Exploring another medieval town
Trip Start Mar 14, 2006
241Trip End Mar 15, 2007
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Out of the train at Hildersheim with a three quarter of an hour wait for the next train. Called the youth hostel. They did not speak any English but appeared to have a room for me. Many youngsters waiting for various trains at Hildersheim. All in long black coats (yikes - do they ever sound military) and various forms of spikes and hair colours. A group of three had extremely high heeled boots with holes in the soles and springs as they walked
The train to Goslar was a little old mountain train - none of these flashy new ones. Seats upright in a rather pukish green as we rattled from side to side. We climbed and climbed through green mountain valleys until coming to a halt in an apparently small village where I hauled myself off the train and into the bus information place. They told me how to get to the youth hostel and off I went.
After signing in and showering, I headed back downtown to see what I could see. On the way I met a Dutch family Carla, her husband, their daughter, Naomi who were heading to town via a short cut. They very kindly showed me the way down a fairly steep and mossy path which cut about two K off the hike downtown.
The town is a medieval marvel. In their brochure it says, "Poverty maintains, but wealth destroys" and that is certainly the case here. The Harz Mountains area here in Saxony had great forests, fertile soils and mellow grasslands. It is in an area of natural road crossings from Scandinavia in the North to Italy in the South and from the Frankish countries in the West to the Slavic countries in the East
With an area of about 100 hectares (250 acres) and some 1,800 half-timbered buildings, Goslar has the largest coherent (they say) old city in Germany. And this old city is cherished by its citizens. Carefully modernized to fit today's needs, the old houses are loved and lived in. The city is alive - not a dead museum.
On my way to find the tourist information I heard a carillon of bells. I climbed the steps of the City hall and could see across the market square, a series of bells ringing a song and beneath it, a procession of figures. The owner of the mines in 1968 donated the carillon which is housed in the upper story of a Baroque house
The tourist bureau indicated they did not have any tours in English although they did have a walking tour with things marked in English. I bought both of those and started off.
Many of the buildings around the square have interesting histories including the 15th century City Hall and the Worth - the guildhall of merchants. The name keeps alive the fact that the merchants once chose a dry place down in the valley to set up business. The name indicates a site near water. The im and export merchants with their self-administered societies, in many ways the fore-runner of today's co-operatives, once were the nuclei for the founding of independent cities
After my wander around I was suddenly very tired, what with travel, carrying pack, etc. I sat down for lunch and a beer, gazed at the Romanesque fountain (whose basins are crowned with dragons, lion's heads and the Imperial Eagle. I could not rouse myself until after 3pm.
I took a slow wander back to the youth hostel past gorgeous Medieval buildings including: the Market Church (about 1150), Bruttsch House (1526), Baker's Guild Hall (1557), the half timbered house of a bell caster (1573) and a patrician mansion (1693), a miner's cottage (about 1600) and Church (12th century a city gate; chapel since 1537).
When I got myself back to the hostel I pretty much collapsed with exhaustion. Fell heavily asleep and could not even wake up for dinner.