Summer in the City
Summer in Erfurt
Festival of Light in the egapark
The perfect way to bring a summer day to a close: with a sparkling light show and vividly illuminated fountains, shimmering Chinese lanterns in the trees and gently glimmering tea-lights in the water. And as a finale: fireworks! And all with lots and lots of people in that halcyon, jovial state of happiness that only a warm August evening can bring about. They gather in groups on the lawns beneath old cedar and maple trees and virtually all make their own contributions to bringing light to the darkness – twinkling garlands in their hair, toy swords with a milky glow, brightly luminescent balls. Even pink bunny-ears with little bulbs are worn to light the night. It’s the Festival of Light in Erfurt’s egapark, one of the absolute highlights of the Erfurt summer. Families and couples, groups of teens and high-spirited OAPs: half the city is on its feet to celebrate the Festival of Light programme among the vivid flower beds, with its fairytale illuminations, stage shows and lantern parade.
Pop-up gastronomy in the Augustinian monastery
Erfurt really is a summertime city. When the days start to stretch and the temperature rises, the heart of the Thuringian capital beats especially strongly – outdoors in the warm air. Practically every café, every restaurant puts tables and chairs outside but you can still count yourself lucky to find an empty seat. After all, everybody wants to be outside enjoying themselves: the view of the colourfully painted façades and half-timbered buildings, the beautifully ornate gables, the passersby. There’s even summertime pop-up gastronomy in the inner courtyard of the Augustinian monastery, inviting guests to come and enjoy a snack with a view of the blooming roses and hydrangeas at the Luther Gate.
Zucker & Zimt
Where does the perfect summer day in Erfurt begin? Perhaps with a breakfast outside one of the cafés at Wenigemarkt. There’s nothing at all wrong with starting the day off with an ice-cream, though. After all, kids, it’s summer! The “Zucker & Zimt” ice-cream parlour in Schuhgasse serves “Moscow cream” in a crispy, homemade waffle cone. “An especially creamy soft ice-cream that we hope is reminiscent of a very popular East-German ice-cream flavour”, enthuses the ice-cream parlour boss Moritz Eichholz. It’s definitely an excellent basis for a wander through the city in any case. Or for a walk up to the Petersberg to take in the view from there of the cathedral with its pointed copper steeples. The slope below the Citadel is clothed in a fresh green: grape vines! Wine has been produced right in the centre of Erfurt for centuries; from April to October, it can also be sampled there on Saturdays. “At the most beautiful square in Erfurt”, as Petra Brinkmann from the Erfurt Wine Guild Association proudly announces as she uncorks a bottle. And indeed, in the midst of the vines as it is, with a glass of chilled Riesling in your hand, you could almost imagine being in Tuscany.
Hirsch Heinrich’s summer garden
A change of scene. From Petersberg across the city to the Hirnzigenberg in the Daberstedt district. Here, a small park has been the venue for the “Hirsch Heinrich Sommergarten” for a number of years. Below a canopy of chestnut trees, plywood furniture, hammocks and fluttering tent roofs are the backdrop for urban beer garden fun with a more casual vibe. Tapas and veggie-halloumi skewers are prepared at food stands; young fathers with a bottle of beer in the hand push their kids on the swings and music plays from a boom-box. Improvised sales counters at the back of the garden are the scene of bustling trade. A large sign announces a“Girls’ Flea Market”: mostly young women have cleared out their wardrobes and handbags, sequinned frocks and brightly printed T-shirts now adorn the tables. Glasses of sparkling wine are sipped on and laughter fills the air. “The flea market is really by women for women but men are always welcome too”, says organiser and a true giant of the scene Benno Bounce, who has put together a black waistcoat with black shorts in celebration of the day. “The flea market takes place every month but always in a different place. At the Stattstrand, for example. What? You’ve never been? Well, it’s about time then!”
Stattstrand and Zughafen
The Stattstrand is an institution of the Erfurt scene, as is the Zughafen to which it belongs. Despite their somewhat maritime monikers, neither have anything to do with water: the Zughafen comprises hall space at the former Erfurt freight station that has been converted into a creative mile – artists, craft businesses and start-ups have set up their studios and offices here, with clubs and music stages opening in the evenings. And in summer, the Stattstrand is THE place to be. A laid-back mix of beer garden, beach and backstage club, where a younger audience chills among tomato plants in furniture made from upcycled pallets and cable reels and bury their feet in the sand. There’s live music or DJ sets on some evenings. And then, when the old freight cars and tracks glow warmly in the light of the setting sun, it really is summer in the city once again – Erfurter-style.