Looking Back at Hastings’ Visit

Rob Dyer ’13 – William the Conqueror (who then was known by the slightly less-prestigious appellation “the Bastard”) made landfall at Hastings several weeks later than he anticipated, which most historians attribute to unfavorable winds. It was fitting that our arrival was delayed as well, first by a series of mishaps on our train ride from London and then by a bungled bus commute from the station, which together consumed almost half of our first full day in the United Kingdom.  The long hours spent on immobile vehicles, however, no longer mattered once we set foot on the location where, on 14 October 1066, William and his Norman subjects defeated King Harold Godwinson of England in one of history’s decisive battles.

We received a guided tour of the battlefield, which lies about six miles northwest of Hastings in a town aptly named “Battle.” One of our professors for the class, Dr. Morillo, is one of the world’s experts on the Battle of Hastings. While at Wabash we are accustomed to student discussions, we relished the opportunity to listen to a lecture from someone truly passionate about the events that happened on Senlac Hill (“bloody” hill in the Norman language), where we occupied the position once defended by the English, copses of trees fortifying our flanks as they had done in the battle.

The battle more-or-less secured the English crown for William, whom the Pope had blessed to claim the throne instead of Harold.  As penance for the soldiers killed at the battle, the Pope ordered William to construct an Abbey on the site, which now sits mostly in ruin. The main altar, while it stood, marked the location where Harold was believed to be killed atop Senlac Hill.   There is now a limestone memorial in the ground, where, on the anniversary of the battle, the English leave flowers and a pint of beer in memory of the fallen king.

When William ascended the throne, he retained most of the English legal system, despite replacing the ruling class with his own Norman nobles.  It was at this point in history that we began our study of the common law in our classroom and set off our immersion experience in England.  As the week progresses, we will continue forward through history in the courts and halls which housed the evolution of the common law, thankful at every step for the immersion experience Wabash has provided us.

First Day Includes Phillips’ Visit

Noah Eppler ’16 and Tucker Mark ‘16 – Well, we’ve arrived in New York City. After a short flight and a shorter drive, we settled into our rooms in the Chelsea International Hostel, whose beds receive a welcome knock from the door when one opens it. In other words, the rooms are extremely small. Two beds, two lockers, shelves, along with a sink, make up our Spartan accommodations.

Dinner the first night in New York

But enough of that! Let us discuss briefly our first experience with navigating the subway system! Luckily, we had Dr. Cherry and Dr. Gelbman to assist us in case anything went wrong – like it did for senior Raynor Mendoza. While the rest of us were able to swipe our MetroCards successfully, ‘Papa Raynor’ failed to swipe his card correctly at the turnstile, and was, shall we say, delayed momentarily.

Later that evening, we explored the East Village for about an hour, taking in the alternative and underground culture of St. Mark’s place, the hip vibes surrounding Tompkin’s Square Park, and, finally, sampling some exquisite Indian cuisine at Raj Mahal, on 6th St.

Tight quarters.

Dinner was an absolute treat. We were joined by Wabash alum (and fellow TKE) Josue Gutierrez ‘11, as well as Jessica Phillips, an accomplished Broadway and television actress, (and the daughter of our own Dean Phillips), and her two sons. Josue is currently in the second year of his MFA in Acting at Columbia here in Manhattan. Josue had plenty of advice for all of us on the trip, encouraging us to get out and pursue whatever it is that strikes us, especially anything concerning theater.

As for our other guest, Jessica Phillips will soon be featured in an episode of “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit,” playing the role of an Assistant District Attorney, so be sure to look for her. Her two sons introduced us to a wonderful array of novice magic tricks, and even managed to make us all look a bit silly at one point.

All in all, our first day in New York was excellent, and we’re stoked for tomorrow.

King ’15 Impressed by German Culture

Sky King ’15 –  From what I have seen Germany is an amazing place. It breathes struggle and redemption, the infrastructure that was able to make it past World War 2 is full of pride while the architecture that has been created in wake of the destruction nurtures hope. I have always been amazed at the power and beauty of hope. I believe that is why I feel such a strong connection to the city of Frankfurt and the country of Germany. From the minute we stepped off the train at the Frankfurt station we have seen traces of past death and destruction. Traces of a war that tore away the flesh of the city just as it tore away the flesh from the German people until almost only bones remained.

The human condition is a difficult one and there exists much tragedy, but as the German population and cities have shown us, all we need is one more spark, one ounce of will and life will move forward. Germany has turned that spark into a wild forest fire that has spread throughout Europe. It went from hugely responsible in almost tearing Europe apart and now it is hugely responsible in pushing for a United Europe.

