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Driving On The German Autobahn

Tuesday, June 12th, 2012

You’ve just arrived in Germany at one of its major airports (Frankfurt, Munich, Berlin, etc), you’ve got your luggage; and you’re now headed to the car rental counter for a chance to drive on the infamous Autobahn (or any part of the country’s 636,000km of roads).

Ohh, perhaps in a convertible since spring and summer are so beautiful in Germany.

Errrr… put on the brakes for a moment.

Yes, driving in Germany is probably one of the most exciting things you could possibly do in your lifetime — but it ain’t no easy feat.

If you’re coming from the U.S., you’ll just need your passport and driver’s license to drive here. Otherwise, you’re required to have an International Driver’s License. Hmmm, rules already and you haven’t even gotten behind the wheel yet. ;-)

Please… those 30-inch thick road beds on the Autobahn are so worth the wait — have some patience.

A proper, valid license isn’t the only thing you’ll need. You’d better learn the “rules” of the road — and fast if you want to survive out here — one of them is never to pass on the right (big no-no).

Someone behind you flashing their high beams? Uh, Sunday Driver, get out of the left lane you’re going too slow. Whatever you do, don’t flip ’em the bird on the way by — they got the right of way.

Oh, and get this, running out of gas on the Autobahn is illegal! There’s no excuse to run out of fuel — there are service areas with Tankstellen (gas stations) every 40 – 60km. They’re open 24-hours a day, 7-days a week with restrooms and a restaurant or snack bar.

They’re like service plazas found all over the New Jersey or Pennsylvania Turnpike in the US — only better. ;-)

All right, it’s time to be serious now for a minute. Whatever you do, do not (DO NOT) drink & drive. The legal limit for blood-alcohol is .05, but Germany’s getting stricter by the minute. Some places will throw the book at you for a .03.

Want to sample the best of German beer, wine, or schnapps? Leave the keys to the Audi or Mercedes behind, OK?

If you’re not imbibing, remember to always wear your seatbelt. You’re traveling at speeds of 250 km/h (160 mph), or faster in some areas, so safety first.

Don’t worry if you find yourself in trouble. There are callboxes along the roadside to help you. You don’t even have to worry about which way to find the closest one, there are posts that point an arrow to it.

I would, however, worry about where you’re going. Germany’s road signs on the Autobahn list their routes by city (the furthest city listed first) instead of numbering east/north/whatever. You don’t want to find yourself in Stuttgart if you’re headed to Kiel, do you? Learn to read a map (or use a GPS) so you know which cities are along the way to where you’re going.

Just don’t stop along the side of Autobahn to do it — that’s illegal too. ;-)

German States In A Nutshell, Part 2

Monday, May 28th, 2012

Here it is, the much anticipated part two of my “German Federal States In A Nutshell.” There’s a lot of history, culture, and economics in each of Germany’s states. Isn’t it much easier to break it all down?

OK, OK, maybe I didn’t add every little nuance into all of them, they are snippets after all. ;-)

As a reminder, here’s Part 1 of German States.

Where did I leave off? Oh yeah…

Lower Saxony

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times — Lower Saxony is best enjoyed by bicycle. All the better to see all this agricultural landscape. Whatever mode of transportation you’re using to see this state that includes Hanover, Göttingen, and Wolfsburg, will work all the same.

You’ll certainly eat good, there’s everything from potatoes to sugar beets, and wheat that are grown around here.

Take that, Schleswig-Holstein, MeckPomm, Brandenburg, Saxony-Anhalt, Thuringia, Hesse, and North Rhine-Westphalia. Wow, would you believe that all those places border Lower Saxony? Yeah, me either.

North Rhine-Westphalia

Eighteen million people live within this most populated state, if you’d believe it. Not so hard to understand when you’ve got cities like Dortmund, Düsseldorf, Aachen, and Cologne — as well as lots of medieval architecture, half-timbered houses, and UNESCO World Heritage sites scattered throughout its many villages and towns.

Cologne is a big favorite. It’s got an annual film festival, a huge Carnival season (November to February), and the largest Gothic church in Northern Europe. If you want a picture — stand far back, its towers are 157 meters high (oh, and it took over 600 years to complete!).


This is a predominantly Catholic state that borders Baden-Württemberg, Saarland, Luxembourg, Belgium, and France. No wonder they appreciate the great wines that come straight from this region.

