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Alright, I thought I would add a few words here on the actual state of Thüringen since I lived for a year in Jena, which is a small city not far from Erfurt (people might recognise this place since it was the site of the recent school shooting in Germany).

Thüringen forms one of the Bundesländer that made up the former East Germany, pre-1989. There isn't too much very interesting in Thüringen, however, they do have a place called the Ertzgeberge which is a mountain range home to a former ski jumping competition. I think they still run it actually, but I am not too sure. They are nice mountains and there is a lot of chance to ski during winter.

Jena itself is home to Jenoptik and the Karl Zeiss works, makers of the famous Zeiss optical products. During the Communist era, the optics factory employed thousands of people to work there and the remnants of this can be seen in the huge suburban apartment blocks that make up the outer areas of Jena. In a population of around 100,000 these blocks have a capacity of over 50,000! So you can imagine it is a huge complex. When I was there in 1998 there was a massive project to modernise the blocks, and they now look more like hotels than apartment blocks. Okay, maybe not that flash although they are a lot better looking than their standard grey.

A concentration of these blocks can be found Lobeda Ost and Lobeda West.

I attended the Albert Schweitzer Gymnasium, which is their version of high school. They have students from Year 5 to Year 12, there are 13 in some German states (eg the Western states). This school has been shut down since then and other schools integrated the students.

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