Wanderlust war bereits ein mittelhochdeutsches Wort und beschreibt die Lust am Wandern, den steten inneren Antrieb, sich zu Fuß die Natur und die Welt fern der Heimat zu erschließen // A middle-high German word describing the joy of wandering, the constant urge to walk through nature and the world far from home.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Wernigerode // a weekend in the Harz Mountains

     This weekend we ventured into the mountains. I was a little big-citied out after Berlin (fascinating city but definitely overwhelming), and ready for some hiking, a good heavy German meal, and a castle. We caught a train from Dessau to Harz (well, three trains), and by the time we made it there it was already dark. We had nothing but an overpriced map we bought at the train station (spent 4 Euros on this map, and then every time I asked someone for directions they handed me a free one, figures) and a vague memory of the hostel address. Luckily our bus driver was incredibly kind (spoke German very slowly for me), and pointed us in the right direction when he dropped us off. Had he not done so I doubt we would have found it. He had dropped us off on a quiet neighborhood road, not well-lit, and instructed us to walk about 200 m before turning right. And then I didn't quite understand him but he made motions as though walking up stairs (I've found myself playing odd games of Germenglish charades here). When we turned the corner we found ourselves crossing a small footbridge over a stream. The water was trickling quietly and we made our way down what appeared to be a private driveway, before happening upon a gate, slightly open. Once we opened the gate we saw a steep flight of stone steps winding up a hill (we had no idea how far, again, very dark). By the time we made it to the top, we saw it, a softly lit three-story building nestled in the side of the mountain--our hostel for the night.
     Checking in commenced with more charades and some choppy German, but as always we were met with patience and only a few laughs. When we went to bed that night we had no idea what to expect. We still hadn't seen the village in daylight, and had no idea how far up we were or even what was outside of our windows. And when the sun Looking out I saw the village wrapped around below us, a brightly-painted hub of life tucked into a tight ring of green wilderness. And straight ahead--the Wernigerode Castle.

We hiked up the mountain to see the castle (and for the sheer enjoyment of hiking), and here are some pictures I got before my camera (unfortunately) died:

Katherine leading the way.

Val, Nat, Katherine, and Brandon. A great traveling group. Although maybe Brandon wasn't quite prepared for this picture.

Wernigerode, as seen from the castle walls.

The back side of the castle (we had such a wonderful view of the front, but alas, my camera batteries did not fare that well).

A panorama courtesy of Katherine.

No comments:

Post a Comment