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Trip Report Advent weekend in Quedlinburg

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I promised to write a brief report and here we go.

2nd Advent weekend, 2-4 Dec 2011. Quedlinburg is a picturesque small town at the foot of the Harz mountains in Northern Germany. Everything in town was fully booked so we stayed at Harzresort in Allrode, 21 km up in the mountains. Very quiet, village, beautiful setting. Stayed in the dependancy, 2 min. walk from the main house. Room was large, clean, nice furniture, odd: no telephone but satellite TV. Breakfast was very good, 3-course dinner was awful the first night, good the second night. Paid 37 Euro + 1.80 Euro local tax per night and person incl. breakfast and dinner - special deal, a steal :-) Friendliness was la-la, I even got into an argument with the waitress at dinner. I don't think I'll stay there again.

Theatre (operetta "The Land of Smile") the first night. I like this piece a lot. New production, nice stage setting and costumes, the small orchestra was pretty good. Chorus did ok, the soloists were not good. Especially the lead soprano was terrible. She often screamed and was off pitch almost all the time. Ugh. The lead male soloist at least knew his limitations (very constricted voice) and did somewhat ok.

Saturday was reserved for the town - Christmas market, the advertised "Advent in the courtyards" and other sightseeing. Quedlinburg has a huge number of beautiful timber-framed houses, unfortunately quite a lot of them not (yet) restored, surprisingly many not inhabited. However, with the cobbled narrow alleys, the churches, it all adds up to a picturesque (mostly) medieval town. The Christmas market on the market square was about 85% food/beverages stalls. We hardly found stalls (and if, then not best quality) that sold the traditional German Christmas items. The open private courtyards that were so highly advertised for festive "Advent" ambience lacked a beautiful decoration, sold mostly non-christmassy stuff and again were often just food courts. Did I mention it was packed? It became really annoying to push through the crowds after a while. So we fled toward the castle hill, visited the church with crypt and treasure chamber - the highlight of the trip for me - and were lucky to see a rainbow over the city (beautiful view from the castle terrace).

We had a hard time finding a restaurant that would have a table available. Lines, long lines everywhere. Finally we went a few steps beyond the castle hill and found a nice small restaurant - good choice. Had good soup and something to drink and chatted away for a while. Afterward we did some more sightseeing, including one of the oldest timber-framed houses in Germany (from about 1300) and the St. Blasii church where an organ concert was scheduled. Entrance fee was 2 Euro which I would have paid but the place was sold out. Just had a quick look inside - beautiful Baroque church. After having a Glühwein at one of the stalls in the market square we left and drove back to our hotel. Dinner - see above.

Sunday was not particularly eventful. We checked out, drove to the Kyffhäuser mountain south of the Harz mountains and wanted to see the monument of Emperor Friedrich Barbarossa there but they charged 6 Euro so we skipped it.

All in all I can say I enjoyed the time in Quedlinburg but it was more because of the company than the town. The town is picturesque and has quite some sights to see but I'd rather go there in summer I think. I really missed the festive Advent/Christmas ambience that you find in the Erzgebirge mountains. There were hardly Christmassy decorations and items to buy in Quedlinburg.

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