My first stop on my journey around Northern Germany was Hannover. And since my break started a little early (my only commitment on Friday, choir, was cancelled) I decided to head up on Thursday evening.
Other than traveling up to Orientation in Cologne back in September, this trip was the first time I traveled so far solely using the rail system. And except for one mishap at the end of my journey (which I will detail in later entry), my trip proves that German efficiency is alive and well. In anticipation for this trip and several future trips I am making in the upcoming weeks (I am becoming a real international traveler, finally), I bought a discount card for the rails in Germany. Saving a little money is always good, right?
During each of my stops along my six day trip, I was able to meet up with two Fulbright English Teaching Assistants in every city. It was a wonderful chance to see people I really haven’t seen since Orientation (except for a couple who were at the Winter Ball) and was also helpful to have an expert on the towns take me around to see the sites!
Once I arrived in Hannover on Thursday evening, I met up with Elena first on the platform. Shortly after, I realized that Malissie, the other Hannover ETA was not with her, and I hadn’t received a text or message since Monday with her. Since I was supposed to stay with her, I was a little concerned. It was also not until that moment that I learned that Malissie doesn’t have a cell phone, so that is why I at least didn’t get a text. Concerned on where and how we would meet up with her, Elena and I left the platform and headed toward the main entrance/exit. Fortunately, I saw Malissie walk past as we were walking out, and with my suitcase, ran after her and got her attention. With all parties accounted for, we first headed to get me a transit pass. Unfortunately securing a transit pass was not as simply as I thought. As with all my traveling, I did research in advance about each city; with Hannover, I had learned in particular that they had a HannoverCard, which served as a transit card valid on all transportation, but also gave discounts for some of the major sites. Since this was the best buy for my needs, this was what I sought to buy. But unfortunately, it seemed no one in Hannover knew about this card. I first went to the train station ticket center- they had no clue. Then we stopped at a booth just outside the train station that was for the local transit company- the lady there still really didn’t know anything and referred me to the main ticket office, which was about a kilometer away from the train station. But since it was in direction of the place where Elena suggested for dinner, we headed there. Even here, the first guy I talked to had no idea what I was talking about. Fortunately, at this location there was a pamphlet on the card, so he had no way disputing they didn’t have it. Finally, one of his co-workers (or maybe his boss?) knew what the HannoverCard was and was able to sell me one. Finally with a transit card in my possession, we all headed to dinner.
Elena suggested we go to Cafeto- it was a Cafe near the ticket office we were just at, and it seemed to have reasonable prices for food. On top of all of that… they had BAGELS! While I was weary of a German bagel ever comparing to a NY Bagel, I took the chance. I ordered a Pollo Chicken, which a bagel with chicken, chipotle sauce, onion, peppers, and tomato. And was it worth it- so good. I wanted to take a picture of it; thought about it before my order came, and while I was eating the first half. Unfortunately the thought didn’t stick, and I don’t have a picture. I can report though that while the bagel was not up to NY par, it was very close to a Thomas’ Bagel, and tasted pretty good to me.
After dinner I decided to head back with Malissie to her apartment. She doesn’t live in Hannover proper, but in a small suburb south of the city called Hemmingen. It takes about 20 minutes by bus to get there, and since I was pulling my luggage at this point, I wasn’t in the mood to tour. Once back at her place, we spent the rest of the evening relaxing. And since she then didn’t have any internet (because she had just recently switched apartments and was waiting for the modem to come in the mail), we also spent the evening catching her up on Glee.
Friday morning both Elena and Malissie had classes at school, but we had decided the night before we would meet up for lunch and then explore together in the afternoon. But in the meantime, I decided to head into Hannover on my own and explore the major sites. Bidding Malissie “so long for now” at the bus stop, I headed into the city and began my “red thread tour”.
