My last few days in Germany were spent ‘splurging’ a bit. On Thursday we visited two cities; Goslar and Wolfensbüttel. The weather was absolutely perfect at 68 degrees and sunny with a warm, gentle wind.
Everyone always talks about how green Ireland is (even I did), but Germany has the same radiance that causes its fields to glow with an effervescent green when they’re sunsoaked. And depending on where you are, the humidity rises up from the ground like a flickering mirror or a piece of glass that blurs the brown from the trees behind. I wonder why I haven’t heard so much about the greenness of Germany before.
Wolfensbüttel was fantastic because of the castle (naturally) and because we got to visit the library, which was having an exhibit on some very old alchemical texts and materials. If you know me well, you might know I’m obsessed with symbolism, folklore, magic, and science (disregarding my disbelief in the supernatural), all things which alchemy incorporates both seamlessly and paradoxically.
We spent even more time in Goslar, and for good reason. There’s not much different about it as a city. There are old houses crushed under their own weight, windows bowing outward like the beer bellies of the men in the bars, and castles and churches around every corner. But here, the high stone walls are covered with ivy that blooms with black berries from behind the shorter holly trees with their jubilantly crimson drops of Christmas.
The castle itself is set atop a hill from which you can see the rooftops of many homes. We explored the area outside since the castle was closed, but there was plenty to see. Royal gardens in the back, crazy huge cats, and where the water flows on the side, a little marsh with a rotted wooden walkway. When I walk through the streets in this country with all these castles and old buildings, hidden patches of nature and woods, my mind wanders easily. It’s natural as breathing to escape your own reality and imagine how life would have been here hundreds of years ago; thousands of people have walked these paths and seen the city being built… Just being here suspends reality for you.
Maybe my favorite thing about Goslar was the smell. In the housing district you could smell the cooking of onions and spiced vegetables, and the area where the obviously wealthy resided smelled of chopped oak, cherry, lacquer, and honey.
Can you tell I’m in love with Germany yet?
On Friday, we spent the morning shopping and working. As part of a German tradition, Gunnar took me for cake and coffee at exactly 3pm. I’d made cake the night before and eaten a lot of it for breakfast, and didn’t expect there would be a problem eating it again for lunch, but I didn’t expect it to be quite so heavy.
Cream, marzipan, and filled with poppyseed and raisin filling. Halfway through the pie I was feeling sick, and after an hour of being there and finishing my cake, I felt like I was going to die.
“You look like shit,” Gunnar told me. I just held my stomach, rubbed my face, and groaned. “It’s like all the blood is out of your face. Are you okay?” More groaning.
We hung around the city a bit and eventually met up with David to have some very type rally German food: I had white beer and zwiebelschnitzel, which was breaded fried pork covered in sautéed onions, and it came with bratkartoffeln (baked and fried sliced potatoes). I could feel the grease fighting off the cake still left in my stomach.
That night was spent in recovery watching the new Penguins of Madagascar movie and packing, making quite sure not to forget anything at the house besides the few clothing articles I didn’t need anymore. Next stop: Düsseldorf.