So far I’ve had a whirlwind trip in frigid temps. In seventeen-degree temps yesterday, we walked more than nine miles. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
I flew to Frankfurt and caught a train to Eisenach, where friends met me at the train station. On Epiphany, my friend Robin and I toured Eisenach, a picturesque town where Bach was born and baptized, and 200 years earlier Martin Luther sang in the same church as a choirboy. (Elizabeth of Hungary was also married here at age 14.) The Luther house and the Bach museum both had fantastic exhibits that we had pretty much all to ourselves.
In the afternoon, we toured Warburg Castle, where Luther hid out as Squire George and translated the entire New Testament in ten months. He had sparked quite a controversy with his writings.
In the evening, we took a train to Erfurt, where we’re staying in the now Augustinian monastery that was once the Catholic monastery where Luther lived. A river runs through the town that is largely preserved from the Middle Ages, as WWII destroyed only about 10 percent of this place (quite unique). Snow covered the ground and the lights of the Christmas markets and smells of mulled wine created a magical scene.
Today we rewound back in time to tour the dorm where Luther stayed as an undergrad student, the monastery cell where he was a monk deeply into asceticism (we’re lodging in this monastery), the corner where he probably begged as part of the mendicant order, the church where he was ordained, and the place where he prostrated himself all night before officiating at his first communion as a priest.
Tomorrow morning we put our Reformation Tour on hold to tour an old synagogue, the largest in Central Europe.