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In Goethe’s footsteps through Weimar
In Goethe’s footsteps through Weimar
Goethe would drive Guzzi
Because he could 1. always go on an “Italian journey”, 2. the lush V2 reminded him of his Christiane and 3. the leaf of the ginkgo, the highly symbolic one. And 4. it would have to be Stone from Guzzi, because of Charlotte, Frau von Stein.
With Goethe and Weimar it seems to be similar to that with Rudesheim and the wine or Bad Schwartau and the jam. What made them famous and put them on the brown signs next to the autobahn, the municipalities sometimes put on so thickly (Vierfrucht) that it turns visitors’ stomachs (Liebfrauenmilch) and it gushes through the streets: “We feel very cannibalized ‘As like five hundred pigs.’ (Faust I) Which is why the motorcycle tourist as such, one of whose most excellent qualities is to avoid the well-trodden paths, bus parking spaces and jam museums, and to avoid such mass-compatible locations. Weimar ?? Isn’t that the city, he wonders, where conspiratorial senior students drive marauding students from the Goethe to the Schillerhaus and fetch their dear wives ginkgo saplings from the Goethe shop for the winter garden? Sure, that is Weimar too, a residential town that has achieved world fame and school trips. Thanks to the greatest density of poets of all time ?? Goethe, Schiller, Wieland, Herder, Jean Paul, Musaus, Andersen et cetera. City of dead poets, but one that pulsates, that knows how to live with all the corpses it has in its catacombs and tombs.
A sign hangs next to a bakery: “This is where Velda bought her rolls”. A parody on memorial plaques of the supposedly more useful kind: “Musaus lived in this house”, “At this point Herder did not take off his hat to Christiane Vulpius”. Only tourists who count peas in their lives stop in front of it. The Guzzi rumbles by, swings over the cobblestones to Burgplatz, and parks decoratively in front of the ACC Cafe. And where you drink and eat below and where modern art is presented above, in the superstructure, so to speak, it can now stand for a while. Because classic Weimar is so tiny, 400 meters in a square, that it offers all of its attractions in a stroll, en passant halt. Italian students photographing Japanese German students in front of the Goethe House; Lovers on the park benches by the castles, dozing, smooching; Piano sonatas that pearl from the Princely House, the music academy; and tenth graders who, in the shadow of the Herder statue, debate the question of who the bigger babe is, Brittney Spears or Christina Aguilera, with due seriousness.
So everything is completely normal, even if it goes wild all around and shimmers. Anyone visiting Weimar would do well not to look for the spirit of German classical music, because they have long since escaped or are haunted by caricatures, through souvenir and ginkgo shops. Correct: Gingko shops, where perfectly trained specialists beat saplings, teas, essences and whatever other top Gingko products to the nature-conscious people and Goethe friends. Here, of course, it finally reveals itself, the power of poetry, which creates medium-sized jobs with a poem from the “West-Eastern Divan”: “Is it a secret being that separates itself? Are there two who choose to be known as one? “This” it “is the leaf of gingko
Biloba, two-part and yet one, like a V-engine or love, the symbol of which the gingko became. Thanks to Goethe, once again not having a crush on Christiane, but on Marianne Willemer, a trained actress and verse-forging banker’s wife in Frankfurt am Main.
When he tried to find her, an axle on his carriage broke in the Weimar region. Goethe took this as an omen, abandoned the willemaking, admitted his defeat. As a lover and as a minister responsible for the state of the roads. And here, too, was stuck in a dilemma. As a politician, he ensured that the duchy got a modern administration and infrastructure that followed Enlightenment principles. As an artist, this development struck him as extremely suspect. “He calls it reason and only needs it to be more animal than any animal.” (Faust I) The Olympian could not count on speed, this characteristic of modernity that is so crucial to him. He calls it “Velociferic”, the new era, an artificial word made up of velocitas (hurry) and Luciferian (devilish). Another reason why Goethe would have driven Guzzi, because it was difficult to race with the bucket. And the cylinder angle of the V2 does not remind you of the proportions of a gingko leaf?
