Friday, September 16, 2016

Harlequin in the Harz!

At the end of July, I was invited to participate in a grand adventure by my fellow fellow, Kirsten. A friend of hers (Scott) in Berlin was looking for something do to around the Wolfenbüttel/Harz Mountains region, and who better for a guide than the weird medievalist who travels excessively to small towns nearby?! Kirsten and I took the train to Quedlinburg to meet up with Scott in his legendary car—the Harlequin. In 1996, for reasons known only to God, Volkswagen produced a multi-colored version of the Golf and named it the Harlequin. And Scott owns one of them.

Scott's Harlequin in Goslar
We hopped into the Harlequin and headed into the historic city-center of Quedlinburg, where we hiked up the hill to see the church and the views of town! (Previous post about my visit to Quedlinburg: here.) 
Sweet Quedlinburg
Quedlinburg Rathaus
Rooftops from the top
Quedlinburg Stiftskirche
We ate dinner at a darling café that had a pen full of chickens and one badass rooster, and it was perfect.

Cock of the Walk, as my Dear Old Dad would say...
After Quedlinburg, we hopped back in the Harlequin and took off into the Harz! Lots of road construction and detours later, we saw a sign for Teufelsmauer (Devil’s Wall) and decided we could not pass up such an opportunity for adventure. So, the story of the Teufelsmauer (as we read on informative plaques) is that the Devil was upset about the spread of the Lutheran Reformation and decided to build a wall around the Harz Mountains to keep the Christians out and the witches (who, obviously, live in the Harz) in. He had one day to do it, but when a merchant taking roosters to market passed the rooster crowed, and the Devil thought it was morning and he ran out of time, so he threw a tantrum and broke the wall down…. Weird story, but whatever. Apparently it is actually an Upper Cretaceous sandstone formation, but that’s boring.

I guess this is the Teufel
Keeping up the theme, we decided to visit the Hexentanzplatz (witches’ dancing place). We all sort of thought it might be an outcropping or something similar to the Teufelsmauer, but we were very wrong. It is an amusement-park type attraction with witch tchotchkes and tourists everywhere! It was all very bizarre, so we explored and people-watched and then went on about our way.

A man told us, in all seriousness, that this is where the witches used to fly back and forth between this gorge.  If they weren't good enough witches, the devil would kick them off into the gorge to die.  He was being very serious.
The Harz from the Hexentanzplatz
After such a grueling day of adventuring, we stopped for some low-key walking and dinner in Goslar before heading back to Wolfenbüttel. For Kirsten and Scott, hopping in the Harlequin for spontaneous day-trips is something of a tradition, and I was honored to be included!!

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