Discovering Germany: Hannover & Oldenburg

About a month ago, a friend called me telling me she wanted to go out for a weekend. A holiday was coming up and she wanted to take the opportunity. It couldn’t be somewhere far from home because last month we were in Paris and we could not afford another big expensive city in such short notice.

After thinking about it, she reminded me of one of the perks of being a university student in Germany: we get to travel by train through the whole state (in our case, Lower Saxony) for free. The idea was to spend each day in a different city and return every evening to her flat. The trip would be fun, relaxing and cheap. An Italian friend of ours also joined our little weekend getaway.

Four days, four cities, lots of pictures and lots of food; here is a hopefully brief summary of our weekend.

Hannover

I am no stranger in Hannover. Whether it is to visit a museum, a friend or simply wander around every store looking at stuff I do not intend to buy, I always find an excuse to go to Hannover. There is one place I had never been to: the Herrenhausen Gardens.

The Herrenhausen Gardens are an ensemble of three different gardens: the Großer Garten (Great Garden), the Berggarten (Mountain Garden) and the Georgengarten (George’s Garden).

The Großer Garten is a Baroque garden, created by Electress Sophie (1630-1714). Although the idea came up in 1666, she was the one who directed the whole enterprise between 1680 and 1714.

The Georgengarten is laid out an English landscape style, and it is used as a public park. We did not cross there.

The Berggarten used to be a mulberry tree plantation for the Elector’s silkworm farms, but now it is a botanic garden, famous for its pretty orchid collection.

Oldenburg

Oldenburg is a city located in Lower Saxony, between the cities of Groningen (Netherlands) and Bremen, in the rivers Haare and Hunte.

The Oldenburgisches Staatstheater (State Theater) opened its doors for the first time back in 1833. The structure was made of wood, built by Herman Wilhelm Muck. The theater, however, was founded and directed by Carl Christian Ludwig Staklof.

It moved to its stone building, designed by court architect Gerhard Schnitger, in 1881. It burned down in 1891 but was rebuilt and reopened in 1893. Inside its three houses, you may find an opera, a ballet, a play or a concert.

The Oldenburg Castle is the former residence of the Counts, Dukes and Grand Dukes of Oldenburg, that lived there from 1667 to 1785, 1785 to 1815, and 1815 to 1918, respectively.

Nowadays it serves as the Landesmuseum für Kunst und Kulturgeschichte (Land Museum for Arts and Cultural History).

The city center is a mainly pedestrian zone full of stores, cafés, and restaurants.

At some point we found ourselves in the middle of a market we were not expecting. There were people all around us either singing, buying stuff or tasting bio-coffee. Some of you may already know that Germans have a thing for bio, which is short for healthy, organic and expensive. Bio-eggs, bio-vegetables, bio-meat, bio-anything-you-can-imagine. A green leaf is usually stamped on the things that are bio.

Speaking of green, here is a random picture of green crockery I took at the market.