Friday, July 10, 2020

Aerosols

Presently a paper stirs up the minds. Its title: "It is Time to Address Airborne Transmission of COVID-19" by Lidia Morawska and Donald K. Milton of the Queensland University of Technology.

Red Baron thought everything had already been said or written about the subject. In Germany, the Robert-Koch-Institute (RKI) in the current version of its coronavirus profile, refers clearly to infection through aerosols, "The main transmission pathway for SARS-CoV-2 is the respiratory uptake of virus-containing fluid particles that are produced when breathing, coughing, speaking and sneezing."

"Longer stays in 'small, poorly or unventilated rooms' may increase the risk of infection, even if the minimum distance of two meters is observed. Transmission in the fresh air, on the other hand, is 'rare.' The concentration of virus-laden particles in the air is quickly reduced by the wind."

Aerosols seem to transmit corona much more lustfully than we droplets (©SVLW)
As early as April 29, the Schweizerischer Verein für- Luft und Wasserhygiene (Swiss Association for Air and Water Hygiene) published an article: "Büroluft gibt Coronaviren Aufwind (Office air gives Coronaviruses upwinds)."

According to Lidia Morawska, the World Health Organization (WHO) is reluctant to update its advice. The paper published in the Oxford Academic Journal of Clinical Infectious Diseases recommends new safety measures, including increased indoor ventilation and the installation of high-grade air filters and UV lamps. At the same time, overcrowding in buildings and transport should be prevented.

"There is significant potential for inhalation exposure to viruses in microscopic respiratory droplets (microdroplets) at short to medium distances (up to several meters, or room-scale)," the authors continue.

"Handwashing and social distancing are appropriate, but in our view, insufficient to provide protection from virus-carrying respiratory microdroplets released into the air by infected people while breathing, speaking, coughing, or sneezing."

"Those droplets above five to ten micrometers - which is less than the width of a typical human hair - fall to the ground in seconds and within a meter or two."

"On the other hand, droplets under this size can become suspended in the air in what is called an 'aerosol,' remaining aloft for several hours and traveling up to tens of meters."

Cath Noakes, a professor of environmental engineering for buildings at the University of Leeds, who contributed to the paper, said, "COVID-19 doesn't spread in the air as easily as measles or tuberculosis, but is a threat nonetheless."

"COVID-19 is more likely to be 'opportunistically' airborne and therefore poses a risk to people who are in the same room for long periods," she added.

"The WHO says that there is insufficient evidence to prove that the aerosol/airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2 is happening. We are arguing that there is insufficient proof that aerosol/airborne transmission does not occur," Professor Milton insisted.

In the meantime, the WHO has somehow reacted in a new report about Coronavirus, named SARS-CoV-2, "Airborne transmission of the virus can occur in health care settings where specific medical procedures, called aerosol-generating procedures, generate tiny droplets called aerosols. Some outbreak reports related to crowded indoor spaces have suggested the possibility of aerosol transmission, combined with droplet transmission, for example, during choir practice, in restaurants, or in fitness classes."

Why is the WHO so reluctant? According to conspiracists, this is Chinese influence. 

Due to the information spread by the RKI in Germany, Red Baron observes that people are well aware of aerosols and sit outdoors when taking their meals in a restaurant. I already mentioned that in Freiburg there is too little rain. Subsequently, the now extended surfaces for outside food service are well occupied in the evening. Still, restaurant owners moan that when keeping distances with the present disposition of tables even when filled to full capacity, they do not cover their costs of operation.

Will people go to indoor restaurants coming fall and winter? Will we see a second Corona wave, massive deaths of restaurants, or both?

What we know for sure. The virus is insidious.

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Freiburg's Corona History

Red Baron's passage of time has changed in times of Corona. Many atavistic markers suddenly became lost. What day is it today? This was a continued question. Now we are living a new normal in Germany. It is time to review the past months.

How and when did the Sars-CoV-2 virus arrive at Freiburg? In trying to get a clear picture for myself, I suddenly had all the material for a relevant blog.


February 27 The Coronavirus reaches southern Baden. Three people are infected, two women from the Breisgau Hochschwarzwald district and one man from the city of Freiburg.

