WEIMAR - It has been a great day here in Weimar, Germany. A small city of about
70,000, Weimar was part of the former GDR when the country was still split
into East and West. Weimar is renowned for being the home of Johann
Wolfgang Goethe, arguably Germany's leading literary figure, as well as
Friederich Schiller, also a major figure in German culture. It attracts 2
million visitors a year, though as far as I can tell, very few of them are
Americans. After a full day of walking, mingling, and going to tourist
destinations, I have not encountered a single American, or even any other
English speakers. And, unlike most places I have been in Germany, no one
here really wants to speak English with me! I have had to rely on my very
rusty German skills, which fortunately seem to be coming back quickly.
Weimar reminds me a great deal of Ashland. It is a literary pilgrimage
site, and offers a host of cultural attractions. It even has a great park
that is very similar to Ashland's Lithia Park, and has an active theater.
Every street in the residential areas seems to be lined with trees, and
small, colorful gardens pop up around every corner. I had fun visiting the
historic homes of Göethe and Schiller, as well as the Garden House of
Göethe in Ilm Park.
The center of town is entirely a pedestrian zone, which extends for
probably a couple of square miles. The architecture throughout the center,
and all of the town that I have seen, is stunning! It makes for great
wandering with cobblestone paths, interesting views, picturesque
buildings, and plentiful watering holes. Along with bier, ice cream is
also plentiful and cheap.
My short stay in this enticing city is nearly over, though. Tomorrow
morning I take the train to Berlin. More from there on Friday, as the
stage is set for the World Championships on Saturday.