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With A Big Throw
A Great Day In Weimar
By Steve Ritchie
August 13, 2009

WEIMAR - It has been a great day here in Weimar, Germany. A small city of about 70,000, Weimar was part of the former GDR when the country was still split into East and West. Weimar is renowned for being the home of Johann Wolfgang Goethe, arguably Germany's leading literary figure, as well as Friederich Schiller, also a major figure in German culture. It attracts 2 million visitors a year, though as far as I can tell, very few of them are Americans. After a full day of walking, mingling, and going to tourist destinations, I have not encountered a single American, or even any other English speakers. And, unlike most places I have been in Germany, no one here really wants to speak English with me! I have had to rely on my very rusty German skills, which fortunately seem to be coming back quickly.

Weimar reminds me a great deal of Ashland. It is a literary pilgrimage site, and offers a host of cultural attractions. It even has a great park that is very similar to Ashland's Lithia Park, and has an active theater. Every street in the residential areas seems to be lined with trees, and small, colorful gardens pop up around every corner. I had fun visiting the historic homes of Göethe and Schiller, as well as the Garden House of Göethe in Ilm Park.

The center of town is entirely a pedestrian zone, which extends for probably a couple of square miles. The architecture throughout the center, and all of the town that I have seen, is stunning! It makes for great wandering with cobblestone paths, interesting views, picturesque buildings, and plentiful watering holes. Along with bier, ice cream is also plentiful and cheap.

My short stay in this enticing city is nearly over, though. Tomorrow morning I take the train to Berlin. More from there on Friday, as the stage is set for the World Championships on Saturday.

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