Sunday, June 7, 2009

Eisenach and Erfurt

Before I start this entry, I want to prove to you that the dogs here really are happy.  Check out this creeper from Eisenach.
On our way from Weimar to Erfurt, we stopped in Eisenach, the birthplace of Bach. It wasn’t really anything spectacular; we didn’t even see his house, which is now turned into a museum.  Lame.

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.

Whatever, haha. 

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.

Peace, all. 


  1. Hahahahah that dog is quite creepy, but you have definitely proved your point.

    It's a little bit hilarious how small that hot dog bun is! Looks gross to me but I can guess that you loved it :).

    I want to say again that it is absolutely AMAZING that you stood where Luther stood, and went in the room where he translated the bible and walked the same streets he walked every day, etc., etc!! So cool!! Also very nice of your host family to show you more!

    And Erfurt is beautiful, I love those pictures--especially the first two from that town!

    Forest Master gelato sounds delicious. Hahahha.

    And I think I want to hear more about why you told a bratworst vendor you wanted to yield yourself to him! :)

    Love you,

  2. Oh, and I think the graffiti is really cool too!

  3. I think the graffiti is cool too but i can see why the locals don't like it!
    I think the coolest thing is that you stayed with a host family. That's probably the best way to learn about the city-ask a local.
    It's great following your blog-almost as cool as being there! Well not really, but its still really cool :o)
    Have fun and stay safe.

  4. Wow Chuckie, really amazing photos and blog. They do need to understand the value of spacing things out a bit more though. I wonder why they cram the buildings in so close to each other and then leave a HUGE open square right across the street. I would think someone would have said, "Shoot, Scooter, how 'bout we build something over there instead?" Just a thought. They must also rethink their brat bun. Did you ask for a second bun so you could finish the brat? Your host families sound really cool. Have fun. Love you! Dad

  5. ***Comments on Pictures***
    --Pic 1—Aww that IS one happy puppy! Haha! It really cracks me up that we can see you and your friends reflection in the window, goof head!
    --Pic 2—Holy crap! I love that they have teeny-tiny buns, I think it’s brilliant! I think all the bun I really need is to keep my fingers from getting burnt on the brat. Then you can fully appreciate the brat without the silly bread getting in the way. ; ) On a very serious note, do they have breakfast sausage in Germany?! You should REEEALLY find that out. Delicious… = )
    -- Pic 9—I love when you take the pig city pictures! Those stairs look awkward like the ones at Bethel University… Did you climb up alllll of those stairs just to take this picture, or were you already up there and heading down? I’m impressed if you walked all of the way up there just for a picture! =) Is there some kind of farmers market happening down there?
    --Pic 12—The trees on the street are even fancy all trimmed and shaped!

    Christie- I agree.. not quite sure why Brian wanted to yield himself to the street vendor… humm…
    Dad- Hehe “chucky”… that made me giggle I haven’t heard that in years!
    Brian- I hope you were able so sleep in on Sunday like you were planning… I’m not sure how easy that would be in a hostel... It was much fun skyping you on Saturday! I’m glad that it worked out for the girls to run over quick. Tanya’s last day is tomorrow and Afton’s last day is on Wednesday so they will have time to follow your blog after finals.

  6. A question that nobody seems to be asking....why were you in the "wonderfully mosaic covered women's room" and is it really a bathroom?

    I love that you get along so well with your host families...they must speak a fair amount of English? Do a lot of people there speak English?

    the second photo of graffiti kinda looks like our type of graffiti...maybe those are swear words in German?

    Can't wait for the next blog about Austria! I know you're busy having a marvelous time and all....but were waaaaaaaaaaaaaiting for your next blog! :-)

    Love yoU!

  7. MY ANSWERS: to your wonderful questions

    haha, dad. you seem to have a lot of ideas about what could make germany better. perhaps you should move here. :)

    yes, they have breakfast sausage in europe. not like we have breakfast sausage, but they always have sausage for breakfast. i've had SO MUCH sausage, i'm getting close to delirious. :)

    hahaha, the "women's room" really just meant "room for women," not a bathroom, MOM. :)

    the blog's coming...sorry. hopefully i'll post it tonight. patience, people!

  8. PATIENCE??? Silly boy....we're all still in America! We don't KNOW the meaning of patience! We want everything now, Now, NOW! :-)