But we got to have lunch in the city, and I ended up eating a delicious brat from a street vendor. Oh, and if you were wondering, brats are better in Germany, except for the fact that Germans don’t use brat buns with proportionate lengths for the brats. My brat was a foot long and it had a bun that was about three inches long. Interesting. But good.
One of the highlights of the day was that we visited the Wartburg castle, which would have been to me just a boring, well-preserved castle, except for one thing. The Wartburg castle is where Martin Luther spent ten months in exile, and it’s also where he translated the entire New Testament from Greek to German.
The grand party room,
the wonderfully mosaic-covered women’s room,
and the ancient chapel with preserved frescoes...
had no significance to me whatsoever, but a secluded room at the edge of the castle with only one window and simple furniture and a whale vertebra footstool was indescribably powerful for me.
You see, last year when the choir traveled to Florida we visited Wycliffe, a large company dedicated to translating the bible into every language. One of the things that stuck out to me from that visit was that they had the actual, hand-written German bible that Luther translated. Well, in the room that was so powerful to me in the Wartburg castle was the room that Luther actually translated that bible. The first non-ancient, non-Latin translation, which started a movement of biblical translation throughout the entire world, began in that one tiny room.
Yup, Luther was pretty cool.
Then we went to Erfurt.
My homestay host in Erfurt caught onto the Luther obsession of me and my roommate, Josh, and decided to take us on a night trip through the city to all the places that have to do with Luther in any way. We visited the monastery he was a part of, and the church that he was a priest at. It was awesome, but it was too dark to take pictures, so unfortunately I can’t show you any of them.
That's us walking.
I've found that graffiti in Europe is much different than the graffiti in the States. Instead of a bunch of swear words and unintelligible scribblings, the graffiti here is done by artists with some sort of message. They use a lot of stencils for their work, and it's quite cool, even though a majority of the people I've talked to hate it.
That same night my hostmom and hostsister took me and Josh out to “The Best Gelato Place in Erfurt,” and I’m pretty sure it was. Best gelato I’ve had in Germany, anyway. And the person behind the counter allowed me to do my favorite thing: take samples. I tried a bunch of them and they were wonderful, but one stuck out to me. It was called Weldmeister. When I asked my hostfamily what weldmeister is, they said they couldn’t find the right words. It was some sort of plant. Well, the gelato was delicious, so I got it. I asked my hostfamily again if they could try to explain it, and my hostsister said, “Well, weld means forest, and meister means master. So, Forest Master,” and acted like that was some sort of real answer.
Okay, so I’m eating Forest Master gelato.
After some research on Google, we found out that the English name for the plant called Weldmeister is Sweet Woodruff, which is just a plant that is sometimes used in tea and other things.
I love when things are lost in translation. It caused over an hour’s worth of laughter with my hostfamily, which was wonderful.
I was quite sad to leave Germany. I had just gotten used to how to communicate using three words and a phrase (hallo for hello, ya for yes, nein for no, and es tut mier leid for sorry), and also doing a pretty good job at reading German. And I had just learned that it is not appropriate to walk up to a bratwurst stand and use random sentences from the choir’s Bach motet—like saying, “Ich wiel mich der ehr geben .”
(That means “I want to yield myself to you.” That doesn’t necessarily make strangers feel comfortable.)
But we left, and we went to Prague in the Czech Republic, which promised to be super cool.
I’ll write about that soon.