We ending up with Erfurt, Weimar, and Jena for two reasons. The very practical reason for choosing this particular set of three cities is that Jon is a Germanist and no Germanist worth his salt skips an opportunity to see Weimar: Home of Goethe, Schiller, Herder. The less practical reason is that I flipped open my Lonely Planet guide to Germany to the Erfurt section. Weimar is a very small town, though, so we decided to use the larger Erfurt as a base. Jena got thrown in at the last minute.
Erfurt is the capital of the state of Thüringen, but more importantly than that, its where they make KiKa shows. Its like PBS kids in the States, and S used to love it when we had a TV. Alhough it’s been three years, I can’t even type KiKa without “Kikaninchen DIBBA DIBBA DAB!” running through my head. It’s the catchphrase of the blue rabbit who hosts the shows, so to speak. My feelings for Kikaninchen probably match those of American parents who are forced to watch Mickey Mouse Clubhouse on a loop. Why does Mickey keep saying “Hot Dog!” Stop saying that, Mickey! Its 2015; pick up some new slang!
Anyway, Erfurt was lovely. I was expecting to see more of the scars of the DDR, but as the capital Erfurt seems to be doing better than other former East German towns. S was ready to move. I think it had something to do with the intricately decorated buildings like this:
We especially liked the Krämerbrücke, a bridge completely covered with half-timbered buildings, where we found Goldhelm Schokolade.
But the real excitement in Erfurt was found in the Luther Keller, a Martin Luther themed restaurant. That’s right. There is a Martin Luther themed restaurant. A Father of the Reformation, writer of the 95 Theses, restaurant. They made us wear bibs.
The food wasn’t great, but, let’s be honest, we weren’t there for the food. We were there to drink mead served to us by a man dressed like a monk.
That concluded the Erfurter part of our weekend.
Some Travel Info:
We elected to spend the night, because of S. Erfurt and Weimar are both possible day trips from Berlin; although, they are not typically mentioned as such in guidebooks. A trip to Erfurt takes about 2 hours including a connection in Leipzig.
We stayed in the IBIS Altstadt hotel for convenience. I didn’t have high hopes for it, but it ended up being very clean and comfortable. All of the towns we visited were easily walkable. We saw most, if not all, of the major sights in a few hours.