The worldwide Augustana College experience

Weimar, Post 1

On Thursday, we all went to Weimar for a long weekend. This history has a keep history, from Cranach to Goethe to the Russian monarchy to musician Franz Liszt to Nazi rule. It’s a fascinating town, touristy, but fascinating.

I don’t have a lot of time today to get into my full Weimar experience, and I don’t have any pictures because I forgot my camera!!! If there are pictures uploaded while I’m writing about Weimar, they are not mine. Missie took a few before her camera died. So did Amanda before hers died. Basically, it was a trip of forgotten and dying cameras. But today, I will describe to you my traveling to Weimar experience:

Getting to Weimar was quite the adventure. Marni, Piper, Missie, Jamie, Caitlin, and I were the only ones who got to the train station before the train left. Mind you, there are 12 students total in the group. Professor Vivian and we saw a few others walking outside of
the train station while we were on the train. He mentioned that they should hurry up. So Jamie, in her seemingly infinite state of looking out for others, ran off the train to try to tell them to hurry up.

Then the train started to move. We—the people on the train—watched helplessly as we saw Jamie try opening the moving train’s door but to no avail. Jamie, even though she got to the train station in time, missed the train, which carried all of her belongings.

So those who missed the train had to buy another ticket to get to Weimar. We “Train People” were in mild shock but glad we were able to make a 0745 train.

But we also encountered problems.

The conductor who was supposed to take our tickets took one look at them and told us that they were not valid because it wasn’t yet 9 AM. Prof. Vivian tried reasoning with her: we were Americans, we didn’t know better, a German gave us these tickets in full confidence, etc.

We were kicked off the train at 8:20 AM in Bitterfeld, evading the 40 Euro per person fine. The conductor was at least nice enough to tell us that there would be another train coming a little bit after nine, which we would be able to take.

So, stranded at some random train station, we waited. And waited. And waited for the train that was running approximately 50 minutes late. Finally, it came a little after 10:00.

We made it to Halle, which was where we would be catching a connecting train to Weimar. Ironically, if you want to call it that, those who missed the initial train where on the train that was running 50 minutes late. Now united, we finally caught the right train without anyone missing it or anyone getting kicked off.

This was truly a fine Schwarzfahrer experience.

When we got to the hostel Maxim Gorki—a communist because we are in the former East Germany of course—Professor Vivian took everyone on a tour of Weimar, which was basically walking through the gorgeous city park. There was a Goethe garden house and then the Schloss—the castle of Weimar. Everything was so pretty.

We then were lead to the Marktplatz—market place—and were let loose. After meandering around, a group of us settled for some very expensive
ice cream. Jamie and I, in our desperation for walking around so long, order two Euro water, which came in this dinky bottle, which was unsatisfying. At least there were lemon slices in our fancy glasses brought to us on our individual hoity toity trays.

I ate fried rice for dinner that night.

Anyway, wandering around Weimar was fun. It’s such a cute town. There was a Weinfest while there, so I tried that out. And then there was a cemetery, which holds the fallen of Weimar throughout the town’s history. The oldest grave I saw was from the early nineteenth century, but Prof. Vivian says he found some that are older.

It’s a beautiful cemetery. A lot of people put time and effort into making the graves look presentable, which is very different from America’s standard. Sure, putting candles and flowers on top of trimly cut grass is nice. But these graves are landscaped with stones, ivy, moss and the like. Each plot is a mini garden.

It’s interesting to see how much Europeans—or at least Germans—put so much effort into making graves look so nice. They seem to be a lot more accepting about death over here. In America, it’s almost like: find a church/funeral home, encounter fellow mourners, bury
the deceased, leave flowers every once and a while in a graveyard that’s kind of out of the way. Americans ignore death, as if that gives one the ability to avoid it. But the cemetery in Weimar in only a few blocks away from the Marktplatz, bursting with foliage and greenery. I walked through the place three times while I was there.

Well, I’m off for now. Later I’ll be writing about the Schlossmuseum, the Liszt house, Buchenwald (yes, the concentration camp located 8 km outside of Weimar), Eisenach, and the Wartburg Castle.

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