Thursday, August 18, 2005

tourists for a day

Well, we had a fun but exhausting day in Hamelin on Tuesday. The rain finally stopped and the weather was just perfect for sightseeing. We didn't end up taking that many pictures but I'll show you the ones I have and then see what turned up on our friends' camera.

These wooden clockwork figures, accompanied by the Glockenspiel (chimes) have been in operation since 1964 and run three times a day. As luck would have it, they are out of order at the moment so we didn't get to see them. Oh well.

We also missed the 40 minute musical "Rats" which shows on Wednesdays. Another reason to go back some time soon.

As we were walking around in the town centre we noticed a sign in front of the Marktkirche St. Nikolai advertising "tower tours". Diego immediately wanted to go, so we all followed him into the church where a funny old man, after collecting the admission fee, pointed to some stairs and told us to have fun. Apparently we were supposed to take our own tour. If only we'd known what we were in for.

Stairs, stairs and more stairs. First a spiral staircase, and then a never ending series of wooden steps getting progressively steeper and narrower as we went up. We all huffed and puffed and Boy9 started to feel quite woozy, as did another woman who was behind us. She didn't pass out but looked as if she was going to. I could feel her pain, heights, small spaces and musty air not really being at the top of my list either. Just when we all thought we couldn't stand it any longer, the steps came to an end and we realized why the old man hadn't come with us - his pot belly wouldn't have fit through the opening we had to squeeze through to get up to the tower windows!

After we took a few deep breaths and got hold of ourselves again, we were able to enjoy the view from the tower, and the trip down wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.

we were way up there behind those small white windows

view from the tower over Hameln

me looking very relieved to have made it to the top in one piece

This is postcard depicting some of the typical architecture in the town. The shops and houses are beautifully maintained and there's a real medieval feel to the place.

This house caught my eye. Many of the houses are inscribed with what looks like the date they were built and who lived in them. This type of building with the white and brown exterior is known as Fachwerk.

Hameln is a tourist town, so there's no lack of souvenirs, especially rat souvenirs. Our guests did quite a bit of shopping and enjoyed the unique, well-stocked shops.

hey buddy, wanna buy a rat?

While Diego and his family visited the museum, the rest of us took a stroll towards the outside of town and ended up crossing over this bridge topped by a giant guessed it...rat.

A visit to a glass blowing demonstration topped off our adventures. The kids were just fascinated to see how it was done and the glass blower and his apprentice put on a great show. The heat in the place was not suprising, considering that the glass oven was at a temperature of 1200°C and never left to go out. We watched in fascination as the glass blower effortlessly created a beautiful blue vase and a tiny horse right before our eyes, explaining every step of the process, including how long it takes such an object to cool down and cure. Anywhere from a few hours for a small figure to years for such things as optical lenses used in microscopes and such. When the show was over each of the children purchased a pretty glass memento to take home.

The afternoon came to an end with a break at one of the many outdoor cafés lining the streets. Then we headed home, our energy spent. I think it was the tower that did us in.


At August 18, 2005 8:46 a.m., Blogger Aussie Shiraz said...

Sounds wonderful, although I don't think I could have climbed that tower...shudder...

At August 18, 2005 8:22 p.m., Blogger Crystal said...

Those spiraling stairs! Ugh, it's avoidable in Europe, but the pictures are always worth it in the end. I'd never heard of Hamelin but seems like a lovely town! Though rats absolutely Terrify me.

At August 18, 2005 9:14 p.m., Blogger Gretchen said...

Awesome photos! I'd love to get there some day. Another place to add to my must visit list.

At August 19, 2005 2:05 p.m., Blogger Ms Mac said...

Awww yes! Looks like exactly the kind of place I love!

At August 20, 2005 7:51 a.m., Blogger Karen said...

Nice! Good to see you got a break in the weather too ;-)

At August 21, 2005 6:31 p.m., Blogger Elemmaciltur said... of my blog-friend's got that spam, too. Delete it and go and turn on the 'word verification' in your comments setting.

Seeing your report, I really feel that I need to do more travelling here in Germany *dreams*

At August 21, 2005 10:54 p.m., Blogger christina said...

Elemm -Yeah, some parts of Germany are pretty nice.

And thanks for the spam tips! The little garbage can thingie wasn't showing up at first but now it is.


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