Sunday, November 30, 2008

Sunday, Nov. 30th

We sent the first Sunday of Advent attending St. Peter's Cathedral in Bremen. What a treat for me.
The church steeple bells were pealing as we arrived. We'd been told that service started at 10:30am, but it really started at 10am. Good thing we were early. We arrived and found Rolanda's family had already beaten us there. But they were sitting "under" the choir loft. I decided I wanted to see the choir, so we greeted them good morning, and we moved to the center of the sanctuary where we could see everything. As we were going up the step into the cathedral, a little German Lady told me they had a new organ! She was so delighted. I mentioned this to Alan, Rolanda's dad, and he told me that they had a new choir director, not a new organ (they already have 5!) ....ah, such the difference in the language. Anyway, the new choir director was brought in with much pomp and circumstance; he was ordained into ministry, and most of the service was liturgical singing. The programs had the music, including the kantoring, printed in the program. The pipe organ played; the choir sang, the building rocked with the deep vibrations of the pipes, and the congregation sang their hearts out. If only 'd been able to sing the words. But as I'm nowhere near fluent in German phonetics, I just "ah'd the notes", -those of which I could quite capably read. They had served communion, and the people all lined up to take of the Lord's ordinance. The choir sang in the meantime, and the organ continued to play. The service was 90 minutes long and beautiful. My heart was so full. It ended with an orgelnachspiel by JohannSebastian Bach. I thought I was being translated into heaven right then and there; I do love the "ritualistic style and formality" of the European church. As we said auf weidersehen to the vicar, he discovered were were from Alaska, and he invited us to a reception they were having afterwards. We appreciated the kindness, but couldn't imagine being conversant with these lovely folks, when we don't speak a bit of German. So we wandered back to the hotel.

A bit later, we wandered (did I mention that I walked both ways???) back to the Ratskeller for lunch. We had a variety of cheeses, grapes, and walnuts, a variety of breads, and a fruggenbacher(? - pizza). We wandered thru the Christmas Market, had some more mulled wine (it's cold here - and THAT from an Alaskan!) and thoroughly enjoyed our afternoon. We've only this minute come back. It's fully dark outside now. The weather has been a bit rainy and drizzling, but nothing a seasoned Alaskan can't handle.

Our Nikon D50 has given us a bit of trouble. It's not taking pictures reliably. I'd been using it rather exclusively up until yesterday, when it completely gave up the ghost. We've found a photo hose, to see if it needs a new battery, but it wasn't open today. We'll see about that tomorrow before we go to Oldenberg by train.

Sorrry there are no pictures today. Perhaps tomorrow.
Love you, all.

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