May 2011


Visiting the European Capital of Culture (1999)

I had a great long weekend in Weimar.

Honestly, I’m not the typical tourist – I didn’t do the holy Goethe and Schiller thing, although I did walk past their statues in Theaterplatz.

Overall, in the eleven months since I’ve moved, not much has changed. There are a few more buildings that have been renovated while a few have scaffolding around them and are in the early stages of renovation.

On the commercial front, Burger King closed and has been replaced with a quite large DM (drug store), which, at the same time, as caused some changes to the interior of the Goethe Kaufhaus. The rest of the shops in the city center appear not to have significantly changed.

Even the Weimar Office (Café Laden) has not changed. It seems to be muddling along. I stopped by twice—the first time the waitress/barista brought me my coffee but forgot my cake. Somehow the shop still has a selection of eiPott (Apple won a lawsuit against Koziol over the product name/design), but I realize now that the ones I have are labeled “>>Pott” – which eliminates the cute cross-linguistic fun that was eiPott (egg pot) versus iPod (the music player).

Really the biggest change to Weimar is the virtual elimination of ICE train service – I glanced at the schedule and most of the long haul trains are ICs. In fact, coming from Berlin I took an ICE to Leipzig, where I switched trains, took another ICE to Erfurt, and then to Weimar on another ICE – I might note that I passed through Weimar between Leipzig and Erfurt. I think that Deutsche Bahn is making a concerted effort at making ICE trains, the high speed trains, actually high speed on long haul routes, like the ones from Dresden or Leipzig to Frankfurt (Main).

Honestly I was always thrilled that I could take the train from Weimar to Frankfurt without changing, but I found the ICE’s frequent stops across Thüringen to be annoying – not that many people get on or off in Gotha, and, to be completely honest, not that many get on or off in Weimar (and many that do, could make the same connections in Erfurt). Thus, while I personally find it annoying, it makes sense from a speed and network perspective: Erfurt’s a largish hub for trains, Weimar is not.

There are protests against Deutsche Bahn’s reduction in ICE train service at Weimar, but I suspect the protests are futile.

Thus, when I left Monday afternoon, I left town not on an ICE, but on an IC – trains that I find much less comfortable (the springs in the seats always feel like they are about to break through) – to Leipzig, where I had a drink with one of my ex-Colleagues, before heading back to Berlin.

All-in-all, it was a great weekend.

2 comments to Visiting the European Capital of Culture (1999)

  • Jen

    The Mann is one of those people annoyed at the ICE reduction to Weimar, since he still travels there regularly for work. Suck.

    • I agree that it’s annoying, but I suspect the numbers of people on ICEs who were headed only to Weimar are not that great. Those wanting to go to Jena always had to change — and their change can be made in Erfurt just as easily, without delaying their arrival at the final destination.

      Hubbing and transportation economics are fascinating — even if people in spokes do not like the answers…