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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

A Day in Fritzlar

The air is cold, and the ground is white as the Spring semester approaches. A snowy Sunday is a good time to reminiscence on the warm days of a summer not so long ago spent in Hessen, Germany. It was a time of learning as well as a time of exploration. A great feature of Study Abroad programs overseas is how some of the schools take the students as a group on small day trips such as the one to a quaint town, Fritzlar, only a short train ride from Universität Kassel. At this point we had been at the university for a couple of weeks, many of us becoming fast friends. We made our way to the station together, chatting, some students wearing fancy cameras around their necks. I was excited to see an old German town, a piece of Medieval history.

Fritzlar itself sits atop a hill, remnants of its wall and watchtowers still evident. By the time we made it up the hill we were all dripping with sweat, but we were no less amazed. The neighborhood we walked through had a lot of personality—one yard decorated with numerous gnomes. I was in awe, taking pictures and lagging. The neighborhood itself reminded me of the few areas I had seen thus far that had been rebuilt after War World II, such as Obervellmar where I was living with my host family. Each home was unique with lush gardens full of flowers that time of year.

The walk from the train station to the center of town was only about 15 minutes. Johanness, one of the coordinators from Kassel, gathered us around. The scents of bratwursts, breads, and flowers tickled our senses. He set us free for an hour before we would meet our tour guide. It was during this hour I would eat my first German waffle, a decadent taste of ice cream and Nutella melting in my mouth. We decided to eat inside a café that had a water closet (restroom) we didn’t have to pay to use. It was cozy and about eight of us crowded around small tables.

I sat inhaling the scent of the experience which seemed a lifetime away at this moment in a town that had been founded in 724. It was incomprehensible to me. The guide showed us different landmarks throughout the town. He took us to a beautiful church and the statue formed of the town’s founder, Saint Boniface, the missionary who established a church and monastery dedicated to Saint Peter. The town had an old feel to it, many of the current homes built in the 11th and 12th centuries were rebuilt and restored. Nothing was as it originally was, but added to over the years, creating the lean-to effect many of the buildings had. The guide told us that the town had been destroyed and rebuilt over the centuries due to invasions and wars all the way up to the Second World War.

It was fascinating to walk the same streets so many people, even royalty had walked for centuries. The oldest watch tower, Grauer Turm (Grey Tower), still stands tall and proud. The stone steps were steep and hard, but worth the trek. A prototype of Saint Boniface stands inside the tower. There were chambers set up for prisoners, and the windows were small giving us an amazing view of outlying Fritzlar. After climbing the towers, we stood in front of a well that had been there since the town’s beginning with the rock edges warn down from centuries of use. I felt as if I had gone back in time for a few hours, marveling in the history and beauty of such a quaint, gorgeous town.

We met in the market center, grabbing currywurst, strawberries, and pretzels for the much easier trek down to the train station. Another day in Germany had gone by too fast. This was only one town in a country rich in history and growth. The group was quieter on the ride back, exhilarated and exhausted from a fruitful day. My friend Maddi and I made our way back to our host family’s home and proceeded to nap. I still marvel at the short four weeks I spent in Germany, inspired and fallen in love with a country I constantly want to learn more about.