Elna in Europe – St Georgen

forest


With only a week or so left in Europe, it was off to one of my favourite places on earth – the Black Forest. It had been four years, but those millions of fluffy-toothpick trees still felt like my second, magical home within minutes.

tabea bw

I had a few days to reunite with my beautiful and courageous friend, Tabea. There were long talks, longer walks and a lot of time just to enjoy each other’s company. I can’t say enough how blessed I am with truly kickass people in my life.

walkway

magnolia flowe

There was a lovely day at the Bodensee (Lake Constance), where my favourite tree and flower was blooming all over. A picnic in the vineyard above the lake, lots of adventuring and a dinner overlooking the sunset. These kinds of days feel like a real holiday.

lake

Consider me thankful.

sunset tree

**copyright Elna Schütz 2014**

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Elna in Europe – L’Abri

copyright Elna Schutz 2014

I knew the Alps were pretty, but my gosh, I didn’t expect to tumble into that picture you see on milk chocolate wrappers. I’m pretty sure I spent the entire steep bus ride up to the tiny village of Huemoz with my mouth open, cartoon style. My first thought was wondering why people weren’t standing outside staring?

copyright Elna Schutz 2014

Once I got over it (just a little), I arrived at a scattering of Swiss-style chalets that make up L’Abri. Founded by the theologians Edith and Francis Schaeffer almost 60 years ago this Christian community has long been a meeting place for all kinds of people to live, work and study together. There’s the American kid fresh out of college coming for a semester to try to figure himself out next to the PhD researcher spending a couple of weeks wanting to relate her work to biblical ideas. There are devout believers, convinced atheists and philosophers.

The dinner conversations were fascinating to put it mildly.

copyright Elna Schutz 2014

I’m no stranger to the little secret that sometimes tiny, far flung places can make you feel most like you’re living large and right where you should be. Small ponds make fish feel bigger I guess.

Although I was at L’Abri for just three days I noticed it working its magic on me, cleaning out cobwebs in my mind and straightening some things in my life like a chiropractor. That’s the beauty of it; when you take God seriously you automatically notice how seriously He takes you.

copyright Elna Schutz 2014

 

Because people are always coming and going at L’Abri, the community is constantly fluid and unique. While I wasn’t expecting to be surrounded by so many Americans in Switzerland, the group was pretty amazing (including their occasional mustaches, it has to be said).

On my last night we had a jam and jam session – the musical kind, followed by the delicious, homemade and edible kind.

I’m very much out of shape, but played some of my songs and was once again amazed at how different people are in their creativity and talent. A thousand songs have been written with a voice and guitar, and yet, put a couple of people in a room and you’ll get an unbelievable mix.

Among these was the lovely Juliana’s Daughter, that enchanted me with her smooth and soft songs, like the feeling of hiding from the cold under your favourite blanket. When I grow up maybe I’ll be able to sing out the jumble of things in my mind as prettily as she does ;)

 

That’s it for the snowy Alps and cozy chalets portion of the trip.

Okay okay, just one more:

copyright Elna Schutz 2014

*copyright to me *

El