After our journey to Marburg, Alex and I found ourselves in the perfect place for our zweite Hochzeitsreise: Marburg an der Lahn.
Marburg is a Universitätsstadt in the Bundesland of Hessen. As its perhaps somewhat poetic name extension an der Lahn states, the town stretches along the Lahn River as it has since its establishment in 1222. The town climbs the sides of the valley in which the Lahn gently flows, making Marburg a town of—often rather steep—hills. Except for the main roads, the streets in Marburg are stone brick lined by cobbled walkways. The rocky and hilly terrain of the old town eliminates the need for heading to the Wald for a Wanderung. Along the narrow streets of Marburg are several landmarks, including Philipps-Universität Marburg—established in 1527—and Elisabethkirche—named for Elizabeth of Hungary who chose Marburg as her seat in 1228.
Straddling the narrow streets of Marburg are the half-timbered buildings that populate Christmas cards. The wooden frames of these buildings are painted in every color imaginable, from brown and black to pink and green and blue. While many of the buildings have simple decorations—accents in golden paint—, other has more intricate designs and carvings, such as foliage and wyrmkin.
Our first dinner in Marburg was outside of one of these buildings, built on the side of a hill with a stone wall holding up tables and chairs. While the building itself looked cozy, the seating—like many European set-ups—was also designed with the comfort of patrons in mind. Small, cozy wooden tables were surrounded by chairs with multi-colored cushions. Red and brown blankets were piled at each table, ensuring that patrons enjoy their meals outside, even on a gray, chilly evening (which it was). We happily sipped Bier and Eistee Zitrone, the latter of which was a big surprise. European iced tea, if you can find it, is often carbonated, giving it a somewhat tangy and tingly taste of which I am not particularly fond. I remember being in Belgium last year and being disappointed after taking a sip of a long-awaited iced tea, finding it not only carbonated but saturated with lemon flavor. The Eistee I found at the Brasserie Café Restaurant, however, was not carbonated and, despite being Zitrone-flavored, tasted more like tea than citrus. Paired with our Getränken, we had Schnitzel; Alex had Diplomaten Schnitzel—a sampler of Schnitzels paired with different sauces—while I enjoyed Jägerschnitzel—a popular Schnitzel graced by a delicious brown mushroom sauce.
Thankfully, many of the residents in Marburg speak English as well as German and seem happy to speak in English after watching you struggle with elementary German. This includes our server that first night. She asked me a question (auf Deutsch), to which I gathered the answer was either “yes” or “no”. Unsure of what she had asked, I took a chance and supposed she asked whether we wanted anything else to eat, the typical question from American servers trying to sell you dessert. I answered here question with “Nein,” to which her smile quickly snapped into a horrified look. I quickly apologized, saying “Entshuldigung, ich spreche Deutsch nicht so gut.” To which she relaxed, though stilly slightly shocked, and said, “I asked you whether you enjoyed your meal.” After that, I never hesitated to say “Entshuldigung” or “Ich spreche Englisch.”
During our first week in Marburg, Alex and I walked along the cobbled streets lined with small shops, numerous Buchhandlungen, and Cafés. We drank Moccachinos—„Espresso mit heißer Schokolade und Milchschaum“—at Café am Markt and ate Weisenbretzeln from a small Bäckerei. We shared delicious Schokolade and cappuccino Eis and nibbled on “moon bagels” (what the Germans call poppy seed bagels), complete with cream cheese and lettuce between the two halves, with our morning Vanille Lattes auf Eis from Basic Coffee on Bahnhofstraße. At night, we listened to passersby chat in German over (a much sparser international subscription of) Netflix as we snacked on Capri-Sonne (Multi-Vitamin flavor is the best fruit punch flavor I’ve ever had) and Funky Frisch Jumpys (think kangaroo-shaped Goldfish flavored with paprika) in our hotel room at the Marburger Hof.
After a week of exploring Buchhandlungen, toy stores, Gummibär Ambiente (which sells nothing but Gummibären and other gummy candies—gummy pizza, gummy beer (ale-colored gummy worms topped with white “foam” gummies sold in a beer mug), gummy French fries and cola), and small town squares (complete with water fountains incorporated into tall statues and old stone architecture), the Hochzeitreise was over, only to yield to another adventure.