Of course, we promptly failed miserably. We hadn’t looked up hostels beforehand, due to a combination of not-great internet in Eisenach and not knowing when exactly we were going to travel there (and also the fact that looking up hostels is time-consuming, a fact we were to become very acquainted with by the end of our trip). We got to the train station in Erfurt around noon, and promptly spent about an hour eating, finding internet (more challenging than you’d think!) and, once we’d found a hostel, phoning them in hopes of finding room. Then, once we’d gotten to our hostel, we found the price they were charging us was ridiculous (it ended up being our most expensive night on the trip with the exception of the castle stay, which I’ll talk about later. Crazy!) Then we got lost trying to find our room (it was in the hostel’s second building, several blocks away from the reception building). By this point it was getting well into the afternoon as well, and we only had that day in Erfurt. I promptly had a breakdown.
After that rocky start, however, we found Erfurt a lovely city. The hostel, horrendous pries aside, is located in or close to the Villenviertel (the area with all the 19th-century villas) and thus in a beautiful area of town. We ended up spending our evening exploring "our" area.
|A not-stellar picture of the Villenviertel.|
As previously mentioned, the town centre is wonderfully preserved, with narrow rows of brightly painted half-timber houses lining twisting, cobbled streets.
|There's another narrow house!|
|Ok, so the graffiti isn't medieval, but who cares. Also, there's a little toy store to the right!|
|We really liked that house in the background with the four balconies overhanging the river.|
In particular, this river produces one of Erfurt’s most distinct attractions: the Krämerbrücke (Krämer-bridge, from an old German/Austrian word for merchant). This bridge is completely covered in houses and shops (hence the name) on either side of the pedestrian path that crosses it. When crossing the bridge, it is easy to miss that one is on a bridge, since the water isn’t visible. In fact, we missed it completely and had to double back and cross the bridge again before we realized where it was!
|The Krämerbrücke from the outside.|
Other than this – and the novelty of knowing we were walking across a bridge when it looked like a normal street – we found the Krämerbrücke much nicer and more interesting from the outside. Beside the bridge and on the river, we found a lovely park where we spent some time and took far too many pictures.
|You can see the park by the Krämerbrücke here.|
On top of being beautiful, the town is also delightfully quirky. This is a fountain of the Bremer Stadtmusikanten (Bremen city musicians) from an old fairy tale.
|Bremer Stadtmusikanten as a water founatin|
|Giant "flower" pot, with Tristan for scale|
|The cathedral from the front. The light was behind it when we went, so please excuse the picture quality.|
|A stained-glass window|
…more time wandering and sitting in parks…
As you can see from the pictures, Erfurt is beautiful, and we couldn’t have picked a better day for city wandering. We were so charmed by the town, particularly the city centre, that we promptly started discussing moving there and opening an ice cream café. We’ll see, I suppose ;).
|In this house, of course.|