Friday, 9 March 2012

Staying Local 2008 - Finding Rats

Sunday is certainly tourist day. They arrive by the coach load. Surprisingly, the only shops that appeared to be open were cafes, restaurants and bars along with the occasional souvenir shop.

Hameln has a story to tell and does so at every opportunity. In amongst the statues around the centre is this little girl

And a piper.

Along the ground, there is a trail of white rats to get people onto the tourist trail.

For the tourist with impaired vision, there is a model of the town’s layout, thus giving an idea of the local topography.

The story about the Pied Piper of Hameln is known the world over and Hameln certainly goes for the overkill.

I shall start at the Rattenfängerhaus, pictured in my previous post.

Although this was built in 1602-3, it was not until around the turn of the 20th century that it became known as the Pied Piper’s House. What connects the two is that there is a plate on the building. This states that on 26th June 1284, 130 children were led away from Hameln by a piper, wearing multi coloured clothes.

HToday, the building is a restaurant, its speciality being ‘Rats’ Tails’. Many homes and business have rats, real or toy, in their doorway. The Rattenfängerhaus is no exception.

The other building previously mentioned is the Hochzeitshaus, or Wedding House. Throughout its life the Hochzeitshaus has been many things, ranging from a courtroom to a tavern, an armoury and also a pharmacy. The Board of Pharmacy were located here in the 1800’s and Friedrich Wilhelm Adam Sertürner, the discoverer of morphine worked here until his death in 1841.

Above the third floor of the Hochzeitshaus there is a glockenspiel with 37 bells. This chimes twice daily, during which the bronze door centre of the second floor opens. This brings to life an automation of the Pied Piper story. The automation was severely damaged during WWII, but repaired in 1964.

To get a good view of the show it is recommended to arrive a few minutes early to avoid the tourist guides armed with umbrellas. Our vantage point was from a shop doorway, balancing on a small step.

Finally for this piece, I will leave you with a short film of the automation and glockenspiel.