Viticulture might be big business here, but visiting charming cities like Trier, Speyer, Mainz, and Worms are also a must-see.


The Saarland is Germany’s smallest state, which also borders France (as well as Luxembourg and the Rhineland-Palatinate). French is widely spoken here; and you’ll find cities like Saarlouis, Neunkirchen, Saarbrücken, and Sankt Wendel.


No, this isn’t the land of the Saxons of the Germanic Tribes, but where you’ll be when you’re visiting Leipzig, Dresden, Zwickau, and Chemnitz. It’s also a wine region, has mountains, and castles. Sadly it isn’t known for being a top spot for tourists to Germany, though you’d miss out big time not to spend some time here too!

Besides, did you know that recent excavations have found 29 million year old fossils?

Hmm, maybe more people will come to visit from now on? :-)


Saxony-Anhalt is proud of its rustic Harz Mountains, Martin Luther, and the Romanesque Route that winds its way through this state.

Consequently, you’ll want to pay a visit to Magdeburg, Wittenberg, and Halle.


Bordering the North Sea and the Baltic Sea, this state is home to one of the most famous nude beaches in the country — on the Island of Sylt, if you’re wondering.

It’s also where you’ll find the annual Cabbage Festival (September), hear Low German, North Frisian, and Danish all spoken in the same place. Try a delightful dish known as Rote Grütze made with custard and berries (take your pick — strawberries, raspberries, currants, whatever, it’s yummy).


This is the last of Germany’s federal states — but certainly not the least. Known as Thüringen in German, Thuringia was once home to Martin Luther, since he went to school in Erfurt. Erfurt’s also where you find the country’s oldest synagogue (11th century), the Rennsteig (a gorgeous hiking trail), and great cities like Eisenach and Weimar.

Wouldn’t be the ultimate dream trip to visit all of Germany’s states? Don’t you wish you had that kind of time? Maybe I should get out from behind the computer — and travel more, huh? ;-)

German States In A Nutshell, Part 1

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012

The fact that Germany has sixteen federal states it might be hard to keep track of what’s what, and where’s where. Sure it would be nice to visit the Bavarian Alps then shoot over to chill out on the North Sea coast, but considering they’re nowhere near each other — you’ve got a lot of ground to cover between them.

Ya get what I’m talking about? Good thing I’m here to help you understand each of Germany’s states, and their unique culture.

Oh wait, this is only Part 1 — so here are the first eight.


Some of Germany’s most famous cities are located within this state; Stuttgart, Heidelberg, and Freiburg to name a few. This is also a famous wine producing region, as well as where you’ll find the Black Forest and the Bertha Benz Memorial Route, Lake Constance, and a huge Oktoberfest that’s second only to Munich’s.


Yeah, speaking of Munich, Bavaria is where you’ll find this beer partying town that attracts millions of visitors for this September festival. But, beer isn’t its only attraction (shocked, considering this is where the German Purity Laws for beer started).

The Bavarian Alps dramatic landscape is extraordinary. No wonder some 12 million people live in this state that borders not only Lake Constance, Baden-Württemberg, Hesse, Thuringia, and Saxony — but also the Czech Republic, Austria, and Switzerland.

Geography aside, Bavaria’s home to the Franconian Wine Region, has delicious Weisswurst to eat, and your chance to see folks dressed in lederhosen and the traditional dirndl.


Yes, I’m fully aware that Berlin is Germany’s capital city, though it’s also a federal state (totally surrounded by Brandenburg). I’m still not sure how the city has managed to have over 700 hotels, 135 million visitors a year, over 150 museums, and some of the liveliest nightlife — when over a third of it is covered by parks, gardens, lakes, and forests. What a unique mix!


This state doesn’t include Berlin, mind you (wait, didn’t I just say that in the paragraph above). Brandenburg’s capital is Potsdam, but with countless parks, lakes, national parks (including the Spree Forest) you’ll have a heckava excellent time hiking or bicycling around this part of the country.


Yet another state that’s also a city — and Bremen also includes Bremerhaven. The city of Bremen has been a free city for centuries (its Roland statue from 1404 proves it), and its Marktplatz is one of the most beautiful in the country.

