Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Last Weekend's Adventure

Stop! Only beavers are allowed down this trail! But I guess I'm allowed, since I am from Beaverton...

Last weekend we attempted to visit the beavers in the Dübener Heide. I say attempted because they are very elusive little guys, only emerging from their dams in twilight. We thought maybe we heard some after waiting around for nearly an hour in what we thought to be the twilight, but we sure didn't see any beavers. The only beaver we saw was on this sign. Though we did see some funny beaver traces, as you can see below. Or maybe these were also made by the park rangers to give the illusion of there actually being some beavers around.

Hey! It didn't fall down! I bet the beavers were confused when this fencepost didn't fall over.

I have to admit, I was a little disappointed in the Dübener Heide, because it was very flat with not-so-exciting scenery. I think it's worth the trip if you actually get to see some beavers, but otherwise I'm not so sure... My husband said the best part of the Dübener Heide is Wittenberg, where we stayed on Saturday night. I was really impressed with Wittenberg, this is a very beautiful small city where you get American-style portions of food at prices which seem cheap compared to Dresden. And the food is really good. And even our three star hotel was very nice, clean with a very friendly staff and a good breakfast. We were wary of three star hotels following our three star experience in Berlin, which was not so good. It wouldn't have surprised me to find some body outlines on the floor of the hotel where we stayed in Berlin, if you know what I mean.

Anyway, on to Wittenberg. This is where the reformer Martin Luther lived and nailed his 95 theses to the door of the Schlosskirche. Unfortunately, the
Schlosskirche to which he nailed his theses burned down, but you can see a door embossed with the theses at the same location. You can also climb the tower of the church for just 2 Euro to get a great view of the city.

Schlosskirche tower

The roof of the Schlosskirche.

Wittenberg is full of Martin Luther stuff, since he is the city's biggest claim to fame. You can see his house, the church where he preached, his pulpit and all that kind of stuff. The city's other, newer claim to fame is the high school which was redesigned by Friedensreich Hundertwasser, that crazy Austrian architect. This colorful assymetrical school is a refreshing change of scenery after looking at lots of historical buildings and churches and cozy courtyards. This school was originally a pre-fab building put up in the GDR times, and there were lots of other schools around that looked exactly the same. The students had the idea to ask Hundertwasser to redesign their school in the 90s, and he did it free of charge. Below are some pictures.

Finally, to top it all off, we visited Gräfenhainichen, where there is a "City of Iron": Ferropolis. This is a display of old coal mining machines, also from GDR times, and boy are they big.

If you look closely, you can see some people in the pictures, so you can get an idea how big these things are. You could go on the second one and have a look around, and I felt like I was going to puke. I'm a little afraid of heights, and it was windy up there. Unfortunately, this place could have given some more information for people like me who don't know so much about coal mining. It's neat to see the machines, but I'd like to know more about the whole situation and what the mines looked like and all that sort of jazz. Oh well, it was the end of the day and we were tired anyway.

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