On my abortive trip to Germany, I didn’t see much. But I did manage to visit the renowned Gänseliesel in the university town of Göttingen.
“Gänseliesel” means “goose girl” or more exactly, “Goose Lizzy,” Liesel being a diminutive of Elizabeth. She arrived in Göttingen in 1901 after a competition for a new sculpture to decorate the fountain in front of the city hall. According to Wikipedia, Goose Lizzy was ranked second by the judges, but when the top three designs were put on display, she was the overwhelming favorite. She’s been the town’s darling ever since.
Traditionally, university students (especially recipients of the PhD) have visited Goose Lizzy to give her a kiss and deposit a gift of flowers, amidst drunken revelry. A charming custom. Over the years, however, vandals have attacked the statue, so that the original is now in the Stadtmuseum, while the fountain is adorned with a replica.
I thought perhaps Gänseliesel was a figure of folklore but I have located no stories about her. Still, the Göttingen statue is not unique; another well-known example exists in Strasbourg, and the motif of the goose-girl is found in several European towns. Much to my dismay there is even an Alsatian company that makes foie gras and uses the brand name “Gänzeliesel.”
In antiquity there was a similarly popular sculptural subject, the little boy playing with a goose. Several examples of these goose-boys have survived from the Roman period.
“Abortive trip”? You have to tell us more.
As soon as I got there, I had to turn around and come back because the LSH had a medical emergency. He’s doing well now, gods be thanked. That was the worst 36 hours of my life, trying to get back and being out of touch during the flight.
I didn’t get to go to my conference, but during my one day in Göttingen, I met up with a friend, had a nice meal and saw the Gänseliesel!
Oh my goodness, I am so sorry to hear that, Linnet. I am glad he is ok now, again. But yes, that must have been horrific for you, especially the enforced lack of communication while flying. Best wishes to LSH!
Thanks! He’s on enforced rest this week but all should be well 🙂
Aw, how unfortunate… and no doubt scary for you both… sorry to hear that 😦
Thanks Simone. He’s doing well and for that I am thankful. I also learned that I am more capable of managing long, arduous travels than I thought.
If only it hadn’t taken a crisis to find that out…
Right. But I think it was the adrenalin that let me stay alert in spite of the lack of sleep.
The thought terrifies me… travelling overseas while a medical emergency is in progress at home! So glad to hear your LSH is doing alright.
Thank you. I still hyperventilate just thinking about it.
Sylvie G said:
Great story and sorry to hear about. LSH. I hope you’ll get to go again 🙂
Thank you. I hope so to. I saw some of the countryside from the train and it was lovely.
Servus! I am sorry to hear it too! Hey – come back WITH HIM next time. i am sure, you find 🙂 a good guide and things to discover and to photobomb for Pabbie!
Absolutely! I loved Göttingen. I wish we could come back for the holidays to visit the Christmas markets.
I would be pleased to be your guide again
I’ll drink to that 🙂 And when I come back, I must have some of that nougat!