Bremerhaven is a port town that’s a perfect setting for the German Maritime Museum. The weather’s great during the summer — where temperatures rarely (if ever) get above 30° C or 85° F. Quite cool if you’ve ever spent the summer in the European South. ;-)


Germay’s second largest city seems to have an even better climate than Bremerhaven (average summer highs are only in the 20s/70s); and has a cityscape that’s got to be seen to be believed. It’s a gay-friendly city with an opera house, almost 4 dozen theaters, and 60 museums.

While you’re here try the local Birnen, Bohnen und Speck — a dish made from pears, beans, and bacon. After a day of mudflat hiking at the Wadden Sea National Park, you’re bound to be starving.


Inasmuch as Brandenburg is a nature lovers dream destination, Hesse could rival it in a heartbeat. Yeah, this might be where you’ll find cities like the cosmopolitan Frankfurt am Main, academic Darmstadt, and medieval Kassel — I’d pretty much say the Westerwald, Taunus Mountains, and the Vogelsberg are the real showstoppers.

Just one thing: you better behave yourself while your here; Hesse is the only state in Germany that still has the death penalty — YIKES!

Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania

Bordering Schleswig-Holstein, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania is Germany’s least populated federal state. Doesn’t that sound great when you want to get away from the masses? Hey, with over 280 nature reserves and 14 national parks — there ain’t no room for people, I guess. ;-)

Just kidding, but this state that’s got Chalk Cliffs, borders the Baltic Sea, and over a thousand megalithic monuments is often not given the respect it truly deserves.

Don’t worry, MeckPomm, as you’re lovely called… I’ll be right here on this blog to sing your praises — just as soon as I can tear myself away from your chalky cliffs, OK?

Stay tuned for Part 2 (next week). There’s so much more in store. :-)

German Sauna Etiquettes, Naked

Monday, May 7th, 2012

Let’s talk a bit about the ins & outs of the etiquette in a German sauna, including the etiquette of being naked in a German sauna. ;-)

Don’t laugh, don’t giggle, don’t think I’m writing this for shock value. The German sauna experience — clothed or not — isn’t cheap and tawdry, it’s purely for health benefits.

The first thing you gotta do before settling into either a sauna or steamroom is shower, shower, shower.

Next, never let your skin touch the benches, always use a towel.

And while any one of you ladies might be sitting right next to a chippendales lad, it’s never polite to stare. The same holds true, of course, for you gentlemen sitting right next to a baywatch chick!

Oh, did I just gloss over the fact that men & women often share the same sauna? Nude? In North American culture, for instance, this is shocking, but not so in Deutschland.

Often a sauna will have same gender specific times throughout the day, so if you aren’t willing to go totally bare in front of the opposite-sex, check the schedule.

Some saunas will allow children, and if you’re gonna bring yours in to experience the “healing properties,” just make sure they keep the noise to a bare minimum.

Yeah, that’s about as easy to do as threading a needle with a limp spaghetti noodle. ;-)

Plus, leave your mobile phone outside. Besides the fact that a sauna’s climate is completely inappropriate for gadjets, no one wants to hear details about your sister’s nasty divorce or your best friend’s gastric bypass surgery. ;-)

Another no-no is either entering or leaving during the Aufguss, the “ceremonial” act of pouring water over the hot stones (times are posted). When all is said & done, it’s only right to applaude them for their efforts.

Just in case I’ve missed something, you’ll generally find a list of rules posted right outside the sauna doors.

Tipping And Table Etiquette In Germany

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

Ya know, Americans get a really awful rap about table manners when traveling abroad. I ain’t saying that it ain’t rightfully deserved (in some cases), but navigating your way around a restaurant in a foreign land could, well, be foreign.

As progressive as we Germans are, I’m sure we seem a bit foreign to the average traveler. So, I’ll help you figure out the simple nuances of eating like a German — even if you’re not eating traditional German cuisine.

Your first test is when you arrive at the eatery. You’re going to have to find your own seat (exceptions apply). Second, it’s not unheard of some stranger to come sit with you if the restaurant’s crowded — it’s an efficient use of space.

Don’t worry about making small talk — that’s definitely not the German way. Just eat your food and be on your merry way.

Next, see that basket of bread on the table? First rule of Economics applies here — no such thing as a free Mittagessen (that’s lunch in German), so chances are you’ll have to pay for what you ate. Just ask if you’re not sure.

You’ll even pay for condiments (ketchup, mustard, etc.) in fast-food joints. Although traditional fast-food in Germany is the Döner Kebap (served in a pita) — and never once have I seen ketchup on it. So eat that — and you’ll be fine.

