“Mirror mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?” – The Grimm Brothers.
Marburg is finally on my blog and it’s a Thirsty Thursday special!! Thirsty Thursdays were my forte!! A self coined wacaday phrase I concocted from the radio room of Belfast’s Belvoir Tech back in 1997. It was my teenage release, my radio show on Thursdays which was often follied by a beer in Rock Bottom, The Monico or Robinson’s Bar in Belfast’s flair city. The theme continued as I made its transition into Nerve Radio in England’s Bournemouth as a student orientated Thirsty Thursday. Then I later copied my own phrase Thirsty Thursdays onto the pages of this blog, Don’t Stop Living. The name stuck and survives the day so it does.
Thirsty Thursdays were such a recurring theme on Don’t Stop Living that from 2013 to 2014, I did one a week, consistently without fail. I loved nothing more than arriving in a new settlement and whacking out a top 7 bars to drink in. Or a smackaday top 3 and a half coffee joints to latte sink in. For the memory, here are some of those back catalogued Thirsty Thursdays. There are more than this of course.
Best Bars in Tallinn, Estonia
Best Cafes in North Down, Northern Ireland
A Night on the rip in Krasnodar, Russia
Pub Crawling in Dili, East Timor
Best Bars in Starogard Gdański, Poland
This time in July 2019, I made it my task to explore the German city of Marburg ??. This is a city straight out of a fairytale. More direct than a Stuart Elliott free kick. Thanks to The Brothers Grimm. The Brothers Grimm once roamed the streets of Marburg, dishing out more children’s fairytales than most cities in the world can boast. The charms of finding Cinderella’s slipper, Snow White’s Mirror and 7 Horses Heads were accompanied by a 20-venue strong pub, cafe, bar, restaurant and food joint adventure. All in the name of enjoying travel, meeting up with my friend Agnieszka and loving Marburg for a hat-trick of days.
“And my T-shirt is soaked, it feels like I’ve been out in the rain but I can’t tell you how good it feels to be in Marburg again” – Nick Parker (Marburg song).
Over a three day period inspired by my Marburg based Polish friend Agnieszka, we worked our way through this list of drinking dens, food joints and cafes. At the same time we enjoyed the once yearly Marburg festival. A huge 3day festival with music, food, bars, stalls and all kinds of activities. The target on the bar side of life was to hit 20 establishments. I hit 20 but gave a by ball to Sweet Molly Malone’s Irish Pub, as it is sadly now closed. So no number 21. I could also include my hostel (Hostel Marburg One) as number 22 in fact as I coffee drank there.
I’ve put these in the order of my visit to each venue…as Thirsty Thursdays hit magical Marburg.
I was staying at the Marburg Hostel One which is basically inside the train station. So after checking in, I headed straight to the nearest bar, which was aptly named Station . A simple bar with local beers on tap and free WiFi. I also had my final beer in Marburg here before boarding my Flixbus out of town.
On the short dander from the station to where the old town of Marburg starts, we encounter Sudhaus, South Haus.
You might have read that I became addicted to the cheap, huge, varied and delicious kebabs by Kebab King in Poland. Well, despite that, I had never eaten a German kebab. Yes, they do taste different country to country. Kebabs in Northern Ireland or England for example are particularly disgusting and best avoided. Here I opted for a Lahmacun as I hadn’t eaten one since my time in Armenia in 2013. It was very tasty I must say!
On the second morning, I headed here for my breakfast. I had cheese on toast which surprisingly came with fruit on a stick. I also had a cappuccino but in true German fashion, neither this bar nor most bars or cafes in the country had WiFi. A particular bug bear of mine being an online blogger, I rely on WiFi and Poland is simply superb for this.
Agnieszka and I decide to sit outside for a drink in Market, which rather appropriately overlooks the Market Square. We were there during the music as the Marburg festival got underway.
6. Currywürst Joint, Marburg Festival
I often try to bung in a Cürrywürst whilst I am in Germany and we munched it at the top of the castle after a charming walk up, past cinderella’s slipper, one of many stop off points on the Brothers Grimm tour.
7.Licher Beer Bar, Marburg Festival
The festival is in full swing by now with music, drinks and food everywhere and even a football game which I play. But to wash down the currywurst, I grab a Licher beer and we drink on a bench in the festival.
Perhaps my longest lasting bar memory is the one that comes from the famous cellar bar of Hinkelstein. On our walk down past the Brothers Grimm house (below), Agnieszka pulls me to the right on the way back to the Old Town.
“Have a Schluck in the Schlucke and a Bier in the Hinkelstein” – Nick Parker (Marburg song).
We head down some stairs into the medieval cellar known as Hinkelstein. It’s not just the basement element to this which thrills me to orgasm, there’s more, as Agnieszka spills some beans…
Firstly, I notice a photo of skillful Leeds United bullet boy Tony Yeboah adorns the wall. Curiously I ask the barman if it’s Yeboah, and if it is, why, only to be told that many Marburgers support Eintracht Frankfurt, a club where Yeboah became a legend.
