Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Gifts of Freedom - Day 1

So much freedom - personal, political, and philosophical.   Our travels to Berlin put us in touch with these ideas.

We decided on Monday that we would travel to Berlin on Tuesday.  We made reservations (Leonardo Royal Berlin Hotel near the Alexander Platz - we can recommend it!) and proceeded to make arrangements to travel the next day.  The trip north would include a detour to Vacha to obtain copies of birth records that Peter translated for a friend and then misplaced.  The drive was over new ground and after Nürnberg, it began to snow.  Little did we realize that we were about to enter into a 5 day transportation nightmare for Germany - wrecks on the autobahn, late trains, and grounded planes - all due to heavy snowfall.  Somehow Micky's travel angel found us and we slipped through the magical portal which allowed us to drive swiftly and quietly, and without a single delay.

After 4.5 hours, we reached Vacha at 2:55 pm.  We had called the records clerk that morning and she told us that she would leave for the day at 3 pm and the office would not be open the next day.  Whew!  While Peter was in the office, I looked around.  Even though a lovely hotel sits in the square, the town continues to suffer from Soviet times.  Desolate, lonely and gray.  When Peter came out of the building, I said that we should move on.  He seemed a little surprised but after he told me that one of the women in the building had immediately flirted with him - asking his age and his business in town... etc.  I became even more certain that we should leave.  Hmmrrph!  Even a coffee house was hard to find.

So we pushed on to Eisenach which is a town that lies northeast of Vacha and closer to the autobahn that we would use the next day.  In one of those "Aha" moments, my historian husband said that he thought he knew something about Eisenach but he couldn't quite pull it up.  All of a sudden, he spurted out "Oh my goodness ... this is the town where Martin Luther went to school and under the protection of the prince - he translated the New Testament into German." 

Well, obviously we needed to spend the night there.  And so we did...  in a beautiful hotel with a room overlooking the park and the old gate - The Nikolaitor.  It snowed during the evening and was absolutely stunning.   The story of the hotel will be told in the next post!

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