Monday, 15 August 2016

unterkunft oder happiness hotel

Recently, H and I were invited to tour the Imperial City of Goslar near the Harz Mountain range (more on the city later) by H’s parents. I wanted to remark first on the accom- modations that they choose, this being the first time that they’d not consulted a travel-agent but rather booked directly.  I think sometimes we distain and down-play the institutional-knowledge of travel-agents to our vacation peril although most things can be arranged under our own agency, and they found a pretty posh hotel. We noticed after checking-in, there were a few unaccountable irregularities: every second room being labelled Frau or Herr So-and-So instead of just with room numbers and I room hidden in the back of our suite that contained one of those Craftmatic adjustable beds.
Little by little, we discover that this hotel, spread over several buildings in the city-centre, was embedded within a senior-residence, Altersheim. Perhaps this was no novel arrangement but it was new to me and struck me as pretty ingenious as a model of mixed-used properties and integration.   We didn’t dine with the home’s population—but I thought we ought to have, but they weren’t hidden and sequestered either and seemed to appreciate the new faces. Perhaps the suites were held in reserve for elderly parents and children visiting to see if this place was right for them, or for visiting children—that maybe sadly was not booked often enough. We weren’t shopping for assisted-living for anyone, so I hope no one felt like that or assumed otherwise but it was a valuable but not oppressive lesson.
In addition to the uniqueness of the temporary and longer-term residencies, the edifice was moreover a great house dating the early Middle Ages with plenty of artefacts on display and the birth- and death home of one apprentice apothecary Dr Albert Niemann, who famously chemically isolated cocaine. The good doctor’s short life, however, was not owing to smack, but rather for a more infamous discovery, the precursor catalyst reactions that lead to mustard gas, whose experiments fatally damaged his lungs.