Weimar is a town like many other towns and cities in the world. Especially in the way of movement and travel. Everyone needs to go from A to B.
It is true, that there are not many comparisons to be made between Weimar’s rare traffic jams and Melbourne’s road during peak times. And thank goodness for that. I was so happy to get away from them. It is highly likely that those 1 ½ hours on the road everyday was high on my list of reasons to move to Weimar.
When I arrived here, I didn’t even consider working out the complicated system of having a license here, not to mention learning how to drive on a different side of the road. Living quite close to the centre of the town, I could walk to wherever I needed to go, including to and from work. Many of my colleagues would ask me exasperatedly why I didn’t just catch the public bus or use a bike like most other residents of Weimar. Honestly, I am not very confident riding my bike alongside traffic. Living in the outskirts suburbs of Melbourne, I never had much practice in riding my bike in traffic. In Melbourne, that takes a certain kind of daring person to do that. Not quite me.There was also the option of taking the bus, but that could be sometimes more trouble than it was worth.
Besides, the route I take to walk home is quite exceptional and I wouldn’t want to miss that.
As an Australian, to truly experience the changing seasons in Weimar is something quite special and it is still a novelty to me. In Melbourne, basically the main seasons are bloody hot and pretty shitty. Autumn is not really noticed except in rural areas that have deciduous trees, and spring is just a period of time where most people are impatient for the beach season to begin. Little did I know, how incredibly special each season could be.
Spring is the most joyous and fragrant of all. Seeing wildflowers fight their way out of the once frozen ground. To see the the little buds begin to form on the trees until one day they explode in colour is wonderful.
Summer in Weimar comes alive where people are often outside building up their supply of Vitamin D in as many different ways that they can; Bike riding, strolling through the city centre, people watching whilst eating an ice cream, and of course, partaking in the many outdoor events in Weimar.
Autumn is also surprisingly colourful. The leaves changing into hues of orange and brown that I’ve never seen before until moving to Weimar. When the leaves fall to the ground, there’s a simple pleasure of crunching over those piles of leaves.
And my first winter season is one I will never forget. It snowed in Weimar from October until March. Before that first winter, never had I the pleasure of hearing the sound of the crunch of snow under my boots. Never had I experienced the silence of falling snow. Never had I experienced the aching cold of my ears and nose like those days when it was way below zero. All this I experienced and saw and relished during my walk to and from school.
My daily 2 kilometres walk home ends right in the centre of town. Not known by many people outside of Germany, doesn’t mean we don’t get many tourists here. It can be especially congested during the weekends as it is filled with many daytrippers wanting to see the charming historical sights that Weimar has to offer. But also during the week there is likely to be two or more school groups congregating as one large mass outside of Goethe’s house or eating a bratwurst in the Marktplatz.
During the sunny, warmer months, parents with their children are often sitting on a small patch of grass outside the ice cream shop enjoying the afternoon calm. What is on one hand, an exciting diorama-like scenery to enjoy of course can be quite an obstacle if you really want to get home after a tiring day of work. Not only do I have to watch out for roaming tourists groups. Also, despite the main part of Weimar being a pedestrian zone, I still need to look out for cyclists weaving past people and of course the horse and carriage service that caters for those looking to see the town in a more traditional and languid style. So although it’s the shortest section of my journey it is also the most hectic. But even so, there is still a small part of me that says, “I can’t believe I live in this fairytale town”.
In my first years living in Weimar, I got to truly experience the soul of this town during my walks to and from work. I could recognise the ebb and flow of life and it gave me the much-needed time to take it slow and take it all in. And perhaps there are days that I take it all for granted but I now realise that I am more than just a passing traveller but rather someone who really belongs.