Heading out of Langsdorf towards Braunschweig, this morning the ride was just beautiful as we passed through fields of golden wheat and barley. The weather was just perfect for riding as we headed north.
Our first stop was the city of Kassel, the former home of the Brothers Grimm in the early 1800’s. On the hill above Kassel we stopped briefly at Schloss Wilhelmshöhe. The palace was built back in 1786 by Wilhelm IX of Hesse-Kassel. These days it’s a museum housing Greco-Roman antiques and paintings, including the largest collection of Rembrandts in Germany. Finding a free park was a bit of a hassle so I dropped off Michele and found a spot. We had a bit of miscommunication. I thought she’d go in by herself and have a look around whilst I waited by the bike. Meanwhile she was waiting for me to join her. Ooops.
She returned with a bee up her bum to find me near the bike. She’d taken a few photos as she had wandered around the gardens, as I wasn’t keen to visit so we decided that we’d hit the road again.
As we were passing Groningen I took a detour. I was thinking that Groningen was Göttingen, another German town we’d visited. Göttingen was the home of the Göttingen Seven, the seven university professors who protested against the absolute rule of the Kings of Hanover. The Göttingen Seven included the Brothers Grimm. All seven university professors were sacked.
Surprised that the town looked a little different Michele soon clued me in that we were in different towns.
After a brief ride through town we found a really funky pizza place near the highway. It was a great place selling metre long strips of pizza and scissors to cut them with. How cool.
With the sun belting down it was just perfect conditions for pizza and beer. It also gave us a chance to unwind a little bit.
We arrived in Braunschweig early in the afternoon and met up with our friend Sabrina. Later in the day she took us on a tour of Braunschweig city.
Happy Rizzi House
The most interesting building we’ve seen for a while was the Happy Rizzi House designed by American artist James Rizzi. It is a modern architectural building built of interesting shapes and colours, we thought it looked like a licorice all sort. The Happy Rizzi House is used as office space but really brightens up the city and a huge contrast to the older buildings that surround it,
In the centre of the city we visited Brunswick Palace (Braunschweiger Schloss) the former home of the Dukes of Braunschweig until 1918. The first palace was built in 1718 however, it burned down in 1830. The replacement palace was built 1841 and bombed extensively during World War Two. It was completely demolished in 1960 by the city council and the site turned into Palace Park (Schlosspark).
Between 2005 and 2007 the park was redeveloped into a shopping centre, Schloss Arkaden. It wasn’t a tacky modern shopping centre but a recreation of the former palace. Using some of the original blocks the facade was recreated complete with columns however on the inside, it’s a modern shopping complex
After seeing the Brunswick Palace we wandered past the City Council Building. The Council building was built in the brutalist style, no artistic flair just concrete and functional. Comparing it to Braunschweig Palace the city council really dropped the ball on this building.
Walking through the city centre a number of old medieval Fachwerk buildings are still standing. Most of them are beautifully preserved.
We headed to Dankwarderode Castle the old home of Henry the Lion, the 12th century duke of Bavaria and Saxony. Inside the grounds of the castle in the burgplatz is a brass lion on a column, Henry’s ducal symbol. On the side of nearby Braunschweig Cathedral are huge scratches near a doorway.
Local legend has it that Henry’s lion scratched the side of the Cathedral. In the cathedral Henry the Lion and his wife Mathilda are buried in limestone tombs. These days Dankwarderode Castle is home to part of the Herzog Anton Ulrich Museum, a renaissance art museum.
We spent a nice afternoon wandering around Braunschweig looking at old buildings and churches.
Around the city there’s heaps of old buildings like the old city hall, Martinkirche, the post office, and lots of beautifully restored medieval merchant buildings. One we spotted was a tailors and had carved wooden statues on the facade.
After dinner we found a nice square near the St Magni Kirche. St Magniviertel or St Magnus quarter is famous for its old buildings, small bars and cobbled streets. It was here we found a small bar for a drink in the park and a chat. Today it’s been really nice wandering around Braunschweig with Sabrina pointing out different features. Tomorrow she’s going to show us around nearby Wolfenbuttel which should be fun.