Future Farmer in America

Sure and steady gets the harvest.

Sure and steady gets the harvest.

The look on this boy’s face is priceless!  It shows the determination that all young people need to succeed in the future.  This picture was taken at a parade in September, 2012 in Athol, Kansas.


Stones of Burg Nanstein

Decorative stonework at Burg Nanstein, Landstuhl. 2007.

Decorative stonework at Burg Nanstein, Landstuhl. 2007.

Burg Nanstein, a castle located in Landstuhl, Germany, was built by Holy Roman Emperor Frederick Barbarossa in 1162. This castle was built to protect the western approach to Kaiserslautern, a very old settlement at the edge of the Pfälzerwald (Palatinate forest).

Nanstein castle was also home to the famous German knight Franz von Sickingen. One of the early supporters of the Reformation, Sickingen offered this castle as a shelter for Martin Luther and other reformers after the Diet of Worms. 

We visited Burg Nanstein during out 2007 visit to Germany and the Kaiserslautern area. It is a wonderful old castle with an amazing view of Landstuhl. You can see the different eras of building by the varying stones. The growth of ivy and small trees in the walls lends a feeling of ancient decay. This is a great place to visit if you are visiting the Rhineland.


Burg Nanstein, Landstuhl. 2007.


Burg Nanstein, Landstuhl. 2007.


Katholische Hofkirche in Dresden, Germany


Balustrades of the Dresden Katholische Hofkirche and tower of the Residenzschloss

One of the places we visited on our 2014 trip to Germany with LutherTours was the city of Dresden.  There are many remarkable things to see, especially considering that most of Dresden was heavily damaged during World War II by incindiary bombs.  The Katholische Hofkirche, or the Dresden Catholic Cathedral, was very impressive.  I marveled at the statues perched atop the balustrades–Biblical and historical figures, 78 in all, measuring 10 feet tall.  To the left of the cathedral is the Residenzschloss.  One of the oldest buildings in Dresden, Saxon rulers lived in the castle from the early 16th century.  It houses several museums, including a coin museum, armory, and the Green vault (home to the largest collection of European treasures).


Statues of Biblical and historical figures. Katholische Hofkirche, Dresden.

Käthe Wohlfahrt, the German Christmas Store

christmas car

The Käthe Wohlfahrt company vehicle

This summer, as part of our LutherTour experience, we had the opportunity to visit the Käthe Wohlfahrt Christmas store in Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany. It was very fun to experience Christmas in July, I can only imagine how much fun it must be during the winter season.

The Käthe Wohlfahrt Christmas store first started in when Wilhelm and Käthe Wohlfahrt fled East Germany to escape Communist rule. They took with them a beloved music box that showed the Three Wisemen bringing gifts to the Baby Jesus; it played the hymn “Silent Night.” Several of the Wohlfahrt’s American friends stationed in Germany wished to have those music boxes, and Wilhelm eventually found the wholesaler and started supplying the boxes himself. Eventually, the Wohlfahrts opened their own store, which has expanded to several cities, and includes a workshop, museum and Christmas village.


Bulk ornaments in the ornament cave.

christmas tree

One of the Christmas trees at the Käthe Wohlfahrt Christmas store.

christmas tree3

A view of the Käthe Wohlfahrt store in Rothenburg ob der Tauber.

christmas tree2

One room in the Käthe Wohlfahrt Christmas store that looks like a village.



The Art of Manhole Covers

Coburg manhole featuring Saint Moritz

Coburg manhole cover featuring Saint Moritz

Sometimes the most interesting forms of art are found under your feet.  Manhole covers have been around since Roman times to keep things from falling into the sewers and to keep monsters from getting out (just kidding!). It is not unusual for manhole covers to be decorative, as well as useful, and often the design represents something unique about the city.

The city of Coburg, Germany has a portrait of Saint Moritz or Maurice. Saint Maurice was a black African that served in the Roman army in the 3rd century and rose to a commander level although he was a Christian. Legend has it that he was martyred in Switzerland for disobeying an order to harass local Christians. His likeness can be found all over the city of Coburg, including on the manhole covers.

Augsburg manhole cover with the Swiss pine

Augsburg manhole cover with the Swiss pine

Augsburg, Germany has a stylized tree depicted on its manhole covers. The heraldic crest of Augsburg is also a tree. Reportedly, the first crest of this city from the 13th century showed the tree-of-life. In the 15th century, the tree was changed to represent a Swiss pine.

Leipzig manhole cover with lion and pales

Leipzig manhole cover with lion and pales



Leipzig’s manhole covers feature the coat-of-arms of that Saxon city. The black lion of Meissen has been on the crest since the 13th century and the pales of Landsberg were added in the 15th century.

“Untimely Contemporaries” by Bernd Göbel

A statue in Leipzig entitled "Untimely Contemporaries"

A statue in Leipzig entitled “Untimely Contemporaries”

This was one of the more unusual sculptures that I saw in Leipzig, Germany. Its title is “Unzeitgemäße Zeitgenossen” which seems to translate to “Untimely Contemporaries” in English, a kind of German pun. The artist Bernd Göbel was apparently unhappy with the hypocrisy of the Communist East Germany and put his frustration into this piece of art. It is amazing that he was allowed to create it, much less display it in a prominent place near the Augustusplatz. According to Rick Steves (via travelblog.org) “…insulting, exaggerated caricatures of hypocritical DDR figures. For example, the teacher clutches a mallet used to pound communist ideology into her students; the third guy over, with the too-big laurel wreath covering his eyes, is detonating St. Paul’s Church.”