Exploring former East Germany with its vast history through recent times behind the Iron Curtain. 2016 was the eve of the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation and a great time to walk in the footsteps of Martin Luther as the historic sites were being prepared for the 2017 Anniversary Celebrations.

Experiencing the places where Martin Luther was born, baptized and grew up was eye opening to learn about his life and how his thinking and ideas took shape. Erfurt, where Martin Luther went to the University and then changed his plans to become a monk and priest, is a delightful city well worth the time to tour and visit. It is a historic and vibrant place where you can feel the texture of the history as you traverse the streets and alleys.

It was pleasantly surprising to see the towns and cities in Northern and Eastern Germany celebrating the holiday season. Many travelers have the impression it is only in the southern regions of the country with Christmas Markets (Christkindl Markt’s and Weinachts Markt’s) and it was great to experience wonderful markets throughout the country where each is proclaiming to be the best.

Advent Season (4 weeks before Christmas) is a wonderful time to explore the country and share the wonderful cultural practices in each separate location.

Visiting Berlin, Potsdam, Erfurt, Eisenach, Eisleben, Dresden, Nürnberg, Bavarian Forest, Regensburg and Munich each have wonderful markets in addition to all the sites to see outside of the seasonal festivities.