Tuesday, August 2, 2011


JenniferJuly 7, 2011: Wolfsburg was, as predicted, not especially tourist-y, although there are some nice things there in addition to soccer. For instance, there is a castle, and what American doesn't love a castle? Schloß Wolfsburg includes a relatively tiny but obsessively well-clipped Baroque garden, plenty of decorative animal-themed flourishes (dragons for downspouts, wolves for weathervanes, and eagles just for pretty), a sizable garden of mirrors. There was also a Teahouse at the end of the garden, which had a bit of Art in it. The best thing, though, was that the castle housed a family of kestrel falcons ('Turmfalke' in German and 'tornfalk' in Swedish; 'tower falcon' in both languages). One young kestrel had left its nest, high up on the castle wall; the young 'un was now hopping about on a lower windowsill, while the other chicks peered out from the nest, and occasionally peeped at their precocious sibling.

We only stayed in Wolfsburg for one night, and we did so in a gasthaus called Alter Wolf in the old quarter, a short walk from the castle: a low-ceilinged, dark wood, crammed-with-animal-heads-and-old-paintings sort of place, that contrasted with the spare-and-sleek modern hotels we had in Hannover and Berlin. Alter Wolf strongly reminded me of my first trip to Europe back in 1985 with my grandparents and aunt, when we had a car, and tended to stay out-of-town, in gasthofs and pensions like this one. Among its other amenities, Alter Wolf had a courtyard restaurant/beer garden out back, which came in handy for both on arrival refreshment, and also for post-game celebration. There was also a quite old church around the corner from the gasthaus, and many old buildings that looked interesting, but unfortunately we didn't really have time to investigate. Our next stop, Berlin...

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