Thuringia & Saxony, the Heart of Germany


    On the road descending from Steinbach am Wald to Saalfeld, afternoon of June 20.

The village of Probstzella.














  The centres of the larger towns are every bit as prosperous as in the former west as money appears to be pouring in for redevelopment projects.

The evening I arrived in Saalfeld, the town was celebrating their midsummer festival in the platz. Rock bands, oompah, and lots of beer.

There are, nevertheless, still some remenants of the social disruption that resulted from the Fall of the Wall, and the Reunification, almost twenty years ago...











A treasured relic of the DDR, a Trabant (a.k.a. 'Trabbie") snoozes in a dark, dusty corner of the Hotel Tanne's basement garage.

waiting the day, awaiting the day...

      ... someday there will again be a place in the world for a car that runs equally well on petroleum, coal, hay or turnips.









    Beer on an industrial scale?   Uh, no. It's a chemical plant (Bayer, the asprin people) near Schwarza, north of Saalfeld, morning of June 21.  
    Take two and call me in the morning.  





On the bluff above Rudolstadt, Castle Heidecksburg, formerly the palace of the Princes of Schwartzburg-Rudolstadt.

It's now the Thuringia State Museum.

At Rudolstadt my road left the easy ride in the Saale River valley and started a long climb towards Weimar.





German cow being rude to visitor.

Her friends think she's funny   Whatever it takes to get a laugh. Bessie.








  Long climb in a fine warm rain, afternoon of the 21st.    







Weimar is one of the great cultural centres of the world. It has been designated a UNESCO world heritage site .   It's most famous citizen is Goethe, who dominated the arts, science and government of the region for many years in the late 1700's and early 1800's. Other famous residents: Schiller, Lizst, Bach, Nietsche.

Today it is the home of the Franz Lizst School of Music, the Bauhaus Architecture University, The German National Theatre, and about forty museums and libraries. 

The town's connection with the ill-fated Weimar Republic, Germany's government for about a decade between WWI and the Third Reich, is rather tenuous... Weimar was the site of an ad hoc constitutional assembly that wrote the republic's constitution, but was not the capital.  









    Weimar. Outside the Elephant Hotel  









    The Deutsches Nationaltheater







    An Ostshop, where you can buy memorabilia from the DDR. As the Wall recedes into the past, a sense of tongue-in-cheek nostalgia has developed in the East.

Most of the goods are hilarious junk! I particularly liked the postcards from what appears to be The Baltic Riviera.

The red and green figures on the sign are the famous 'stop' and 'go' icons from DDR traffic lights that came to symbolize the inanity of Stalinist culture. You see them everywhere.









    The garden in the back of the Goethe house.  




















On the road to Bad Kosen, June 22.

Karl Marx Strasse in one of the villages.

Evidence of some residual feelings for the old ways. Many towns still have streets and squares named for Marx and Lenin.














    Early evening in Bad Kosen, a small town on the River Ilm where I stayed for the night. The setting sun was just breaking through after a torrential downpour.




The saltworks, Bad Kosen      

































  Leipzig.       Not the jewel of the east.  
                              An example of austere socialist architecture.  























    The Nikolaikirche  
If you're religious, buy a candle and say a prayer; if not, buy a candle and make a wish.

Either way, you get to contribute to the restoration and upkeep of the church.








Willy Brandt Platz in the heart of the city.


The building in the background is the Hauptbahnhof, said to be the largest rail station in Europe.













This caught my eye as I rode off towards Torgau, morning of June 24.

       "The Eros Center"



































Here's something you haven't seen before! A six-seat bicycle; I guess that makes it a hexcycle.

The Torgau Tourism Office offers tours about town, but you have to do your own pedalling!


It's called a "Conference Bike". Take a look.









  The Marienkirche    




























On to Brandenburg:  Herzberg, Schonewalde, Berlin

           ...  oh, and please mind the trees