1138-1140: Easter Bonfire

1138-1140:  Clausthal or Zellerfeld?

Thursday 18th to Saturday 20th April 2019

A leisurely start and then a steady drive into Germany.  We are in search of hills.  We overnighted on a EUR5 Stellplatz along a canal.  Surprisingly busy.  I walked along it with the dogs and we both ran it in the morning, before setting sail again.

Our overall plan is to spend a few days in the Herz Mountains, head to Dresden and into the Czech Republic before meeting Kerstin S of Munich.  Take note of this plan …

We arrived at the free permitted parking in Clausthal-Zellerfeld.  I walked the dogs off lead 🙂 and discovered one of the local silver mines being made ready for the tourist season.  The next day, the very helpful lady in the Tourist Information Centre warned me about the current dangers of letting the dogs off the lead … the wild boar have young that they WILL protect them.  She spoke German, and my German is very rusty and school girl … boar was established by me making pig noises!  So Corrie, who likes to roam, is now sometimes BACK ON THE LEAD :(.

C-Z is actually two towns.  We never worked out which was which.  As we were parked up at the intersection, we wandered down town on our first evening … the country’s largest wooden Church in Germany.  University sector, so a lot of cheap eateries, including donner kebabs.  We contributed to the local economy in one of the posh restaurants … just a glass, or two of vino … not sure how much these flasks hold.

The next day was our 4 year anniversary when we actually left the UK for our first trip lasting 360 days.  So we celebrated.  After gathering an inordinate amount of leaflets form the TIC, we lugged them to a cafe in the centre of a little park and had a light lunch.  I finished off with a huge sundae of 3 scoops vanilla, apple sauce, whipped cream and the egg advocat sauce … just yummy.  J took the dogs back to the van for a nap, whilst I went into the local museum about the local mining, the area and the people.  Sadly very little in English and way beyond my German.  A small craft area selling wooden bits and bobs and glass was just along the street, but I managed to keep my wallet in my pocket.

The TIC lady had told me about the Easter Fires … we’d seen a huge stack on our drive in.  I also read about them … pagan festivals to celebrate the dawning of Spring and the new agricultural year.  Tradition has it that people will take a burnt stick home with them to bring them luck, and people will walk across the ashes in the morning.  We certainly saw a lot of sticks being brandished aflame by some quite young children.  No H&S evident.  No barriers to keep people from the flames.  Small kids throwing wood onto the small fire as well.  They were having a great time, and how are they to learn if not allowed to ‘literally’ play with fire?  J spotted the fire service did make an appearance just before lighting the main pyre.

With the witch season being in full swing on 30.04, and the tourist info advising us of the wealth of things to see in and do, we decided to stay to see Walpurgnis (witch night) and skip Czech Republic.  So just like that our plans have changed.  Cos we can!

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Yay, CO2 off lead.

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My walk through the woods and stumbling on the sliver mine … I peeked through an open window.

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So, I’ve just read the guide book … this is Clausthal, the University bit with the largest wooden church.  It can seat >2000 from 1642.  we did walk around it but no way in.

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 A night cap.

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4 year travelling anniversary lunch.

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Most interesting exhibits in the local museum (that I could understand) was the display of hats through the ages. 

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Zellerfeld, in the N, had amazing wooden clad buildings in shady wide avenues.

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It’s not often you are met with a group of youngsters with blackened faces and charred sticks!  And they are friendly!  We were told it is the tradition to blacken everyone’s face as they arrived at the easter Bonfire …so …

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… I had to let them blacken my face, just a little!

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James’ face was untouched!

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We found a warm spot next to the small fire, where small children throw on small and not so small logs.

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Getting ready for the big one.

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We automatically moved back as the heat intensified.  Who needs safety barriers?

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I told a lady I was waiting for the tree to fall, but apparently it very rarely does.  As the spruce trees burned, we could see a wood scaffolding structure holding the central tree up .. young wood perhaps.

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Environmental concern?

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2 thoughts on “1138-1140: Easter Bonfire

  1. Hello
    So nice to be abreast of your travels! Sounds wonderful….
    We are just on the way home from France and would like to say a huge THANK YOU for the Annie Sloane tip off. Having fallen in love with Tithe Barn Cottage and being party to the revelation that the way forward is to paint rather than bin the stuff we don’t like, we have become utter converts! We’ve just spent the best part of the last 3 weeks with our imported tins of Paris Grey, Original, French Linen and Duck Egg Blue and are so pleased with the results. Some bits of furniture were so uninspiring that we did buy a few things from Le Bon Coin (ie French Gumtree!) and had a lot of fun trekking around the countryside and meeting the sellers (and sometimes resisting having all their old junk fobbed off on us…..). Will send some photos! Better still come and stay sometime (we will be in residence for a week in July and again last week of August then two weeks in October if France is on your menu – although I don’t think it is from memory 😦 ) We also picked up some stuff from England including 3 (free) sofas from a friend of a friend which Mike has just brought out in a van. OK, so once you add in the cost of van hire, tunnel, tolls and petrol then ‘free’ is maybe not quite correct but we now have some pretty decent places to park our bums. House in France is tented our for five weeks now and we’ve found a great mother/daughter team to do the Saturday clean and changeover after a bit of a scare when we had an email from the English couple who were going to do it to say that they were too busy with their own B&B. Eek! But now all sorted and we are going to have weekday mini breaks during the summer in France in the caravan and head back to the house on Saturdays to do the pool and garden while the dynamic duo do the house. Should work we think and I’m not so daunted as I was when I thought we’d be doing it all ourselves!!
    Dogs have been great, no attempts to wander from the (fence less) house until the very last evening when Higgs suddenly disappeared (vet booked for 9am the next day). As luck would have it I drove up the road as the neighbour’s hunting dogs were barking and a deer shot across the road in front of me. I parked the car and 5 mins later Higgs followed in hot pursuit of the deer and actually responded to my ‘you come here now (you little shit)’. Mind you, I think he was knackered, he didn’t stop panting for about half an hour.
    So, back home now, back to work on Monday, really really didn’t want to leave France, especially when my carefully pruned climbing roses were a mass of buds when we left. If we can just get the girls off our hands and retire….
    Anyway darlings, much love to you both, v envious of your adventures and must admit that I would also struggle with museum German.
    Take care, drive safely, enjoy your good times, hope James is still clear, hugs to Corrie and Oscar too xxxx

    Sent from my iPhone


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