Get out of the “Gingkomuseum” and go straight to the nearest souvenir shop. Kitsch can be so terribly stupid and cranky that it tips over into glory again. But then question after question puzzles through the brain: Who is putting the porcelain Frau-von-Stein silhouette in the showcase or shelf? And who pulls out the wallet for plastic Goethe and plastic Christiane in the fabulous babushka look? Nobody, nobody for a full half hour. The constant squinting over to the cash register to see if something’s going on makes the saleswoman nervous. Okay, it’s okay, bye. And by the way, the helmet is intended for motorcycling, not for a robbery. But stop, the Goethe bust for 14.95 euros, it still has to come with you.
For an espresso in one of the cafes on Theaterplatz. It doesn’t stay with one, because in Weimar the prettiest and amazed girls serve far and wide, and here, just a few meters away from the Goethe and Schiller memorial, tourist gazing is so much fun that you forget that you are one yourself.
Weimar has these Italian moments in spring, then life takes place on the streets and in the courtyards, the students take their books and their loved ones out into the green on the Ilm, on the meadow in front of Goethe’s garden house.
Goethe thoroughly remodeled the park, re-staged the landscape: there a group of trees, there bushes well-proportioned on the lawn, buildings integrated into the ensemble and everything garnished with bridges, sculptures and memorial stones. When this piece of nature was arranged to the satisfaction of the Master, the gates also opened for the common people ?? one of the first public parks. Such freedom of movement was worthwhile for Goethe; on July 12, 1788, he is said to have met Christiane Vulpius here.
Goethe and Vulpius lived together for 18 years before they married in 1806. And even after that the Weimar people still tore their blasphemous mouths. For a time Goethe even had to move out of the house on Frauenplan and to the outskirts, because the citizens cannot be expected to witness this immoral connection every day. And of course Charlotte was not amused, too, the retired muse, Frau von Stein. Her noble platonic love stained, destroyed by a lush, coarse, southern-looking proletarian who once tied artificial flowers in a workshop for single women.
Goethe didn’t care about the rumble, Christiane embodied for him the happiness he had found in Italy. And since he couldn’t travel south again anytime soon, he brought the south to Weimar. With Christiane, but also with the countless drawings, sculptures and paintings that he brought with him or had sent to him. His museum house on Frauenplan is full of it. And in the orangery of Belvedere Palace, under lemons and cypresses, Goethe could
even feel a touch of Mediterranean life. The Guzzi shoots up the straight avenue to the castle. From up here, three kilometers south of the city, Weimar looks like the eternal German idyll, with its churches and castles, the narrow, winding streets. The prefabricated buildings from the socialist era have been shyly separated to the northwest so that nothing disturbs the beautiful view. And the Buchenwald Memorial is a few kilometers behind. The Nazis had bent Goethe into an “educator for people, leadership and nation”. Of all people, Goethe, the free spirit, cosmopolitan and pacifist. In the GDR they then interpreted Goethe as the forerunner of socialism. And today? Nobody can get him under an ideological hat anymore. Only one thing is really certain: Goethe would drive Guzzi.
Info – Weimar on Goethe’s footsteps
Touring Weimar is exhausting.
Too many pubs, too many cafes, too many
Sights (Goethe House, Schiller House, City Church, Anna Amalia Library, Wittumspalais, City Palace and City Museum, etc.). As a destination of short trips, respectively
About three kilometers from the center, the Belvedere and Tiefurt castles are ideal. Belvedere: the actual residence on
a hill to the south, elegant, not like that
clunky like the city castles, rococo,
with refined gardens and putty sculptures. Tiefurt: located on the main road to Jena, not much more than a larger farmhouse on the Ilm, but a grand park with memorial stones and a stage.
Ettersburg Castle: Pleasure and hunting palace, shortly before it fell into disrepair, managed. Almost in sight: the Buchenwald Memorial. Obmanstedt Castle: the estate on which the poet Christoph Martin Wieland
lived a few years, small museum. Apolda: old hosiery town, not to be overlooked that most of the state money goes to Weimar, interesting mixture of parts
Un-, partly broken, restored old town
and industrial architecture worth preserving.
Dornburg castles: from the renaissance,
Rococo, Middle Ages; Rose garden, high above the Saale, fantastic view. Jena: Botanical garden with Goethe’s workhouse and ginkgo tree, university. Bad Berka, wonderfully sleepy
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