Our trip to Thuringia started very early and unfortunately it was also pretty cold, but luckily for us the bus quickly arrived and we were able to warm ourselves up inside. While driving we admired the beautiful landscape full of hoarfrost glittering in the sun. As we arrived in Rudolstadt, a small city in Thuringia, we enjoyed a unique view about the city only disturbed by some strange rock music. It was from a big run that took place in the city as we would find out later. For us it was time to discover the impressive baroque rooms inside Heidecksburg palace, the former residence of the counts and later princes of the principality Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt. The festive hall with its ceiling in a height of 12 meters, the marble gallery with its imposing appearance and of course the huge slippers especially left us an impression. Afterwards we still had enough time to visit the exhibition “Rococo en miniature”. Two guys started to build up two 18th century made-up kingdoms 50 years ago in the GDR. But as the name may already reveal, everything is built in a scale of 1:50. Even though the palaces and churches are so small, they contain parquet floors, ceiling paintings and even books! A really fascinating world is standing there in the old kitchen of the palace.
Our second stop was Jena, the city of light and glass. Here we wanted to visit the optical museum to learn more about Carl Zeiß, Ernst Abbe and Otto Schott, the three men who established the glass and glass processing industry in the second biggest city of Thuringia. Our guide Tammy knew everything about the working conditions in the middle of the 19th century (7 days a week, 13 hours a day) and the difficulties with manufacturing perfect products. She also gave us a look into the lives of Zeiß, Abbe, and Schott, who made Jena as important as it is nowadays. Some optical illusions, a collection of microscopes and telescopes and tests of our own vision strength made our visit informative and funny. After that it was finally time for the first Christmas market! Jena offered a nice historical market next to old city walls with a blacksmith, fire places, and of course some Glühwein. For dinner we went to “Daheme” (Thuringian for at home), a cozy restaurant with typical German food. Then some of us discovered more bars while the rest went to bed or back to the hostel to sit together and enjoy some drinks.
On Sunday we went to Weimar, a small city with an incredible history. Famous poets like Goethe and Schiller, composers like Johann Sebastian Bach, the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche and many others lived or at least spent some years in the city and left an enormous cultural heritage. The city with only 65 000 inhabitants has 20 museums, a national theater, the famous Anna-Amalia library and many more remarkable places so you could spend at least a week there and see new things every day. Unfortunately we had only a few hours but our great guide managed to show us as much as possible. However, two hours was enough to leave us freezing because even though the sun was shining, the temperatures were really cold. Luckily our guide had Glühwein-coupons for all of us so we could enjoy the Christmas market after our tour and enjoy hot drinks and typical food like roasted almonds and Handbrot. Afterwards it was time to drive back to Dresden. On the way everybody was really sleepy so the ride was pretty quiet. At this point we would like to thank our driver Christoph who did a great job and was really kind. Hopefully we can enjoy more excursions with him and you of course!
Have a great Christmas time.