They belonged to a group of business travelers who attended a meeting of the US American biotech company Thermo Fischer Scientific in Munich.

The company closes its Freiburg branch on this very day.

Initial Corona instructions (©BZ)

In the meantime, the authorities are asking people to refrain from visiting patients due to the increase in hospital infections.

March 6 More and more trips to Freiburg are canceled. Shop owners become worried.

One lonely bus on Freiburg's coach parking (©BZ)
March 7 SC Freiburg plays its soccer match against Union Berlin at the Dreisam stadium. One week later, the Bundesliga season is suspended.

There is a growing number of Covid-19 cases in southern Alsace. People became infected during a week of fasting at the Protestant free church "Porte ouverte chrétienne" in Mulhouse-Bourtzwiller in mid-February.

Several hundred to more than 2000 people from all over France, from French overseas territories and, according to information from the community, also from Switzerland and Germany, took part in the meeting of the Free Church "Open Christian Doors," which lasted several days.

In Switzerland, the meeting is regarded as the starting point for many Corona infections.

March 9 The University Hospital of Freiburg reports that a patient has probably been infected with the Coronavirus by a visitor. As a consequence, 30 employees of the university hospital are quarantined at home.

March 10 The city of Freiburg banns mass events and hence also the concert by the German rock group Annen May Kantereit in the Sick-Arena.

March 11 The Robert-Koch-Institute declares the French region of Grand Est (Alsace, Lorraine, and Champagne-Ardenne), a Corona risk area.

©BZ
March 13 Baden-Württemberg issues a ban on visiting hospitals and nursing homes. On the same date, the state decides to close kindergartens and schools from March 17.
Freiburg's Albert-Ludwigs University suspends teaching until April 19.
The UB (university library) is closed.

March 14 In Freiburg, all events and meetings with more than 50 people are prohibited.

March 15 On this date 99 persons are infected in Freiburg and the surounding district of Breisgau-Hochschwarzwald.

March 16 The borders with France and Switzerland are partially closed. Travelers without a valid reason (no shopping) are no longer allowed to enter and leave the country.

Europe's new common motto (©Stuttmann/BZ)
Footpath between Germany and Switzerland
crossing the Rhine River at Rheinfelden (©BZ)
March 17 The Auswärtige Amt (Foreign Office) issues a global travel warning. Planes are grounded.

In France, the situation becomes worse. President Macron imposes a 14-day curfew throughout France.

Deserted Minster square in Strasbourg (©afp)
March 18 Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks to the Nation on television, asking people to observe the distance and hygienic rules in times of Corona.

Panic buying: It's empty!!! -- Above all, no panic!! (©Stuttmann/BZ)
March 19 Given the dramatic situation in the Grand Est region with 61 deaths due to Covid-19 Mayor Martin Horn decreed for FreiburgFrom March 21 to April 3, residents are allowed to leave their houses or apartments only for urgent matters. Those who wish to stay outside may do so only alone, in pairs, or with persons who live in their own household. This is mandatory for all public places, i.e., parks, squares, and ... streets. A minimum distance of 1.50 meters must be kept from all other persons. One may, however, continue to go to work or to the doctor as well as shopping for food.

Mayor Martin Horn in the evening news on German television
Freiburg's Rathausplatz in the morning of March 19
March 20 Baden-Wuerttemberg follows Martin Horn's direction. Minister-President Kretschmann (Greens) issues a regulation: The formation of groups of more than three people is no longer allowed in public. There are exceptions for families and persons living together. Individuals and small groups can continue to move without restriction. Besides, all shops that do not serve the urgent needs of the citizens must close. Museums, theatres, cinemas, later fitness studios, libraries, and elementary schools are closed. Church services, as well as club meetings, are forbidden: Sports fields are closed, games and matches are forbidden in Baden-Württemberg.

Square of the Old Synagogue in Freiburg (©BZ)
The corona crisis in Alsace is dramatic. The hospitals can no longer ventilate all patients. Seven patients severely ill with COVID-19 are brought to Baden-Wuerttemberg, where there are still enough respirators.

March 21 The exit restrictions are in force in Freiburg: For two weeks, citizens are to leave the house only for urgent matters. Public places may not be entered. Stays outside are only possible alone, in pairs, or for people from the same household.

