Wanderlust war bereits ein mittelhochdeutsches Wort und beschreibt die Lust am Wandern, den steten inneren Antrieb, sich zu Fuß die Natur und die Welt fern der Heimat zu erschließen // A middle-high German word describing the joy of wandering, the constant urge to walk through nature and the world far from home.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Renovation // Day Two in Lutherstadt Wittenberg

     We have been in Lutherstadt Wittenberg for two days now, and it's hard to describe everything we have encountered without thinking I've slipped back into some kind of dream. Our dorm, the "Colleg Wittenberg," is located right off of the city plaza, a criss-crossing of cobbled roads and winding alley-ways with buildings so tall they seem to form a sort of arching tunnel at times. What is most striking, for me at least, is the unique juxtaposition of historic and commercial, crumbling and renovated, medieval and modern. Wittenberg is located in East Germany, in what used to be the DDR (Deutsche Demokratische Republik), or GDR in English. The DDR was socialist until the fall of the Berlin Wall and the reunification of the German states that followed in 1990, meaning that where we are living now has only been a unified state for about 20 years. Buildings that fell into disrepair after the war were often left that way or demolished during this time, replaced by block-ish buildings unique to the DDR.
      Lutherstadt Wittenberg is an interesting part of this transition, as it is the home of Martin Luther, and thus has high stakes in Reformation history. Yet despite its history and its ongoing renovation it is aging rapidly; young people move to bigger cities and bigger universities. The university of Faust now houses us, a group of 12 American students making their way through Germany for a semester. It's unbelievable. The community is taking action, trying to make this a place of international study once more, building hostels and dormitories to bring youth from all over the world. We are their first group here for the full semester program. They are so happy to have us here, so welcoming. The mayor's assistant rode by on his bike yesterday and came to a stop to extend about five official welcomes. He couldn't stop smiling, saying how happy they were to have us here. It's incredibly humbling.

But anyways, here are some pictures: this is where we live.

Jüdenstraβe, our street

back of the "Stadtkirche," or City Church

side of the "Rathaus," or Town Hall

side-roads and bicycles, this city's canvas even on a snowy day

the "Turm" or tower of the "Schlosskirche" or Castle Church

Rathaus again

Turm again

lovely architecture

the soup bar where we ate lunch today, delicious

I ate the "Gemüsesuppe mit Hackbällchen," or Veggie soup with meatballs

city sign in front of die Stadtkirche


an empty building...

....nestled between beautifully renovated structures

Until next time, bis später.

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