Before this week, Saturday mornings meant bumming around the house, drinking coffee and putting off a shower for as long as possible. But this last Saturday, I decided to see what it would be like not being lazy, and it turned out to be the highlight of my week. This chilly, autumn morning also happened to be surprisingly busy. I managed to squeeze in a trip to the monthly flea market, a visit to Marburg’s Castle, and a stop at the farmer’s market, all before 1:00. Here are some of the highlights of my new favorite time to be out-and-about in Marburg.
For 24 hours this past weekend, F’s stammtisch came to Marburg, turning our quiet apartment into something closer to a frat house (literally, someone’s underwear were left in our bathroom). I took my cue and tried making myself scarce. Since arriving in Marburg, I’ve heard a lot about its giant, monthly flea market, but haven’t been able to check it out for myself. Conveniently, it’s just a 10-minute walk from the apartment. Held on the last Saturday of every month, the Waggonhalle Flohmarkt is just one of many flea markets across the city, but I do believe it is the biggest. The organized chaos of Waggonhalle definitely didn’t disappoint. Even though there were so many people squeezing through the rows of tables and people, it didn’t feel too crowded or too rushed.
With so many sellers, there really is a little of everything – old furniture, funky candlestick holders, baby toys, wicker baskets, clothing – and everything is priced to sell. I had a list of two random things that I’d like to have for the apartment – a tiled serving tray and an end table. I stumbled across the tray in the first ten minutes, and after an hour I left with both items plus a scarf and a flower pot that I got for 50 cents. I even managed to haggle for my end table in German – I was ridiculously proud of myself and grateful for that woman’s patience. Needless to say, if I hadn’t had my hands full I would’ve stuck around for a coffee (and maybe bought that cat statue I was eyeing!).
The Oberstadt is always full of tourists on nice weekends, and this Saturday – a beautiful, cool, autumn day – was no exception. There were crowds of people as soon as I stepped out of the elevator, so many that I planned on avoiding the castle altogether, but in my wanderings I took a narrow little alleyway and ended up on the road to the castle thinking why not. Though unsure of what the tour would be like, I succeeded in getting a cheap student ticket – despite the fact that I’m no longer a student – though I think it was because my German confused the man more than anything else. A tour of Marburger Schloss is more like a museum visit than a castle tour, but it was pretty interesting and thorough nonetheless. On the second floor is a rotating exhibit – currently about the Brothers Grimm and their fairy tales which, I was disappointed to learn, aren’t necessarily very German at all – and also the very bright and colorful chapel.
Across a walkway in an adjoining building, is the bulk of the tour: a five-storied museum, each floor with its own theme including one devoted to the church, everyday life in Marburg, the region’s pre-history, and the aristocracy. I was actually really impressed with the sheer number of artifacts collected, how expansive the displays were, and with the fact that the museum wasn’t crowded at all. I was able to wander around at my own pace and to take all the ridiculous pictures that I wanted. After taking selfies with three Kaiser Wilhelm portraits, playing all the games for children in the Brothers Grimm exhibit, and witnessing a wedding celebration it was time to leave, which led to the best part of the tour. A traveling pianist had set up right outside the castle, and everyone had gathered to listen to his jazz music. It was so peaceful that I was a little bit devastated to find out he wasn’t a permanent Saturday morning fixture.
On my way down from the castle, I caught the tail-end of the Oberstadt‘s Saturday farmer’s market. With little time to actually do any shopping, I settled for a flower (to go in my new flower pot), a brötchen, and a spot to sit and enjoy the sun. I had been a little worried that Germany was going to skip over autumn and I would wake up one day to leafless trees and snow on the ground, but after Saturday I don’t think I have anything to worry about. But it is definitely time for sweaters and scarves here in Marburg!