And I’m back! I had a wonderful, rejuvenating vacation in Germany and over the next couple of weeks I’ll be posting some highlights from the trip. Our first stop was the medieval town of Quedlinburg. This UNESCO World Heritage site is a quintessentially German town, with winding cobble stoned streets lined with ivy-covered, half-timbered houses. Quedlinburg’s historical significance lies in its unmatched state of preservation. Most medieval towns were destroyed by war or disaster, but, remarkably, Quedlinburg has made it through the dark ages and two world wars untouched.
We stayed right on the town square, a great location for people watching and taking in the vibe of the town. As we took a cab into town from the train station, I noticed a large senior citizens home a few blocks away from the town center. So I was not surprised to see a large number of elderly people passing through the square. I enjoyed this aspect of the town. I found it quite inspiring to see so many older folks biking or even strolling with the help of a walker. I remembering being tickled by what I assumed was a grandfather zooming through the square in a motorized wheelchair, with a toddler, presumably his grandchild, sitting on his lap. I don’t get to do a lot of people watching or walking in Riyadh. So I reveled in both of these simple pleasures in Quedlinburg. I didn’t even realize how much I’ve missed seeing people walking dogs! Every time I saw a cute dog (and I think ever one I saw qualified as cute) it was like a dose of happiness.
Tourists are visible, but they do not outnumber the locals. I never really enjoy visiting places where busloads of tourists are herded through by the hour. This was easily one of my favorite things about Quedlinburg. Even though it is a historic site, it is still a lesser-known travel destination and the town’s character has not been loss to the economic tilt of the tourist dollar (or euro, I should say). For example, I found the shopping in Quedlinburg to be sophisticated and nuanced in way that can be hard to find in major tourist destinations. There were many specialized boutiques selling high-quality local products and handmade goods, like pottery and lace. In fact, I wish I’d spent more time, and perhaps more money, exploring the shops.
Our short stay in Quedlinburg was great way to kick off the trip. After two nights there, we headed to the nearby city of Leipzig to visit my husband’s longtime friend.