Two weeks ago the weather was wonderful. Our class took an excursion to Bergwitz on Wednesday to swim in the lake there. Of course, that was the day it rained, but we had fun anyway, and I got some pretty cool storm cloud pictures over the lake.
By Thursday the rain was gone, so, in a somewhat uncharacteristic move, I went biking along the River Elbe with my professor and my friend Shannon. The views along the river were lovely and the weather couldn’t have been better.
But by far the most exciting event that week was Lutherfest.
In 1524 former monk, Martin Luther, married former nun Katharina von Bora in what was the scandal of the decade. So naturally, the event is celebrated in Wittenberg every year with a medieval festival and plenty of beer. Over 100,000 people were in Wittenberg for the annual festival, and many of them dressed in medieval costumes. In addition to the costumes, the streets were lined with booths selling food and crafts. Some of them were even set up as medieval tents or blacksmith shops. Saturday afternoon was the big parade. The entire surrounding area showed up to celebrate the happy couple. There were jugglers, musicians, dancers, even a group of lively witches. Like any good parade there were people handing out candy, but some people had baskets full of bread to hand out instead. There were also flag throwers from Sachsen-Anhalt and the neighboring province.
Other than the parade and shopping, there were plenty of musicians playing in courtyards and on the street, plus various other events, like a fire show. I learned my new favorite German word at the festival: Dudelsack (bagpipes). It is hard to pick what my favorite part of the festival was, because it was all so amazing, but one strong contender is the food. One stand sold Quarkkrapfen, which were basically just globs of fried dough with powdered sugar. Eating that fresh out of the fryer while listening to a medieval choir with a glass of strawberry wine is legitimately my idea of a fantastic Saturday night.
Other gastronomical highlights included Knoblibrot (garlic bread) and Champignons (mushrooms that were roasted in a delicious herb sauce).
The three days of the festival were an amazing trip: shopping, eating, and walking through another time. The only American equivalent I can think of are Renaissance fairs, but this was so much better than any Ren Faire I have ever been to.
For our last week in Wittenberg we had lots of going away activities. They included a cook out by the River Elbe and an Abschiedsabend (summer party)with everyone’s guest parents.
I left Wittenberg happy to be returning home to Dallas, but sad to leave behind my lovely host family and the charming town of which I had become so fond. It almost feels like leaving a dream. A place where summers are mild and I, self-proclaimed city girl and indoor enthusiast, rose early in the morning to ride a bike through the countryside. Walking up from picturesque, German, cobblestone streets to the sleek pavement of suburbia. This was a fantastic trip, and I have learned and experienced so much. After a safe and uneventful trip home I am left to sort through all of the memories I have made.