Time For New Tyres
The first job today was sort out the rear tyre and brakes before we head to Wolfenbüttel where our friends Jono and Sabrina grew up.
With the high speeds on the autobahn lately the rear has quickly disintegrated. Trying to find a bike shop in a new city in a foreign country can be so frustrating. Using google translate to convert pages you’re never really sure what you’re going to get. I found a shop but when I arrived found they were a car specialist and a replacement bike tyre would take 7 days. Luckily they pointed me in the direction of a nearby bike shop in the back of an industrial estate. It was quite a large complex with 4 or more separate bike shops.
The Honda desk directed me to the kawasaki workshop who had a tyre and soon the bike was up on the hoist. Whilst I was waiting I got to look around their showroom. There was a wide range of new and used bikes of all different brands. After about an our the mechanic came out to tell me that the brake shoes were the wrong ones and they had none of the right type in stock. What a pain in the butt. It means that we’ll have to go through the whole process to find another shop.
Riding back to the couch surf the rear felt great but the brake was definitely shot. It was like riding with a cheese grater.
After lunch we took a tram trip to Wolfenbuttel with our friend. Wolfenbuttel is only a short tram ride from the centre of Braunschweig.
Although Wolfenbuttel is a quiet little town around the area are a number of factories including the MAN Parts Distribution Centre, Volkswagen and Jagermeister.
We wandered through the leafy park near the station to the palace.
Schloss Wolfenbüttel is a lovely renaissance style building built by Duke Julius of Brunswick-Lüneburg in 1570. It has an interesting feature of false windows. As the palace was built when glass was expensive a few windows were just simply painted. The palace has a lovely ornate bridge leading to it over the moat which surrounds it. The duke had a huge impact on the town firstly employing Hans Vredeman de Vries to design the grand waterway system. He also founded the Julius Augustus Library in 1572. Author Gotthold Lessing became the librarian and set about establishing one of the largest collections of ancient books. Lessing’s quite substantial home is these days a museum.
Wolfenbuttel was established as a market town on the trading route to Leipzig. The Dukes of Wolfenbuttel encouraged arts and literary so soon the city became home to the greatest writers. When the Dukes moved to nearby Braunschweig, Wolfenbuttel became a bit of a backwater.
Germany’s Smallest House
Walking through the centre of the city we were surrounded by fachwerk houses. Fachwerk is the German name for the medieval style timber framed houses which are generally known in the UK as Tudor style. Basically a timber frame is built and then the gaps are all filled in with either wattle and daub or brick. Then usually they are plastered over. Close to the centre we spied Wolfenbuttel’s and one of Germany’s smallest houses. At just over an arms width it really is tiny. In earlier times home owners were taxed for the amount of floor space. To get around this locals would extend their upper floors out a few extra feet on each level. It also had a few extra advantages one of those being able to empty the chamber pot into the centre of the street and also being able to see who was at the door.
Some of the oldest houses around the centre of Wolfenbuttel date back to the 1600’s and the town boasts the largest concentration of half timbered houses in the whole of Germany. There is also canals that run through the town helping give it the name of Germany’s Little Venice
It was great to see the different variations of wooden buildings and they really give the centre of the city a real sense of charm.
Late in the day we caught the tram back to Braunschweig. Tomorrow we head north to Bremen where we catch up with Christine another couch surfing friend.