Sunday, July 9, 2017

Erfurt: Additional notes

Of all the sights I enjoyed most on my recent trip to Erfurt — and there were many — the one that made me smile the most was not (as you might expect) the exquisitely subversive Bernd das Brot, the depressive loaf of bread forced to work for children’s TV, but these characters:

This is Captain Blaubeer — his name means “blue bear” and is a pun on the German word for “blueberry” — and his sidekick, the rat Hein Blöd. Or rather, not so much the characters themselves, as the sculpture, which is probably the one that is the most dynamic and fun — I especially like the way Hein Blöd has somehow managed to get his leg stuck in the rowlock.

I should also like to express my profound thanks to the staff of the Augustinian Monastery, who basically gave me free (and, I may say, unsupervised, which was brave of them) access to Luther’s cell. Normally, you have to book a guided tour, but it’s well worth doing that if you’re interested in the life and works of Martin Luther.

Erfurt is at the intersection of the A4 and A71 autobahns, so not too difficult to get to. For rail passengers, Erfurt is Thuringia’s most important hub. There is even a small airport, Erfurt-Weimar, from where the number 4 tram will take you directly into the historic centre. For people who prefer travelling by coach, several routes call at Erfurt: the coach stops are a short walk from the train station, next to the bus station.

I found Erfurt to be easy to get around: its historic centre manages to be on the large side, yet compact enough that I didn’t need public transport.

I should point out that the tower of St Giles’s Church and the steps down to the cellar on the Merchants’ Bridge are not for anyone with physical difficulties (and if you’re in a wheelchair, don’t even think about it).

And that was Erfurt: an absolute gem, if you want my opinion, and a great addition to anyone’s itinerary.

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