Friday, June 13, 2014

June 10-12 2014: Selfie in Marburg an der Lahn

Marburg Germany is such a charming town. When you arrive by train, there is a ten minute walk past the Lahn River and Elizabeth Church to where the town really starts. That's where we stayed the first two nights at the Elisabeth Bräu Brewpub and hotel. They make three beers there: Helles (light), Dunkel (dark), and Maibock (strong). I recommend everybody try their Dunkel, but tastes may vary :)

Helles bier at Elisabeth Bräu
As you continue further into the old town, you can either walk up the gradually sloping mountainside through all cobblestone streets, or on the low flat path. The sloping mountain street has interesting shops: (used CDs, books, coins, clothes), an old movie theatre, restaurants, bars, and lots and lots and lots of ice cream. The flat path has more practical shops like drug stores and banks and döner kebaps. If you need to quickly get from the low side to the top of the mountainside part of town, there are two elevators tucked into the historic buildings.

Somebody is VERY excited about this
Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte (black forest cake)

Most of the buildings look as they did hundreds of years ago. Marburg has a unique visual quality, when you see the Fachwerk building tucked into a mountain, you know you've arrived. Cars do not seem to be outlawed, but we saw very few of them driving up to the high side of town. Life seems to move at a different pace up there, I found it quite lovely briskly walking or elevatoring up and down the mountain every day, sometimes several times a day.

Trader Joe's in US carries some European Aldi's
products, looks like the reverse is true too!
The last few days in town, we stayed at Zur Sonne Gasthaus. Many of the restaurants in town also have guestrooms - and vice versa. The town is kind of timeless in that way. The guesthouses / cafes at the top of the mountain are all centered around the Rathaus - a Town Hall dating to 1512. Vendors sell sausages, eggs, and flowers out of carts around the Market square. Time marches on, but not in Marburg. A large clock tops the Rathaus, which loudly rings every hour for the entire town to hear. If you are nearby, you can also hear the rooster crow, watch the globe inch around throughout the day, and Death turns his hourglass. It's all so Pratchettian!

Amerikaner cookie - so nice to be famous for tasty racial hamony
Outside the Rathaus, the local theatre company put on a production of Midsummer Night's Dream every evening this week. It was a super contemporary production with tons of sexualization (although for Shakespeare it probably didn't take much embellishment). The elf and fairies performed a mixture of acrobatics and pole dancing. It was neat to watch - and Olga translated the dialogue into English so I could follow along. That's one nice thing about an open-air theatre like that - nobody can shush you!

Midsummer Night's Dream meets Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy

The highlight of my stay in Marburg was the bike ride. Despite being built into and on top of a mountain, many parts of Marburg are quite flat. For two successive days, I rented a bike and rode along the Lahn River through the gardens and football fields and farm fields to the far corners of town. Bike rental is only 2 EUR per hour in Marburg and a wonderful way to spend the time. I also ran a few errands and picked up some souvenirs for home - and of course some ice cream! :)

Trying to take a good selfie along the Lahn River

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