Day 280: Goslar & RammelsbergNovember 21, 2017 in Germany
Super busy day today, though that's what happens when you have to rely on public transport and only have daylight until 4pm! Today we were heading south again, but much further away to the town of Goslar. It's an old village, remarkably well-preserved for Germany, and home to an enormous copper and silver mine that was worked continuously for 1000 years, ending only in 1988.
Unfortunately since dogs weren't allowed on site, we had to leave Schnitzel at home for the first time in a long while. So we barricaded him in the kitchen and headed off. Subway to the main station, then a 2 hour train ride to Goslar, where we arrived around 11am.
Had a look around the old town which was very pretty and appealing, lots of those classic German-style timber framed houses, a nice looking town hall and quite a few churches. Most of the buildings dated from around the 15th and 16th centuries, which again is very unusual for Germany - most of their old towns were destroyed during the war. This one was spared from strategic bombing, though I'm not sure why since there was apparently a Luftwaffe base just nearby. Go figure.
Satisfied with our exploration, we caught the bus to the mine which is a couple of kilometres outside town - we could've walked for more flexibility on timings, but in the cold and rain who wants to walk! The mine site is huge, though most of the buildings on site date from the early 20th century so there wasn't much historical to see. One of the main distinguishing features of this mine was the underground water management, where the mine owners used water wheels in the days before steam pumps or electricity to move water around the mine and keep the miners safe.
So we booked an underground tour of the water management features, starting at 2pm. Grabbed some lunch first of currywurst and fries in the cafe, then had a brief wander through the museum. It was quite interesting, though designed in IKEA style where you have to follow a path the entire way. We sort of ran out of time about 2/3rds of the way through, but neither of us felt like traipsing back through it later.
The underground tour was OK, though it was done in German and the guide seemed almost offended that we couldn't speak German. He kept asking general questions of the group but staring at the non-English speakers like we were going to answer! We'd been given a handout that covered some of it, but when the guy talks for 5 minutes explaining something and the handout has two sentences covering the same thing, you can't help but feel you're missing out. Can't win em all I guess.
Wrapped up our filming and just enough time for a quick coffee before getting the bus back to the train station. We were a little worried since there was only a couple of minutes between the bus arriving and the train leaving, but as it turned out the train was running late anyway. I know the German trains have a reputation for efficiency and timeliness, but it's actually surprising how often they run late. There was some issue with this train as it kept stopping, and gradually filled up with people on the way back to Hannover until it was basically standing room only. I was lucky enough to have the world's fattest German sit next to me (Shandos and I were in an inward-facing 4-seater and sitting opposite each other), so I wasn't super comfortable for the last 30 minutes.
Back onto the subway in the dark for the short trip back home, via the supermarket for a frozen pizza. Got home around 5:30pm, Schnitzel very happy to see us though he'd busted through the barricade and run around through the house. No signs of pees or poos though, which was good. Spent the evening relaxing and talking on Skype with mum.Read more