionary-nurse in the 1920’s, but I never thought I would find it or go there. But, we did find out she was in Kenya and I went there in 2004 in conjunction with my masters thesis. I’ve since been to Scotland, London, Brussels, Rome in addition to Kenya. None of them places that I’ve had on a “bucket list.” But the places I’ve always wanted to go are Norway and Sweden. And, Scotland is the closest I’ve gotten to them! I wonder if I’ll ever get to Vikingland? Of course, now that I have friends in Australia and New Zealand, I’ve added those to my list, too. Meanwhile, I’m looking forward to being done here and going back to the farm to stay. At least for a little while… we have sheep now and I need to do some spinning!