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Published: November 15th 2019
The half-timbered houses is a traditional building style that can be seen in some German towns.
Half-timbered houses, world heritage houses, a house with rodents on display and a very happy house
We wanted to see more of Germany than just some big cities, because we know that there is so much out there to explore. To make also smaller places accessible for us we decided to rent a car for a few days.
The half-timbered houses is a traditional building style that can be seen in some German towns. One of the best places to view this kind of architecture is in the town Celle
. That town survived the world wars relatively unscathed and therefore many of this old style houses are still around. Many of the buildings in the old town date back to the 16th century and are well preserved.
Not far from Celle is the town Brunswick. Although there are some half-timbered houses in Brunswick as well, they were not the reason we went there. It was a totally different kind of architecture we wanted to see - The Rizzi Happy House.
Rizzi Happy House looks like it came straight out of a silly cartoon. It is possible that the architect
One of the best places to view half-timbered houses is in the town Celle.
behind it either was a bit eccentric or designed it only as a gag. But what were the city planners thinking when they approved it? Or perhaps we should ask, what had they been smoking? Well, look at the pictures yourself and decide if you like it or not. We think it was fun to visit but we wouldn't like to live there or have the building as a neighbour.
One of the reasons for us to rent a car was that we wanted to visit the forested and mountainous area Harz. On the way there we made a quick stop at the Fagus Factory. It is a shoe factory but the industry itself is not why people like us come there to visit. The factory was built in early 20th century and is an early example of the so called modernist architecture. It marks such an important step in the history of architecture that the buildings have been made a world heritage site.
We visited Fagus Factory as a quick stop on our way to Harz. Harz has a large number of really good hiking trails. We didn't have any plan for our
That town survived the world wars relatively unscathed and therefore many of this old style houses are still around. Many of the buildings in the old town date back to the 16th century and are well preserved.
hiking and we didn't feel that it was necessary either. We took some random hikes and were quite happy with what we got.
The former border between East and West Germany went through Harz. We stopped at a place where it went and had a look. The road the guards used when they patrolled the border was clearly visible. When there was a country border going through Harz a wide strip along the border was cleared of forest. This strip is in German known as Todesstreife. In English that translates to Death Strip and it is named so because anyone who was seen trying to cross the border illegally was shot at and could get killed.
After we left Harz we went to two places on the so called German Fairy Tale Route
. The Fairy Tale Route is a way to promote tourism in towns and cities that for one reason or another are connected to the long tradition of telling fairy tales. The first of the places we went to was Hamelin - known for the fairy tale The Pied Piper of Hamelin
. If you are not familiar with the story it in short goes as follows.
Rizzi Happy House
It is possible that the architect behind it either was a bit eccentric or designed it only as a gag. But what were the city planners thinking when they approved it? Or perhaps we should ask, what had they been smoking?
In the story the town Hamelin has a rat problem. A man, the pied piper, arrives in town and promises to help them get rid of the rats for a fee. The merchants in town agree to pay him but only after he had done the job. The method he uses is that he plays a pipe and the music makes the rats follow him. He takes all the rats with him out of town and into the river where the rats drown. However, the pied piper never gets his pay for the job. He leaves the town but he is plotting his revenge. He comes back a while later and he then again walks through the town playing his pipe. But this time it is not rats that follow him out of the town and into the river, but all the children in town. Hamelin
has a very pretty historical city centre. Not surprisingly there are plenty of references to the famous fairy tale all around the town. There is a statue, there are murals and so on. One of the churches in the city centre has a stained glass window depicting the pied piper. But
Rizzi Happy House
Rizzi Happy House looks like it came straight out of a silly cartoon.
the most famous of all the reminders of what makes Hamelin famous is probably the Glockenspiel. On the facade of the Hochzeishaus in central Hamelin they have a mechanical puppet show which plays out the story of the Pied Piper of Hamelin. We have recorded a film of it and you can see that here.
The last place we visited that we are going to write about here is Bremen. We made a quick stop there on our way to Hamburg. Just like Hamelin Bremen is on the German Fairy Tale Route. The fairy tale Bremen is known for is the Town Musicians of Bremen. The tale is about a few domestic animals who become musicians in Bremen.
In Bremen we also saw the Bleikeller, which translates as lead basement. It can be described as a crypt and there are several mummies on display in this bizarre little museum.
After Bremen we went to Hamburg. You can read about what we saw there and see our photos in our next blog entry. This is all from us this time.
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