A scarf on the wall reads “We are all Yeboah’s Witness”, a clever play on words from Jehovah’s witnesses. The next quirk is a large hanging rock on a chain.
The barman and Agnieszka jointly tell me that if you touch said rock, you need to buy everyone in the bar a Schnapps shot. Despite the fact that there are only 5people in the bar at the time, I resist the temptation to touch it.
The final and most emotionally endearing moment in Hinkelstein comes as my drink arrives. Aggie has ordered us a brace of special drinks – beer with peach slices in it. It’s delicious and special. It is known as Altbier bowle…
9.Licher Beer Stall, Rathaus, Marburg Festival
After taking a break late afternoon to refresh, I head back to the hostel to blog, chill and change. Then we come back to the main old town square of Marburg, we stop for a beer at the temporary Licher Beer Stall. Here, we are joined by Michał from Poland and Mario from Marburg.
What I liked about the festival, and Germany on this trip is that the beer is always served in glasses, nothing plastic. You pay extra for the glass and get a token, then you must take the glass and the token back to get your money back. A good system!
10.First Stage – Rock Bar, Marburg Festival
At the first bar, we get some seats and grab a beer. It’s Agnieszka, Mario and Michał.
11.Bottle Bar Near Main Arena, Marburg Festival
Mario and I also grabbed some bottled beer at the bottle bar near the main arena at Marburg festival.
12.Crepe Stall, Marburg Festival
At the festival, Michał and Agnieszka started queuing for crepes with cheese and ham so I had to join them.
13.Erdbeer Bowle Bar, Marburg Festival
Strawberry? gets added to this delicious drink which supplies us inadvertently with one of our daily five fruit intakes. We bought them from a lady and ate them on a stand next to it, away from the music.
14. Bratwürst Stall, Marburg Festival
Another typical German dish is Bratwürst so I munched one late on at the festival.
15.Ice Cream Bar, Marburg Festival
The food continued so that the hangover the next day wouldn’t be so bad. After crepes, kebabs, bratwurst and currywurst, I had an ice cream!
Our last port of call on the Saturday night ( read: Sunday morning) was the quirky Delirium bar. ON the way down to Delirium, we took some photos of the Marburg skyline at night. It’s a beautiful city.
Lunch at Maxx meant my first German Schnitzel for a few years. I accompanied this with a Furstenburg Beer while Agnieszka had Zapiekanka.
18.The Beach Bar by the River
I was kind of joking when I suggested to Agnieszka that we find a beach bar in Marburg. But the river here has a loads of bars next to it, one of which has a mini beach and even a salsa dancefloor. We had a beer and apfelwein here overlooking the river Lahn.
Our next port of call was a bar on the walk up to the castle called Pegasus. It has an outdoor terrace, which is obviously busy in summer and non existent in winter. In here, I tried a new beer – Schlosser Alt.
20.Weinladele (Wine Bar)
Mario tells us that the next bar has no beer but wine only. I am not usually a wine fan. I rarely drink it. But with the other choices being coffee or water, I felt obliged. However with three of us it often works out cheaper if you buy a full bottle and share it. But which of the many excellent wines should we choose?
Well it was an easy option in the end – there was a white wine called Morio, which sounded like Mario so we had to try it. We ordered a bottle, shared it and it was delicious. We also had a snack here before heading to venue 21 next – Edlunds.
21.Edlunds Swedish Bar
To mix things up completely, we next head to a Swedish style bar. The place is done up like a little part of Sverige in Deutschland.
22.The Molly Malone’s
“In Dublin’s fair city, where the girls are so pretty, I first set my eyes on Sweet Molly Malone. As she wheeled her wheelbarrow through streets broad and narrow. Singing cockles and mussels alive alive oh”.
Sadness arrived when I discovered that the city’s only Irish Pub had closed. But by crazy coincidence, Agnieszka used to work there, and Mario who we met used to drink there. It only closed in 2018, but as a bonus ball the sign was still there. I sang the Sweet Molly Malone song to my friends on the Saturday night.
It felt sad to see it wasn’t open and it reminded me of my time backpacking (whackpacking) in Xiamen in China. On that trip, the city’s local Irish had also ceased trading. I got my photo at the entrance, pondered what might have been and went on my merry way. Here are some more photos from my time in Marburg…
The Marburg 20 had been a success and I left some memories and dreams there.
As ever, on life’s corridor, they’ll be hanging around.
Thanks to Agnieszka, Mario and Michał for being on this pub crawl with me. Marburg is a fantastic city to visit! Go see it!
Here are some videos from my time visiting the bars, cafés, pubs, restaurants and food joints: