Check out the Photo Galleries: 1, 2, 3
Allee on the way to the Gier Ferry in Anhalt
We'd passed through tree-lined streets before Coswig-Anhalt but as we entered the lands of the Princes von Anhalt, just before the Gier Ferry, we saw a sign that explained that old German streets lined with trees were called allees. On our left were what Ludwig had called head willows because the practice was to cut them down to a bulb which was their 'head'. On the right was a row of older hard wood trees. In the distance were the bright yellow Anwalt castle and a ferry rigged up with heavy wire pullies that would lever us across the fast flowing Elbe.
Although our daughter Jennifer and I have written about the parasitic plant mistletoe in Ten of the Deadliest Plants (Rubicon 2007) I haven't seen mistletoe until this trip along the Elbe. I now regularly see its fatal presence on softwood trees, When birds have carried the seeds for ten or more of these infestations to a host tree, these balls of green, that at first appear to be birds' nests, kill.
Gates to the past
Our host at the Black Bear Inn in Wittenberg drove us to where we started our walk today. En route he stopped at the home on the Elbe where he grew up and where he now resides. Near his home, he showed us the gates to where there was a forced labour camp during WWII. The labourers who were prisoners of war, daily went 6 km to and from work in an explosives factory. After the war, the site of the camp was covered in huge piles of slag from the industrial compounds that ring Wittenberg today.
Doors that changed the world
Although there is some debate about where and how Martin Luther posted the theses that led to the Protestant Reformation, there is no doubt that he caused a rift with the Catholic Church that changed the world. Today, at the location where he is said to have posted his ‘Diet of Worms' there is a metal door that is inscribed with his 95 points. Thereafter, Martin Luther, a former monk married Katherina Bora former nun … and the rest as they say, is history.
An important meeting in Wittenberg
My faithful companion Judy Stonkus and I had a wonderful evening Apr 16 in Wittenberg with Dr. Gerd Gruber an art collector from Wittenberg and Ludwig Hendricks, a collector and art patron from Bonn who has worked with me on art historical articles. Ludwig had taken the six hour train ride from Bonn to take part in the personally guided tour of Dr Gruber's "Aufbrauch der Moderne" a single exhibition on view in two locations: the City Hall and in the Cranach House in Wittenberg. Dr Gruber's far ranging and comprehensive collection features many of the artists who are part of my art historical research. Since his collection contains many works from the Nazi period, I hope to work towards an exhibition of some of his works in Canada.