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800 year old roses

Written on: Sunday September 30th, 2007

A journal entry from: Fall for Germany

The next morning (still in Braunschweig) we had some free time to explore a museum (without a tour) or follow Reiner on a mini tour of the city or go to a Protestant mass at Sir Eliot's.  Sallie, Jason, Mike and I followed Reiner and spent a lot of time in the Burgplatz.  It was central palace of Henry the Lion (Heinrich Loewen) and there was a nice statue outside.  I really enjoyed hearing about Henry.  We took a tour of I think a reconstruction of his palace or something and had an audio tour in English.  After the mass was done in Sir Eliot's we went inside to see it in the daylight without mobs of people like there had been the night before.  They had a huge candelabra and a Romaneque (i think) carving of Jesus.  Reiner invested 5euros in us to see the tomb with the old, old kings coffins from the 1200s and such.  Seeing Henry the Loeven's and his wife was kinda cool.

Then we met up with the rest of the group because we had to leave by a certain time.  It was our last day.  We were all excited to get back to Bonn, but we still had one more place to go.  Hildesheim was really pretty.  The markt square was bombed during the war and destroyed and built back up in a modern style.  The people complained and in the 80's (i think), they either put a façade on the modern buildings or rebuilt them.  The place we had lunch in was completely rebuilt just as it was before- not one iron nail in it.  It was gorgeous.  It used to be a guild house of the butchers and the symbols and characters in their decorations reflected their occupation.  The city also had these play things with a horizontal wheel on a stationary pole and you turn yourself around.  I've seen them before and love them.  When I get married and have kids, I want one in my back yard.  First we went to a Catholic church that has a really old rose bush and a legend that a priest with the king's hunting party lost a relic from a mass and when he went to retrieve it, the branches had wrapped around it.  The king said it was a miracle, therefore they should build a church on that spot. The rose bush is supposed to be 800 years old, and it is at least 400.  During WWII a piece of the roof fell on it and covered the roots, saving the plant.  Then we took a tour of Michaelskirche and it was definitely my favorite.  I'm not just saying that because it was the last one.  It was built in 1050 and while they are currently remodeling it for the 960 year anniversary, it was still beautiful.  Yes, despite the smell of new paint to mimic the portions of wall that had faded to nothing and the obviously newly restored floor, it was amazing.  The concept of building such a structure out of stone was new to the people, but the architect was really good because hey, it's still standing.  You could see the difference between today's part that was rebuilt from the bombing (straight, even stones) and the original part (more haphazard and rough).  Actually, the architect is buried in the church.  They had one of the few Romanesque ceilings left- I never knew how beautiful they were.  A lot of churches removed them when they built on to their Romanesque churches with Gothic or Baroque additions so the ceilings were lost.  This ceiling was saved during WWII because it was taken off board by board (it's wood) until the war was over.  And then we drove back to Bonn.  Most of us missed our bus by about a minute or so and had to wait another half hour before we start getting home.  It was nice to rest.