10 November 2023

Not every day

We'd passed through Erfurt on the way to Weimar. It's a larger town (232k vs. 65k) with a history dating back to the paleo/neolithic and with later Roman remains before the Thuringii ~500CE then mentioned by Saint Boniface in a letter to Pope Zachary in 742CE. Thus is the way of European history. It's noted for not being bombed in WW2 so an authentic historical old town, and being Eastern Block and thus less developed after WW2 would have helped too. Impressions were a busy place, many trams, few cars, plenty walking, some rundown but also some beautiful architecture, but these are areas near the station then in the old town. We happened on a busking cello quartet Cellostrada and bought their album after hearing some obviously capable players playing Shostakovich. Turns out they play in the local opera orchestra. Their CD mixed classical with film and pop music through 5-part cello scores. Then on to some wondrous remains, an old residential bridge over a stream through the centre of town known as the Krämerbrücke. What got me was the remaining timber supports and presumably wattle and daub structures. Never seen quite the authentic likes of this before. A church to visit and another stunning altarpiece and moseying through Anger (an urban area) then we encountered police tapes, expanding through a large square, relaxed but then we were moved on, trams stopped, more police vans and police in black and preventing movements. They were amiable enough and spoke to locals, but in German. Eventually a local showed us a phone pic of a suitcase left in the square and we can see a robot near it and more vans arrive but we lose some sightlines to the suitcase. Nothing seems to be happening for some time. Plenty of people hanging around with interest although that starts to wane. No protective bomb suits in sight. Then, getting on to an hour later and smaller crowds and the tape is taken down and trams start moving again. Things back to normal. In the end, no explosion or particularly notable police activity but an interesting interlude. Apparently there had been another such event the previous week near the town hall. This one was near the central post office and the Neuer Angerbrunnen fountain. As people left I picked up some stickers that someone had discarded or lost. Translated, the text reads "ORDNUNGSBEHÖRDEN HASSEN DIESEN TRICK" (=Law regulators hate this trick). So not an everyday outing in the end. BTW, I found the local jazz club is on Yuri Gagarin Ring road.

We visited Erfurt for the Cellostrada cello quartet, the Krämerbrücke bridge and a bomb scare in Anger.

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