Hike to Ettersburg Castle

On Sunday the weather was just perfect. With 25°C it felt like a beautiful summer day without being overwhelmed by the heat. We took advantage of this to hike to Ettersburg Castle. Since the way from our front door to the castle is quite long with almost 10km, we split up for the first kilometres. I walked the first part while Kevin went a little later and took the bus. Our meeting point was Weimar Schöndorf. The way to Schöndorf is mostly along a main road. Nevertheless, there is the Buchenwald railroad memorial path. Along this path prisoners from the Buchenwald concentration camp had to build a railroad line under inhuman conditions. Nowadays, there are a few plaques along the way that educate you about this. Unfortunately, I really had to shake my head in some places. So I passed several quite new AFD posters and when I ran past an allotment it almost left me speechless. In a garden, which was of all places on such a historically significant path, a flagpole rose with the Reich flag and another flag with the cross of the knights of the German order and an inscription in old German letters.

Fortunately, once I arrived in Schöndorf, the situation returned to normal. Weimar Schöndorf is a prefabricated housing estate on the northern edge of the city. I myself lived here for some time. The rents are cheap and of course most of the inhabitants are not investment bankers and professors. Nevertheless, Schöndorf is very nicely situated, because directly behind it is a forest with a beautiful path called Prinzenschneise. So after Kevin and I met in Schöndorf, we walked along the Prinzenschneise to the so-called Obelisk. This is a monument at the beginning of the Blutstraße, which ends at the former Buchenwald concentration camp. Ettersburg Castle was already well signposted from the beginning of Prinzenschneise and the only critical point of this route was at the Obelisk, where we had to cross the expressway. From there on, however, it was just a well-signposted and well-maintained forest hiking trail to our destination. When the trail finally took us out of the forest, we found ourselves on a hill with a nice view of the castle that was one hill away. Along the hill were several people and some families lying in the grass, reading or picnicking. Nevertheless, it was not overly crowded, probably thanks to the somewhat secluded location after all.

After going downhill quite steeply at first, a staircase led us directly to the castle at the next hill. Here we first looked for a shady place to sit and ate the lunch we had brought with us. We had oatmeal cheese fritters and two salads: a Greek coleslaw and an Oregon summer salad. The latter is based on a recipe from a cookbook for athletes that I received as a gift from a colleague at work. The salad consists of arugula, green asparagus that I previously roasted in the oven with olive oil, blueberries, chopped walnuts, and goat cheese. Kevin was not really convinced by the salad, but I found it really tasty and ate the rest again for dinner the same day.

Well fortified, we took a look at the castle grounds. Of course we couldn’t go in, especially not now at Corona times, but the area with the castle park is truly beautiful. Finally, we went back to Schöndorf. Thereby we made a small detour through another forest path, which started next to the castle, in order not to have to go directly up the steep hill again. The detour was very nice as it led through some quiet forest areas. Once we arrived in Schöndorf, Kevin’s path led back to the bus stop, while I decided to walk the last bit as well. All in all, this was a really nice hike that we can definitely recommend.