Monday, 21 July 2008

climbing a tree.


Found my hotel: rather dated but spick and span. Get up early, gorge on free breakfast (muesli, cornflakes, moist delicious heavy German grain bread, tomatoes, eggs, yoghurt). In a hurry to meet Gerald - Germans are always 5 minutes early. Notice a red line on the ground - think it divides the footpath for pedestrians and cyclists. Realise a minute later that it corresponds to the red line on my map and is a tourist trail, leading exactly where i need to go! Stop off at a roofless church on the way - empty as a war memorial. Meet Gerald at the 'New' Rathaus - built around 1900 but looks older. See the 3d town models in the foyer - one from now, one from right after the war (what a mess), one from right before the war, and one from the 17th century, when it was a tiny town surrounded by a wall and a moat. Take the elevator up the curve of the dome and get a view on the town.

Go to the Marktkirche - where my great great great great great grandparents were married. Talk to the man and find that I need to get on a train if I want more information on my ancestors. Get on U-bahn and off again successfully, and find the church archives. Find the entry in the church ledger for the olds' wedding - on microfiche in beautiful but barely legible script, but unfortunately nothing else - no clues on who came before them - the end of the line. Ride the U-bahn back into town illegally - both ticket machines are broken. Go back to the Marktkirche and have a good look around and take approximately eleventy billion photos. It is very large and high, but is mostly red brick (including the floor) and appears to have been badly damaged in the war and never restored to the former glory shown in photos hanging on the wall. I donate my unpaid U-bahn ticket price to the new organ project. Outside there is a bookshelf with a glass door - i think you can take or donate books as you like.

Start walking back to the train station (near my hotel) and go in the wrong direction. Half an hour later start again, and make it finally - the weather is dreadful (cold, windy and rainy) and I need to change. Walk to the Berngarten - it is a good 3-4kms and in good weather could be lovely, but it is not good weather. Find the orchid house and take approximately eleventy billion more photos. At least it is warm in here.

Walk back to the city and eventually duck into a few shops to try and beat the weather. End up buying a pair of shorts in a fit of unsubstantiated optimism about the European summer. Meet Gerald and Olga by the Opera House for dinner. We go to the oldest vegetarian restaurant in Germany, and it is delicious. The Germans like quark. (Note to self: try the banana/cinnamon/nut/honey breakfast with quark instead of ricotta). Walk home in the dark and don't feel scared.

I think 1 day here was enough. Hannover is a dull town that got bombed a lot and is now modern and boring. It is like Canberra if Canberra wasn't the capital. However, I had one mostly nice day. There is a lot of green everywhere and huge public gardens. In good weather it could be stunning. And it makes a world of difference having kind people to show you around.

1 comment:

B'AL said...

Hey! What is that you are saying about Canberra?