This speaks numbers to man’s strength and endurance. Germany is living proof that people can change; all they need is hope and opportunity. Frankfurt is a garden whose soil was tainted by evil and prejudice, but because of the purity of the river that runs through the city and cleanses its soil Frankfurt has blossomed.

This afternoon we traveled to the Money Museum where we saw currency from its birth in the form of cattle to its transition to numbers on a screen. One major focus was the significance of currencies stability and the stability of the Government it is attached to. Before I had the opportunity to see firsthand the culture of hope and strength that is Germany, I was unsure about the Euro. I was worried for the EU of the possibility of a Eurobond that would deepen the ties between the Union members. After walking the streets of Frankfurt and seeing the skeletons left behind from the war and the love of life that has risen from the graveyard I do not worry. Germany is strong and it is getting stronger. It is a country that has seen death, felt its grip, cold, hard and unforgiving, yet it has escaped. The resilience that Germany contains has given me faith to its ability to not only survive, but to excel.  If I were a member state I would place my bet in this countries scarred, but strong hands.

I would like to thank the Rogge fund and Wabash College for the opportunity to walk the streets of this city that was born out of the ashes of destruction and learn from its livelihood the true power of humanity. What I have learned from this experience in the first two days of this trip will far outlive the knowledge I have gained from the semester long class. The lessons that we learn on these trips are ones that do so much more than teach us Econometrics or the ability to analyze poetry, they inspire us. Inspiration is a lesson that is often hard to come by, but always welcome and one of the most conducive gifts to progress and change.

Thank you and I look forward to the opportunity to continue growing throughout the remainder of this trip and my tenure at Wabash College.

In spreading the fame of her lovely name …

Students See Frankfurt Stock Exchange

Jake Bolinger ‘ 14 – Wabash College has provided an abroad immersion trip opportunity for 16 students.  For some students, like me, it is their first time overseas, and are enjoying every second of it.  I want to start this by thanking Wabash College for giving students these opportunities, and also the Rogge Fund.  These trips are once in a lifetime opportunities for students, and are much appreciated.

Today was our second day in Frankfurt, Germany, and we started out the morning by going to the Frankfurt stock exchange, which is the largest of the seven in Germany.  We were able to see and take pictures with the bull and bear outside (these are terms used to describe good and bad markets).  As we entered we were given a presentation teaching us about the stock exchange and the people trading. The coolest thing I learned at the exchange is that their software can verify a trade in less than one millisecond.  Technology has become truly amazing.  We went to the trade floor after the presentation, which was not what I was expecting.  Most think of the trading floor as a chaotic, stress filled room like it is portrayed in films like “Wall Street.”  This was certainly not the case.  Because technology has grown, the trade room is now a quiet room with the employees sitting at computers.

Our second portion of the day was visiting the money museum.  We were given a tour and were able to see many interesting things.  My favorites were the first forms of money, including a giant stone, bricks of salt, and miniature axe blades.  We saw the first coin with a face on it, which is one of two left in existence.  The coin is worth 500,000 Euros!  After the tour we played games that taught us more about money and how it functions in the economy.  It was a very structured museum, and a wonderful experience.

Another great experience is the food.  Although they do have Burger Kings and McDonald’s, we have been exploring more cultural places to eat.  I have had the Turkish form of a gyro, currywurst, and an Italian pizza.  Tonight we are going as a group for dinner at a place that is referred to as a “carnivorous feast,” so it should be very delicious.  Frankfurt has been a great time, but I must admit I am very excited to head for Brussels tomorrow evening.  Make sure to look for blogs the rest of the week discussing our experiences in Belgium!  It has been a great time so far and there are more great times to come.

Standing on Historic English Battlefield

Jacob Ahler ’13 – Today we visited Battle, England which is the home to the site of the battle of Hastings. Although unfortunate traveling obstacles hindered our abilities to make it to the battle field on time, we nevertheless made it there for a tour, reflection and its overall effect on the history of England and the Common Law.

See more photos from the day at the battlefield here.

Professors Stephen Morillo and Scott Himsel with students

Our group started the tour with Tom, the unfortunate tour guide that had the challenge of giving one of his first tours to one of the world’s most learned experts on the topic of the battle of Hastings and English military history. We arrived at the top of Senlax hill and stood where King Harold and his men would have stood on the day of the battle. As we looked over this historical ground, Professor Morillo gave the class a detailed report of how each side executed it’s military strategy through out the day.

