Our train trip to Nuremberg, Germany, from Strasbourg, France, was smooth as we glided through fields green with winter crops. We found our apartment near the main train station, unpacked quickly, and headed out to eat at a Franconian (a region of Bavaria) restaurant. Melisa had her first sauerbraten and Randy his first pork shank. Potato dumplings were also a first for both. The meal was satisfying all around. The beer is great: German beer is unfiltered, has no chemicals and is not pasteurized.
We headed to the old town where the main Christmas Market, the Chriskindlesmarkt, is located. So did the rest of the world, it seemed, as we were greeted with a crush of crowds! News media was out in full force for this first day of one of–if not the most–popular markets in Europe. Eventually, we decided to go to the organ and choir concert at the amazing St. Lorenz Lutheran Church. Along the way we stopped in to a great little place selling light desserts and drinks. It was warm inside in contrast to the upper 30s outside.
The concert at St. Lorenz was nothing short of spectacular! The huge church was overflowing. People sat on the floor or leaned against the giant pillars that divided the church into three aisles. Thankfully, we found seats in the side aisle but with good sight lines. Unbelievably, a family behind us spoke excellent English and two of the boys had just graduated from the boys’ choir that was singing that night. We received so much wonderful information! The choir consists of 100 boys who go to a special school to allow them to practice, get private voice lessons, travel in concert, and get a regular education, without being in the general population. Talk about first class sound! Heavenly! The church reverberated with the voices wafting through the high ceilings of the church. The Lutheran Church pays for half the costs, and sponsors make up the rest. Since this was an Advent/Christmas Service, the church’s massive organ was also played. We soaked up the sounds and will long remember it. Kathy and I commented that it took us back to our childhood when we had children’s Christmas programs. The Advent/Christmas music we memorized formed some of the content of the service/concert. The boys’ choir sang underneath the Angelic Salutation adornment by Veit Stoss and beside the stone tabernacle by Adam Kraft (over 90 feet tall and carved from one stone). Both are artistic treasures, but not the only ones in this richly adorned church. It was a first class and spiritually enriching experience. Our Christmas spirit was elevated for all the right reasons. WEG