Category Archives: Germany
Martin Luther Sightseeing in Germany
Before we go anywhere, we read books and watch movies so that the boys are already learning before we get there. They really enjoyed learning all of the history about Martin Luther and the Reformation. We went to Wartburg Castle first, on our way to Berlin. And on our way back, we stopped in Wittenberg. Wartburg Castle is where Martin Luther hid when he was considered an outlaw and a heretic. While he was there, he translated the Bible into German. This castle was very, very old and built in 1067. Goethe also stayed in this castle for a little while, and it is an UNESCO world heritage site.
The view was just so pretty!St. Elizabeth’s Chapel Martin Luther’s roomThe Castle Church where Martin Luther nailed the 95 Theses to the church doors. The University Wittenberg used these doors to put up important announcements. Martin Luther is also buried in this church. It is also connected to Schloss Wittenberg.You can see the top of St. Mary’s church, which was where Martin Luther preached. They also had the first mass in German and communion was given to everyone in this church. This town also has the densest concentration of World Heritage sites in one area.
The first Protestant church service was held at St. Mary’s church in 1521. Old Market Square in Wittenberg with a statue of Luther.This little town also had canals. The other image is the front of St. Mary’s church.Altarpiece in St. Mary’s church.Students scratched their names on the back of the alterpiece, depending on whether they thought they were going to – the river of knowledge, if they were good at their studies, or Hell, if they were not. Luther’s son Johannes scratched his name on the right, but ended up doing better in school later.This is Lutherhaus, which was an amazing museum of his life. It was pretty incredible.This was his pulpit, and he also established the first community chest.This tree marks the spot where Luther burned the Papal Bull and Extermination in December of 1520.Another view of the Castle Church.
Our Trip to Berlin
Berlin was our first overnight trip since London in February, so we were really excited for this trip. We planned some Martin Luther sights along the way and on the way back, which I’ll share those when I get them editedI cannot even imagine the grand number of photos I have taken since moving to Europe. We planned a walking tour in Berlin since we would not be there long. I really like to research, read reviews, and always, look in my guide books for recommendations when planning trips. Another travel tip is to use google maps. When I’m planning a trip, I like to save a list in google maps that includes our hotel and all of the places we want to see and then maybe want to see if there’s time. We can organize our days by location and then also if you have extra time, you can bring up your list and see what’s nearby. With all the researching I do, we ended up booking Nick Jackson for a walking tour of Berlin, and it was the best use of our time. It was such a great tour, and the kids loved that Nick is a real archaeologist. We ended up recommending this tour to friends who just went recently and they also loved this tour so much. Of course, there is so much history in Berlin and no way to do it all in one trip, but we thoroughly enjoyed what we got to see and the added bonus of so much yummy food. It was also a neat time to visit because we were surprised at what a ghost town Berlin was. The sidewalks were empty and we really didn’t see many people. Another highlight of our trip was our brief stop into the Bonhoeffer house. Owen really loved learning about Dietrich Bonhoeffer after reading this book, and it was truly memorable for him to visit the Bonhoeffer house.
Checkpoint Charlie – crossing point between West and East BerlinOn one side there is an American soldier (you can read about him here) and on the other is a Soviet soldier.You gotta love that there is a KFC here.We have to take a photo when we see Keller somewhere. Also, in front of the Reichstag. Brandenburg Gate – so much history here and Napoleon was the first to use the gate for a triumphant procession.This was a powerful memorial to the Sinit and Roma – you can see the Reichstag right behind it. The East Berlin Rabbits
Soviet memorial to the 2,000 soldiers that died when fighting to liberate Berlin in 1945. The marble is from Hitler’s Chancellery and you can see the bullet holes.The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe was just so powerful. Underneath this parking lot was where the Fuhrerbunker was where Hitler killed himself. Our tour guide helped write the information and was listed on this sign.This profile is a tribute to George Elser who planted a bomb to try to kill Hitler. This is one of the remaining buildings with Nazi architecture in Berlin – it was the Ministry of Aviation and is now the German Finance Ministry.We learned so many daring stories of those who crossed the Berlin Wall.No summer day in Germany is complete without ice cream.The top of this building had one of the remaining Nazi eagles. We also had some tasty cinnamon rolls in Berlin.Trip to the Bonhoeffer House.This was Dietrich’s room – where he wrote part of Ethics and they also found a Resistance manuscript he was working on. Dietrich was arrested by the Gestapo in this house.
Our Trip to Freiburg, Germany
Freiburg is a super cute town in the Black Forest, that we just LOVED. One thing that has been fun about traveling in Germany is just seeing how unique and special each town is. Freiburg is known as Germany’s sunniest city and also the capital of the Black Forest. We just did a car day trip from Heidelberg and also explored parts of the Black Forest, but some friends recently rented a tree house and stayed in the Black Forest for the weekend, which also sounded really fun. Where we parked, we just happened to walk right up to the St. Martin Tower or the Martinstor, which I just LOVED. My kids celebrated St. Martin’s Day with some sweet friends in North Carolina before we moved to Germany, so they loved celebrating it in Heidelberg, too. (You can read more about St. Martin’s Day here) If you’ve been following my instagram stories, you probably know that I’ve been collecting a little German village, which my kids just love. We walked into a little shop in Freiburg by the church that happened to be selling some of the village, and so we got the St. Martin’s Tower, just so special. When we are in smaller towns, we love following the Rick Steve’s city walks. It’s perfect for this town (you can get the Rick Steve’s Germany book here) I like having the kindle versions because it’s easier to highlight, smaller to carry around with you out in cities, but sometimes you can’t get every book in the Kindle version.
Outside the Town hall buildings, you can find the coat of arms from Freiburg’s sister cities.Goiters were so common in the Middle ages that they were included in the gargoyles. This house also has a little plaque to show that Erasmus visited there.On the church, you can see the different sizes that bread should be so customers weren’t cheated when buying bread at the market. You can also see how the sizes changed during different years.The church has a very special gargoyle which the boys, of course, thought was hysterical. (You can read about it here.)They finally found the gargoyle. Notice the beautiful Historical Merchant’s Hall behind them.Another thing we loved about Freiburg are these! So beautiful and made out of Rhine River Stones. They match their building. (knife shop)The Swabian Gate – It has pictures of salt mining and also a reminder to stay on the right path (picture of a person pulling a thorn out of their foot) as they exit Freiburg. The little canals were just so cute. I was worried I was going to end up falling before we left Freiburg, because I kept forgetting about them when going in and out of the two shops we went in. They are called Bachle and were built to stop fires – they could flood the streets and also a source of water.This part of the city was my favorite! So beautiful.They also sell adorable little boats for the kids that they can sail in the little canals. It is a legend that if you fall in, you have to marry a Freiburger which we still joke with the kids about. We loved just how unique Freiburg is, and it’s perfect little spot to explore the Black Forest from. Also, across from Starbucks is a super cute bakery worth a stop. When we were there, they had white chocolate asparagus! (White asparagus is big in Germany this time of year.