All right, your food’s arrived, now what? Um, good manners say that you don’t eat until everyone has their food. Also, eating with your fingers — use forks & knives to eat pizza, will you?

It’s not bad form to eat “American-style” (that’s with the fork in your right hand, cutting with the right while switching the fork to the left) — it’s just not the most efficient way to eat.

And we know how much that makes a Kraut crazy, right? ;-)

Want to see a German get really indignant? Ask for a glass of tap water with or before your meal. You’d think you had just sprouted a third eye and a turned purple. Actually, I think that would garner less of a reaction. Do yourself a favor, if you want water drink Mineralwasser (sparkling water like Pellegrino or Perrier).

You’re fed. You’ve got your drink. Now it’s time to pay the bill. I sure hope you’ve asked if the restaurant took plastic beforehand. That’s right, even the best restaurants don’t always take your Master, Visa, or AMEX card.

And, never, never, never, leave your tip on the table for your server. It’s customary to round up your bill (usually 5-10%), telling your waitress or waiter what you’ll pay, then give it to them.

Just don’t ask ’em to wrap up your leftovers in a Doggy-bag. That’s almost as bad as asking for that tap water. ;-)

Punctual German Rail = Great Time

Monday, October 17th, 2011

Those with the travel-bug most likely love anything that has to do with planes, trains, and/or cars. Am I right?

I know I do. Yet, this isn’t about planes or automobiles, really. It’s all about the trains.

Germany’s network of trains is exceptional; offering a handful of choices for your train travel needs.

Suppose you’re in the Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria, or Belgium; and you got this burning desire to come to Deutschland? By the time you’ve gone through airport security, managed to get your clothes & stuff back on, and sit on the tarmac for umpteen hours—you’d have already been there if you hopped on the ICE Train (these babies do 300 k/h or 186mp/h, so they’re really, really, REALLY fast).

Um, that’s the Inter-country rail line; but, not the only one. Express service of the ICE will take you nonstop on intra-German lines (like Berlin to Frankfurt, Hamburg to Duisburg, you get the point).

Don’t want to kill a day traveling? Use the Night Train (called the DB Nachtzug). Oh, this is a gem of a line—with sleepers, couchettes, and women-only compartments with routes taking you to/from Berlin, Munich, Copenhagen, and Prague (to name a few). There’s even room for your bicycle onboard.

Already in one of Germany’s big cities, and want to head out towards the suburbs? You won’t need the night train or the ICE—you’ll take the S-Bahn. No women-only compartments needed since most travel is within a 60km radius of any major city. They’re quick, they’re convenient, they’re punctual, and they’re affordable.

Better than having to fight your way to the center of town from the airport, I think.

Even better that just about everything runs on-time in Germany. Being punctual is of the utmost importance to us! ;-)

It’s also important to easily buy your ticket, too. Most of Germany’s train tickets can be bought on as well as at the stations themselves, even on the trains (with a small surcharge).

Wow, what a great (easy, affordable) way to see the German countryside and the best of its cities, no?

Methodical Germany Makes For Memorable Museums

Monday, August 29th, 2011

In some ways it is stereotypical German behavior to be punctual and methodical. Kind of like, if you have to work late, there’s got to be something WRONG with you. Right?

Maybe this is why we love museums so much; where everything is categorized, labeled, and methodically documented. “Sniff-sniff,” it’s a beautiful thing, isn’t it?

Germany’s got a museum for just about everything and anything under the stars. Don’t want to be stuck indoors on a fine weather afternoon? No big deal, there are outdoor museum scattered all over the country, including the Winsen Museum Farm and the Hagen Westphalian Open-Air Museum.

Got a penchant for following military and war history? Check out the German Tank Museum, Königstein Fortress, and the Luftwaffenmuseum der Bundeswehr.

It might seem a bit odd to come all the way to Germany go see mummies. Both the cities of Bonn and Berlin house fantastic mummy exhibits at their respective museums.

Yeah, I’d think that the religious museums like the Lorsch Abbey and Michaelstein Abbey, and the Maulbronn Monastery seem a more likely choice to be found within the country.

But, I did say we like museums — so never mind.

Honestly, the land that IS modern day Germany has been around a lot longer than people, so no wonder we got all sorts of natural history museums. The State Museum of Natural History in Stuttgart is fantastic, as is the Lower Saxony State Museum.

