When night falls many places get a different feel to them. Just like the little town of Quedlinburg in Germany. As the last light disappears on the horizon, a range of new impressions arise. Hiding somewhere between the golden glow of old-world lanterns and secretive deep shadows, they enchant us with a sweet promise of romance.
We walk the ancient streets of the old town. All around us the town is whisper quiet, the air is clear. There is almost no motorised traffic in Quedlinburg. The streets of the medieval town centre are simply too narrow for cars. All we can hear is our own soft breathing. The sound of laughter that escapes the enclosed spaces of the houses. We see a dog sniffing the base of a lamppost, a small child skipping along on the hand of their mother. And that’s all.
When returning home to Germany after having lived abroad for almost 15 years I needed some time to adjust to the winter darkness again. To be honest, in the beginning, the constant darkness of cloudy days and the early dusk made me quite uneasy. But as I am walking around Quedlinburg with my lover by my side I can suddenly see a strange beauty in the shadows. I start to appreciate the romance of pale lantern lights and learn the art of listening again.
It is our first time in the city, and there is nothing to guide us other than our own curiosity. We lose ourselves in the maze of Quedlinburg’s old town streets. The weird angles in which some of the timber frame houses are built make us chuckle. We spend some time just admiring the little treasures in the shop windows of the many antiquity stores. At this time of day, it is quiet all around us, because most revellers are now inside in the cosy warmth of the Quedlinburg restaurants. Every single table is taken, wine glasses filled, light shines onto cobbled pavement and onto us as we are standing outside.
It is a city tour of a different kind: Quedlinburg is picturesque at day and fascinating at night. The night guard is also out and about, surrounded by a group of visitors who like to listen to his stories. We see the group in front of the historic town hall, patiently absorbing the anecdotes of the town. Quedlinburg is a world heritage town, a city of the Emperors, a hidden jewel in the undiscovered Harz region. There is a lot to talk about.
Blanketed in darkness we stroll past some of the Quedlinburg attractions, explore the many secret corners of the old town and the new town. There is the St. Blasii Church and the Schuhhof, an ancient passageway. The Adelshof, an old merchant centre from the Middle Ages. The house of a famous poet, Klopstock. We finish at the base of the Castle Hill, where the old abbey reaches high in the sky. Tomorrow will be a better day to see this part of town, when the sun allows us to see far into the distance from the top of the hill.
After a while we return to our holiday apartment. The sky above us is pitch black, the stars asleep behind a thick winter cloud. This was our first night in Quedlinburg, our first impression, but it brought along a mix of curiosity and excitement for the coming days.
We know: This first night in a strange bed will be a base from which to dream about new explorations and unforgettable discoveries.
More on Quedlinburg coming up soon, see more photos below ↓.