Wetzlar tourism - things to do in a spare day
Old 07-21-2019   #1
CharlesDAMorgan
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Wetzlar tourism - things to do in a spare day

By good fortune, and no reward flights back that day, I find myself with a free day to spend in Wetzlar next week. Obviously there are things to do and see at the Leica complex in Solms, but any things in particular that stand out there as being worth the time.

Weather is going to be stinking hot, so things requiring greater endurance than a few minutes in the shade are unlikely to be attempted. All hotels booked have air-conditioning, during my time working for a German owned company I was unimpressed by too many naturally ventilated hotels.

Thanks!
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Old 07-21-2019   #2
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The former Leica complex in Solms is closed, abandoned, and covered with weeds and cobwebs. You cannot enter the premises but just take a look-see from across the fence. Maybe that's interesting for the die-hard Leica fan but hardly worthwhile for everybody else, especially not when one day is all you have.

It's the Leitz Park in Wetzlar where you want to go. You can spend a whole (slow) day there, or at least a half. The other half of the day, you may want to explore the old town of Wetzlar. From Leitz Park to the old town, it's a 30-40 min walk (mostly downhill) or five minutes by taxi. There, everything is within five or ten walking minutes. See the Eisenmarkt (= iron market) where Oskar Barnack took one of the very first captures with his prototype Ur-Leica in 1914, and the Alte Lahnbrücke (= old Lahn bridge) which is a pretty pittoresque place, especially at dusk.

If you want to have lunch or dinner at an old-town restaurant, my personal recommendations are the 'Hauptwache' at the Domplatz (next to the cathedral) or the 'Ristorante La Piazza' (formerly 'Carpaccio'; Italian food) at the Kornmarkt (= grain market). The restaurant 'Ratsschänke' at the Fischmarkt (= fish market) used to be Oskar Barnack's favourite place in his living days.

And oh—avoid having breakfast at the hotel (any hotel). That's a convenient way to start the day for a businessman on a tight schedule but not for a tourist who has the whole day to spare. There's so many alluring occasions for coffee, snacks, drinks, or brunch everywhere ...
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Old 07-21-2019   #3
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I recall my visit to Wetzlar a few years ago. Visiting the Leica headquarters was a treat. The above tips are excellent. We were fortunate then to be welcomed by the CEO and also two other top people at Leica.
It was a true RF event.
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Old 07-21-2019   #4
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Thanks so much - I really must stop looking at my old cameras and assuming they still make them there...
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Old 07-21-2019   #5
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Good time to visit as the Museum/Gallery has just opened at Leitz Park, and is showing a Dr.Paul Wolf exhibition. Agree all that has been said and easy to spend half day at Leitz Park. Old Wetzlar is lovely and try a coffee and cake in the Eisenmarkt building that features in OB's photo. A plaque in the street marks the spot he took it from. Also Lars Netopils little shop just off the Domplatz is worth a visit if open. Enjoy!
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Old 07-21-2019   #6
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@Charles -


You are fortunate to get to visit Wetzlar. It is on my bucket list, as is Leica Park.


Hopefully soon...
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Old 07-22-2019   #7
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Well, I'll be taking the Leica III with 1932 Elmar 3.5cm back to its home. I'm afraid the M3 will have to put up with a Zeiss 35mm Biogon as my Summaron specs are hopelessly out of alignment and are off being CLAd. If I have room in my suitcase the Rolleiflex 2.8F will be coming too.

Now to accessorise my clothes to the cameras....
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Old 07-25-2019   #8
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Just spent a couple of hours at the gallery. The Paul Wolff / Alfred Tritschler exhibition is absolutely stunning - amazing images of pre-war Germany, Zeppelins, Industry, Nuremburg Rally and 1936 Olympics. Awesome results from Leica cameras and film from that era including perfectly exposed negatives by the roll. The one takeaway from Wolff's experiments to reduce grain - Expose profusely, develop quickly.

However, the heat today is oppressive and I'm going to do the rest of the site tomorrow if these temperatures are sustained, as walking round Wetzlar in 38C heat has no appeal.
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Old 07-25-2019   #9
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Did you find the Oskar Barnack memorial?


Me and Oskar
by Vince Lupo, on Flickr
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Old 07-25-2019   #10
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If it requires walking in this heat, not a chance!
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Old 07-25-2019   #11
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One more vote for the italian restaurant "Ristorante La Piazza" !
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Old 07-25-2019   #12
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I'm normally a man for whom good food and wine is a passion beyond photography but with this heat my appetite has taken a terrible knock. I'll see how I feel for lunch tomorrow as it looks just a bit cooler.
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Old 07-25-2019   #13
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I heard of the heat wave in Europe for today. Stay cool.
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Old 07-26-2019   #14
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To beat the heat I got up a bit earlier and did the Altstadt before lunch, so I've got numerous pics of the Eisenmarkt from the Ur-Leica Punkt. I'm sure he couldn't have been using a 50mm as the 35mm Elmar seemed to capture it better.

