Friday afternoon the sky is grey and rainy. Not the best conditions for sports activities outside. So why not pay a visit to a city nearbye? We choose Jena, a university town. Jena is home of the Friedrich-Schiller university. Moreover the city of lights of Thuringia has more than 330 historic monuments, which are being renovated time after time since 1989.
Jena is only a 30 km drive from us. We don’t have a clue what Jena has to offer. Maybe that is the reason why we are positively surprised. It could be also the feeling to be again in a lively atmosphere after some time.
Culture or shopping?
The drive to Jena already is interesting. It leads across country, via villages and towns. On our way we pass by Camburg and the Dornburger Schlösser. We realize that we have to come back again to visit them – another day.
Having arrived at Jena we are looking for a good starting point to explore the city. We park our car close to the JenTowers, the city’s emblem. It is a good orientation point. When it starts raining we escape from it by entering a shopping mall. Oh I have not done that for years: strolling and looking what’s on store. However the state order of wearing a mask blurs our experience soon so that we go back to open air.
We are looking for a coffee-to-go and discover a bakery disposing of a high-class coffee machine. That looks promising to us. The attendance puts the coffee into our thermos cup. Two minutes later we are happily leaving the place with our cups with the desired black hot liquid in it.
Then we discover the historical town hall of 1365 and the market place. It looks like today was market-day. The final cheese, sausages and vegetable booths are still on the place. That’s the turnaround from now on we are dedicated to sightseeing. Jena disposes of interesting and appealing historic monuments. I did not expect that.
The Saale Horizontale
I discover the tourist information on the market square. That is a good chance to ask for brochures on the SaaleHorizontale. I spotted that 72 km long panoramic trail on the internet. Now I like to find out more. We collect a flyer and leave the service office via the rear exit. Suddenly we are amazed. We are standing on a very nice alley with nice old houses. I guess it is the Oberlauengasse.
Now a genuine fireworks of pictures starts. Just taking a picture of the presumably oldest house of the city, the so called Platanenhaus, we see from the corner of our eyes the next big thing. Jena has very stores with an individual style aside the usual chain stores most cities have today. It inspires us. One of the stores offers cozy articles of decoration, others display high-quality hand-made paper, another one offers a tempting choice of vine in its shop-window.
Individual shop ideas tempt us
We drag ourselves away from it all, just to find ourselves standing in front of another nice store displaying stuffed animals, shoes or the like. There are beautiful town houses and villas. It is really hard to leave all that, especially as the buildings a wonderfully illuminated at night. I take another bunch of pictures. My hands are really cold from all this shooting, we have only four centigrade on this friday. We put on the heating instantly upon reaching our car.
Our way back is a little bit confusing as we are taking a wrong right turn. But no matter we are still in the afterglow of this wonderful afternoon. Jena, we might be back one day.