I took the first right instead of the second and that’s how I once again ended up climbing the stairs to the Oberstadt. Unaffected by the rain, the Oberstadt manages to look magical despite the wet, grey skies – a trait I’ve begun to notice that a lot of Germany has mastered. If you only had time to see one thing in Marburg, I’d recommend a walk through the Oberstadt every time.
To me as an American, everything in Germany seems really old. But here there’s a spectrum, from old to oldest. Except for the castle, parts of the Oberstadt are about as old as it gets in Marburg – think Holy Roman Emperors and Martin Luther’s 95 Theses. Caught between the castle and the Lahn, the Oberstadt sits on the hill overlooking the rest of the city. It’s quintessentially German, a tangle of crooked streets, Fachwerkhäuser – the timber-framed houses you see all across Germany – quirky cafes and as assortment of shops and boutiques.
Nine times out of ten I spend my afternoon Spaziergang wandering here and I still haven’t explored it completely. And when I say wandering I mean it as the opposite of navigating… Because honestly, it’s confusing and I probably couldn’t find the same spot twice if you paid me. That’s definitely part of its charm. There’s always an unexpected side street, alleyway, or staircase to explore. That’s what I did on this particular afternoon; I took a street only if it was deserted and I had no idea where I’d end up (bonus: deserted streets = endless picture-taking opportunities!). Here are the lovely places I found.