Day 4, 2009
Quick aside: I learned at breakfast that Germans slice their rolls through the middle (hamburger-style), rather than straight down it (hot dog style). Then they take like an 1/8” thick slice of butter and sandwich it as filling. But maybe it’s just my host family…? Anyone else notice this?
My Gastfamilie (host family) took me to Weimar my 4th day in Germany: the birthplace of famed writers Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Friedrich Schiller. It was a long drive from Nürnberg–about 4 hours. I kept falling asleep in the car. But for the moments I was awake, I saw some of the most beautifully delicate scenery. We drove past fields of wildflowers and dense forests, as well as this wonderfully tranquil lake. There was an island of pines, fog resting gently on the surface of the water, and a lonely swan gliding across. It was so peaceful.
We first stopped at the Anna Amalia Bibliothek, which is the library of Duchess Anna Amalia. It houses over 1 million books, 10,000 volumes of Shakespeare, and even an expansive 13,000 volume music collection. The library is in a beautiful Rococo-style. Unfortunately, only 200 tickets are sold per day, so by the time we arrived, it was sold out. Have any of you managed to snag a ticket to the library?
We went instead to Goethe’s birth house. It was surprisingly large, with statues everywhere. It was definitely the house of a relatively wealthy man. No pictures were allowed inside the house, but I did snap some of the garden.
Before this trip to Weimar, I had never seen horse-drawn carriages and flipped out when I did see one. I felt like I was living a fairytale until I noticed the giant poop sack hanging between horse in carriage. Such a smart idea; keeps the poop off the streets!
We first lunched at this random cafe, where I ordered some warm vegetable soup and Clara ordered Apfelstrudel with vanilla ice cream. There was this really neat art exhibit upstairs called “Fehlerkunst/Kunstfehler”, which essentially means “Failed Art”. Most of it was strange contemporary art. The art painted onto the walls on the stairwell were really cool though.
After lunch, we proceeded to Goethe’s summer house, where he basically wrote all his poems and literary works. The river Im runs through the land and makes for very pretty scenery with the fields, small hills and what not. Because Goethe loved flowers, his summer house had a wonderful garden. Original manuscripts were on displace in glass cases. It was particularly exciting to see “Der Erlkönig”: a rather depressing piece we read in German class and the only piece of Goethe’s that I’m thoroughly familiar with.
His summer house wasn’t nearly as luxurious as his actual house even though he spent more time in the summer home. But I guess you don’t need many luxuries when you have creative thoughts to entertain you. 🙂
My Gastmutter (host mother) and Gastvater (host father) wanted to take me to Schiller’s house, but they were closed! Sad. My Gastvater told me this random fact about Schiller: he could only write when there was a rotten apple in his desk. Genius is strange. We ended up going to a Bauhaus store. And what is Bauhaus exactly? Some style of art and music that started in Weimar. That’s the extent of my understanding. There was an animated time line of Germany in the 1900’s up to the 1990’s. There were also comic-styled illustrations satirizing the Nazi era and stuff.
When we finally arrived back home, it was past 10pm; yet somehow, it was barely twilight. The stars could barely sparkle with how bright the sky was.