Freiburg's deserted food market (©BZ)
March 22 Chancellor Angela Merkel makes the following statement valid for Germany on national television:

1: Citizens are urged to reduce contact with other people outside the members of their own household to an absolutely necessary minimum.

2: In public, wherever possible, a minimum distance of at least 1.5 meters, or better still 2 meters, must be kept from people other than those mentioned in the first paragraph. This distance rule must be observed. At a certain distance, the risk of infection is reduced to almost zero. Whether you stand half a meter apart or 1.5 meters makes a huge difference (Being a physicist, she knows the inverse square root law well).

3: It is only allowed to stay in public spaces alone or with one other person not living in the household or in the circle of members of one's own family.

4: The way to work, emergency care, shopping, visits to the doctor, participation in essential meetings, necessary appointments and examinations, help for others, individual sports, and exercise in the fresh air as well as other essential activities remain, of course possible.

5: Given the seriousness of the situation in our country, groups of people celebrating in public places, in homes and private institutions, are unacceptable. Violations of the contact restrictions should be monitored by the regulatory authorities, and the police and sanctions should be imposed in the event of infringements (Angela is careful using "should" for the police authority is with the German Länder).

6: In Addition to pubs and restaurants, catering establishments will be closed. This does not include the delivery and collection of takeaway food for consumption at home.

7: Personal hygiene service providers such as hairdressers, beauty salons, massage parlors, tattoo studios, and similar establishments will be closed because physical proximity is essential in these cases. Medically necessary treatments remain possible.

8: It is essential to comply with hygiene regulations and implement effective protective measures for employees and visitors.

9: These measures should be valid for at least two weeks.

Mother of the Nation (©ARD)
March 23 After six years without new debts, the black zero in the federal budget is falling. The cabinet approves a supplementary budget with a new deficit of 156 billion euros, With this unprecedented aid package, the federal government is supporting families, tenants, employees, the self-employed and businesses in the Corona crisis.

The cabinet decides on several large protective financial umbrellas and necessary extensive legal changes too.

To ensure that the aid arrives quickly, the Bundestag (parliament) is to approve the package in a fast-track procedure on March 25 and the Bundesrat (senate) on March 27.

Drown them ruthlessly in money (©Stuttmann/BZ)
March 25
Deserted Talstraße 
Through-out April Because for some people the Corona restrictions go too far, there are demonstrations in South Baden and all over Germany where conspiracy theories are being spread. Radicals use the "demos" to raise the spirits for their political ideas.

Demonstrators at Freiburg's Rathausplatz (©BZ)
April 2 Freiburg being a hotspot?

No April fool; Corona cases per 100,000 inhabitants (©BZ)
April 16 All events of Freiburg's Stadtjubiläum (900 years Freiburg) are suspended until September 17.

Freiburg sticks togethet
April 20 After a month of standstill, many shops reopen. Small and medium-sized businesses are allowed to receive customers again. Distances shall be observed; mouth-nose-covers should be used.

April 24 Baden-Württemberg's Minister for the Interior Thomas Strobl and the president of the French regional government Jean Rottner agree that families may see each other again across the border.

April 27 The compulsory wearing of masks begins in Baden-Württemberg. People must cover their mouths and noses in public transport, and when shopping.

May 4 Hairdressers are allowed to open again under special hygienic conditions.

May 6Playgrounds in Freiburg open as well as zoos and museums.

May 16 The Bundesliga season continues with ghost games, i.e., the clubs are allowed to play soccer in front of empty stands.

May 18 Restaurants and bars are allowed to reopen under certain conditions. Waiters must wear mouth-nose-covers, and guests must leave their contact details.

June 15 After weeks of closure, borders open again for Germans, French and Swiss even without any particular reason for traveling.

June 16 The official German Corona App of the Robert-Koch-Institute to warn of a possible infection becomes available.

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Freiburg Splinters 2

Here is some news from Freiburg in the form of splinters.

Dreisam River



A recent photo of the newly built fish ladder. We had a warm winter, a summerly spring, and only a little rain. It's no wonder that the Dreisam River is practically dry. The months of July and August are announced to be hot, with temperatures well above 30°C. We do not expect much water coming from the skies. Will there be any water in the Dreisam at the end of summer?


