Onwards to Goslar
Our journey today took us through lovely countryside in a broadly westerly direction, heading for the small town of Goslar, on the edge of the Harz mountains.
It's always interesting driving through such places, chatting and knitting, enjoying the company of friends and spotting small details and working out the most interesting route.
Whilst sorting out the route on a map last evening, we'd spotted an interesting detour which I had forgotten about until my hero made a rather sudden right turn along the way. There, just a few yards away, on the edge of a busy motorway, we pulled up in a lorry park and jumped out to take photographs of the old East-West German border. Nothing more to see here now, though I believe there is somewhere nearby with the old checkpoint still in place.
Here, though, was nothing but that brown sign and this somewhat brutal monument commemorating the site. We took our photos, looked around to make sure we hadn't missed something else and moved on.
We'd identified Helmstedt as a likely place for a more interesting stop, finding further amusement when doing a search on the new Ravelry Road Trip feature for discovering yarn shops along a route, because it appears that the only such place between Magdeburg and Goslar was in...you've guessed...Helmstedt!
Whilst Mary and I explored the wonderful supplies in the Kreativ-Laden, finding it impossible to resist adding to both of our collections, our heroes were chatting up the ladies in the bakers down the street.
Because Ellis had discovered a favourite cake from his childhood! We were all to share his discovery - delicious!
We wandered around the town a little, spotting an all too familiar sign above one of the shops there. But time was pressing and we still had a way to go so we didn't linger.
Our route took us through more lovely countryside, with red roofed villages nestling in the rolling landscape.
As we neared the Harz Mountains, we spotted the Brocken, the highest peak of the area, where on Walpurgisnacht strange things are reputed to happen.
Reaching Goslar in the early afternoon, we took the opportunity to take a stroll around this picturesque place.
Almost as soon as we stepped outside our hotel, we were in the centre of these beautiful, wood framed buildings. Small squares filled with cafe tables and chairs, small shop windows with interesting and stylish goods to look at. We could have lingered longer had we not known about the Kaiserpfaltz just down the road.
The 11th Century palace in Goslar is one of a collection of such places built around the country, to accommodate the imperial court as it progressed from one place to another. The two statues in front are of Emperor Friedrich Barbarossa and Kaiser Wilhelm 1 and Emperor Heinrich 111 is (partly) buried inside.
Inside, the "visitor experience" is focused on three areas of the palace, the first being the Reichsaal, where there are huge paintings illustrating allegorical and historic scenes.
The immense size of these paintings was not the only challenge when it came to taking photographs though, because the light was shining brightly on the smooth surface too. So the colours in real life are richer, more intense in tone and the detail far greater too.
A suitably heavy door led to a stone staircase down to the chapel, where a single sarcophagus contains remains of Heinrich 111
Actually, only his heart is here, for everything else is buried in Speyer Cathedral, we learned.
Downstairs in the cellar were further exhibitions about the palace and the history of the area.
It was rather interesting and well put together but it had been a long day and we were feeling weary.
So we headed back to our lovely hotel...