Friday, January 28, 2011


The brothers at Taize are tech saavy and in the 21st century! Thanks to Eric Vin, who sent us the link below, which will take you to a podcast of the services in TAIZE. You may recognize our voices in the background, he quipped!!?? √">

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Last Two Days in Paris

During our last two days in Paris, many of us visited several museums, especially the Louvre, the Musee d'Orsay, a train station transformed into a wonderful space to exhibit everything from sculptures to furniture and the most famous impressionist paintings, tomb of Napoleon and the adjoining museums concerning the liberation of Paris and the deportation of Jews and resistance fighters. Some of us also visited a more unusual exhibit--the sewers of Paris! Because the FIAP, our youth hostel was already fully booked for the last two days we had to move to the Hotel Opera Cadet, a very nice three-star establishment located in the Rue Cadet, about 3 metro stops from the Opera on the right bank of Paris. To conclude our stay in Paris, we enjoyed a group dinner at a favorite restaurant of previous Luther groups, Cafe Caramel on Rue St. Jacques, where two Luther alumni, Bill Vollman and Nicole Matusinec, both living in Paris for many years, joined us. Tomorrow, at 9 am, we board a bus for the airport Charles De Gaulle and our flight home. It has been a great experience--a bientot!!!
The photos show a church in Lyon, students on a bench in Taize, Dinner at the Cafe Caramel, a Louvre museum courtyard, the red marble tomb of Napoleon, a street in Paris, the Seine river with tourist boat, the old opera building in Paris. Other photos will be posted soon, for example of our visit to the Bread Observer, a magazine that monitors bread consumption in France. Thanks to Bill and Stephanie for a great presentation! Many pictures will follow, once we get back and have time to organize them!

Monday, January 24, 2011

PARIS --the first evening and full day

After a 4.5 hour bus ride, we entered Paris around 5:30 pm and got installed at the FIAP, an international youth hostel (really a 3 star hotel after roughing it at Taize). After eating dinner at the FIAP we got on the Metro and arrived at the Eiffel Tower (Tour Eiffel) just in time to watch the glitter of strobe lights that sparkle for 5 minutes every hour on the hour. We walked to Trocadero and amazingly, while walking to the Arc de Triomphe on a side street, encountered one of our newly-acquired friends from Taize, Shane from Dublin! We got to the Etoile (the star) at the center of which the Arc de Triomphe is suituated, and walked down the Avenue des Champs Elysee all the way to the Place de la Concorde at which a giant obelisk sits in front of an even larger ferris wheel. We walked along the north side of the Tuilleries park to the Louvre and admired the building s from the outside before finally taking the Metro home to a well-deserved bed and sleep. At 8:00 am we were up for breakfast (cereal, bread, butter, jam, orange juice, coffee or tea) before leaving for a whole day of running around Paris--St. Michel (the left bank area where students like to hang out) the flower market, the police headquarters and voila! Notre Dame's imposing towers appeared. After spending almost an hour inside we walked to the Hotel de Ville (City Hall) probably the most decorative city hall building in the world in front of which we took a group shot. Amazingly, some of us stumnled upon another of our Taize friends, Colin and Sheryl there!

Then we walked to the Centre Pompidou, a large exhibition hall in a modern style that we did not appreciate very much, but found Les Halles, a shopping center built on the site of the famous old central market place of Paris and then moved on to Sacré-Cœur, a church built on the highest point overlooking Paris, called Montmatre. Wandering through cobblestone streets, we came to the Place du Tertre. famous because many painters set up their easels in this quaint little square. It is surrounded by restaurants and some of us decided to eat lunch there.
The 26 of us split up, a number walking down to the Moulin Rouge then took the metro to La Grande Arche situated at the end of the Metro line number 1 in the modern business district of Paris called La Defense (because it was where a sculpture honoring French troops who held off Germans in WWI is located) See photo of "LC" on the steps! There we also saw a large thumb sculpture [another photo] and one of the world's greatest free span of concrete, a shell housing a shopping center. Several others split from the group and the rest of us headed for refreshments at a brasserie before taking the metro to meet the whole group for a lecture on French bread, given by a market research group for which Bill Vollman, LC 85 works as a consultant. We sampled wine (langedoc) and a multitude of different breads. Then took off for dinner and bed--a full day, to say the least. Tomorrow and Wednesday will be spent visiting lots of museums before heading back to Chicago and home on Thursday. More photos to come

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Taize - Mid week post

Greetings from Taize. We managed to find internet, but it is a very bad computer so this post will be short. The class is going well in this new stage. We are all well used to getting to the three services a day which are quite interesting. There is no sermon, the service rather consists of chants, a scripture reading, some short prayers and a very long silence for prayer, meditation, reading scripture, or other silent activities. The food is good and the company is fantastic. We have made friends from Slovania, Norway, Germany, France, Belgium, California... you name it. It's a wonderful way to bring the "Making Peace" part of our course to life as we eat and attend services with our new friends. Personally, I have had several very meaningful discussions relating to religion and politics with my new acquaintences. There are so many diverse opinions circulating the world, if only one could document them all.

In short, we are enjoying our time in this community, but even so, we are getting excited for Paris. We'll post again soon with pictures from the beautiful Taize.


Monday, January 17, 2011

Photos of Lyon, second upload

Hello from Lyon. We leave tomorrow for Taize where we will not have any internet, so there will be no posts for several days, sorry for that. To make up for our silence, here is a batch of photos from Lyon depicting two tours we took and other various frivolity we partook in. Lyon is so interesting, from the lowest bricks of its architecture, to the highest calorie food, simply amazing to learn about.

Here is the link for the pictures. Stay safe and we'll post again in several days.

More Lyon Photos

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Photos of Lyon Days

Au Revoir Italy...Bonjour France!

Hello again to our loyal blog followers.

Our class has now had a few days to settle into our new surroundings in Lyon, France--the nation's food capital. The city has already provided us with some lessons in history and gastronomy (the perfect fit for our course). A two day museum pass and all day metro passes gave us free reign to tour the sites of our choice. Most noteworthy were class visits to the "Centre d'Histoire de La Resistance Et De La Deportation" (a museum highlighting the occupation and resistance in France during WWII) and the "Lumiere Museum" where we explored the very beginnings of movie making. The museum itself is located within the Villa of Antoine Lumiere who invented cinematography in 1895. My personal favorite was a trip to the "Musee de Beaux Arts" which houses works by reknowned artists such as Renior, Monet, Pisarro, Picasso, Miro, and Matisse.

We checked out the acoustics at an old Roman Amphitheatre. A few of our talented choir folks performed some Christmas at Luther magic for a diverse audience. While there, we met fellow performers from Spain, France, and Madagascar. Each group was impressive and enjoyable to interact with despite the language barrier.

In addition to all the sights we've seen, we've also had our fair share of French cuisine...but I'll leave insight on our culinary experiences to another blogger.

We'll be in touch again soon and pictures will follow!