The Portugal Adventure – Willkommen in Deutschland

Welcome to my new followers and readers. This blog is about our life in Portugal. During the month of December, I am going to re-post some of the earlier stories. The one took place the summer before we got married when I was visiting and enjoyed a road trip from Lisbon to Bavaria.
The Bible Institute in Barcelona, Spain

It was late when we arrived at the Bible Institute in Barcelona, and it was a short visit. The next morning we piled into the vans and cars and headed for France. From Barcelona, Spain to Lyon, France it is about 500 Kilometers. With the differences in culture between those two countries, it might have been more like 5000 miles – with no shared border. It takes time, crossing the borders in Europe. I got a taste of what the United States may have been like if some of our Founding Fathers had gotten their way. Those would be the ones that wanted each state to be an independent country the way the European countries

The street in front of our hotel in Lyon.
Portuguese at sunrise by the river in Lyon.
We stayed in Lyon overnight, and enjoyed our continental breakfast in the morning. If you are used to the “continental breakfasts” that are served in American motels, you cannot compare them with the European style breakfasts. There was none of that bland, made in a factory white fluff. Not even any of that square stuff allegedly made with whole wheat flour. The freshly baked bread and pastries served with café au lait was a “feast of fat things.”

Our next stop was at the border of Switzerland. The Swiss are punctilious about any official duty, and there was a long wait while they made sure everything was in order. After all, it isn’t every day that an army of Portuguese, Americans, and Canadians travel all together. Aside from that, Switzerland looked exactly as I expected.

I think that the Swiss must get up before breakfast each morning to sweep their front steps, they were so clean. There was no trash on the ground, and every neatly appointed home boasted colorful flowers in the windows. The Alps. I have lived in Colorado, and Wyoming, and have hiked up in the Rocky Mountains. Out there we customarily dismissed the Appalachian Range as “not real mountains.” But the majesty and beauty of those snow capped giants looming in the distance left me bereft of words. I nearly expected to see Heidi and the Grandfather walk into town at any moment.

The Alps.

Once through Switzerland, we took a quick “hop” across Austria, then into Bavaria, the largest, and most southern of the German states. The population is made up of mostly original settlers rather than people who have emigrated to Germany.  According to one source, Bavaria “is basically a free state.” The cleanliness of Switzerland and Austria carried through into Germany. I was convinced that it would have been safe to eat off of the ground.

The folks who started the German branch of the mission organization we were part of had a beautiful place for camp. Located near Munich on a lake, they had a 99-year lease on two castles that they used as dormitories for the campers. If the trip across Europe had not been enough of a dream fulfilled, I slept in a castle during our time in Bavaria. In a room otherwise filled with Portuguese women. Most of whom spoke very little, if any English. But, we got along fine by pooling our English, Portuguese, and Spanish. I can’t remember ever enjoying camp more. There was only one thing I wanted to know, and the only person who could tell me wasn’t talking.

One of the dormitories in Bavaria
What strikes you about this story? Have you ever visited abroad?

8 thoughts on “The Portugal Adventure – Willkommen in Deutschland

  1. Willkommen indeed. Another wunderbar installment!! I have it on good (and loving) authority that Bavaria, while indeed a part of Germany, is a blessed and special place apart. In fact, the Bavarians I've met remind more than anything of American Southerners in their special sense, pride, and love of region.And their amazing appreciation for having FUN!!Thanks Susan!!


  2. I am not surprised to read that the good (and loving) authority offers such a testimony of her "Bayern." It is a place of winsome grace, and dazzling charm. My Stouffer genes were thrilled to discover that the hills are indeed alive with the sound of music and lively fun.So, do you think that the land makes the people, or the people are attracted to the land? If I could choose, I'd spend my summers in Bavaria.


  3. What did you want to know? (The professor likes the snow.)

    I concur with Lady. The professor must travel. Perhaps both of you should take the professor abroad? I’ll write a book about it like Twain.


  4. Great entry. My travels in Europe were limited to when I was between two and four years old. Not many memories. Really enjoyed these photographs, and liked the take on those Founding Fathers who may have wanted independent countries! i think that is so true!

    I agree that traveling changes a person. One suddenly sees there’s a lot more to the world than one’s own house, neighborhood, city…… and customs.


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