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Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Day 7: Eisenach

We drove straight to Eisenach where Luther translated the Bible at Wartburg Castle.  We walked around the town a little and had pastries and headed up the hill to the castle.  We parked and walked up hundreds of stairs up to the castle.  It was a beautiful day and the view was gorgeous.  We went up in the tower where one poor anabaptist was imprisoned for eight years in the tiniest little cell, because he wouldn't baptize his infant son. 

We walked around the grounds.  The bath area was interesting, it featured Louis the Springer, who decided to locate the castle here.  According to legend, when he saw the location, he said, "Wait mountain, you shall bear me a castle."  "Wart burg" meaning "wait mountain."  Louis then put some of his soil on the location so that he could say the area belonged to him.  He was called "the springer" because he once lept to safety into the river Saale upon being condemned to death for killing a count.  These baths were constructed after the Crusaders learned to bathe from the people they encountered in the Holy Land.

The castle is only accessible by guided tour.  The next one in English wasn't for another 2 hours, so we took the one in German with the a brochure in English.  Some interesting features include the fireplaces, usually in the corner of each room, the indoor bathrooms that carried waste outside the walls of the castle (I wouldn't exactly call it plumbing), the mosaics honoring St. Elizabeth who was queen for a time and lived within the castle and did all kinds of compassionate works for the poor, a large banquet hall that was later copied in Neuschwanstein castle. 

The rest of the tour was on our own so we went down the hall to see Martin Luther's room.  Over the years many people tried to take a souvenir of Luther's desk and even the woodwork in the room, others carved their names around the door.  Some of those names could still be seen there.  The one thing that remained from when Martin Luther was there was a piece of whale bone there beside the desk.  I wondered if he spent most of the 9 months he was there in this room.  There were reports of him going into to town disguised as a knight.  He must have spent a lot of time there, since he accomplished so much.  But he also might have spent some time roaming the castle grounds, wandering through the forest, maybe thinking through some of the passages that he was working on with his translation.
This was a very interesting part of our trip. 

Afterward, we stopped by the bratwurst stand and decided to purposefully eat meat for the first time in over 10 years.  It was fine.  Thankfully we didn't get sick--not even a twinge.

We looked for a place to hike the forest there, but our GPS took us out of the way.  Instead we drove through the forest to our AirBNB.  This was a lovely little apartment, and we didn't have to climb any stairs.  It is mostly used in the winter for those who are practicing on the big ski jumps for competitive ski jumping.  There were about 4 huge jumps just up the hill from the house.

Even though it was Sunday and almost everything was closed, thankfully we found a restaurant that was open.  Later we Skyped with Sterling.

In the night, Nick complained that he was cold and I asked if he was getting sick.  It turns out he was catching the same thing that I had almost a week before.

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