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Law, culture, and Catholicism...up in smoke!

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Gruss Gott!

Hey Fumaristi, I thought I'd try Euro-blogging a bit. The title of this post is "Gruss Gott!" or "Grüß Gott!," which means, literally, "greet God" and is the traditional form of "hello" in Bavaria and parts of Austria. In case that didn't tip you off, I'm in Bavaria at the moment (a small resort area near the southern Germany-Austria border called Garmisch), and spent much of the day in Salzburg, Austria. How uplifting, in these often-negative times, to greet everyone with those words!

Tomorrow I will visit Dachau. site of possibly the worst concentration camp during WWII, and Nuremburg, the setting for the trials of those who killed at Dachau and elsewhere. It should be a very interesting day and I hope to share the highlights with Fumare readers at some point.

Today, though, was a bit more upbeat, and much of this will bring back memories to any Franciscan University alumni reading this post. In Salzburg, we saw several places important in the life of Mozart, including the home where he was born. We saw the cathedral, too, and the dome which was destroyed by bombs in 1944. The Dom did not open to worship again until 1959. Finally, we were able to see several places well known to lovers of The Sound of Music, including the Residenz Square and Fountain made famous when Maria dances through Salzburg, guitar case in hand, singing "I have confidence."

The highlight of the day, though, was back in Germany, where we had the opportunity to visit the birthplace of Pope Benedict XVI, Marktl. Though the Holy Father (Heilige Vater) lived just a few years in Marktl, it is regarded to be his "hometown" and the pilgrims have been keeping the place busy. Among the attractions are the birthplace of "Papst Benedikt" (now adorned with an "I Love My German Shephard!" bumper sticker (no kidding...we left one on top of the mailbox to the right of the door!), as well as the parish he was baptized in, St. Oswald. We were able to make the end of evening mass at the parish, and it was great seeing the statue of St. Joseph there...one which Frau Ratzinger must have prayed before when her Joseph was born.

After Dachau and Nuremburg tomorrow, we will be returning to Ramstein AFB, near Frankfurt. On Saturday, it's back to the Munich area, this time by bus, for some Oktoberfest fun. Fumare readers and contributors will be toasted throughout the day, individually if at all possible.

Well, the Internet cafe is about to boot me, so I'd better cut this short. Visit Bavaria sometime if you get the chance! The Alps are gorgeous, and the rest of the sights are well worth the trip. Until I sober up and return to US soil next week, auf Wiedersehen!

P.S. Can somebody tape The Apprentice for me tonight? I'm serious. One of the female contestants, Jennifer Murphy, is an alumna of Christendom College, my alma mater, and I'd love to see the show. If you're able to do this, please let me know: charlesryder@gmail.com. Thanks!