From the Outer Hebrides to Central Europe: One Crazy, Busy Time in the Life of the Rathel Family

*As always, I combined text and pictures. On some browsers you will have to be intentional about scrolling down to see everything.

The last few weeks have been very busy for the both of us. We were invited to spend the weekend of Easter on North Uist, an island off of Scotland’s western coast. April and I both have tremendous affection for North Uist and its people. The scenery there is gorgeous, and the people are amazingly hospitable and caring. I preached a series of worship services that led up to Easter Sunday. In between those meetings we met with different members of the congregation and took in some of the island’s beautiful beaches. We even took a ferry ride over to the neighboring islands of Harris and Lewis!


Our ferry ride to North Uist


The church at which we minister 


North Uist’s beautiful landscape


On the beach!


A traffic jam on the island!


Beautiful sunset on North Uist


After the conclusion of the worship meetings, we rushed back home to wash and pack our clothes again. We had to fly out the very next day on a trip to Poland and the Czech Republic! We were able to spend a little over two days in Poland. Highlights of our time there included a trip—if one could call this a highlight—to Auschwitz and Auschwitz -Birkenau, a guided tour through Krakow’s Jewish District and Old Town, and a brief stop at the former factory of Oskar Schindler.


Polish food is good!



Desk of Schindler


A terrible place to be sure 


Krakow is beautiful. This was near our hotel. 

We the left Krakow at night by train. We were able to reserve a sleeping car, and this fact was actually quite fascinating to me because our room reminded me of all of the James Bond films in which Bond fought Jaws in the sleeper cars of European trains (yes, I am a cultured individual ;).


Fortunately Jaws was not on our train. Mr. Bond could not say the same. 


Our train took us to Prague, one of Europe’s most beautiful cities. I believe we must have walked over almost every square inch of that city, taking in its beautiful buildings, magnificent cathedrals, and stunning sunsets.


Fascinating building in Prague 


This is a picture of a urinal in—of all places—a church bell tower. During the Cold War, the Soviets closed the church and sent spies to live in the bell tower so as to observe the nearby American embassy. 



A beautiful view of Prague from the Charles Bridge. 


April held up extremely well on the trip. She is now 29 weeks pregnant, but she occasionally wore me out with her zest for exploration. At one point in Prague she even climbed over 210 stairs in order to see the view from atop a cathedral!

We are grateful we had the opportunity to make these trips. We were so happy to see our friends on North Uist again, and it is always a privledge to preach the Gospel in a series of worship meetings. In addition, both Prague and Krakow are lovely. I will remember the Prague skyline forever; and the memories we made in those trips will surely be with us after we return to the States. The trip to Europe in particular was our “babymoon,” our last bout of exploration before our baby girl is born. This fact means that in the near future you can expect us to swamp this blog with baby pictures!

2 thoughts on “From the Outer Hebrides to Central Europe: One Crazy, Busy Time in the Life of the Rathel Family

  1. Carolyn S. Anderson

    Love all the pictures. Thanks for sharing. Looking forward to seeing all the pictures of the baby when she arrives! Love to you both.



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