Celebrations in Osterode am Harz

I arrived at Hannover airport on the evening of Deutschen Einheit – the day East and West Germany were reunited. I was delighted to see my family at the arrivals gate, ready to take me to Osterode, which was about an hours drive away. When I first moved from Australia to Europe, this was the town I lived in – for just over two months.

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It’s quite a small town – but it’s quite beautiful as it is on the edge of the mountains with a lot of greenery. I knew the town quite well, including which gelateria was best – for the record it is Zotta. Zotta has been there for decades and the old man is such a delight! I managed to sneak away from the family festivities (you all know what it’s like…), I went for a walk into town and somehow found myself in front of Zotta! I couldn’t resist the temptation – one scoop of stracciatella and another of hazelnut and I was on my way like a happy little kid…

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The town centre (similar to many other German town centres), is a square – is lined with shops, and benches where a lot of the locals sip on their coffees. There is also an old church in the town centre, which has a clock tower and actually rings. One dong for quarter past, two for half past, three for quarter two and on the hour it dongs as to what time it actually is i.e. 10 dongs for 10 o’clock. It’s a pretty neat system, but the late night rings are somewhat annoying if you have bionic ears and are a light sleeper (yes, that’s me…). In this town, everyone knows one another – in fact my uncle was with me and he stopped to talk with at least four people and waved at several others. Hence it has that traditional small town feeling – which is quite nice…

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There are several old heritage buildings in the old town or alstadt as it is called in German. These buildings are unique and you can spot them everywhere as they have wood panels on the exterior surface that are painted in a different colour… My uncle told me that these buildings are untouchable – meaning that you cannot do any construction on them… as we continued to walk around, I noticed that the leaves on the trees had changed colour – everything began to look quite autumnal, after all it was autumn…

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Overall it was a pleasant visit – the weather was brilliant and being surrounded by family and friends during the festive few days of Eid/Bayram was really nice. As always – during these celebrations, one needs to know when to stop consuming delicious food…

 

 

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