Friday, October 19 - Weimar

We took the bus into the city and were let off in the square in front of the Deutches National Theater with statues of Goethe and Schiller in the center. There was also an odd little building that was conveniently done in the Classical style.

It was raining, but that lasted only a short time and this was one of the few times we got our umbrellas out on the trip. It was never for more than a few minutes, however. Overall our weather was exceptionally good for northern Europe in the fall.

We walked around with Tom to see the sites, with stories about Goethe and Schiller and their patroness Anna Amalia, who was Regent in Weimar and a noted patron of the arts. It was her influence that made Weimar a center of culture in Europe. It's still a beautiful city and served as capital of Germany during the Weimar Republic after WW I.

We walked into the historical cemetery and first saw the grave of Charlotte von Stein, a lady-in-waiting to Anna Amalia, and reputed to be Goethe's lover. (I found out later on the Internet that this may have been itself a deception and that Charlotte fronted for Goethe's forbidden love for Anna Amalia.) Then we saw the Goethe family grave and went on to the Ducal Vault which had originally been built for royalty, but was later made the final resting place for Goethe and Schiller. The most impressive building in the cemetery is the Russian Orthodox chapel erected as a burial chamber for Maria Pawlowna in 1862. (She was the younger sister of Czar Alexander I and married into the Weimar aristocracy.)

We walked on to the Bauhaus University. This is a technical school for arts and crafts founded in 1860 that was influenced by Henry van de Velde around 1900 and where the Bauhaus was founded by Walter Gropius in 1919. (It moved to Dessau in 1925.) The school remains and was renamed Bauhaus University in recent years. We had only a brief stay here before moving on to see more of the downtown area of Weimar.

After that we had lunch on our own at a very pleasant restaurant. Most of the group (including Barbara) then went off with Tom on a walk through the Park on the Ilm. "When Goethe moved into the summerhouse in the park, he rearranged the garden in line with his needs to include an orchard, vegetable patches, herbaceous borders, rose trellises and winding footpaths in star formation. With Goethe having been so closely involved in the layout of this landscape park, it’s no wonder that it features both classical and post-classical traits. One of its main attributes is the many lines of sight." Tom gave an onsite lecture on "Literature and Gardens of the Classical Period." I rested my knee and wandered about, finding the house that Lucas Cranach the Elder lived in and having a hot chocolate.

B. and I met after the park walk and headed out for the Stadtschloss to see the galleries there. We did the Stadtmuseum with some very fine German paintings and then went on to the Stadtkirche St. Peter und Paul, or Herder-Kirche, which had an altar triptych by both Lucas Cranachs. After that we saw the Bauhaus Museum. Or B. did, while I sat out on a bench waiting until 6 for the bus. Then back to the hotel and a fancy five course Goethe-inspired dinner.

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