Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Point Alpha

Today after class we took about a 40 minute bus ride to see Point Alpha. Point Alpha was an American post on the border between East and West Germany. It was established during the cold War as it was the point at which the Soviets would likely invade West Germany. It would have taken them less than an hour to get to Frankfurt!

This is the American observation tower.

The view from the observation tower, showing how close an East German town was. Residence in these border towns was heavily restricted.

The observation tower, from the former East German side. You can see how close it is. Notice the fence; it is not actually at the border but about 30 yards within the former East Germany. Sometimes people would get over the fence but not realize they were still in East Germany and get shot. The Americans could see them, but could not shout to them to get up and run.

A model showing the different East German Fence lines.

The students listening to a presentation in the former recreation hall. About 40 men would be stationed here at one time, with 4-6 weeks tours before going back to the main base in Fulda.

St Boniface

As I may have mentioned, the area in and around Fulda was founded by St. Boniface and his followers in the early-mid 700's. Many reminders of him remain. This is the Dome Church where his remains are.

One of the many small sub-chapels within the church. This one is dedicated to Mary.

The altar below which the relics of St. Boniface are buried. I cannot describe the feeling being so close to a saint. A good friend of my wife and I passed away recently, so I lit a candle in her memory here.

All along the sides of the main chapel are beautiful works of art like this.

One of the figures in a large sculpture within the church.

Sights of Fulda

The Orangerie fulda, directly across from the palace.

One of the many churches in Fulda. It seems on every other corner there is a church, each very ornate. This was the "common folk" church.

A statue on the side of a building. Many buildings have statues of religious figures on them.

The meat market.

The entrance to the palace.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Back from Berlin

We are all back in Fulda! The students are taking an exam, and all have happy looks on their faces.

Yesterday in Berlin we went to the Berlin Aquarium. It was spectacular. Here are some pictures:

The aquarium has a walk-through crocodile exhibit. This is a large Nile crocodile.

This is a unique exhibit--ants. They had several species, this one was on a tree---others had tubes along the ceiling.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Reichstag

Saturday evening we went and toured the Reichstag, the German capital building. It is primarily the building for the Budestag, one house of the the German congress. Our host were able to arrange a tour for us with a very good guide. Here are some pictures along wiht some text.

The room where the Budestat meets. Next week is their budget approval process!

The symbol of the Reichstag...

These are signatures and other information from Soviet soldiers who took the Reichstag back from Nazi hands in 1945. These had been covered up with some remodeling work in the 1960's and forgotten, but were found during some renovations in the 1990's.

The Brandenbug Gate (Tor) at night. This was the gate to the city in the 1800's when it was part of Prussia.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

More Berlin Pics

The sculpture atop the Brandenburg Gate.

The Holocaust memorial. It consists of over 2000 cement blocks of varying heights. Its location was chosen because it is close to where the Nazi headquarters was.

A view of walking in the memorial.

Yours truly in front 0f a remnant the Berlin wall.

Walking Tour of Berlin

This morning/early afternoon we had a walking tour of Fulda. It was pretty cold so our hands and feet suffered a bit, but our eyes were certainly rewarded. here are some pics:

The entrance to Olymic Stadium, where Jessie Ownes won all of his medals.

This is the sign at checkpoint Charlie at the former line between East and West Berlin. We learned it was called Checkpoint Charlie becuase it was the third checkpoint (Alpha, Bravo, Charlie)

Here is checkpoint Charlie itself.

The "TV Tower" at Alexandarplatz.

Friday, January 15, 2010

In Berlin

We have made it to Berlin. We have not done much yet except eat and a little shopping. There is a huge mall near where we are (Alexanderplatz) and the students were excited to spend a few Euros! Sorry parents:(

Tomorrow we have a long city tour and then are touring the German capital building, so I should have a lot more to blog about.


Last evening we had our first of two German cooking lessons. One of the students in their food sciences program taught us how to make schnitzel and potato salad. The schnitzel was nearly as good as what we had in a town; the potato salad varied.....

This morning we are leaving for Berlin. I am not sure if I will have Internet there...

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Castle Pictures

Have Fun Storming the Castle

Good morning!

Yesterday we had a great day. After classes (QBA and German) we went to the center of Fulda to the castle.

The castle (or palace) was originally built for the leader of the region, the archbishop-prince. (Note the mix of religion and politics) Since that position has long since gone by the wayside, it is now used as by the Fulda government. Fulda is governed by a Mayor and 11 councilmen. We were lucky enough to have one of the councilmen join us for a welcoming reception, and give us a short history of Fulda. He emphasized their two flourishing periods: the Baroque period and the industrial revolution. He is in the middle in the picture. The other one besides me is Professor Dr. Peter Haller, the head of the winter university program.

After the reception we went on to tour the castle. It is very hard to describe how beautiful and spectacular it is, so I will post pictures in the next post.

Der "Tag, wie geht´´s" Rap

Our German language/culture teacher uses a lot of creative techniques to try and teach us German. Here is a video of us learning some basic German phrases via a rap song:

Also, we made one of the local news internet sites. See it at:

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Hallo Again

Hello again from Fulda! I hear it may be warming up in Wisconsin. No such luck here.

Everyone is doing well, although about 80% of us still seem to be suffering some effects from jet lag. I cannot go to sleep until later than I should!
Today we had QBA class (with everyone) bright and early at 8AM. If anyone following the blog has taken QBA, know that the students are doing homework 8. That is infamous in QBA circles as the hardest homework of the semester.
After QBA we had our second German lesson, learning things such as the different versions of the depending on whether the following noun is masculine, feminine, or neutral. Oy!

After our German lesson we had a small break and then boarded a city bus for our first trip to see a German business. We went to see the local newspaper, the Fuldaer Zeitung One of their sportswriters gave us an introduction to the paper and then took us on a tour. One of the things we saw were photographs on the wall (with signatures below them) of important people who have visited the newspaper. Many we did not recognize, but we did see a picture of Richie Havens.

Here is a link to the paper: (
We also got to see the printing press in action and the large 1200kg rolls of paper they use.

We learned that the German newspaper model is a little different than the US in that they do not have editors at most papers, people play dual roles or reporter and editor usually, especially in small and mid-sized papers. Also reporters have page layout responsibilities as well.