Night of Light


Municipal Theater Freiburg (©BZ).
On Monday 22, many buildings in Germany were glowing red. 

A call for help: We need culture, and culture needs us.
While in some sectors the economy it's taking up the pace, all those who earn their money depending on mass events (theaters, concerts in particular) are still out of work. The Freiburg theater will open on July 18, with a ballet Die sieben Todsünden (The Seven Deadly Sins) by Berthold Brecht and Kurt Weill. Red Baron will attend and report.

Old Merchant House on Minster Square (©BZ).
The red illumination is meant to be a reminder and a protest at the same time. The future is dim for mass events as long as we do not have a vaccination.


Wikipedia


Last week the Freiburg Wikipedia Stammtisch met for the first time since March. The new normal consisted of only four people sitting in the vast garden of a Greek restaurant enjoying Gyros. 


On my way home, it was already late, but in waiting for my streetcar, I noted this eerie sunset. While tram 4 had just left ...


... number 2 is arriving one minute later to take me home


Alban Stolz


The reported statue destructions in the course of the BLM demonstrations in our sister city Madison make no sense. Colonel Hans Christian Heg fought in the Union Army against the Confederates and fell in the Civil War.

The Konviktkirche is seen in the background (©BZ)
On the other hand, discussions about the fate of Alban Stolz's monument - certainly triggered by the iconoclasm in the States - suddenly entered into a new phase. While the Catholic Church would like to have the "anti-Semite" bust removed ASAP, the Monument Regulatory Authority has cast its veto: The removal of the statue would destroy the global view of the square in front of Konviktkirche.

Now the city intervened, and Mayor Ulrich von Kirchbach, responsible for Freiburg's social and cultural affairs, demanded the removal of the bust. It is now very likely that the final decision on Stolz's fate will be taken at the level of Baden-Württemberg's state government.


Dietenbach


Red Baron reported about the success of the popular vote to create a new suburb called Dietenbach in February 2019.

An aerial view of the agricultural land for the future suburb Dietenbach.
To the right, the existing suburb Rieselfeld.
The blue spot in the background is Dietenbach Lake.
Despite the Corona crisis, the planning of Freiburg's new quarter Dietenbach goes ahead, although not all plots of land still used for agriculture have been acquired. The administration has informed the municipal council about the preparation for the development of Dietenbach. The aim of the framework plan presented is to create a suburb with a climate-neutral energy supply, an environmentally-friendly mobility concept, and a barrier-free living space. There will be a total of four quarters with their own neighborhood squares and municipal childcare facilities. The city council will vote on the framework plan on December 8.


Fessenheim, the Atom Dino


Beautiful nuclear plant Fessenheim
on the Rhine channel in neighboring France.
This is not a Freiburg splinter but rather a thorn in the flesh of most citizens (Red Baron reported).

The Fessenheim nuclear plant opened in 1977 and in 2020 was already three years over its projected 40-year life span. Since its construction, it had always been a target for anti-nuclear campaigners in Freiburg, in particular after the catastrophic meltdown at Fukushima in Japan in 2011.

In the difficult times of Corona, there is not much joy, except one.
Finally, France's oldest nuclear power plant shut down on Tuesday, June 30, to the delight of environmental activists but stoking worry for the local economy.

South Baden's District President Bärbel Schäfer expressed her satisfaction too,
"A new chapter of French-German cooperation has opened."

Wat dem einen sin Uhl, ist dem andern sin Nachtigall (One man's meat is another man's poison). "We hope, above all, to be the last victims of this witch hunt against nuclear energy," Fessenheim union representative Anne Laszlo said ahead of the closure, which will see about 150 families depart the tiny Alsatian community of 2,500 inhabitants this summer.


FMG Stammtisch


The Greiffenegg-Schlössle (Toni's place) during the Night of Light (©BZ).
Yesterday evening we had our first Stammtisch following the Corona-Beschränkungen (restrictions) of public life in the middle of March.

