After weeks of hardly travelling, I am back to travelling hard with trips lined up every single week for the next six weeks (and counting). So to kick things off I had a trip to Germany, more specific Erfurt and Weimar.
Getting to the Middle and Eastern parts of Germany usually involves a lot of travelling and takes more or less forever. Since the nearby airports Dresden and Leipzig are not served directly from London (well Leipzig does have one or two Ryanair flights a week at very inconvenient times), it either means connecting flights from Frankfurt or Munich or flying to somewhere nearby‘ish’ (meaning Berlin or Frankfurt) and taking the train or a rental car.
This time was no exception. I had two visits in the vicinity of Erfurt beginning of last week.
To make the most of it, I decided to combine it with a weekend at my parents (with the added bonus of meeting my newly born nephew), then took the ICE to Erfurt on Monday morning (instead of getting up at silly o’clock and taking the very first flight from London to Frankfurt). Sometimes it all works nicely.
After a three and a half hour train journey (and a brief encounter with a former class mate whom I had not seen in years and who happened to take the exact same train that morning), another hour by car and eventually the actual meeting, we headed to Erfurt for the night.
This wasn’t the first time we spent the night in Erfurt, so we skipped the touristy tour through town and instead just went for a leisurely walk and dinner (very sorry, no photos of Erfurt this time). But if you have not been, I can totally recommend you go and check it out.
Creatures of habit, we had booked ourselves into the same hotel as last time, the ‘Hotel am Kaisersaal’, a 3 star hotel within walking distance of restaurants and the old town, with modern rooms, a decent breakfast buffet and a moderate price tag (I ended up paying around 90 Euros for the night including breakfast).
With Erfurt having a university and plenty of students, finding places to eat and drink isn’t too hard a job, there is a good selection for all budgets.
Unfortunately I ended up not having a good night’s sleep, nothing to do with the hotel at all (it was quiet and the bed was comfy, so really not their fault), this just happens from time to time. So instead of well rested and fresh I ended up feeling rather hung over the next morning… albeit without the alcohol and party bit the evening before. But nothing plenty of coffee wouldn’t cure, so all well.
The schedule for the second day was quite strict. Meeting in Weimar in the morning, then catching a train from Erfurt to Frankfurt, in time for my evening flight back to London. So far so good, no room for error.
Lucky me, the meeting finished rather early, leaving us with a good hour spare, enough to actually go into Weimar and have a quick stroll around town.
Weimar is famous for a number of reasons… if you are an architect, it probably is the Bauhaus University that springs to mind. If you are into music, it might be Johann Sebastian Bach. If literature is your thing, Friedrich Schiller might ring a bell. Not to forget the historic aspect of it being the birthplace of the Weimarer Republik.
Weimar has a lovely old town center (in fact so lovely that parts of it belong to not one but two Unesco world heritage sites).
Our one hour slot obviously wasn’t enough to actually go and explore anything in detail, but it allowed a sneak preview with a brisk walk around (high heels on cobbled stones, so thanks Weimar for two nasty blisters), taking in some of the sights (only from the outside obviously). If you ever get the chance, go and see it for yourself (and I might as well, then with a little more time).
Stroll over, it was time to head back to Erfurt to catch the ICE back to Frankfurt airport.
As things tend to change at short notice I came prepared and had booked myself a flexible ticket, enabling me to take any train back to Frankfurt (just in case I miss my most convenient connection or am at the station hours early). This bit I could remember. But what I completely blanked from my mind was the fact that I also reserved a seat for that oh so convenient train connection…. So I ended up being very clever (or obviously plain stupid and silly) and buying another one. Note to self: Always check your ticket BEFORE you buy add-ons. And DON’T rely on memory (I totally blame the 4 hours sleep for it, certainly not age).
Only a slight delay on the way, not enough to cause serious issues, so got back to the airport well in time for coffee and dinner at the airport lounge before boarding my flight.
Once boarding I was in for a bit of a surprise. As so often I booked my flight with British Airways (not the least as it allows me to use the lounge, in case I am at the airport and have hours of wait time, as happened to me more times than I care to count), however the plane I boarded looked nothing like a British Airways flight. Instead it turned out to be Qatar airlines. Also a member of the One World alliance, so nothing unusual here really, I just did not notice it before (and therefore did not expect it). Instead of the usual neutral BA interior, we were in for a rather pink and plush interior… but also a full catering with nibbles and drinks … not to mention bags of extra leg room. So win/win really.
So how was your week? Any exciting travels?