The heat & the holidays have rather emptied the place, and street photography is largely confined to the very elderly on walking frames. Hey ho, I chose the date!

This afternoon back to Leica Park for the museum and the shop. Oh dear...
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Old 07-26-2019   #15
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Have a 'helles Hefeweizen' at the Café Leitz.
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Old 07-26-2019   #16
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I couldn't afford a beer after finding these beauties in the Leica Shop at Leitz Park.

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Old 07-26-2019   #17
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Loved the museum, to see examples of every camera and lens made was lovely. Sadly the only activity in the workshop was a cleaner as it's shut down time. I avoided lunch in the Leica park hotel, which was an undistinguished buffet yesterday, and resisted the cakes in the Cafe.

Yet to decide on where to dine, but light it shall be!
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Old 07-26-2019   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlesDAMorgan View Post
... but light it shall be!
Then maybe you'd enjoy a Flammkuchen at the 'Abbruchbar', Domplatz 12. They're open until 2.00 AM.
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Old 07-26-2019   #19
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Thanks ka7197.

Wetzlar certainly comes to life on a Friday evening. Anyway I found a decent Paulaner biergarten by the side of the Lahn (just that bit cooler now) and enjoyed some Bavarian Weiss wurst with sauerkraut. Pure nostalgia for a deal I worked on 20 years ago with a Bavarian colleague who introduced me to Bavarian food.

Off back to hopefully less sunny England tomorrow. I can heartily recommend Wetzlar for a day or so, it's an historic and attractive place, with plenty for the Leica fiend. My hotel, the Trip Inn, is about a mile out of town, but one thing is certain - the aircon is cold. Worth knowing, as my experience too often in German hotels is to bake.

Thanks to all who took the trouble to help, it is much appreciated! Much developing of film from my Leica III and M3 to do. None from my Rolleiflex or Fuji XT30 here - it would be sacrilege!
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Old 07-26-2019   #20
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Glad you had a good time!

Think I have read that the lens on the Ur-Leica Barnack used was around 40mm, so your new CL would have been perfect.
Did you see any of the refurbished M9's discussed here https://www.macfilos.com/2019/07/26/...-from-wetzlar/
Where has the shop moved to on the site?
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Old 07-26-2019   #21
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Thanks for the link on the M9.
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Old 07-27-2019   #22
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If there were refurbished M9s there I didn't notice, but that's probably because I was looking at older things. The only contemporary things I noticed were the lenses for the SL2, given they were the size of artillery shells, they were hard not to. The shop itself is in the new gallery by the hotel, the assistants were extremely helpful and spoke excellent English, so you could try them directly.

Alas no time now to go in to take the photo with the CL, but thanks for that pedaes.

Time to hit the homeward!
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Old 07-27-2019   #23
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Time to hit the homeward!
... and as luck would have it, you've hit the two hottest days in Germany since the beginning of weather data recording. So far.
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Old 07-27-2019   #24
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... and as luck would have it, you've hit the two hottest days in Germany since the beginning of weather data recording. So far.
They felt like it. Returning to my car at the Leitz Park without any shade on the first day it showed an external temperature parked up of 45.5C. Ok some of that is heat sink, but I was glad that the hotel airconditioning was working so well. It really circumscribed my plans.
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Old 07-30-2019   #25
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The Eisenmarkt as per Oskar, taken with a Leica III with 1932 Elmar 35mm f3.5, Tmy400 at 200 in Perceptol 1:2. No people: too early and too hot!

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Old 08-02-2019   #26
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Quote:
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Glad you had a good time!

Think I have read that the lens on the Ur-Leica Barnack used was around 40mm, so your new CL would have been perfect...

Hi,

It took a while to find but I knew I had a note of the early lenses used on the Ur Leica somewhere.

It seems the first lens tried was a 50mm f/3.5 Kino Tessar,

then a 42mm macro-summar and/or a 64mmf/4.5 Miko Summar

and finally a Leitz 42mm Milar but some say 40mm.

Alas, I have lost the source notes and have taken this from a scribbled note put with the O-Series replica, so slight caution recommended.

Regards, David
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Old 08-02-2019   #27
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Lovely shot indeed! I need to visit Germany some day. Been to Italy & France. Love Europe.

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The Eisenmarkt as per Oskar, taken with a Leica III with 1932 Elmar 35mm f3.5, Tmy400 at 200 in Perceptol 1:2. No people: too early and too hot!

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Old 08-02-2019   #28
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Thanks raydm6. Germany is a fascinating country, I enjoy it much more now I'm not going there on business or indeed employed by a German company, much history, great wines and beer, and really very easy to get round if you don't speak German. The food is reliable and there are some great restaurants, but Spain, Italy or France in that regard it is not.
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