Thursday, June 3, 2010

A day of Bach, Luther, ice cream, and mud.

Today Manfred had another day off of work, so he joined us for further adventures in Germany. I was once again glad he came with, and don't think we would have been able to find all these places with out him there. Our first stop today was Leipzig. It is a very good thing we didn't do Wittenberg and Leipzig in the same day, becuase I would have been dangerously high from excitement. I need these extreme highs in little doses because my heart may not be able to take all the excitement otherwise! Our first stop in Leipzig, naturally, was to the St. Thomas church where Bach did most of his work. Once again, I found my heart POUNDING as I walked through the building, marveling at its beauty and trying to wrap my head around the depth of history here. Further, to think that BACH HIMSELF walked here…. Well, WOW. After sufficient drooling had been done over the organs and stained glass and other things, I went up to the place in the front where Bach is buried. I stood there a long time trying to fathom the fact that I was so close to this hero of mine. I’ll admit it… I got a little misty eyed standing there. Perhaps it is disrespectful to take pictures of graves, but I wanted a picture by Bach, so I did it anyway. I’m certain he would not mind.
We also had to snap a quick picture outside the church with the Bach statue. We couldn't get a picture with Luther when we were in Wittenberg since it is moved for some work to be done on it, so I was glad to see this statue where it belongs. If you want to see the inside of the church, you may google it yourself. There are nine thousand pictures online, so I won't take the time to upload my own. We got to see several artifacts as well, including the chalace that Bach recieved his last communion from. Pretty sweet.

From here, we took a short walk to Bach’s other church: St. Nicholas. This church was in a much different style, and since the other church was the main church he worked at, I wasn’t quite as excited, though I was still pretty much on cloud 9. In the North chapel, there was a pulpit where Luther himself preached. This got me unbelievably excited. After this, we wandered around the town a bit. I enjoyed feeling the cobblestone under my feet while looking at all these old buildings. Then, as if Leipzig wasn’t cool enough already, we bumped into this awesome group who were singing some sort of polka or beer drinking songs in the street. The soloists were really good and the accordion player made me want to take up the accordion a little bit. We stood there quite awhile with touristy smiles plastered on our faces as we watched this spectacle. From here we took a nice little drive to the Eisleben. Here we toured the museum built on the site where Luther was born. The original house was destroyed by a fire, but it was neat to see the location as well as many artifacts, including his wife’s wedding ring. We wandered down the street to see the church he was baptized in, and then to see the house he died in. This house is the original, and we went inside to see more artifacts as well as the actual place where Luther died. I got big time goose bumps and my mind went crazy trying to comprehend all of this. Across the street was the church they took him to once he had died. Because Luther had lived a productive life and God worked in him in so many wonderful ways, I was not overly distraught at the fact that he had died (though it would have been cool to meet him in real life). Plus anyway, there is no way possible that he would still be alive today. Not like he recently died or anything. So, since there was no weeping or mourning, it seemed appropriate to eat some ice cream in this town, which I did right in front of Luther’s birthplace. I think I could make a whole book with my pictures from last year and this and title it as follows: Gelatto across Germany. HA!

Then from here, we set out for our final adventure of the day. And boy oh boy do I mean adventure. Manfred drove us through these VERY windy roads to the base of a castle. The sign claimed it was a 1 Km hike. It felt more like 100 Km straight up. Through he mud. Not little bits of mud, more like a bog. Manfred had appropriate walking shoes and had no trouble. I was wearing a little dress with shoes that are not really good for hiking. Heidi had on flip flops. We were quite the sight, I am sure, and about half way up the sugar from the ice cream set in. I began singing funny Lutheran songs as we hiked up. There were a few close calls where I almost fell, but somehow I made it. Once at the top we learned it was all for nothing…. The castle had just closed. I was not about to let all that hard work go to waste, so I perched my camera on the side of the castle, set the automatic timer, and snapped a group picture. All in all, what started as a skeptical climb through the deep bog of Germany, in the end I was thankful. Thankful that we didn’t meet the only bear in Germany. Really, though, it was a lot of fun and probably one of my favorite memories of the trip thus far. After this we headed back to Magdeburg and ordered in pizza.

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