I am so surprised by the lack of attention Quedlinburg gets. Whenever I talked about my travels with other backpackers, none of them had ever heard of it. But it is a UNESCO World Heritage site — it’s a really well preserved medieval town and has all the charm you would expect from a sleepy, little European village. It seemed to Kyla, Sydney, and me that there were not a ton of young inhabitants in the town. We actually stayed at a pension called Gästehaus Toepke, owned and run by Peter and Renate, a really friendly and welcoming couple. They basically spoke no English at all which I truly appreciated because, once again, it forced me to speak in German rather than fall back on the safety and comfort of English. We had a room with two bedrooms and one private bath. It was decorated in such a cute manner; it just made me feel like I was tucked away in some charming little corner of Germany (which I guess I pretty much was!).
The journey to Quedlinburg was quite the struggle. After safely making it to the Berlin Hauptbahnhof mostly with ease, boarding our train, getting settled in and apparently getting a bit too comfortable in our seats, we got off one station too early in Magdeburg (we found out later one was in the city center and the other… wasn’t) which screwed up pretty much everything. I got help from some locals who didn’t speak English and were sitting waiting for their trains and they helped me figure the whole thing out. We just had to wait for an hour or so until the train we wanted to take arrived and we hoped right on and were whisked away.
Once we arrived in Quedlinburg, I felt so cozy, so quickly. It was such a charming town with an insane amount of character without trying hard. I realize that there are obviously building codes that do not allow modern buildings to be built in order to maintain the integrity of the medieval village, but I love how old and real all the buildings are. The town square was just soooo German looking with its cobblestone streets, beautiful architecture, and beautiful fountain. It was a super cloudy and fairly cold day for mid-May so, as you can see, not too many people were hanging out outside. But I can imagine that in warmer times the outdoor cafes are filled and during Christmastime, the Weihnachtsmarkts are filled with beautiful winter spirit and joy:
Of course, while we were in Quedlinburg, we had to tour the castle and church on the hill, which date back to before the year 1000. For more information on the history of the UNESCO site, click here. We walked up the not-too-steep cobblestone hill and, despite how cloudy it was, we were able to get pretty awesome views of the town:
Up at the top of the hill, there is the church and a museum and it costs less than 10 Euros if I remember correctly. I found both of them to be very interesting regardless of the fact that I didn’t understand all the descriptions of all the artifacts. There were so many cool swords and catapults and other weapons that I understood nothing about but just by looking at them I could really appreciate how painful they probably were lodged into your body or sliced through your skin or whatever. I didn’t take any pictures but I took a picture of an interpretation of what one of the princesses rooms might have looked like:
Cameras were not allowed inside the cathedral but I can remember pretty vividly just how dark, cryptic, cold, and cool it was. The crypt was definitely the highlight for me and it was worth paying extra to see. If in Quedlinburg, it is pretty clearly worth it to visit the cathedral and the castle museum at the top of the hill. Even the gardens surrounding the castle were beautiful:
The next morning, we were already due to leave. I wish I had taken pictures of the traditional German breakfast spread Peter and Renate had prepared for us. I had never had a breakfast like that before. There were various types of crackers, breads, meats, cheeses, jams, jellies, honey, juices, and teas laid out for us when we went into the charming and cozy breakfast room. They had asked us the day before for our drink preferences and time we wanted breakfast and such, which was so thoughtful.
Quedlinburg was a great way to experience Europe in its oldest form in a really charming and tranquil way. It felt like a step back in time.