Essentially the battle was very bloody on both sides although William of Normandy had the superior fighting force. After weeks of raiding nearby villages, William was able to provoke Harold into fight a battle that would determine who the next king of England would be.

Students at the Battle of Hastings

After an entire day of the Saxon and Norman lines advancing and falling back, the Normans were able to use their archers to shoot over the shield wall and land the damaging blow to the Saxon troops. After the end of the battle, William advanced to Dover castle where he almost died from dysentery before moving on to London to claim the thrown on Christmas day of 1066. The tour then wrapped up after a tour of the Abbey that was built on the approximate site that King Harold was killed.

The experience that we were fortunate enough to have today was unlike any I have enjoyed before. It is not every day that you are able visit the site of a battle that had such significant historical ramifications in terms of history and the English Common Law being forever changed. The experience was even more enjoyable since we had an expert to elaborate on the details you cant find by researching the battle on the internet.

Professor Morillo expressed to us just how important this battle was to English history and how the Norman victory brought with it the writ system that we use to this day in American law.

Students Explore Frankfurt First Day

Jake Schild ‘ 15 – Finally we have arrived! It was an early morning and a long flight, but we all survived. Some of us though are in serious need of a quick nap. Sadly, when we arrived at the Youth Hostel our rooms were not ready. We are forced to postpone our much needed rest. So we disperse and venture out into the city hoping that the energy of the town would keep us going. There was just one problem. The city was dead. The only parallel I can draw is to any classic western when the hero rides into the town and there is no one in sight. What we thought might be the beginning of the zombie apocalypse turned out to be just a regular Sunday in Europe. We were warned by our professors that Europeans take Sundays off, but we were not ready for the town to be completely shut down. So after exploring the deserted streets and peering into closed shops we made our way back to the hostel. Our rooms were ready and we could finally take that much needed sleep.

Upon awakening we ventured back out. To our surprise the town had woken up from its slumber as well. A few shops and cafes had opened and people were out front having coffee and tea. The feel of this Sunday afternoon is so much different than what we are accustomed to in America.  Everyone is always rushing, always trying to get something done. Here the pace is slower, more relaxed. This was expected though. You hear that life in Europe goes at a much more leisurely pace. Some of that is lost in translation though. It is something that cannot be fully understood through discussion or reading. It needs to be experienced. This – I expect – will be applicable to the rest of our trip as well. We have discussed and read a lot about European politics, culture, and economics but without actually experiencing it our understanding is incomplete.

I want to conclude by thanking the Rogge Fund for funding this trip and giving us this unique experience.

Group Arrives in Frankfurt, Germany

Carter Adams ’15 –  This is a very curious place. Frankfurt is a very curious place indeed. But I’ll get to that later. For now, I will describe the long journey to arrive here in this curious place.

It began like many great Wabash adventures, at the Chapel. The Chapel to the Indianapolis airport, then Indianapolis to Atlanta, and finally the 9 hour jump over the Atlantic from Atlanta to the Frankfurt International Airport. Our flight landed at 8 a.m. local time, so 2 a.m. back home in the Midwest. Unable to fall asleep on the plane opting instead for an awesome, customized selection of four must-see movies (Argo, Perks of being a Wallflower, Pitch Perfect, and Up), the decision needed to made: to sleep or to power through and explore?

Explore, of course. This isn’t the first time I have run on no sleep on Wabash’s account. This first day is fairly free for us to go out in the city, “immerse” ourselves into the city. I use “immerse” very lightly because as I type this right now I sit outside the local Starbucks, the only place we have found so far to offer complementary wifi. But there is much to see and do here in this curious place.

I keep referring to it as curious because this is my first real experience in another country (sorry Mom and Dad, Canada does not really count). Thus, Frankfurt, for me, is a different kind of place and different from what I expected.  Frankfurt seems to be a very diverse place, a new Chinese place is opening up right next to the Starbucks. There seems to be a lot of cultural mixing: Asian, Middle Eastern, but still very German. And the architecture, it is a mix of old, new, and new trying to look old. Most of the city was destroyed in World War II, some parts survived but those parts destroyed were rebuilt. It is truly a remarkable place and I have so much more exploring to do.

Tomorrow we will start everything with the class here in Frankfurt. We will first head to the Germany Stock Exchange and then to the Money Museum. Tuesday, we will be able to go the European Central Bank and then we will head onto Brussels. But as for now, I have some more exploring to do and bratwurst to eat.

Also, I want to deeply thank Wabash College and the Rogge fund for this opportunity.

-Carter D. Adams

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