The Crown Jewels
We left our comfortably quirky hotel in Goslar after breakfast. Comfortable in that it offered all mod cons, so to speak. Quirky, because of this...
Our bed was upstairs. Or rather, in the middle of the night, the bathroom was downstairs. And that staircase was probably the most level surface in the room, for the floors and walls were, well, quirky!
Anyway, we were aiming to reach Marienburg Castle in time for the first tour of the day, which we did - of course.
It's a beautiful castle, built in the mid 1800s for George V, King of Hanover and his wife Sophia and their children. We were to learn a fair bit about this family in the next couple of hours, as we took first, the general tour of the castle rooms and later, the tour entitled "the route to the crown". Unfortunately, no photos were allowed inside, because the rooms were very picturesque with strong colours on the ceilings in particular, with gold highlghts and jewel tones throughout.
We were blessed with two great guides. No, not the same one who was leading the school party across the yard, teaching them the Royal wave as they went, but colleagues of equal enthusiasm and extensive knowledge.
The Path to the Crown in particular had some familiar content, including the links with our own Royal family. But as our guide did all she could to build the tension to the "ta-dah" moment when the curtain was raised to reveal the Crown Jewels themselves, even our American friends admitted, they were a little on the basic side: just one large crown, a smaller one and a sceptre. Still, I will admit to being surprised that there are any such Crown Jewels in Germany at all, so can hardly comment!
Anyway, a great visit and now, in the early afternoon, it was time to head into Hildesheim, where we had rooms booked for a couple of nights. As we drove, I spotted that white hill in the distance, though none of us had any idea what it might be.
Though the hotel looks old and fits in well with the collection of facades around the Market Square, it's actually rather modern inside. As we checked in, however, the receptionist remarked that our room was rather unusual. If we didn't like it, she said, we could change to another, but as we'd asked for a market place view...
Another quirky room, then, this time furnished and decorated almost totally in black. Curtains, carpets, walls, chandeliers, bedspread, sofa, table, chairs, bathroom (yes) are black. The lightness comes from the white bedsheets, towels and the Fornasetti designed wallpaper on one wall. Actually, for a couple of nights, we don't mind it, but I'm not sure I'd want to live with it long term!
To get an overview of the city, we called into the tourist office opposite and picked up a walking tour route.
It's a route marked by roses and the first marker is a rather grand starting point in the pavement.
The route took us through the city centre, much of which is reconstructed following destruction in WW2. The Cathedral, the Mariendom, founded in the 9th Century, is huge but has also been extensively renovated.
The roses, by now diminished to something rather smaller than that first brass plaque, continued to lead us up and down interesting streets
where modern buildings sat comfortably alongside the old ones
past curious old structures with intriguing designs upon them
and what looked like the very old, attached to the very new. Interesting, n'est-ce pas?
It brought us back to the hotel via the main shopping street, too, where my hero made a new friend whilst waiting for me to try on - and buy - a new sweater. You can ask him for the full story when you see him!
For now, it's goodnight from a very dark place....