One of our bike rides recently took us to a part of the river Lahn which is undergoing renaturation as part of the EU-Life project “Living Lahn – one river, many demands”. Based on a concept from nature conservation authorities, a small section of the river is in the process of being given a new bed. Numerous animals will be able to inhabit sand mounds in the rivers and new gutters and sinks will serve as catch basins which will contribute to flood protection.
Marburg seems to waking up after the Corona-induced coma that the world is experiencing. Cafes are reopening and people are beginning to gather albeit at a distance. My favourite spot on the Lahn is the Ufercafé (the riverbank cafe) and I’m thrilled to see it back in action. That said, I’d also thoroughly enjoyed the peace and quiet of this riverside spot which has become my outdoor office in recent weeks. Near to the old university library, this spot is in the wifi’s range and coffee supplying establishments are nearby.
As our first trip out of Marburg in the last couple of months, J and I went to visit two friends in the city of Gießen that lies 20 km south of Marburg. In our perusing of the forests we came across Kloster Schiffenberg. The monastery dates back to the 12th century and is said to mean Burg/Berg der Schöffen (Juror’s castle/hill). The cloister was ordered to be built in 1129 by the Countess Clementia von Gleiberg, the widow of Konrad I of Luxembourg and was financed by the archbishopric of Trier.
In 1526 Philipp I of Hessen (whose namesake is the Philipps Universität Marburg) introduced the Reformation into his land. His attempt to secularise the Kloster Schiffenberg saw no success and instead it continued to hold Roman Catholic services until 1561, making it the last in Hessen to do so. We hiked up to the Kloster and found a spot to enjoy our picnic. Straight ahead of us was a cluster of conker trees below which two horses and their riders were taking a break in the shade. Such large trees are said to have casted shade onto the ground as to keep the respective beer and wine cellars cool.
One of our most recent experiments has been Spruce Shoot Honey. Wandering through the Lahnberge forest, we were intrigued by the light green tips of the spruce branches. “We can make honey out of these’, remarked my forage-happy companion. So we collected about 400g worth of shoots and at home we cooked them in water for an hour and a half. In a separate pan we caramelised some sugar with water and then added the water from the spruce shoots which we then left to cook for another hour. The result was a pink honey that tasted like forest and christmas.
… and now some pictures of Marburg’s Oberstadt: