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Published: July 19th 2010
Well, ever since you read “South Germany Day 1” you have probably been wondering “So when will he get to the Luther sites?” Wait no more, that is practically all that the rest of this post is about. You might notice that I skipped a day, that is because the entire day was spent riding on the trains to get to Wittenberg so that I could see the Luther sites Sunday morning, then start back to Maastricht. It was about eight hours by train to here, and then about the same to Maastricht. So I am going to skip the train-riding day and get to Sunday morning, and the sites that I came all that way to see.
Breakfast was excellent, I was not expecting such a variety of foods available in a hostel. They had several different kinds of meat, cheeses, breads, fruit, some yogurt, and a couple of things that I had no idea what they were. But I had to hurry, because I had to see everything that I wanted to see by 2:00, which is when my train would leave.
First stop was Luther’s house, or maybe I should call it a complex, since it
was considerably more than just a house. The building was evidently a house for the professors of the college, until more and more people came to see and visit with Martin Luther. Finally they just gave him the house, and Katie Luther ran the entire place. Now it is a well-done museum on the Reformation and Luther filled with original sermon texts, hymnals, paintings, and other artifacts. They even had English and German text panels and labels! I was excited. Going through there took awhile, but eventually I got through it all.
Next was Melanchthon's house, which was a big letdown after the fantastic Luther museum. Evidently they are completely renovating the house, which is fine, but the temporary displays that they have up now just are not very good, and did not tell me anything about the man or his time in Wittenberg. Thankfully they had a good English pamphlet that helped a lot more than the displays did. Going through there did not take very long.
Unfortunately the next stop, Lucas Cranach's workshop area, was not open yet, so I did not get to go through it. So I walked down the road farther past my
hostel from last night and on to the Castle Church. The place was a great example of the wars that ravaged Germany after the initial Reformation, practically nothing was left of the original church. Basically it has been renovated many times over the years as a monument to where the Reformation started, when Luther nailed his 95 theses on the door of this church. Sadly, that door no longer exists, but there is a very nice metal door there now that was donated after the old one was destroyed. Luther and Melanchthon are both buried there.
St. Mary's Church to me was more historically authentic, even though it was definitely not as grand as the Castle Church. St. Mary's is where Luther preached regularly and was married. No one was buried there, and there were no fancy carvings or anything, so by church standards here it was pretty plain, but to be in the church that one of the greatest church leaders in history was in for many years was more thrilling in some ways than the more imposing Castle Church.
After seeing St. Mary's, it was time to head back to Maastricht. Evidently my reservation on the
train was not quite accurate, as the conductor informed me that it did not go all the way that I thought it did. So I stayed on it for awhile, and eventually train-hopped onto three other different trains to get back to Maastricht. I got back just in time to fight my way through the mob that was watching the Netherlands lose the World Cup to Spain, so just getting through the square on the road to where I stay was an adventure.
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