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Erfurt. What do I want to say about Erfurt? It was warm here; now it’s cold. I bought a sundress I can not afford. 

And so concludes the second fortnight of the summer. In exit rain. We all know I love rain.

Thüringen is a place of impossibly charming architecture, pastel colored, preserved alongside former DDR bleakery. Heavy forests, fields of wheat and wildflowers, rostbratwurst and weißbier.

The almost full moon appeared above an up-lit Mariendom last night, as we walked off the überweird fourth act of Gürbaca’s Die Zauberin premiere, and it felt painted on. To tell the truth, it looked a lot like this (a photo I took in Disney World three years ago).

Our host, Herr Doktor S. showed the whole town to us in a two night tour—loops around the concentric circles of the city center and the Juri-Gagarin-Ring, then left us to our work.

I’ve been especially unproductive this week, full of doubts and structure angsts, so I also took myself to Weimar for a day-date (to Buchenwald, to Bauhaus, and to Goethe’s haus). B met me later for dinner in a pizza garden, plus a sneaky jazz club schwarzbier before the train.

We’ve had charming evenings on the Wenigemarkt platz and the Fischmarkt platz, tiptoed through the twin cathedrals, scaled the fort for rhabarbarschorle on a sunny afternoon, sat nursing milky lattes in cafes, and spent many an afternoon strolling around the Krämerbrucke, be it for sinful chocolate or Augustiner lagerbier. I found a Lebanese place that serves thymianbrot falafel wraps for 3 euro, and we had a picnic on the canal: the boys with their döner, the dogs chasing sticks, the ducks beak-down in the stream after their dinner.

It’s all very civilized here. Quiet. As S. has said: the perfect ratio of people to place.  Ice cream cones are carried at all hours. Things shut down on Sundays. The trains run fervently on time. I take ages in the grocery store parsing German grammar, and can say with confidence that I understand the difference between kraut and kräuter.

We spent last Saturday in the hills around Haarhausen, tramping through the Drei Gleichen woods to find the Veste Wachsenburg, which we’d thought was a monastery, but turned out to be a converted castle/three star hotel. This time: johannisbeere schorle, and a walk back to the deserted train depot through rapeseed fields (still green). Past a strangely bourgey town built up around an incredibly old church. Past a rodeo as well, where ranchers dressed in sequined hats and chaps and rode around a dirt arena listening to Vince Gill.

Nobody whistles. Nobody crosses the street against the light. This is polite society. Space-age-quiet trams speed through the cobbled streets, so close they graze the sidewalk. Respectable ladies sit with hands in lap and listen to an after dinner organ concert for Pfinstmontag.

Then again, sitting at the An der Krämerbrucke biergarten, hipster violinists and a firespinner come so close to your table you can see their sweat. Waitresses in pigtail braids dart past with steins aloft to keep from getting singed.