The spring of 2013 marked our first visit to picturesque Weimar, in the German state of Thuringia. The tone of the city was perfect! Lively, casual, and moderate in pace, throughout; there was no lack of places to eat, shops to browse; more than a dozen museums to visit, and loads of other daytime and evening activities. Many events were outdoors and free, i.e., music concerts and dancing on both Theater Platz, and on the market square, a short walking distance from there. And I was impressed by the demographic mix everywhere we went: teenagers, young adults, seniors and children, all mingling together at these different venues. And they came by foot, or on bicycles—singles, couples, families, tour groups! Besides its convenient public transportation, which covers just about every area of the city, Weimar is a pedestrian and cyclists friendly & respectful town.
Enjoyed our time there so much the first time, subsequent trips followed, in 2014 and 2015. Each trip, we arrived by train from disappointingly dismal Frankfurt—our point of entry to Europe, because we like flying on Singapore Airlines—and departed by train, bound for the gloriously beautiful and vital Prague.
Soon after our spring 2013 arrival in Weimar, while out walking and exploring the neighborhood around our hotel, we discovered La Tarte. Hungry, and looking for a place to have dinner, we walked inside. Now at another location, back in 2013, this small French bistro was connected to the Neues Museum, and as luck would have it, there was an event taking place next door at the museum, so that evening, the restaurant was reserved for museum guests only. After a glance at their menu, which made us eager to return, a reservation was made for the following night. The dining experience did not disappoint. A table side chat with the German owner, revealed the menu items—country-French—were the creations of his French-born wife. As it turned out, my dish at La Tarte’s that evening was, by far, the best meal I had throughout the entire 5½ week journey, which included cities in 5 different countries.
On the outskirts of Weimar, and only a 15 to 20 minute ride by city bus, lies the Buchenwald Memorial. The bus taken on Goethe Platz, directly opposite our hotel, dropped us off at the parking lot across from the Memorial Museum’s information office.
We intentionally saved the Buchenwald tour for the last day, before our early morning departure for Prague; it was a tour we didn’t look forward to seeing, but on the other hand, couldn’t ignore doing. Being that close, it was a must visit! Weimar, indeed a picturesque and pristine city, celebrates at every turn, two of the greats of German literature, poets Johann Wolfgang Goethe and Friedrich Schiller. And Weimar’s love and esteem for these cultural icons is expressed in every conceivable way, with monuments, plazas and museums in their names, in addition to their likenesses showing up on every souvenir imaginable—from key-rings to coffee mugs, t-shirts and plates. I would say, the city’s focus on all things Goethe and Schiller is impressive, which made the stones throw away Buchenwald all the more a shocking and sobering contrast. The chilling feeling began within minutes of leaving the stop in front of the Weimar Railway Station, and continued on the road which soon became desolate, and all one saw was a deep forest of tall, almost threadbare trees.
— Near the main market square in Weimar, Germany