Week Two- Winter is Coming

On Monday we took a tour of the Lutherhaus. Before the Reformation, Martin Luther lived there as a monk, but later the Prince Elector, Frederick the Wise, gave Luther the building to live in. He lived there with his wife, Katharina von Bora, their five children, and up to thirty students, because part of the house was converted to a boarding house. Most of the original building is gone, except for his living room where he and his friends would have their famous “Table Talks”. They also had Martin Luther’s Bible that he had translated into German. No matter how uncool it might be, I actually love going to museums to see and learn about history up close.

Luther's study

Luther’s study

Luther's Bible

Luther’s Bible

Our guide was very informative. Her English was quite good, except that she mixed up feast and fast, so she told us that Luther was much thinner in his younger days as a monk because he used to feast a lot. None of us had the heart to tell her about the mix up.

This week it rained a lot, meaning that it also got very cold, like 45-50 degrees cold. So, basically, winter. I was only somewhat prepared. That did not stop our excursion to Halle, however. We went to visit the students at the Martin Luther Univerität Halle-Wittenberg. They made us a delicious potluck lunch and showed us the city. Halle (pronounced like ain’t no halle back girl) has a really pretty Markplatz (market place, or town square) with a beautiful church and a statue of the most famous resident, the composer Handel. It was a shame that Wednesday was cold and rainy, so we couldn’t really enjoy it. Around the Markplatz were lots of shops and cafés. We went into a department store that had a café/ cafeteria on the top floor and got some hot chocolate and looked out over the city. That was a nice end to our tour.

The organ at the church

The organ at the church

Handel and I

Handel and I

Most of the rest of the week was just classes before our weekend in Berlin, where the weather was much nicer. That was jam-packed enough for a whole post, so I will tell you all about it later. We have a long weekend this weekend, and I am super excited to be meeting my very good friend Emma in Amsterdam. Unfortunately, that means my post for next week will probably be a little late. Sorry about that! Hopefully, you will also be having an awesome weekend! Until then, tschüss (bye)!

 

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Settling In

I have now been in Wittenberg one week. I arrived airsick and miserable Tuesday morning, but by that afternoon I was already enchanted. We took two tours of the Altstadt(old city) this week: a short walk around and a longer tour of the historical landmarks. This whole city pretty much revolves around Martin Luther, the father of the Reformation, who worked at Wittenberg Universität as a professor when, in 1517 he nailed his 95 Theses on the door of the Schloßkirche (Castle Church). There are also monuments dedicated to his co-conspirator Philipp Melanchthon and to Lucas Cranach, the only man to ever paint Martin Luther. I can’t wait to spend some more time at the historic sites and museums in town. Other than tours, our classes have been reading and speaking almost entirely in German. I can tell that I am going to learn a lot.

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Part of the Lutherhaus

 

Since getting here I have already had many adventures. For example, going to the Supermarket. I did not realize how different the Supermarket would be. Other than bread, fruit, and pasta, there were not many foods that I immediately recognized. Feeling overwhelmed by the Wurst section, I ended up buying Bärenwust (bologna in the shape of little bears, probably intended for children). The cheese section was also confusing, and I am still not exactly sure what cheese I bought. Luckily for me, my host family speaks English. They have been ever so helpful in identifying things.

My Bärenwust sandwich

My Bärenwust sandwich

My Gastfamilie (guest family) has seven people in it, four children, ages 9-17, two parents, and Oma Lily. Plus the Hund (dog) Bonnie and the Katze, Kitty. The first night at dinner, with everyone gathered on the back patio, was quite an experience for me. It had been a long time since I had had such an energetic dinner. They are all so nice that the adjustment hasn’t been any problem. Bonnie and I are already fast friends.

Bonnie and Kitty

Bonnie and Kitty

My biggest adventure this week has been Rad fahren (bike riding). Emily, the oldest girl, has kindly lent me her bike to use while I am here, and showed me the path to the city. Now I ride my bike through the countryside and into the city every morning. It is the definition of quaint, and I don’t care that I ruin the image with my pink Razor helmet or that it usually takes me two or three tries to get the bike started. I just feel so European. Plus it is a good way for me to get some exercise in while I’m here.

The bridge I ride my bike over.

The bridge I ride my bike over.

Other than sightseeing in Wittenberg and classes, this weekend we took a trip to Dresden, but that is a post for another time. For now I have to get back to learning. I’ll post again next week after we get back from our trip to Berlin.

And I’m Off

Wittenberg

As some of you may know, I leave tomorrow to spend a month in Wittenberg, Germany. I will be taking classes and doing a little traveling while I’m there. So far, I have one excursion planned to Amsterdam, and my class is taking a trip to Berlin. I have never really been to Germany and I can’t wait to see what it is like. Hopefully the exposure to the language will also help me with my proficiency. It does make me a little nervous to know that I will be expected to speak German 24/7 while I am there, but I know that it will be good for me. I am also really excited to see the city. There is a lot of history there to discover. For example, Wittenberg is where Martin Luther started the Reformation, which I find fascinating. I can’t wait to go exploring. And don’t worry, I’ll post weekly updates of all of my adventures here. My plan for tomorrow is to read The Three Musketeers as I spend all day flying to Berlin.