It was the beginning of June and sights in Thuringia that had been closed for months have slowly reopened, including zoos. So we thought, why not go and admire animals again and we haven’t been to the Gotha zoo yet. Unfortunately the whole thing fell into the water. Although Sunday was predicted to be the sunniest day, it turned out to be the day where it only rained from morning to night. In the morning we weren’t sure whether we’d rather go somewhere where it is covered … such as the Saalfeld fairy grottoes. However, due to the current corona regulations, you had to buy the tickets a day in advance. After a lot of argument, we finally decided (or better said: Nathalie got her way) that we should give the zoo a try and just hope that the rain will stop.
Fortunately, the zoo was open even without a corona test, so we could go straight to the train station without having to be tested at a corona test station beforehand. The train ride wasn’t particularly long and we were there in a little over half an hour from Weimar to Gotha. Since I have traveled this train line several times, I was already familiar with the Gotha train station … and, as before, it was pretty shabby. But we only had to go through and after about 10 minutes of walking we were already at the zoo. This is hardly signposted from the train station and we saw practically no people (which was not surprising given the weather). At the entrance we got two tickets and the lady at the counter also said how we got the idea to go to the zoo today in the weather – but Nathalie’s answer was straight away: “We were so looking forward to it now – so let’s do it, too! “
The zoo, even if not as big as Hirschfeld or Gera, has turned out to be a beautiful place. In addition to the enclosures, there were information signs, benches, playgrounds, toilets and even picnic facilities everywhere. Because of the rain everything looked quite deserted and next to us there were maybe only 2 or 3 other families in the whole zoo. At first we thought that we would probably not see any animals, because the first stables were simply empty and no animal was seen outside. The first animal we saw, because the rain probably didn’t bother this one, was an otter. Shortly afterwards we saw a herd of deer in the distance, but they were hiding under a tree and just staring at us. But after that we were more lucky and saw animals in every enclosure that were directly on the fence or grating or that were at least visibly sheltered somewhere nearby. The highlights were the bison (always with the ulterior motive of our second trip to Poland to the Baltic Sea, where we missed it), a dingo (which growled at us a few times), a few alpacas with goats, various birds (all of which made different sounds), a small family of leopards, wolves, beavers and finally a female bear. Even if the path was a bit shorter, the selection of different animals was quite large and most of the enclosures had plenty of space to the rear, so that hardly any animal had to feel cramped.
After almost two hours we walked through the whole zoo and were just a little sad that a few animals hadn’t shown themselves in the rain, which was still pouring down from the sky. In exactly this weather we walked back to the train station. Actually, we wanted to have lunch in Gotha, but the rain with the fact that only the outdoor catering was open at the time, made this a bit of a mess. At the train station we had to wait about three quarters of an hour until our next train came. There it turned out that not only did the train station look rather shabby, but that there were also many drunks there, listening to loud music and breaking beer bottles. Of course, none of them had a mask on either. Back in Weimar, we ordered something from the Korean restaurant and let the day end in peace and quiet.