When travelling around and going to different schools and programs, your friends can end up scattered throughout the world. This means you may not see them as often as you like, but it’s the main reason I never say goodbye. You never know where you’ll be in a month, a year, or even a decade, and this has been proven time and time again for me. This weekend was no different as I was reunited with my friend Irem from first year university, where we had German class together. However instead of dropping the language learning like me, she went on to be fluent and is now studying at Universität Erfurt. She’s been living in Germany for almost 3 years now, and this is the second time I’ve seen her outside of Canada. The first in Budapest with lots of laughs and Palinka, and this time it was with just as many laughs (if not more) and beer.
The city itself is quite small, but has an awesome tram system which has trains every couple of minutes throughout the entire day. If you miss it though it’s not a big deal as you can walk across the main area of the city in about 20-30min. Robin and I found an awesome place on Airbnb about a 10min walk from Irem’s residence, and about 15min away from a great area with lots of bars and restaurants. On Thursday we had a little more laid back of a day as we caught up on life since about a year had passed from our last visit, and we grabbed some take out before making our way to an awesome beer garden called Noah to meet a few more of her friends that had just finished their masters (and just to prove its a small world after all, two of the three had gone to university in Waterloo). Noah has an awesome selection of beers, wines, and liquors that are all at reasonable prices. We stuck to beer and they were all between €2.30-€3.20 (around $3-5CDN), with most being half a litre. I had both their Radler (beer mixed with lemonade or sprite) and their Diesel (beer mixed with cola) which were delicious. The diesel was a little heavy on the cola for me, but both were perfect for me as I’m not a big beer drinker in the first place.
After a good night of sleep it was time to do some sightseeing with our lovely guide! As I said before Erfurt is great to walk around in, and many points of interest are close together. We had lunch at Zum Wenigemarkt 13, which has an awesome patio in a cute plaza a little off the main drag. It was a day of struggling to make decisions, so I opted for a traditional Thüringen dish – Rinderroulade mit Apfel-Rotkohl und Thüringener Kloßen. Translated: beef wrapped around peppers, onions, bacon, and pickles, with a red cabbage and apple mixture and dumpling-like potato pudding balls. A very hearty but delicious lunch that I accompanied with a Diesel (making me feel extremely German and yes I loved every minute of it). With that we were fuelled for a day of exploring!
Erfurt is the capital city of the Thüringen state, and has a population of approximately 205,000. Home to the oldest university in Germany as well as the oldest Synagogue in Europe, the city definitely has its fair share of history. There are two main square in Erfurt – Angerplatz and Domplatz. We wandered through the city between these two squares, where there are quite a few fountains, plenty of shops, and even more beautifully crafted buildings. As it was first mentioned in history WAY back in 742, I’m sure you can imagine what the architecture looks like! Don’t worry though, I have photos for you so don’t worry, you won’t have to wrack your brain.
Erfurt is also home to Germany’s children’s channel called KiKa, so it has plenty of the channel’s adorable little creatures scattered throughout the city. It also has a number of wonderfully planned public areas, including beer gardens along the river, a beautifully crafted riverfront that has steps leading into the water so you can cool yourself off on a hot day (with a great view of the Krämerbrücke, a bridge covered by houses), and huge squares perfect for markets and other gatherings – like the nightly performances in the summer at the base of Erfurt’s cathedral.
We finished our tour with a visit to the ruins of the Petersberg Citadel. It is considered one of the largest and best preserved in Europe as it was built in the mid to late 1660s. You can wander through quite a bit of the fortress itself, and it seems to be a popular picnic spot. However, we were there mainly for the amazing view of Erfurt!
The city also had plenty of restaurants with beautiful patios, and we enjoyed our dinner on one of them at the Roter Elephant. A great place for a somewhat cheap meal, Robin and I both indulged in some delicious cream pasta (~€9 or ~$13CDN) and, of course, a beer. With full bellies we made our way back to our Airbnb to relax a little before another busy night of visiting and bar hopping. Our first stop however, was to cash in on a case of beer that Irem won from a random German guy at Noah’s the night before. Let me explain.
The group of us somewhat adopted two German guys that were sitting across the room from us at Noah’s, and we got to chatting. I’m not sure how the conversation got to this, but Irem originally went to school on exchange in Mannheim, and he thought the city was in Rheinland-Pfalz. As Irem is in love with the city, she was very adamant that it was in Baden-Württemberg. As he is the local, he thought he was right and bet Irem a case of beer that she was wrong. Upon asking Google, Irem secured her case of beer. We got their address as he was planning on having a shindig with friends anyway, and voila – our first destination for last night. It’s because of stories like this that I love travelling.
After saying goodbye and thanks for the free beer, we made our way towards the river Gera looking for our next drinking destination. We happened upon Gasthaus Amplonius, which I’m glad we did as this is where Irem suggested that we try the Banana Hefeweizen… and it changed my life. If you only have one choice for a drink in the city of Erfurt, you must go here for this drink. It is absolutely delicious, and if you don’t have it you’re truly missing out. The only scary part is that I think I’ve been spoiled by having the best one first, so if I try another Banana Hefeweizen I’ll be disappointed. I’ll keep you updated as to my discoveries.
A late night döner snack completed the night, and then we had one last half day before our trip back to Frankfurt today. As I can be a creature of habit when I find something delicious I like, you can guess where we went… Gasthaus Amplonius! Although their Banana Hefeweizen isn’t the only thing that’s good, their Jägerschnitzel is amazing also. Schnitzel smothered in a mushroom cream sauce with tons of fresh mushrooms and delicious Kroketten.
With that, we made our way to the bus which was unfortunately 30 minutes late (another late departure – what is this madness, Germany?!), but that just meant a little bit more time with Irem. Sending lots of love your way darling, and I can’t wait until our next reunion! I have a feeling it will involve a lot of sushi…