Oh, I didn’t even add in our two volcano museums which can be found in the Eifel Region — the German Volcano Museum Mendig a.k.a. Lava-Dome in Mendig and the Eifel Volcano Museum Daun in Daun. That counts as natural history, does it not?

And speaking of people, OF COURSE we’ve got museums dedicated to the best of the best of our homegrown sons and daughters. The Goethe House in Frankfurt am Main and the Karl Marx House in Trier are only two of the many museums that are all about famous Germans.

Germany’s Amusement Parks Help You Escape The Winter Blues

Monday, February 28th, 2011

Winter time can be a bit of a downer. The weather is cold, the excitement of the holidays is over and summer seems a long time coming.

While most of Germany’s amusement parks are closed for the winter, mid-March signals the beginning of their new season. So, if you’re longing for an escape from the winter doldrums, then an amusement park vacation may be just what the doctor ordered. ;-)


The biggest of them all is Europa-Park in Rust north of Freiburg with over four million visitors each year. Europa-Park has fifteen parts or “lands” you can visit, from Russia and Iceland to Spain and Portugal. The park was founded by the vehicle-making Mack family, who opened it in 1975 as a showcase for their latest inventions.

Don’t miss one of the newest super-thrill roller coaster and the first upside-down ride, the Blue Fire. Balthasar Castle is the Cinderella centerpiece, complete with its own moat.

Bayern Park

A more traditional and charming outing can be found at Bayern Park in Reisbach, 126 km (78 mi) east of Munich.

The Bayern Park is not your everyday modern amusement park filled with adrenaline rides, but its charm lies in the simplicity of its attractions. Relaxing train rides, beautiful mock architecture and fun family rides ensure that you’ll still have a great time. Highlights include the mandatory roller coaster, river rafting, pirate ships, boat rides and the Schweinchenbahn (pig train).

Holiday Park

Holiday Park is a popular destination for the whole family, located in Haßloch in the Palatinate region. Here you will find carousels, extreme roller coasters, free fall rides, log flumes and relaxing boat and train rides.

With over one million visitors each year, Holiday Park is half-theme park, half-nature park with a very green, wooded environment.

Bavaria Filmstadt

Movie lovers will want to check out the Bavaria Filmstadt in the Geiselgasteig district of Grünwald (just south of Munich).

Bavaria Filmstadt gives its visitors a behind-the-scenes peek at the world of TV and movie making. The guided tours of Filmstadt offer some great insider stories and anecdotes about life in the movies. You’ll also gain some insight into the production of movies and TV. The film tour takes you through many famous sets of German programs and the 1980s kiddie film, The Never-Ending Story.

Some highlighted shows featured at this park include German soap operas and the comedy Raumschiff Surprise-Periode 1.


Finally, the adrenaline junkies will want to book their tickets for my personal favorite German theme park, Phantasialand in Brühl (just south of Cologne). Rides like the Colorado Adventure, Talocan and Black Mamba will take you through hairpin turns, corkscrews, dark tunnels and a final splash as you barrel along on these extreme coasters. If that weren’t enough, there is also a unique collection of Chinese architecture, reconstructed German capitals and world folk music.

You’re missing some of our theme parks?

Don’t sweat. There are much more incredible theme parks in Germany, all of which will thrill, entertain and help you create new, wonderful memories.


Trace The Legacy Of Frederick The Great

Monday, February 14th, 2011

January 24, 1712 was the birth date of one of Germany’s most celebrated leaders. On that day, Frederick II –future king of Prussia, later known as Frederick the Great — was born in Berlin.

His birth was greeted with much rejoicing by both family and the Prussian people as two previous heirs had died at young ages. As the son of the Soldier-King, Frederick William I, young Frederick naturally rebelled against his strict, aggressive father, even attempting to run away.

However, as the saying goes, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Frederick II, upon becoming king, soon became feared and famous for his own war-like nature after a string of successful attacks on Austria and Silesia.

But this war-hardened king also had a softer side. He was a talented musician who played the flute and composed over one hundred sonatas for his favorite instrument. He was a polyglot who spoke Spanish, French, English, Italian and Portuguese, and dabbled in ancient Latin, Greek and Hebrew.

His love for the arts is apparent in many of the buildings that he commissioned, which are a great way for the casual traveler to appreciate his impressive legacy.

