Friday, November 9, 2012

Weimar in October 2012

Remember? I started the first blog of my Weimar quadrology telling you about Elisabeth's and my recent visit to this cultural highlight but then I was carried away digging into my past Weimar experience. That happened in my second blog about Weimar too. Now in a third attempt I shall no longer go back in history but will move forward to the presence.

We took an early train at Freiburg but then suffered a delay of one hour. With our train being behind schedule we missed our connection to Erfurt in Fulda. A one hour delay on the Deutsche Bahn is typical for during daytime major train connections in Germany are served every hour.  So you just wait for the next train although seat reservations are lost. We filled the wait at Fulda's train station with a forced coffee and arrived in Weimar around 3 p.m.

Henry van der Velde advertising Weimar's onion market
Instead of star architect Walter Gropius and femme fatale Alma Mahler-Gropius-Werfel this time the founder of the Grand-Ducal School of Arts and Crafts in Weimar, the predecessor of the Bauhaus, Henry van der Velde greeted us from the balcony of the Elephant Hotel.

View on Weimar's market place from our room. In the background the Herderkirche

HE showed us the way to a souvenir shop
During an afternoon walk through the streets of Weimar we passed the National Theater ...

The well know Goethe-Schiller monument in front of the Weimar National Theater
modified: Thomas Mann Goethe's life-long venerator stands in for Friedrich Schiller. We visited the Schiller- and not the Thomas-Mann-Haus:

Entrance to Schiller's house
Photos were not allowed but I took one of the Loi du 25 Août 1792, l'an quatrième de la Liberté, signed by the great Danton himself making le sieur Gilles, publiciste Allemand, citizen of revolutionary France.

Schiller made citizen of revolutionary France
Le membre proposing the publiciste Allemand may have read Schiller's Die Räuber (The Robbers) but got his name completely wrong. Note that "called-up-late" Schiller is in company of well-known temporaries like Thomas Payne (Thomas Paine, Anglo-American political activist), Joachim-Henry Campe (Joachim Heinrich Campe, German linguist), N. Pestalozzi (Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi, Swiss pedagogue), Georges Washington (George Washington, First President of the United States), Jean Hamilton (John Hamilton, Congressman from Pennsylvania), N. Maddisson (James Madison, Fourth President of the United States) and H. Klopstock (Friedrich Gottlieb Klopstock, German poet).

Elisabeth and I closed the day having dinner at the Elephantenkeller. The round table of 1990 was still in place but this time empty. From the menu I choose a delicious Kohlroulade (stuffed cabbage leaf) and a Pilsner beer from nearby Apolda.

Delicious stuffed cabbage leaf
The following morning a guide showed us around Weimar. We saw Goethe's summer house (Gartenhaus) from a distance.

Goethe's summer house from a distance
For the afternoon we had reserved a visitor's slot for the Goethehaus and the adjacent Goethe National Museum where an exposition of artifacts documents the genius's curriculum vitae.

The evening we had dinner at Weimar's Ratskeller where I had a Rindsroulade (beef olive) that I drowned in and downed with the usual Köstritzer Schwarzbier.

Rindsroulade mit Thüringer Klößen (Thuringian dumplings)
On Saturday morning the Herder church was open to visitors.

The Herder church in October 2012, a building site

Herder in front of "his" church originally called Stadtkirche

November 1989: Prayers for peace not only in Leipzig: We are the people!
In- and outside the church were building sites; the Lutheran Church preparing their historic places for the demi-millennium of the Reformation in 1517.

Famous altarpiece apotheosizing the Reformation. Lucas Cranach the Elder started the painting in 1552, one year before his death. It was finished in 1555 by his son Lucas Cranach the Younger.
The original painting was covered in view of the building activities inside the church.
 I took this photo of a photo print on canvas displayed for the benefit of the visitors.
On the right you recognize Martin Luther, left to him the painter Lucas Cranach.
On the other side sits John the Steadfast who introduced the Reformation in Thuringia and his wife.
Passing Weimars castle ...

The castle's medieval tower crowned by a Baroque helmet
we took a stroll through the park at the Ilm river in the direction of Goethe's Gartenhaus. He had lived there from 1776 until 1782 when he moved into his town house at the Frauenplan.

Goethe's garden where he grow his vegetables
Picking up a Thüringer Bratwurst on our way we climbed up to the Nietzsche Archive in the early afternoon.

The archive was empty so except for the art nouveau building it had not been worth the entrance fee. Nevertheless we enjoyed the walk that also took us to Weimar's old cementary with Goethe's and Schiller's crypt. Recently a DNA analysis revealed that Schiller's skull is not his.

Many people still consider Ernst von Wildenbruch's citation engraved into the monument:
 Ich kämpfte nicht um anzugreifen, sondern um zu verteidigen
(I did not fight to attack but to defend)
 as a proof that it was Germany that was attacked by the surrounding countries in 1914.
The problem is that von Wildenbruch had already died in 1909.

Later on our way back to the center Big Goethe was watching us from a banner:
Lebensfluten, Tatensturm (Floods of life, storms of action)

We had a beer at a small place just opposite of the Goethehaus watching carriages drive by. For a moment forget those iron poles and the cars and live your dreams.


  1. Hey Red Baron,

    That was great trip, thanks for sharing this. I must say that the pictures of the dishes you had are simply amazing!

    I was wondering if you could give me some help as I'm going to Germany in October (I'm Brazilian). That's going to be my first time abroad.

    I'm thinking about going to Berlin, Munich and Heldelberg but I'd like to see some nature. What would you recommend?


    Gustavo Rangel

    1. Thanks Gustavo,

      if you would like to see "some" nature spontaneously the Harz mountains come to my mind with the beautiful town of Quedlinburg not far away a suggestion for those who find Heidelberg too touristic. Munich is nice. I lived there for eight years and liked the beer, the food, the girls, and the surroundings (in alphabetical order. The place where the music plays as we say in German is Berlin. Any excuse is good for me to book a trip to the city in move.
      Have a safe flight, Red Baron