…… and sorry for the novels that I’ve been posting.
On Sunday, we went with Beate to Maulbronn Monastery. It is a wonderfully preserved Cistercian abbey that was started to be built in 1147. It was later converted to a Protestant monastery school after the Catholic monks were chased out of Germany during the Reformation and is now a Protestant theological seminary that was started in 1807.
The columns, tombs of monks in the stone floors, and old painted designs on the ceilings from when it was built, were breathtaking. Literally— I whispered the whole time. Where the monks lived and walked around in prayer, has only one heated room. On a chilly day, it was easy to shiver and think of how sick we would be if we were outside all day. An organ played from the church tower, and we could hear the Sunday church goers singing from their hymn books.
Then, yes, tea, and wonderful plum-filled pastries at Beate’s apartment. We said goodbye and thank you as Elora’s little brother and father picked us up. Beate sent us on our way with one pie-sized raspberry “tart,” a bag of Haribo gummy bears, one large pretzel each, and bottles of water and apple juice.
Fion and Norbert first took us to carnival in their town. Carnival is a celebration that happens every year when springtime rolls around, and has been going on for many many years. People in this part of Germany, Norbert said, dress up in scary masks and costumes that resemble tribal characters.
We watched a parade, a mix between Halloween and Mizzou homecoming it seemed, and looked at all the kids in their costumes. Ladybugs, bees, cowboys, construction workers, witches, cows, devils and princesses made for quite the mix of sights to see. We tried bratwursts, yum, and a type of pasta wrapped around meat and spinach that resembled tortellini— a specialty of the area that I wish I could remember the name of because I’m sure I could eat it for the rest of my life.
Finally, we went to the Mercedes-Benz museum. The factories of Mercedes-Benz and Porsche are both in Stuttgart, so we felt that this was a must see (however inexistent my feelings for cars might be). It was a great museum, taking us from the top floor to the bottom floor, through history starting with the invention of the car and the first Mercedes-Benz models. The best parts were the hallways leading to the next level of cars, containing supplemental snapshots of history (WWII, the Beatles, etc) complete with newspaper clippings and photos. I also enjoyed the exhibits on green energy and fuel efficient cars.