This morning we had our usual German breakfast, and sat with another couple, who made for pleasant company. At 8:45 we boarded the bus to head over to Eisenach. The group got off at the Bach house, which was to be the 11:30 AM event. We walked down to the market plaza and visited a Lutheran church, one where Luther had preached, and where Bach had been the organist. Shannon walked back to the Luther House museum and picked up some souvenirs.

“A Mighty Fortress Is Our God”

We decided to skip the Bach house and went on a brief walk in the city before stopping at a coffee house. Shannon had an Eischocolade and I had a double cappuccino. Shannon caught up on some email correspondence related to her colloquy, then we walked the city a bit. We stopped for lunch at a Doner/Pizza place. I got a Doner platter with no cabbage, so it consisted of Doner meat (which seemed like ham), fries, and lettuce and onion. Garlic sauce was dumped on it. Shannon got a pizza with pepperoni, mushrooms, and onions. The pizza seemed to be about the same quality as a Hunt Brothers from a gas station, but the Doner platter was great. I ended up finishing Shannon’s pizza and she finished the fries and Doner meat.

We walked the city a bit more, went in a couple shops, and stopped at an ATM, then returned to the bus drop off point around 1:30. I saw a computer store with some historical hardware, including from the GDR, on display. At 2pm, the bus drove us up the hill to the drop off point for the Wartburg Castle. We took a cab up the hill for 6 EUR, along with two other couples. The rest of the group walked up 244 along with a bunch of steep paths. The cab was definitely the right choice.

You had to pay 2 EUR for a photo pass inside the castle, so we only took exterior photos. This castle was quite impressive, though not as much as the Veste Coburg, I’d say. We went through an entry point that may have at one point been a carriage house. Most of the rooms it is a guess at this point what they functioned as. The castle also was notably not built for defensive/military purposes, but to show the wealth and power of the family that built it.

The next room up is called The Knights Hall. It is supposed the Knights may have stayed in the room. Not too many men would’ve been accommodated there, but it did have an impressive reconstructed fireplace. Up a floor was the Duke’s room and the Elizabeth Bower. The entire castle seemed to be devoted to the myth and legend of St. Elizabeth, and her works with the poor. The Elizabeth Bower was filled with mosaics depicting her life story, although they were later additions from the 19th century. Kaiser Wilhelm II, the German leader during WWI, had some of the work done in the castle. There was also a chapel and a massive upper hall which is now used in graduation ceremonies, among other purposes.

Finally, we viewed the donkey keeper’s room, which did not even have a bed. Nor did Martin Luther’s room when he spent some months here under the alias Knight George. It was at this castle that he translated the Bible into the German language, and actually by that act standardized what would become High German.

At some point Martin Luther said while at the Wartburg he fought the devil with ink, as in with his writings. Some people took that statement literally, including possibly castle guards, who played up the story. There is (or was) an ink stain on the wall, possibly from a bottle of ink having been thrown at it. In Luther’s room, large chunks of the plaster have been chipped away, including pieces of the ink stain, from people wanting a relic of Luther’s fight with the devil using ink.

When the tour was over, we walked back down the stairs. It was not nearly as bad as the walk down from Neuschwanstein.

The hotel provided us with a buffet dinner in their restaurant tonight. One sausage I had for breakfast and again at dinner here was so good, I need to find out what it is called. It is perfectly tender salami style meat, even with a casing that had to be removed. There was some kind of chicken stew, mashed potatoes, some mildly spicy breaded fried salmon, and an assortment of other German dishes. Dessert was some weird dry nut cake with a fruitcake style topping. The later they replenished their supply of chocolate cake, which turned out to actually be white cheese cake with a crunchy bottom crust and a covering of cocoa powder. It was good.

After dinner we went to the “TV Room” which was actually just the hotel lobby, and played cards with several members of the group. They were playing a game called “Jump” which was a rummy style game. I ended up winning, although it seemed like the scorekeeper was having a bit of trouble keeping the count. Shannon was in 3rd place. They may not invite us to join them again due to our beginner’s luck! It turns out one of the ladies on the trip is also a Liverpool Rummy player, although she is used to doing it where low score wins, unlike how our family plays with the high score winning.

After the card game, we went to get an Eis. Shannon had a scoop of mint and a scoop of chocolate. I had melone, which turned out to be cantaloupe flavored, I think. It was good, probably the best Eis I had on the trip, and something I wouldn’t have normally gotten.