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Sturm und Drang” was a period of German literature that Goethe and Schiller had already put behind them when they eventually met and became close friends in Weimar. It was a period dominated by ideas such as an absolute yearning for freedom, emotion over reason and a rejection of regulatory constraints, and typified the earlier work of both authors. In Weimar, where Goethe settled in 1775 as a minister of the young Duke Karl August, the poet laureate emerged from the unrest of his Sturm und Drang era into the peace and order of classicism. Around 20 years later, the city – an important administrative centre – also signalled the end of a long odyssey for Goethe’s younger counterpart Friedrich Schiller.
“Sturm und Drang” would also be a fitting way to characterise the sudden appearance of the #porsche #944turbo #cabriolet in Thuringia. The 944 is an open top 250 hp sports car that remains as popular a quarter-century after its launch as it ever was. “Sturm” should not be construed as a reference to headwind; with this car, even at high speed and with the top down, the air skims over the top of the head. Both “Sturm” and “Drang” are more relevant to the 2.5 litre turbo drive, which storms into life after a brief intake of air and forces the low #cabriolet into motion.Safely navigated by the 1.4-tonne cabriolet
The roads between the picturesque Weimar and the neighbouring state capital of Erfurt form the perfect backdrop for this classic car. Many of the country roads follow the natural lay of the land just like the original roads built for carriages during the Baroque era. These roads have not been levelled out; no lanes have been cut into the rolling landscape, unlike the fast highways built after the fall of the Berlin Wall. The trajectory alternates between sloping corners, dips and short straights; time and again, the road slopes upwards immediately after a bend. But these challenges are welcomed: To master them, the driver needs to use a low gear, plenty of gas, and push the car up to 4,000 rpm; the purring sound of the large four-cylinder engine belying its true power. The hills, which often culminate in a blind summit, are safely navigated by the 1.4-tonne #cabriolet which – thanks to its perfect weight distribution courtesy of the transaxle – remains perfectly balanced. It’s a refreshing change to drive on roads that are barely ever straight or level...
However, the #944turbo #cabriolet has to admit defeat (as any other car would) at Erfurt old town. The countless picturesque alleyways have remained virtually unchanged since the era of German classicism, and are neither wider nor more level than they were at the time of their construction. The uneven cobblestones, although aesthetically pleasing, can typically only be tackled at walking pace – but the best way to explore Erfurt is on foot anyway. The city earned its riches as a meeting point between two major trading routes and as an exporter of woad, a blue dye. Its universities gained a worldwide reputation, and Erfurt was an important seat of government until the 19th century. A stroll through the town is like flicking through an architectural picture book: medieval churches meet small workshops, decorative Renaissance façades and lavish art nouveau buildings.One of Europe's most fascinating old town squares
Anger – the commercial heart of Erfurt, with trams running in all directions – is a popular meeting point. Buildings spanning nine centuries, including the magnificent post office and ornamental Anger Entrée, line the square. From here, you can walk along Schlösserstraße to the fish market, which is one of Europe's most fascinating old town squares, featuring monumental buildings from different eras. Past the neo-gothic town hall, the road leads to the city’s sightseeing highlight: the Krämerbrücke, or merchant’s bridge. As early as the 12th century, merchants hawked their sought-after wares, such as spices, precious metals and dyes, on the wooden predecessor to today’s structure. Today, the unique bridge – the only one of its kind in the world to be fully lined with buildings – is home to 32 specialist workshops. All but two of these buildings belong to the city of Erfurt. Local entrepreneurs with unusual business ideas are given priority for property leases. Behind the door of each of the shops lies a fascinating miniature world: A left-handed shop, a jewellery design studio, a gallery, ceramics, antiques, a bookshop, a delicatessen, a chocolate maker and a store selling local Thuringia produce are among the businesses lining the bridge.
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