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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Exploring Thüringen

This last weekend JAMB(Y) decided to explore a little bit of the area surrounding Jena.  So, on Friday we went West and on Saturday, East.  As we all know in Germany/Europe east=scary.  That proved to be very true.  First, I will explain the wacky adventures of four young Americans in Eisennach.

This lovely city is the birthplace of both Bach and Luther and is therefore one of the most historic cities in Germany.  The city itself is quite pretty, but the main attraction is Wartburg Castle on the very top of the hill.  There were two options for us at this point: 1)Take a bus about halfway up the hill and walk/hike the rest, and 2)hike from the Hauptbahnhof to the top of the hill that would take about an hour.  All of you who know any of us know that we picked the bus.  Obviously.  We hoped on the bus that Maria told us was right and it drove us through the great city and then started going up....and up....and holy crap thank God we didn't walk this......up.  It then dropped us off on an incline and we preceded to walk up...oh and up.  Wow, my heart was beating and couldn't breathe and it was just a lot of work.  Thankfully, us strong men (Braden and myself) were much faster than the women and we had to take breaks to wait for them and they didn't get breaks.  We (finally) got to the top and saw an amazing view of Eisennach from the castle.

The fall in Germany is really beautiful and much slower than I have experienced in Minnesota.  The trees all change at different times and there is still a lot of green!  I seem to remember in Minnesota it going from green to brown in a matter of a few weeks, the beauty here is more drawn out.  We then went into the castle to begin our exploration.  Here is a picture of the castle:

It is obviously very advantageous to build a castle on a hill, but after climbing it just once it amazes me that they had to bring stones all the way up here, let alone any other large personal objects or imports were carried up the narrow passages of the mountain/hill (depending on your standards).  When we got there, we went into the ticket/souvenir area and decided we really only needed to see the Luther Room and not the entire castle and purchased the cheaper ticket.  After walking through an art gallery we arrived at the Luther Room.  This room was where Martin Luther translated the Bible the first time into a common language of the people instead of the usual Latin, Greek, etc.  This was a huge part of the Reformation because now not only could priests and the like read the Bible and form ideas to preach, but any layman could do the same.  This effectively changed the entire landscape and leadership of Europe.  Therefore, this room is VERY important to world history.  Here is a picture of how simple it was:
After seeing the room, we continued to explore the castle grounds (which is so something I have only ever heard in books, movies, tv shows, etc and now I am saying it myself!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)  It was really interesting seeing that a small town had grown up within the castle walls to facilitate the many needs of those living in the castle.  This picture is of that small townish area, also something about wagons are also so photogenic.
We then walked DOWN the hill and went into Eisennach to see some more of the sights.  We first went to the statue of Luther in the main market area.  It's big and it was impressive, perhaps more impressive than the one in front of the Frauenkirche in Dresden.  We then walked through the markt and to the town square with the town hall and Luther's birth house.  It was closing, though, and April and Braden weren't up for it so we went to the Bach museum instead.  I wasn't particularly interested in this one, so I walked around the area and took some pictures.  We then all went back home to Jena!

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