Saturday, June 15, 2013

What the heck happened in Wittenberg?!?!

Today was another early start but of course I was not about to miss a German breakfast so I dragged myself up early enough to eat before we left. After eating sufficient cheeses, eggs, rolls, butter and jams, we loaded the bus (this time with luggage) and were off for a longer bus ride to see the spot where Luther was caught in the lightning storm and called on Saint Anne.  Once we arrived at the place we took some pictures and did the spoken order of morning prayer from LSB as our morning devotions. We sang A Mighty Fortress and got many looks from cars passing by. 

After this we jumped back on the bus and rode quite aways to get to Eisleben, making a pit stop at a German McDonalds along the way. I didn't get anything but I do like German McDonalds much better than American ones. Once at Eisleben we first visited the death house of Luther. I've been there before but they have changed it up a bit in preparation for the big celebration in 2017. I totally love the death house. It's amazing to stand in the house he died in. As you all know, I have a extraordinary fascination with old graves and such. Here are a couple pictures from the death house and no, that is not Luther in the coffin. 

After going through this we took a quick look through the church where Luther preached his last 4 sermons. I did not take any pictures because it cost to take pictures and I have pictures from a previous trip. From here we took a short jog across town to the church Luther was born in. (No pictures, same explanation as other church) and then to the birth house where we went through the super amazing museum and saw a reconstruction of what his house may have looked like. I also had been here before but they have changed it a bit as well. I stopped for a quick pose with Marty on the way out. I put my arm around his shoulder but don't worry, I didn't actually touch the statue or set off any alarms or anything like that. 

After this it was back on the bus and off to Wittenberg. Once we got there I waked into Castle Church.  As is the case every time I enter those doors, my heart started pounding. This time though, it was out of pure shock. Here is what I saw. 

Nice organ loft, huh?

Quite a bit different than what I remembered. Again, huge restoration for the 500 year anniversary. The work will not be done until 2016. It will be restored to how it as in 1892, so it will end up a little different than what I'm used to, giving me reason to go back once it is complete. Of course, 1892 is long after Luther and I personally wish they would restore it to how it was in Luther's time but no one asked me. Fortunately, both Luther's and Melanchton's headstones weren't covered up (though the floor around was all covered in plywood) so I got a chance to stand at the foot of their graves and stare and marvel and be lost for words. 

After this we got to walk around town so I took Ross to see the city church and the wonderful Cranach altar there. We walked in and it was covered as well for restoration. My heart sunk big time. I was so disappointed!!! I'm grateful to have been here a couple other times to see it but I had wanted to see it again. 

We walked down the street to the Melanchtonhaus and decided to pay the four euro to go through it. Boy was that worth it! Totally redone and had lots for adults AND kids. (Making it family friendly for the mobs of tourists in 2017, you know.) I stopped to pose with the Melanchthon family. 

Just a room over from this was the room where he died. Of course I thought this was super cool and had to stand and stare and take a picture. 

The final rooms contained several busts and books and even old letters in Phil's own handwriting. As you can imagine, I sat there gawking like a complete fool. Then, I got one final picture with this awesome guy I admire so much. I tried to copy his facial expression. There were a zillion busts so I combined them all. Not sure that worked but it made for a funny picture. 

Here is the house from the outside. 

Then it was off to our hotel and a buffet style dinner that was wonderful. Lots of root vegetables, fries with German mayonnaise, mushrooms, rice, and bitter lemon. After dinner it was time for a little stroll through the city, quick stop at the ATM, and now as I sit here blogging it is 9:37 and here is the view from my window. 

The birds are singing, there aren't any bugs, the temperature is pleasantly cool and the blinds are fluttering in the light breeze. I'm smelling flowers mingled with smoke (the smoking here is one thing I will never grow to love) and savoring every moment of being in this place. I slept only 3 hours last night and won't likely sleep anytime soon, not wanting to waste any time here!! I am so blessed to have the opportunity to be here again!

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