We begin at the Berlin State Opera on the famous street of Unter den Linden and designed by the famed Georg Wenzeslaus von Knobelsdorf. Next is the Royal Library, which today is no longer royal, simply the State Library of Berlin. St. Hedwig’s Cathedral is another of his famous creations. This eye-catching building with its distinctive light blue dome is a landmark Roman Catholic Church on the Bebelplatz. And then there’s Prince Henry’s Palace, now the site of Humboldt University, the oldest in Berlin.

But the best and finest example of what came to be known as “Frederician Rococo” style architecture is surely the masterpiece at Sanssouci Palace. You’ll have to travel a bit outside the capital city to visit this palace and garden, situated in the nearby suburb of Potsdam. (This is still easily reached from Berlin using the fabulous public transportation system. Just hop aboard tram number 7!)

Sanssouci is the French word for “without worries.” Frederick meant this place to be a refuge and sanctuary from the rigors and responsibilities of governance. The result is a not-to-be-missed tourist attraction that features terraced gardens, wonderful fountains, and numerous fantastic “follies.” A folly is the architectural term for an extravagant garden decoration.

At Sanssouci, you’ll see a Turkish mosque and minaret, a Chinese tea garden, a few obelisks, Roman baths and temples.

You may find yourself believing you’ve stepped into a carefree fantasy world filled with these amazing follies, an abundance of fruit trees and hedge-lined walkways. If so, then Frederick’s greatest legacy — creating a worry-free garden that transports you to a different world — has been accomplished. ;-)


The Protestant Reformation And The Luther Trail

Monday, January 3rd, 2011

In 1517, Martin Luther nailed his paper, 95 Theses, to the door of the Wittenberg Castle Church and unknowingly, began a revolution. This was the spark of the Protestant Revolution which quickly spread throughout Europe.

During his life, Luther spent much time researching, translating and moving about while trying to avoid the wrath of the Catholic Church. You can easily find Martin Luther-themed tours online that will take you to some of these most historic and significant places.

Begin your journey here with us today as we discover the highlights of the Martin Luther Trail. :-)

Eisleben, 1483

We begin in the Saxon-Anhalt city of Eisleben, which is Luther’s birthplace, as well as the site of his death in 1546. You can visit the reformer’s childhood home and learn about what life was like in those old times. Or, for those who prefer a more macabre tour, take a look at where he drew his final breath and where his death mask is on display.

While in Eisleben, you can also view the churches connected to Luther. Peter and Paul Church was the site of his baptism and Andreas Church was where he delivered his last sermon. And finally, snap a picture of the Lutherdenkmal (Luther Monument) in Old Town.

Erfurt, 1501

Our next stop brings us to Erfurt in Thuringia. Much of Luther’s religious beginnings can be traced to this city. Erfurt is where he entered an Augustinian monastery and also where he became an ordained priest at the famed Cathedral in 1507.

Wittenberg, 1512

If you can only visit one Lutheran city during your time here, then Wittenberg should be at the top of the list. The town is officially named Lutherstadt Wittenberg because of its strong ties with Luther. This is the birthplace of the Reformation, where Luther posted his 95 Theses on the door of the Church, as you know.

When you’ve finished your tour of the Castle Church and its famous door, you can check out the Luther Museum and take your picture with one of the several statues of Luther.

Augsburg, 1518

Augsburg is important in the life of Luther because it is where he was confronted by the Cardinal who demanded that he submit to the Catholic Pope and recant his new theories. Luther’s famous refusal set the stage for his life as a religious outlaw.

Worms, 1521

Luther further refuted the will of the Catholic Church here during the Imperial Diet of Worms. He spoke those immortal words, “Here I stand, I can do no other.” After this, he was officially proclaimed a heretic and an outlaw. His immediate arrest and/or assassination was ordered. It became a crime to offer him any food, shelter or other assistance.

Wartburg Castle, 1522

Wartburg Castle defied the Catholic Church by providing sanctuary for Luther for about one year. He spent his time in solitude, translating the Bible into German for the first time, and living under the assumed identity of “Knight George.”

The castle still showcases its Luther Room with its large hole behind the stove. This is, according to legend, where Luther threw an ink pot at the devil.

Veste Coburg, 1530

Luther remained here under the protection of Elector John the Steadfast while his emissary Melanchthon attended the Diet of Augsburg. The document he brought with him, known as the Augsburg Confession, was denied by the Catholic diet, but has become the statement of faith for Lutheran Christians all over the world.


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