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!
Yay, CO2 off lead.
My walk through the woods and stumbling on the sliver mine … I peeked through an open window.
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.
A night cap.
4 year travelling anniversary lunch.
Most interesting exhibits in the local museum (that I could understand) was the display of hats through the ages.
Zellerfeld, in the N, had amazing wooden clad buildings in shady wide avenues.
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 …
… I had to let them blacken my face, just a little!
James’ face was untouched!
We found a warm spot next to the small fire, where small children throw on small and not so small logs.
Getting ready for the big one.
We automatically moved back as the heat intensified. Who needs safety barriers?
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.