Germany 2017: Quedlinburg and the Harz Mountains
Monday 18th September, We drove from Berlin to Quedlinburg which is about 220 km an which should have taken about 2.5 hours. Unfortunately there was a truck accident on the A2 autobahn near Magdeburg, and we crawled along for 1.5 hours and covered about 10km so were on the road for more than 4 hours. But there was good beer upon arrival helped!
Quedlinburg is a town situated just north of the Harz mountains, in the district of Harz in the west of Saxony-Anhalt, Germany (It was in the DDR,East Germany, before 1989 re-unification). The castle, church and old town are in the UNESCO World Heritage List. It is one of the best preserved medieval towns and renaissance towns in Germany and wasn’t significantly damaged in WW2. There are many half timbered buildings dating from the 15th century
We arrived at about 4.30p and checked into our Hotel Domschatz, which is in a restored late 1700’s building right beneath the church and castle. Nice small hotel, staff in traditional clothing and free coffee and cake.
We ate at the local Brauhas and both had pork dishes with rich sauce made from the brewery beer and onions. The beer from their brewery was excellent and in total about NZ$50 for 2 mains and and 3 beers.
Tuesday morning 19th September, we explored the old town and climbed up to the castle and church. Stunning views over the local countryside and the old town.
We then drove to Thales, a town about 15km from Quedlinburg which has both a gondola and a chair lift to the the summit of surrounding hills. We took the Gondola to the top, and on the way up had one with a glass floor. Nice views down into the river valley below.
Upon returning to Quedlinburg, we went into the old town in search of Heathers winter coat, which she found at the local Bonita shop, and she also bought a new scarf. All set for any weather now.
Wednesday 20th September we drove about 50km back towards Magdeburg as we wanted to take a river cruise on the Elbe river.
On the A14 autobahn to Magdeburg, much of the autobahn is unlimited speed, and we came across a road works area where the autobahn reduced from 2 lanes to 1 lane for road works in the fast lane; Germany is great; you slow to 100km/hr for road work and then resume to unlimited.
(In NZ it would be slowing to 40km/hr for roadworks, and then some clown would drive along in a daze at 70km/hr in the right hand lane)
We took a 4 hour cruise departing at 1pm for Euro 25 pp. It was a very interesting 4 hours as you travel north of Magdeburg and downstream on the Elbe River, then turn off the main river to join the Elbe Havel Kanal. You pass through two locks on the canal, and then travel across an immense water bridge that carries the canal over the Elbe River. The bridge is almost 1km long, 34 metres wide and carries water 4 metres deep. It enables water traffic to reach Berlin from the Rhine.
The next interesting point on the canal is the Rothensee boat lift that connects the Mittellandkanal with the Elbe River. The ship lift was built in 1938 and can raise or lower vessels 16 metres depending upon the river level. It is still in regular use for small vessels but has been bypassed by a larger lock for the bigger ships.
Shortly after the ship lift, you rejoin the main Elbe River for an upstream journey to the starting point. Amazing technology along the way and the boat trip across the water bridge above the river is one of a kind.
Thursday 21st September, we drove west to Goslar and Wernigerode, which are both towns in the Harz mountains area with beautiful wooden buildings.
We also visited an aircraft museum at Wernigerode which was interesting; a great collection of military aircraft that we don't ever see in NZ, plus a whole section on the evolution of aircraft cockpits and controls. Definitely a blokes Museum.
On our last night, we went back to the Brauhaus Ludde as I wanted to try their pork knuckle, and of course more of their Pilsner beer.
Friday 22nd September it was an easy but fast 350km drive south east to Nuremburg in Bavaria for 10 nights.