Germany’s Harz will make you feel like Harry Potter's classmate

If you are anything like me you  prefer to stay in the comfort zone of your home unless you have a very important reason not to. Well, here is a piece of information that might inspire you to pack your backpack and set off on a journey, even if only for a day.

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Travelling stimulates your creativity in ways being at home doesn’t.

 Our neural pathways are influenced by the environment, so by changing the environment, you can stimulate them in ways they wouldn’t be if you stayed in the same place. Experiencing new things, interacting with new people, cultures and  finding ways in new towns — wakes your mind up and revitalizes it. A more lively mind is a more creative one. And if you travel to a place that wakes up and dusts off your inner child  and looks like all the fairytales you ever read or watched, that might stimulate your creative flow even better.  

So why Harz in winter? Imagine a vintage steam train among the hills climbing onto a mountain that is said to be THE gathering place of all the german witches, it’s even is mentioned in Goethe’s Faust.

Imagine half timbered houses and the cosiest christmas markets you’ve ever been too. Imagine German castles and breathtaking hilly views. If that doesn’t get your creative juices flowing I don’t know what will.

Towns to visit in Harz

If your time for exploring is limited  I’d recommend visiting  Werningerode, Goslar and Quedlinburg.

Werningerode

When I first got to Werningerode my initial thought was - this is how Harry Potter’s Hogsmeade must have looked like. I know I know, it’s in Germany and not in England, but still. It feels like Werningerode hasn’t changed much since the Middle Ages and magic folk is known to stick to the old ways (and clothes).

Places to stroll through, draw & take pictures

Main square

Main square turns into Christmas market in December. Its tiny, and cosy and fun to draw take pictures at, as it is usually not that crowded. Check the magically looking fountain in the middle.

 
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Wander around the half timbered streets 

Check out the years on the houses, some of them were built in the 14th century! Find the tiny house museum, it might be not the smallest house in the world but it’s damn small! On the way there check out the reclining house, it’s definitely being held only by magic!

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Werningerode Castle

The castle looks like the Sleeping beauty castle and offers a cake and a pretty view!

For lettering and calligraphy lovers- there are some textura calligraphic works you can find inside. The rest — just enjoy the view over the wavy hills and a stroll within the castle’s walls.

Going to Brocken by train

Ok, lets be honest you, only came here because you wanted to take a ride  in the Hogwarts express. So hurry up to the Harz Narrow Gauge Railways, get your ticket and hop on a train to the Germanys most famous witch mountain— Brocken.  If the ticket to the top is too expensive, go only to Schierke. It’s also very nice to take or draw pictures of trains, as they make a longer stop there. If you’re over 18 ask the wonderful ladies on the train for their tiny bottles of liquor made out of sweet local berries. Otherwise enjoy the view of the fir-trees and the beautiful valley below. 

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Where to recharge and warmup

Café Wien

Cafe Wien looks more like a magic shop  from Diagon Alley than an old pastry shop. The house was built in 1583 and the cafe exists  since 1897! The desserts are huge and very sweet like in the times when we didn’t know that sugar is a drug.

Goslar

We usually visit Goslar during Christmas time because of its very special Christmas market.

 
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Places to stroll through, draw & take pictures

Goslar’s Christmas market

I love love Goslar’s Christmas market. I mean it’s cosy and small, but its main secret is slightly hidden. But if you find it, I guarantee you, all of your sweetest childhood memories  will suddenly reappear! It’s a Christmas market under actual fir-trees, dark, magical, smelling like Christmas, with fairy lights twinkling, tiny tables around tree trunks, mulled wine and vintage Christmas music playing. I think I might have cried when I first got there, but even if you are not that emotional it still won’t leave you cold.

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Goslar’s quiet streets behind the Christmas market

 As much  as I loved the market, it was on the quiet streets behind it we took the best photos from Goslar. Check them out, nothing inspires more than a mindful walk through a new town at dusk.

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Quedlinburg

Quedlingburg’s cobblestone streets have a lot of stories to tell. Because of its 1300 half-timbered houses the entire town was named a UNESCO World Heritage site. You can also find Germany’s oldest half-timbered house here, built around 1300 at the Wordgasse 3. Quedlinburg  used to be the first capital of Germany and if that is not enough for you to want to check it out, it has been ruled by a covent of women for 800 years! The first woman ruled of the town as the Abbess since 966. The Abbesses of the convent took care of the city until 1802, when Napoleon invaded and disbanded the Abbey (one more reason to dislike Napoleon if you ask me). It's also no coincidence that the first German woman to win the right to attend a university was a native of Quedlinburg. Dorothea Erxleben was the first woman to receive the academic title of Medical Doctor in Germany in 1754.

 
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Places to stroll through, draw & take pictures

Marktplatz Quedlinburg

Main square turns into a christmas market in december. Stroll through the market and through the half-timbered streets for inspiration and beautiful motifs to draw.

For Bauhaus Lovers

If you get cold and are a fan of german Bauhaus, check out a large collection of Lyonel Feininger's prints, paintings and sculptures. He was a German-American Bauhaus artist whose cubist works were included in exhibitions of "degenerate art" by the Third Reich in 1936 and 1937.

The Quedlinburg Castle-Hill

Stroll to Quedlinburg mountain past the cute Finkenherd House where I always take a picture, enjoy a beautiful view of old town’s organge rooftops, check out Abbesses' Palace and the Stiftkirche St. Servatius church. Inside the Abbesses' Palace is the Schloss Museum.

Finkenherd House

Finkenherd House

View from the Quedlinburg Castle-Hill

View from the Quedlinburg Castle-Hill

St. Servatius, the abbey church, contains the magical Treasure of Quedlinburg (a collection of golden chests, religious manuscripts, crystal bottles, ivory combs and other artefacts dating from the 10th 12th centuries, a visit too the Church will definitely enrich an illustrators visual library! 

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Where to warmup and recharge

Brauhaus Luedde

 A local brewery with beautiful copper brew kettles right in the middle of the room, offering a nice opportunity to drink and draw! Try the low alcohol sweet brown beer, it’s my favourite! 

 
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Where to stay in Harz

My favorite place to  stay  in Harz is Villa Uhlenhorst in Werningerode.  I feel like staying in  a modern room would ruin the magic, and there you feel like  in a parallel world.  I recommend you to have breakfast in their living room at a round table near the huge antique clock.

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Olga Epikhina