the "Red Thread"
Hannover Opera House
one of the buildings I detoured from the red thread for
one of the Nanas- modern sculptures in Hannover
Aegidienkirche- it was bombed out during WWII and left as a reminder of the destruction
According to Elena, after WWII the remaining structures of historical significance were all relocated to the same area of the Innenstadt
To aid tourists in seeing the major sites of Hannover, the city paved a red line throughout the city, passing many of the major sites. Beginning at Tourist Information just outside the main train station, it takes you throughout the Innenstadt. Fortunately, Malissie and Elena had both already been on the tour, so they were able to let me borrow the guide book that provided additional information about each site. But even without the book, a tourist could
just walk the line and see all the sites. Over the
course of a couple of hours until I met Malissie
altarpiece at Marktkirche
and Elena for lunch I completed the majority of the red thread tour, seeing sites such as the Opera House, Neues Rathaus, Marktkirche, Aegidienkirche, and more. I also took a couple detours from the thread at a couple of points during my exploring, stopping to take pictures of some of the wonderful architecture of the city. By the time 12:30 rolled around, which was when we hoped to meet, I had reached the
point on tour where I supposed to meet them- so
it worked out perfectly.
Me with the Neues Rathaus
The destination for lunch was the Markthalle. And to me- it was a Reading Terminal Market-esque kind of place. Located in a hall, it was a mixture of fresh food and eatery stands, where one could pick up dinner supplies, but also have a wonderful lunch. To top it all off, a plate of food was only 3.50€! So we each had a wonderful, warm plate of food (I had pasta with chesse and spinach) before heading out for an afternoon of fun.
Before coming to Hannover, Elena had alerted me that the history museum and Landesmuseum both had free admission on Friday, so we decided to visit the history museum that afternoon. Beyond there permanent exhibit on Hannover, they had two interesting temporary exhibits. One was of photographs of Hannover prior to World War II. Like many German cities during the war, Hannover was mostly destroyed by bombing. It was interesting to view the loss architecture and compare it to the remaining pieces that can be found in the city. The other temporary exhibit was on iconic photographs. While I was thinking it was going to span any theme, these iconic photographs dealt with life-altering events, such as the Fall of the Berlin Wall, and 9/11. After exploring these exhibits, we visited some of the permanent exhibits before museum fatigue set in. After the museum, we needed an energy boost, and what better way than with tea and cake? Elena also knew of a great place nearby, called the Teestübchen, so we headed there. I had a wonderful, freshly made fruit tea with a slice of chocolate-cherry-nut cake. So good, but with a catch- it cost more than lunch.
My wonderful tea
The rest of the afternoon we finished up seeing the sites in the Innenstadt before heading back to Elena’s for dinner. Since Elena lives in Hannover, it was a much closer trip to her place. That evening (after a quick grocery store trip) we relaxed and had a lovely dinner of pasta with tomato-ricotta-mozzarella sauce, garlic bread, tomato and mozzarella salad, and wine. It was a lovely evening of food, conversation and fun.
On my final day in Hannover I got my first glimpse of the Carnival season in Germany. Since Hannover was having its parade, we decided to attend. So after getting ready for the day and packing up my bag, Malissie and I headed to the Innenstadt. We first stopped at Elena’s to drop off my bags (so I didn’t have to travel back to Malissie’s before my train) and then we ran for a quick lunch at the Markthalle.
Fortunately, we staked out a spot toward the end of the parade route, so we were able to get pretty close. After waiting about a half hour, the parade finally arrived. It was a mixture of floats, bands, dancers, with lots of free candy and people dressed in costume. I was able to snag several bags of caramel corn, a couple candies, and even a free glass of beer. Overall, it was an enjoyable experience for my first glimpse into the carnival festivities in Germany.
balloons! It must be a parade
A syringe for a baton
Love the hat, sir.
Waiting for the parade with Malissie and Elena!
Me with my free glass of beer!
After enjoying the parade, Malisse, Elena and I decided to get out of the Innenstadt for the couple hours I had left in Hannover. We headed up to the Nordstadt, and first enjoyed a warm hot chocolate (since we stood outside for a while during the parade). After warming up, we walked around Georgengarten und the Herrenhausengartens. Now since I arrived in Hannover, Malissie was trying to keep me away from the gardens. Since it is not the height of spring or summer, she said it was not worth the time to see the parks now. But since I was in Hannover (and am unsure if I will make it back) I thought I should see the parks in the state they were in. Even without flowers or leaves on the trees, it was interesting to see the parks. And it gives me a reason to go back to Hannover! We walked around the parks for about a hour and a half before I had to start heading back to Elena’s and pick my bags to head toward my train to Braunschweig.
more of the Georgengarten
part of the Herrenhausengarten
Thanks to Malissie and Elena for guiding me around Hannover!
I had a wonderful time!