After staying in Holland for about two months, we were again itching to be on the road. This time we planned to go as far as Poland, passing thru Germany, Czech Republic and Slovakia . We made a rough itinerary, but again, this was flexible. That was the great advantage of travelling with a mobile home.
It was Sunday, June 26, 2016 when we left Holland. Tom, Debora and little Jayson waved us goodbye; we made a short stop in Anholt to see Kim and the family. After that, we were off!
After covering about 400 kilometers, we made our first stop in Braunschweig, a city in Lower Saxony (Nedersaksen). We planned to stay here for about two days; but because we found the city so amiable and beautiful, Braunschweig became a sort of base camp for us while we visited some neighbouring villages. Thus, we stayed here for more than a week (June 26- July 3, 2016) . We had a nice parking area especially reserved for mobile homes located near the Burger park, and about 1.5 kilometer to the city center which could be reached either by long stroll in the park following the Oker river, or by biking. The parking is good for 16 campers, and free of charge. There are facilities like water and electricity and place for chemical toilet.
Campsite : Parking, BurgerPark Theodor-Hause Strasse
Coordinates : N: 52.2497 E: 10.51816
After a week, we returned to this parking area and stayed the night after driving further to Salzgitter.
THE BURGER PARK
Braunschweig is a discovery for both of us. We did not know what to expect when we arrived here. We were immediately impressed by the big Burger park where our camper is parked. With a ground area of about 42 hectares , the park is an oasis of rest for the people of Braunschweig. It has a lush green areas full of trees, with lots of flat surfaces for possible picnicking or relaxation. It is a nice place for strolling, biking, lazying, and even doing some water activities like canoeing and waterbiking. The river Oker which flows around the city streams thru the park , and there are small lakes scattered in the park. During the summer, Oker Cabana is open – it is a kind of city beach found in the park where small bars are also found.
Braunschweig or Brunswick is considered the Lowenstadt or The Lion City. The Lion is the symbol of power chosen by Duke Henry The Lion. The city is considered the cultural center of the region. It has a rich history and the city is full of monuments and buildings that manifest the city’s greatness in the early times.
We explored the city by following the walking map we received from the Tourist Information Office. We did the exploration in two days, doing it both by foot and by bicycle ; the walk brought us to eight major places in the city.
1. The Burgplatz
The Burgplatz (Castle square) is where the former residence of Henry The Lion , the Castle Dankwarderode is found. Infront of the building is the bronze sculpture of big Lion (anno 1166) which symbolized his power. Found also in the square are the State Museum and some beautiful timber-framed houses.
2. St. Blasii Cathedral
Located at the south side of the Burgplatz, the cathedral is from Evangelican-Lutheran in nature. It was erected by Henry The Lion between the years 1173-1195. The tombs of Henry the Lion and his wife, Mathilde are found inside the cathedral, by the altar. His son, Otto IV, was also buried in the crypt. Some of the most striking features of the cathedral are the seven-armed candelabrum in the altar, the crypt, the wooden crucifix by the baptismal basin, the old artworks/drawing on the ceilings, and of course the graves of Henry and Mathilde.
The Rathaus (town hall) is a neo-gothic building located just near the cathedral, on the other side of the street. This building has a tower which is 61 meters high. It is possible to reach the tower by climbing its 161 steps (just report first at the reception). The tower offers magnificent views of the city.
The Residenzschloss or the Ducal palace is found at the center of the city. What was once a palace, this wholly renovated building now houses the Schloss Arcade (a big shopping arcade), city library, and the Palace Museum. The palace is crowned with a huge quadriga with chariot and horses with the goddess of the city, Brunonia, at the reins. For 2 euro, it is possible to go on top of the quadriga. We spent lots of time in the schloss arcade and also visited the Palace Museum. Entry was 3 euro pp. But we found the museum not so especial. It only shows some rooms typical of the palace during its glory years.
Magniviertel is one of the oldest quarters in the city. What made this area special are the many timber-framed houses found in here; its quiet charms; the nice church in the square; the narrow streets; and most especially the rather happy house at the entrance to the quarter…the Happy Rizzi House, which served as office for the mode house New Yorker.
This quarter is special because of the very old monastery and the church of Agidien. The oldest remaining timber-framed building is also located in this area, specifically at Spohrplatz7. It was built in 1357.
The Kohlmarkt (Coal market) is located in the center and is a kind of melting point in the city. It has fashionable shops, monumental buildings around and ,lots of cozy restaurants and cafes.
The Altstadtmarkt is were the old town hall is located. The old town hall is now a city museum(free entrance) which depicts the city’s history and some important collections in the history of the city. The square is a popular venue for fairs, medieval markets and numerous events. Also located in the square are the impressive Martini church and the Gewandhaus (textile trade house).
THE SHOPPING CITY
Being a modern city, Braunschweig is also home to some of the big shopping centers in Germany. It has a number of roofed commercial centers like the Schloss Arcade, Kaufland, New Yorker, and Primark among others.
We were in Braunschweig when the European Championship for Football EK was ongoing. We accidentally tumbled upon a small square just between the Gewandhaus and Saint Martini Church which was transformed into an open cozy area with stands for food and drinks and a big screen installed for public viewing. We went here to watch the match between Germany and Italy. The place was really full with German supporters. We received a free carton hats which we put on our heads the whole time. Hans bought a mega glass of beer which he slowly drank while we were waiting for the game to begin. The atmosphere was really amazing! However, half hour after the game began, it began to rain, not just a littler, but real hard! We, and most of the spectators had no choice but to leave the place and we just went home. We learned the next day that Germany won.
A week later, we were back in Braunschweig. Again there was a football match. Hans and I did not go back to the same square. Instead we found a small Italian restaurant just opposite the Schloss Arcade. We spent the whole evening there watching the match between Germany and France. The drinks and food (pizza) were good, and the atmosphere also. Sadly, Germany lost the game. But , hey…it didn’t matter anyway for us. We have enjoyed our stay in Braunschweig and tasted and experienced the city’s madness for football!