Beer under chestnut trees
The Freiburg-Madison Gesellschaft had invited its members to the Greiffenegg-Schlössle or rather to the Biergarten. Recently this so-called Kastaniengarten had been counted among the ten most beautiful beer gardens in Germany.

Looking at the Black Forest in the background in a thunderstormy atmosphere

Auswandererlieder or the Sound of Freedom


The FMG should be prominently mentioned in the final text.
Here is the draft poster of an event our Committee member Herbert Schiffels has organized within the program of Freiburg's 900th anniversary. In the 19th century, many Germans left their country due to political or social-economic reasons. They sang songs of wanderlust, homesickness, and social criticism. These old texts are highly topical during the present refugee crises.

With many events of Freiburg's 900th anniversary canceled or postponed the Sound of Freedom would be one highlight at the end of October.


Beautiful Freiburg


Around 10 p.m., the party rose from the table.  On my way home I took some photos:

The Minster steeple in the clouds of the recent thunderstorm and ...

... already blue skies in the direction of the Schwabentor (Swabian Gate)


Sunday, June 28, 2020

Democracy Is the Worst Form of Government Except …

In a recent article of the New York Times by Roger Cohen entitled "Germany's Lessons for China and America," the eulogy for Angela Merkel left me cold. However, a citation from Stephen Heintz, the president of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, electrified me.

Heintz writes of a world crisis "that stems from the growing obsolescence of three core operating systems that have shaped civilization for the past 350 years: capitalism, fueled by carbon since the dawn of the Industrial Age and increasingly driven by global financialization, the nation-state system, formalized by the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648; and representative democracy, a system of self-rule based on Enlightenment ideals of freedom, fairness, justice, and equality." These three achievements so successful in the past turn out to be the nails in the coffin of western civilization.


Capitalism


Starting with the economy, Heintz states, "Our practice of capitalism is both putting the planetary ecosystem at risk and generating vast economic inequality." It all started in 19-century England with its industrialization based on burning coal, its ship industry sending steamboats into the four corners of the world, bringing back the products of their colonies. This capitalistic practice created a thin layer of rich people and a vast proletariat on the isle. At that time, Britannia not only ruled the waves but set, e.g., the pace in modern tourism. While other European countries were still struggling for their "place at the sun," British tourists already climbed the mountains in then poor Switzerland.

While today the differences in wealth are mitigated in developed countries - our workers are our consumers too; so they must earn more than just their livings - this inequality is exported to the developing countries. Today both societies are faced with climate change, whereas Heintz states, "The nation-state is inadequate for managing such transnational challenges."

Global warming is a threat requiring a universal answer. Most countries are aware of this, but so far, most countermeasures promised were nothing more than declarations of intent. While the Corona pandemic shakes the world, we must understand that we all are in the same boat concerning the climate too.


Nationalism


Despite evoking European unity, we are amid a latent and surging nationalism brought to light by the Corona pandemic. Each nation fought the virus within its territory by closing its borders. My citizens first!

Heintz opened my eyes that nationalism is the product of the far back Westphalian Peace Treaty of 1648. The concept that Catholic Richelieu had begun for the Gloire de la France - fighting the Catholic Habsburgs by pacting with the Lutheran Swedes - shapes the world until today. The cardinal justified his non-Catholic practice of waging war and sacrificing the lives of innocent people with a baffling statement, "The interests of a state and religion are completely different. Although the state must pursue Christian goals, it is a political entity without an immortal soul and can, therefore, do things that are not allowed to an individual Christian. The salvation of man is finally realized in the hereafter, so it is not surprising that God wants the individual to leave vengeance to Him ... But the states have no continuity after this world, so their salvation is now or not at all."

Germany's future: One helmet fits all.
At the time of the Westphalian peace treaty, Germany did not exist. Instead, Germans lived in the heart of Europe in more than 1500 territories that Napoleon‘s rule reduced to 34 until in 1871 Bismarck forced the German tribes into a Second Reich.

Heinrich Heine living in political exile moribund in his Matratzengruft (mattress crypt) in Paris, observed the struggle for German unity in 1848 and had a vision, "The Germans are working on their nationality, but are too late with that. By the time they have completed it, the nationality system in the world will have ceased to exist, and they will have to give up their nationality right away, without having benefited from it like the French or the British."

