Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Our Journey on the Luther Trail

Waking up in Wittenburg we were quite sure we were the only ones in our hotel that night.  And not meaning the only guests, meaning really no one was in the building but us all night long.  Definitely not something you would see in the U.S.  Given our early bed time the night before we were up, ready, and waiting for breakfast to start downstairs at 8:30am.  We had about 20 mins to kill while we were waiting so we decided to walk around the castle church and take a few pictures. The castle church is under renovation for the next 2 years in preparation for the 500th anniversary of the reformation.  They had a very nice large poster type picture of the most photographed doors in Germany set up out in front of the building because scaffolding was all around the castle church and the doors.  We couldn't go in the church either which was quite disappointing, it was closed for renovation for the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in 2017. A lot of Luther sites are getting all gussied up for the big 500th.  It was still pretty amazing to be there and think of the events that happened here that long ago.

The Castle Church tower, across the cobble stone road from our hotel.

A picture of a picture of the most photographed doors in Germany.

The actual entry way and doors.  The had the doors open and were going in and out with equipment for the renovation project.
After our short walk around the castle church breakfast was ready and we didn't recognize a lot of it.  They had soft boiled eggs at each of our place settings, the only reason I even knew it was a soft boiled egg was because it was on a little stand with a tiny spoon and had seen it in the movie Ever After with Drew Berry Moore. So I gave it a whirl and it was not that good. The mix of hard white with runny yolk was not great for me but at least I tried it. Adam was eyeing up some soft cheese and when he grabbed it with his fork and took a bite and it ended up being butter. We had a good laugh at that. Shortly after he took a bite of bread and it was all good. After having a light breakfast, a lot due to the fact that we had no idea what we were eating, we headed out for the day to the Luther museum.  When we got there using the parking meter was again interesting. We had started to sort of understand what to do with it but we didn't have the exact change we thought we needed. So we asked this nice looking older gentleman to help us. Again when we asked Sprechen Sie English he said, little bit but that was about the only English phrase he knew.  So he walked over to the meter with us and helped us figure it out.  It turned out we did have enough money we just weren't putting in the right increment.  He reminded us of Adam's grandpa which was funny but also nice, felt a little bit like home even though we couldn't understand each other.

Another interesting continental breakfast.  
Once inside the Luther museum I recognized immediately a small 3 ft plastic Luther. So I asked the lady we just bought our tickets from if it was one of the mini Luther's that filled the town square I read about in my Travel Germany book. And sure enough it was one of the 800 that filled the town square as an art installation that was done while the statue was in Berlin for 6 weeks for maintenance  They were in red, black, green, and blue.  After the statue returned they sold each mini Martin Luther for 350€, about $450 USD.  We moved on threw the museum, it was so neat seeing all of it. I really liked all the artistry type things, old writings with colorful drawings, paintings, statues and the wax seals used back then were pretty neat as well. As we were walking threw Adam says God bless you to a woman that sneezed and she said thank you. Then it clicked, they speak English! So we started up conversation with them and found out they were from Louisiana and were Missouri synod Lutherans. It was so nice to chat a while with some people who really understood us.  After chatting a while we moved on and saw the rest of the museum and decided it was time for lunch.  We stopped at a cafe that had a cake and coffee sign out front. Pretty sad that, that was what drew us in but it worked. After we were in we saw a couple ladies eating sandwiches that looked very good so we also got the same, a salami sandwich each.  We wanted a change up from Coke, Fanta, and Sprite so we got shakes. Adam ventured out of the box and got an apple shake but I just wanted sckolate (chocolate, see I'm getting there) but they were not really shakes they were more like a flavored milk with a scoop of ice cream in them but it was still very good. Then it was time to get in the car for 2 1\2 hrs and head on to Wurtburg castle.

The Luther museum. 

A painting representing the nailing of the 95 theses, with state represented on the left with a fat monk's hand being kissed while the monk on the right makes off with a box of church goers money.   A beggar and her child in the middle representing the churches actual responsibility, and a group of students welcoming the theses and supporting the change.  
Beautiful writings.

A mini Martin Luther, they also had the red, and blue, they might have had a black one but I didn't see it.

luther 3
This is a photo I found online of the art installation in the town square, where their would be a very large statue of Matin Luther and Philp Melanchthon.
After our 2 1/2 hour drive getting in some quality time with the auto bahn and driving up the winding hairpin turns to get up the mountain, we arrived at Wartburg castle.   After parking, there was a 20 walk up a decent hill yet to get to the actual castle.  We got up to the top just in time to catch the last tour of the day at the castle.  You can only see the inside with a guided tour, the only problem was we did happen to miss the only English tour of the day which was at 1pm.  But we wanted to see the castle so we went on a German tour.  They gave us an English hand out that explained each room as we were going threw.  It was so beautiful, it is hard to imagine what it would have been like to live there in Luther's time.  

Road sign on our way to Wartburg Castle.
After our walk up we finally reached the entrance.

This is a picture of one of the outside walls of the inner area of the castle.

Elisabeth's bower, probably used as the women's quarters in medieval times.  The mosaic tiles depict the life of Elisabeth of Hungary, the most remarkable woman in the history of Wartburg.

Banquet hall with approximately 350 square meters, which is about 3,767 square feet and had 3 chimneys.

Fun use of the timer on my camera for a picture at the top of Wartburg.
After we left the castle we wanted to grab a bite to eat on the go so we stopped at a local Mc Donalds where again we had a bit of a communication problem.  Thank goodness for being able to point at pictures on the menu board.  Adam got a big and tasty that ended up being slightly larger then the U.S. version, it was about the size of his head.  I got a chicken sandwich, we also decided to try the curry wurst, which is a local favorite that I am sure Mc Donalds had to adopt given the location.  It was okay, I imagine it's like the Mc Rib in the states, sort of like ribs, so the curry wurst was probably sort of like the real thing.  So we ate on the go and started our 2 1/2 hour drive on to finally meet the Martins!  We arrived at their house at 9 pm ish, chatted for a bit and then settled in for the night.

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