Friday, October 30, 2015

Two days in Wienhausen

On Friday 23 October, I took a train from Lueneburg to Wienhausen.  In Wienhausen (pronounced veen-HOW-zen), there is a fabulous medieval women's monastery-- aptly called Kloster Wienhausen.  I arrived in the evening on Friday, and went straight to the bed & breakfast where I had a reservation.  Upon arriving, I discovered that the host and her husband spoke NO English!  At first, I froze up and forgot all the German I had ever learned... But after a while, we were able to communicate more effectively.  We talked about where I was from, my family, why I was in Germany, and what I would be doing at the monastery.  She was a super sweet lady.

My Bed & Breakfast in Wienhausen
My Bed & Breakfast in Wienhausen
Saturday morning, I had an appointment with the Abbess at the monastery to view the textiles in their museum.  Unfortunately, they do not allow photographs.  So you will have to use your imagination.  The Abbess let me into the museum even though it was closed, and I spent a couple hours looking as hard and as carefully as I could at the embroideries.  Wienhausen also has a collection of items found underneath the floorboards of the nuns' choir during the 1950s.  Among the items found in the dust are eyeglasses, thimbles, needles, prints, small devotional texts and images, etc.  It is amazing to get such a glimpse into the everyday lives of the women who lived in Kloster Wienhausen hundreds of years ago!

There is also an enormous stork's nest on top of the monastery!  Storks have been nesting there since at least the 1940s, and so they built a platform to keep the nest stable.

The town of Wienhausen is a total fairy tale as well.  The sound, smell, and sight of the vibrant leaves in the woods around the monastery and town were totally inspiring-- and an experience I'm not terribly familiar with having grown up in West Texas!  I had lunch in an adorable cafe near the monastery, and practiced my German there as well.  In these smaller towns, it is not as common to find many English-speakers.  In the larger cities and at train stations, many people speak English.  But I have really enjoyed working on my German, and I can tell my comprehension of spoken German is already improving!

Friendly Wienhausen Cat
I spent the night again at the bed & breakfast-- and even watched some TV auf Deutsch!  My legs and body ached terribly after standing and walking so much for several days, and the cobblestone streets are unforgiving on one's feet.  But the B&B had a delightful bath tub, and Germans love radiators and hot water!  So I enjoyed long soaks both nights I stayed there.  On Sunday, Corine and Volker drove up from the home in Hausen to pick me up.  We drove back across the Lueneburg Heath to meet up with a group of scholars to begin our conference together in a town called Bad Bevensen.  Post to follow about the conference!

As a whole, people have been very friendly, open, and helpful!  And I am truly having the time of my life!  Love y'all!

1 comment:

  1. I love these pictures! It is truly amazing that you are able to do this and actually see these things you have been studying and seeing in your research books. I am so proud of you and happy for you! Keep the pics and posts coming!