Friday 12th September
While it was not actually raining we set off for the Avis/Budget car hire in Leipzig from our apartment where we had stayed above the Sol y Mar restaurant. When we reached the office we filled in the required paperwork. One of the guys on staff came to the car and showed us how to run the sat-nav and the car in general. He set it up for Quedlinburg and off we went just after 11:45. Directions were generally clear and we made our way out of the city and onto a freeway. I drove at about 120kms but, apart from the trucks, was constantly being overtaken. We passed through the edge of Halle and when we reached the edge of the Harz region stopped at a wayside information area. We checked out the map and the free toilets and were soon on our way again. We continued on the A6 and after a while were given directions to turn off. We seemed to be on a ring road at first but then were directed left. It took us up a very narrow, cobbled strip adjacent to an old wall. Fortunately no one comes towards us! After two more turns we are out the front of the Hotel Adelheid.
There was one parking spot so we grabbed it. We went into reception and checked in. As this a UNESCO World Heritage town there was a 2.50 euro per day per person tax! Apparently there are over 1400 well preserved framework buildings here. The lady showed us up to our room. It was very long and narrow! She explained that our booking had been the last room, so I guess that explained things! We brought our luggage in and then parked the car at a nearby car park. Only residents can park where we had first parked. Our landlady explained that it was €5 for a day or €1 an hour. We paid for an hour initially and went off to eat a very late lunch.
We wandered up towards the castle and beneath it there was a large square with a number of cafe choices. We headed into Cafe Am Finkenherd. There were lots of little sections to the cafe. We went to one that is upstairs with a view out onto the square. There were lots of teapots on display in the windows. Karen ordered tomato soup and bread roll while I had potato salad with two wieners.
After lunch we topped up our parking to last to the 18:00 deadline then started to follow the walking tour of the town on our map. Firstly we went down our street, Hohestrasse.
There were a number of impressive framework buildings to see before we reached the town market square. Every building looked amazingly maintained. The majority were framework buildings but the Rathaus (Town Hall) was a stone building with creeper growing over the walls. For the next hour we wandered from the square in different directions. At one point we went down a narrow cobbled lane and entered a small square in which the buildings were being renovated and a sign on a money box asked for a donation. We dropped a coin in and inspected the buildings more closely. There was an unusual looking tower in the centre, stone based with a wooden top. When we began to tire we headed back towards our hotel. Along the way we came to the town bräuhaus (brewery). After all that walking it was ‘beer o’clock’ so we went in. Inside there were brewing vats to one side. A bar was in the middle and then there were stools and small high tables around and along it. To the other side there were tables, but all were occupied. We sat at a bar table and soon a young girl took our drink orders. All their beers are unfiltered and I try a pilsener and Karen had a coke.
Hunger started to set in. We had noticed more tables upstairs. When we asked about them the waitress told us you had to have a reservation. We stayed where we were and ordered food. The whole place had started to fill up, as it was Friday. Our meals were generous servings. Karen had a chicken strip salad and I ate chicken in a sauce with rosti, which were like mini hash browns. A couple sitting nearby commented to us that the food looked good. Their Engish was good and we ended up having a good conversation. They were from Munich and like me were enjoying the beer. I had another pilsener but can’t force myself to try the black beer. The waitress even told Karen that the brown beer was only 1% alcohol and was for the ladies! We ended up chatting with the waitress and the couple from Munich quite a while before we paid and returned to our hotel. There were many TV channels so we browsed them a bit before going to bed.
Saturday 13th September
It drizzled rain during the night. When I went to top up our parking misty rain was still coming down. We went downstairs for our buffet breakfast – muesli, fruit, fresh rolls, meats, cheeses, salad items and a variety of jams. We donned our coats and went back to the main square.
A number of fresh food stalls were in the square for the Saturday market. We briefly explored the streets and lanes off the other end of the square. Then we headed off to start our tour of the region. First stop was Halberstedt. After paying for our parking we walked to the old part of the town. At this point the rain had abated. We were lucky enough to hear two musical interludes. The first was the chiming of the bells at St Stevens Cathedral for midday.
Secondly as we approached the Frauenkirche we heard the organ playing. We thought we’d go and in and look. We went through a door but it just led us to a cloistered area which gave us great views of the church from a different angle but not a way in. We continued walking around it in a clockwise direction. There were lots of old framework houses and even part of the old town wall. In the end we almost did a full circuit when we saw a young guy coming along a path that we found led to the entry. Sadly by the time were actually in the cathedral the organ playing stopped. A group of students had been given a performance by their teacher it seemed. After a brief look around inside we made our way back to the car via some more old buildings and part of the old wall as it was starting to drizzle again. We set up the sat-nav again and were soon being directed to Wernigerode. We used a map of Wernigerode we had collected back in Quedlinburg to select a car park address. Rain continued to come down and made the driving a bit of a chore. We parked and walked briskly to the old Market Square, the drizzle encouraged us to be quick.
There were lots of tourists moving about the area either in coats or under umbrellas. We walked along the Main Street and ended up at an old tower at the western entrance to the town. We turned left and walked along until we saw a narrow passageway which we followed. It led us to a courtyard which was surrounded by lots more old buildings and a church. From there we walked back to the market square. There was a really old and quite uneven building, a museum. We weren’t sure of what type of museum. When we checked on the iPad on the German-English dictionary it translated as ‘crooked’ so it was aptly named! Lunch was at the nearby Rathaus Blick (photo) Cafe. I ate penne with a nice ham, mushroom and pea sauce and Karen ate crumbed mozzarella sticks with bread and dips. It is still raining after lunch so after we looked around a bit more back to the car we went. We reset the sat-nav and headed for Goslar in the hopes the rain would stop. Once in Goslar we parked and walked into the old town which was really attractive with all it’s framework buildings.
The drizzle was even heavier. It didn’t take long for us to realise that something special was happening here. There were lots of food and drink stands and stages set up around the old town. One stage had a male choir singing, another a young couple singing country and western (in German!) and another had a man singing and playing a keyboard. It was a real shame the weather was so bad.
Apparently the music festival was Friday to Sunday so we hoped Sunday would be better for their sake. After we had looked around for a while we went into the cafe at the Kaiserworth Hotel. We ordered hot drinks and cake. Interestingly my hot chocolate tasted strange. After we discussed it with the waitress we learnt it had alcohol in it! As time was moving on we paid and walked back to the car and drove back to Quedlinburg. At our hotel we changed and walked to the Market square to look for a restaurant. We found one called Market Sieben. There was a cafe bar upstairs but the actual restaurant was downstairs in a converted cellar. My beer of the night was a Schnieder Weissebier and Karen started with a Coke Light. Karen ate a vegetable wrap and salad. I tried a grill, which was basically skewered steak and onion accompanied by a baked potato and salad.
The walk back through the old streets to the hotel at the end was an enjoyable stroll through the architectural ages.