Saturday, April 28, 2018

How to Spend 2-Hour Layover in Hanover


The perks of being a freelancer is that there is always possible to find yourself a last-minute assignment which involves travel. Therefore, right now I am in Hannover, for the largest world's technology meeting to participate to the latest day of the Messe/Fair, held every year at the end of April. 


First on my agenda is to finish my meetings, while finding my way at the huge location - thankfully there are commuting buses which make the life much faster - but I cannot stop once in a while to admire some artistic add-ons on the side. 


Host of Expo2000, Hanover has a well-defined place on the map of international events. The 13th largest city in Germany knows a bit about how to organise huge events - of any kind, from high-tech to hunters' reunion - offering locations already looking far into the future. 


Unfortunatelly, this time I have free time to see the city only for maximum two hours and it is a pity. A couple of years ago, I wrote an extensive guide of the city - one of my first travel freelance assignments, but unfortunatelly returned only for commuting on the way to the charming Bad Pyrmont spa, which is less than one hour away from here. However, as usual, I am trying to get the best of my time here, so this is what I am doing...
From the classical train station, I am taking a long walk alongside the Niki de St. Phalle promenade with its many diverse shops and the hustle typical for a Friday afternoon in a big city. The famous Nanas by the extravagant artist Niki de St. Phalle can be admired at the Leibnizufer.


There are two big category of architecture that you may find in Hanover: the 1960s-1970s brutalist post-war style and those reminding of the glamorous history of the city (after all, they didn't call the Hanoverian Kings of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland for nothing). Although there are not that many timbered houses as in the neighbouring Celle, but strolling around Kramerstrasse ending at the equally interesting from the architecture point of view Holzmarkt, would for sure offer the best of the old Hanoverian world. 


When I visited Hanover from my travel guide, it was autumn and I am pleasantly surprised to see how the spring bloom makes everything so beautiful. The Ballhofplatz, with its intimate ambiance and French-style outdoors cafes is becoming a complete beauty spring life. One more minute here and I am about to think about staying here overnight.


Colourful houses bordering quiet small streets are maintaining the dream-like ambiance. 


Which dreams are about to get to a different level on Kreuzkirchof street, with the suspended chairs against the yellow-beige building facade.


Not too much time to taste the generous foodie offer of the city, but at least I am ready to have a bit or two at the Wanderwaffel store. A Berlin brand with a very good customer service, plus a very pleasant ambiance. Enough refreshments for the exhausted freelancer.


Sad that I am so out of time for a visit to a museum or two (there is a museum of the oriental carpets I would be very curious to have a look at, for instance), I keep my eyes open for the many art samples exhibited on the street. 


All those funny statues do make life in the city a little bit better. Talking about art in the city, if you are around Ernest-August Platz and you hear music coming from the pavement, it is not an illusion, but part of the DJ Gullyman Project, also featured in Bratislava. With so many unexpected works of art spread all over the central streets, at least there is another similarity between the two cities.


On the way back to the train station, a stop at the Opernplatz 1, at the Holocaust memorial, built on the place of a former synagogue, where each and every name of the 2,000 Jews from Hanover sent to death are inscribed.


Having a look around at the architecture is a good aesthetical experience. The building of the Börse/Stock Exchange looks like an elegant Italian palace. The interior is also worth a little curious look, as far as I remember from my previous visit.


One of my favorite so far is the Deutsche Bank building in Georgplatz, which was used for various means before, including as a religious institution. I've had the chance to admire many impressive bank buildings during my travels in Germany, especially those hosting the Sparkasse for instance, but as for now, this one, with the so many classical details and ornamentations is by far my favorite from now.  


My last look over Hannover box of treasures is the neo-classical building of the Opera House, re-opened in 1950 as the first West-Germany opera institution, after being seriously affected by the bombings. It looks like an out-of-time postcard that I am happy to send from Hanover - although not a big opera lover myself. Hopefully, the next time I am here it will be more than a layover, but even for a short time, Hanover succeeded to surround me with beauty and interesting local histories. 

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