Wittenberg to Bad Schmiedeberg

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Schloss Reinharz: greenery, blossom, reflections and a pleasing degree of dilapidation

It was dismissive of me not to give more time to Wittenberg’s pleasures, as it is a handsome town, and both it and Jüterbog are getting ready for 2017 – the 500th anniversary of the publication of Luther’s 95 theses. So here is the Stadtkirche:

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and here is Wittenberg from the south side of the Elbe:

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The tower of the Schlosskirche of theses fame is on the left

As regards wildlife today, there was a bird of prey hovering over one of the Elbe ponds,

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another hare, and a black squirrel in Bad Schmiedeberg’s Kurpark.

The Bergwitzer See is another opencast mine which has been flooded (this time in the 1950s) and landscaped. Much as I appreciate the attempts to repair the damage to the land, I always find these artificial lakes a bit disconcerting. To my mind – used to lochs and corries – the flatness of the surrounding land is just wrong: there should be a backdrop of hills. Too many horizontals, so I had to add a tree:

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Then through some bucolic countryside to Bad Schmiedeberg. We translate “Bad” as “spa”‘ but we just don’t have these kind of places in Britain. They’re more like convalescent towns than convalescent homes, testament to the German preoccupation with health and some rather odd ways of promoting it. (Homeopathy, anyone?) They are always full of people on crutches – recovering from hip operations, perhaps? – and elderly people of varying degrees of sprightliness. The clinical buildings are extensive, and there is usually a Jugendstil Kurhaus somewhere in a Kurpark.

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Bad Schmiedeberg was no exception, and the gardens were delightful, mixing formal beds with established trees in a naturalistic setting. I certainly felt a sense of wellbeing wandering around the park

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but realised how thoroughly I have accepted our government’s austerity agenda when my next thought was to wonder how Germany could afford all this!

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