Here he was not right, for a political European Union is still wishful thinking, remains a vision.


Democracy


Finally, Heintz is exceptionally critical with democracy, "Representative democracy is neither truly representative nor very democratic as citizens feel that self-rule has given way to rule by corporations, special interests and the wealthy."

In a recent article by George F. Will, Red Baron found the following statement about the 2016 elections in the US, "Never had both major parties offered nominees with higher disapproval than approval numbers. Voters chose what they wagered would be the lesser blight."

The choice seems easier in Germany with a spectrum of parties ranging from Die Linke (left), over the Greens (center) to the Alternative für Deutschland (AfD, right) where citizens, deceived by the ruling grand coalition of Christian Democrats (CDU) and Social Democrats (SPD), i.e., the two Volksparteien (major parties), frequently vote in protest for the candidates of the AfD.

I am not such a pessimist as Heintz, but it is true that democracy is and was never one hundred percent "democratic." Winston Churchill said in 1947, "No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time …"

In my opinion, the biggest problem with democracy is that most people lack the understanding of the sometimes complicated issues being at stake. This holds in particular for the most democratic practices as there are referenda or popular votes (Brexit?).

This is why in elections, many do not vote for a party platform but instead for a person. Strongly determining the number of votes for the party in Germany's federal elections, the person of Kanzlerkandidat (candidate for the chancellorship) is so important. An old slogan still frequently used is: Auf den Kanzler kommt es an (It all depends on the chancellor).

The problem of the now three Volksparteien is that the Social Democrats have no "valid" Kanzler personality in their ranks or der kann nicht Kanzler (he doesn't "know" chancellor).

The CDU strengthened due to Angela Merkel's vigorous Corona crisis management actually has four potential Kanzlerkandidaten, but no one is rocking. Although Merkel has excluded a fourth term as Germany's leader, calls for Mutti (a new matriarch) are becoming louder.

The Green party is led by a philosopher and an energetic lady. They may forward a candidate for chancellor, but to be successful, they should become the strongest party in the Bundestag (House of Representatives) in 2021. That is unlikely taking the present wave of approval for our GOP, i.e., the CDU just became 75.

It‘s the economy, stupid.
Yes, and there is the extra-parliamentary opposition. Protests articulated in demonstrations attended by sometimes thousands of persons in public squares - in principle impossible in times of Corona - have become more frequent in Germany. Red Baron shakes his head about people protesting that our democracy is in danger. The fact that they may exercise their right to demonstrate freely is proof that our democracy is working well.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Erfurt Splinters

My first blog about my recent trip to Erfurt was devoted to the city's history. My second blog will be on the lighter side, presenting the reader with some splinters.

Blechkuchen and Prasselkuchen
When I arrived at Erfurt after nearly five hours of a train ride, my first walk was into a Café. Corona oblige, the Deutsche Bahn did not serve Butterkuchen or coffee while you were seated, and the pastry in Thuringia is famous.



I checked into the Augustinum monastery for three nights, where I had asked to be booked in Martin Luther's cell.

The entry to my cell
The spartan interior of my cell. Note the sandals.
My look into the monastery garden
The following morning the gardener - isn't it always the gardener? - stirred me from my dreams: Bedded on straw Scholar Luther slept with his co-students in a big room.


I took my frugal Luther-like breakfast - except for the coffee, I can't live without - bread, cheese, yogurt, and scrambled eggs in the Renaissance Court.

The Renaissance Court in the morning sun.
The entry to the monetary garden is on the left below my cell.
On the right, there is the door to the refectorium (refectory),
now Luthersaal, where breakfast is usually served.

Here are two plans of the vast monastery complex.


The cloisters
The monastery's flowery western frontage
Luther's rose in the courtyard of his birthplace at Eisleben on the Eichsfeld.
You may know that the Luther symbol is the rose, so I must include some photos I took at the Augustinian monastery.






My First Walk



Heading for Krämerbrücke (Grocer Bridge), I passed Him on Am Anger, the former common green now being a large square in the middle of Erfurt. The church in the back is Kaufmannskirche St. Gregor (Merchant's Church St Gregory), a 14th-century Gothic parish church.

