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20 participants from the UK, Austria, Denmark, Holland and Germany were impressed by this year’s pre-conference programme and arrived on Monday 7 May full of expectation..

We began with a detective story. Yes, even in Bad Harzburg the world has its problems.

Claus Jähner let us into dark secrets. It all started at the station – appropriately enough for travellers. The climax of the dastardly deed is closely connected to the thoroughbred stud farm and race track in the otherwise peaceful town. Claus showed there is no such thing as a perfect crime! In Bad Harzburg they tend to get their man.

The second day was when the city of Braunschweig came into its own. Jutta Mross, a member of German Sonnenberg, lives there and offered her services as a tourist guide. We were impressed by our walking tour through the historic and beautiful city. Thank you again, Jutta,  for being such an informative guide.

A short break, an evening meal and nobody was tired any more, because a very special evening was on the cards. “Same procedure as every year“: wine-tasting!

This time Isolde chose a small selection of wines from Alsace. Starting with a Crémant d’Alsace. The wines were accompanied by a rich selection of cheeses, information about the wines and some appropriate literature on the day and on wine itself. It turned into an enjoyable and cheerful evening with lots of singing.


On Wednesday, the final day of the pre-conference, things were more relaxed, with an excursion to the small town of Ilsenburg. A guided tour showed us the interesting, pretty and nice sides of the town with its impressive past from the early industrial age and its present-day heavy industry that ensures full employment. Not far away was Drübeck Monastery. We had our mid-day break in the garden of the monastery café with snacks, delicious cakes and coffee. After this repast a “noble lady” guided us through the monastery premises. The monastery and its church go back to the period between 900 and 1100. Once it was an extremely important, influential Benedictine monastery in the region. Drübeck is today a centre for the Protestant Church in Anhalt and for the Federation of Protestant Churches in Central Germany. It is a seat of learning, a place of silent contemplation with an atmosphere inviting guests to stay awhile..

But that we could not do, because the Top-Tagung was beginning that evening. We travelled back to Haus Sonnenberg, with lots of new impressions, good conversations, and plenty of joy, laughter and fun.