Ilmenau is using the slogan "Ilmenau himmelblau" which means Ilmenau is blue as the sky.
When I arrived the sky did not cooperate with this advertising spot from Ilmenau. It was raining and it was chilly. Nevertheless Ilmenau and its people made up for that and without, my wife, I had no intentions to go hiking in the beautiful surroundings of this town.
I believe she would have rejected it too with all the rain coming down and would have joined me in the coffee shop where I had a "Käsesahnetorte" which is a special kind of cheesecake - one of her favorites and good strong coffee.
When we lived for one year in Bavaria she got addicted to German baking and all the pastries.
Little privately owned shops often called "Konditorei" are still doing good business. Try all the specialities which are offered in Thuringia.
Please be aware that you do not get ant free fill ups for your coffee. Elizabeth ed this the hard way - and coffee is not cheap!
Downtown Ilmenau in January
Ilmenau was first mentioned in 1273 and became a town in 1341. Mining for silver and copper was the main industry in these early days. Today Ilmenau has a population of approximately 30 000.
During my first visit I was not in the mood walking around and to do some sightseeing. If you experience poor weather conditions visit the "Amtshaus" which is located in the old city hall (Alte Rathaus) and learn about Goethe, the famous German writer which stayed here when he visited Ilmenau. He was not only a writer he also cleaned up a financial mess. I thought "Germany needs a new Goethe" - now.
The "Amtshaus" in Ilmenau. Goethe took residence here
During my second visit I had more luck with the weather. Downtown was bustling and walking was a pleasure, especially in the pedestrian areas.
Bakeries, little coffee shops, butchers offering fresh prepared sandwiches are pleased to give you a taste of good Thuringian food.
Try a real pretzel! They are crunchy outside and soft inside. That is the way how they should be. Not soft and soaked in grease.
Downtown Ilmenau during my second visit
Thuringia is still well known for its glass industry. We sold beautiful Christmas ornaments for a couple of years. On the meantime some companies went out of business, because they could not compete any longer against the imports from far East and because of poor management.
Glass and porcelain industry started also early in Ilmenau. Many of these companies are still in business.
I just learned that I missed to drive to close by Langewiesen to enjoy a ride in below showed train through and around a former mine. On special days even steam locomotives are used. Watch the video below.
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Watch the video "Feldbahn Volle Rose Ilmenau":
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