Note my mouth-nose-cover on the table.
I had a local (!) Blauer Zweigelt rose, wine from the Saale-Unstrut region on Krämerbrücke ...


...with old Bach watching me from a window vis-a-vis.


Walking in the direction of the cathedral square, I met Bernd das Brot. Erfurt is the home of KiKa (Kinderkanal, i.e., Children's Channel). With Sesame Street being such a success on German television, they created a German version staring Bernd the Bread instead of grumbling Bert.


Zum Güldenen Rade



On the recommendation of a good friend, I had dinner at the restaurant To the Golden Wheel, reminiscing the red Wheel of Mainz. Note the straw in the hole above the entrance being a good sign for it means the fresh beer is on draft.


I was thirsty, so I hade an alcohol-free wheat beer brewed by Benedictinians as an appetizer. Old man, get your water balance right!


Red Baron choose a local speciality for dinner called Thüringer Klöße gefüllt mit Rot- und Leberwurst auf Sauerkraut an Zwiebel und Meerrettichsauce  (Thuringian dumplings filled with red and liver sausage on sauerkraut with onion and horseradish sauce). The Köstritzer I drank to the health of Kenneth, a friend in Madison.


At the Market


The following morning I went to the market on Domplatz (cathedral square).  Here I had my real Thüringer Bratwurst remembering the good old times in Weimar.


It is always the same. You ask the one taking the picture to close in on the wurst, and then the person does not follow the advice.


I became thirsty and went to the nearby beer garden at the foot of the cathedral hill, watching the market people from a distance.  Regrettably, they served the beer in plastic cups.

Passing the market to my appointment for the guided tour, an offer caught my eye.


Air-dried Stracke from the Eichsfeld. This is what I call Luther's sausage. Although I gave up consuming sausages - I eat them on special occasions (see above) - I could not resist and bought a small Stracke.


Here is the thin object of desire. I read the following, "The Eichsfelder sausage gets its unmistakable character mainly from the warm meat processing. Predominantly used are meat cuts from pigs from the region with a longer fattening period. Traditional natural spices and the artisan art of the sausage makers of the Eichsfeld give this firm raw sausage an extraordinary taste. The Eichsfelder Stracke receives its perfection by gentle several months of climate ripening."


A Guided City Walk


The guided tour started at 11 a.m. and was the first one allowed at Erfurt in the presently waning Corona pandemic. Red Baron actually had booked two tours, one on foot in the morning and one by streetcar in the late afternoon.

Our guide reminded the reduced number of participants of the distance rule. Mouth-nose-covers were not required because our group refrained from indoor sightseeing.

The fish market is surrounded by richly decorated renaissance-style patrician houses.
Erfurt was not destroyed in the Second World War. A planned massive air raid by the Royal Air Force in the early spring of 1945 was called off at short notice because the GIs were already ante portas. The old building fabric, which then disintegrated under the GDR regime, was lovingly restored after the German reunification.

The impressive Rathaus (town hall) built in the neo-gothic style.
The Haus zum Roten Ochsen, transformed into Erfurt's art galery
The narrowest house in Erfurt
Beautiful: Zum Sonnenborn (Sun-Spring)
The old woad storage, now used as a theater
Erfurt became rich with the cultivation of woad during the Middle Ages. The decline came when blue indigo flooded the market. Today, horticulture and the production of flower seeds are an essential part of Erfurt's economy.

Semen donor? No, woad seeds.
You can become wealthy too. Just spend two euros and plant your proper woad.


It was hot in Erfurt on Saturday. I rested with a fresh Erdinger wheat beer and watched tourists entering Krämerbrücke through a tunnel under Aegidienkirche.


The producer of unusual ice cream on Krämerbrücke served a long line of customers. The gentleman in the center can't still make up his mind on the taste of ice cream he wants.



A Streetcar Sightseeing Tour


This was not a city tour, but we profited from Erfurt's extended streetcar net to drive by several sights in the suburbs and on the peripheric.

Mouth-nose-covers in place, distances kept.
Note the Wheel of Mainz
We made no stops that had disturbed the regular streetcar schedule. Only at turning loops far out of town, we left the vehicle and had a complete air exchange both in our lungs and in the streetcar.