Monday, July 31, 2006


Trip dist: 103 kms. Trip time: 6 hrs, 18 mins. Tot dist: 4,692 kms.

Ah. With all this day-tripping I had been doing from Weimar I think I forgot to tell you why this city is so important.

Weimar is inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage list no less than twice. Together with the city of Dessau, Weimar was inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage list for the first time in 1996, for the role it played in developing the Bauhaus school of architecture, which was founded here back in 1919 before it (and its great exponents Walter Gropius, Hannes Meyer, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, Vassily Kandinsky, et al.) moved to Dessau. Some examples of this kind of architecture can be found near Weimar city center.

The second time, in 1998, the UNESCO inscribed "Classical Weimar" in the list for the city's important cultural flowering in the late 18th through early 19th centuries: the German literary giants Goethe and Schiller lived and produced some of their best work here, for instance, but not just them, but several other well-renowned German poets, like Wieland and Herder, as well (for you musicophiles, by the way, I don't think I need to remind you, especially you who are familiar with some of the Schubert Lieder, or the Brahms, or some of the Beethoven--the 9th, for instance--many of them are musical versions of Schiller and Goethe poems). Weimar's beautiful Anna Amalia Bibliothek (couldn't visit, unfortunately, but here are some pictures from the web) still holds some of the original Goethe and Schiller manuscripts, and you can also of course visit both Goethe's and Schiller's houses (now museums dedicated to the masters' work).

Neat, huh?

Anyway, the ride today to Leipzig was fairly ordinary. The cool thing about German town street naming conventions: Ever get lost in the middle of some town center because you just lost sight of where the Bundestrasse B87 or whateveritsnameis was supposed to go once it got blended in with the other main town streets as you approached the city center and marketplace? Not to worry, simply follow the streetnames: Leipziger Strasse will lead you to Leipzig, Marburger Strasse, either comes from or goes to Marburg, etc., and this is so true and comfortingly predictable that without any other information you can pretty much ask the next passerby: "Excuse me, where is [insert-name-of-next-town-you-want-to-get-to-here]er Strasse?", and you will soon be on your way, as it is guaranteed it eventually merges with the appropriate National road. Cool, huh?

From the outskirts of Leipzig to city center there is something like 10 kms, with very sparse lands, a building here or there but many empty lots before you get close to the more urban area. Some parts even looked a bit like Mexico City's area of Las Lomas (it is a very nice and rather affluent area), only Leipzig is a little bit more unkempt (lots of overgrown grass and as I said a fair amount of "empty space"), and I even thought: "Hoy, for a 3rd world country, at least in comparison to this 1st world country, Mexico is not doing all that bad at all!". But anyway. Aside from the outskirts (which as I mentioned are rather....lonely looking), Leipzig city center is one of the most beautiful ones I've seen, and I rather wonder how much of it has been reconstructed. I also wondered, too, why Leipzig is not in the UNESCO WH list, for it certainly seems to deserve it, in terms of beauty. There are lots of 1700's style buildings, and the street musicians play things like Mozart's Clarinet Concerto throughout the center-town side streets. No wonder: Leipzig has one of the most reputed music traditions in all of Europe, not least of all the Musikhochschule founded no less than by Felix Mendelsohn himself.

I think I'm rather going to like this city.


No comments: