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" Our Dutch / German Holiday - 4 - Hofgeismar " "

Date & start time:      17th -19th September 2023. 

Location of Start :     Laan van Parijs, Haarlem.

Places visited :          Hofgeismar, Kassel, Hann. Münden (short for Hannoversch Münden).

Walk details :              Local walks round the towns and attractions of the area

Highest point :           Meeting Loes's family and friends.

Walked with :              Loes and Myself, her brother Eddie, Walter and sister Joosje.

Weather :                     Sunshine, dry and warm as we tour this part of Germany.


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For the next few days we planned to travel over and see Loes's sister and brother in law, Joosje and Walter.

Walter is German and so Joosje moved over there many years back when they got married.

We started by driving to Zaandam once again to collect Loes's brother Eddie, who would also travel with us to see his sister.

Then we had to drive the motorway for four hours, part way along crossing the border onto the German autobahns,

all the time heading for Dortmund and on towards Kassel.

The shape of Dutch architecture has always delighted me, especially a group of buildings on the Amsterdam outer Ring Road.

This was the view travelling back to Haarlem one evening.

Next day I tried to catch a photo whilst on the move with limited success (I wasn't driving by the way !) . . .

The block of high rise flats with very unusual exterior design.
This one was a simple three box set, but rotated on a central core.

Make of the shape what you will, but it seemed to be crawling along next to the motorway.

If only some of the British architects and planners were a little more adventurous.

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Passing windmills on the agricultural land next to the autobahn.

Nice to think they are producing power but they rather dominate the scene when installed in such large numbers.

The Autobahn Services . . . 

Nothing thrilling in that but when you've travelled sixty or seventy miles without any, they come as a welcome relief.

It turned out that it wasn't quite as relaxing as we needed as they were busy renovating, so there was no restaurant and only a limited toilet facilities.

We settled for a few sandwiches from the cafe and ate outside.

A rather dramatic hill fort as we drove on towards Kassel.

Driving into the town of Hofgeismar, Walter and Joosje's summer home.

They have a touring caravan parked here on a local site and stay in it most of the summer.

They also have a more traditional flat over in Vellmar, some half hour away, which they live in for the rest of the year.

Walter and Joosje's caravan pitch.

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We arrive and were immediately welcomed

with refreshments and fast flowing family conversation,

which now included a third language,

German as well as Dutch and English.


That evening we had a classic outdoor

barbeque prepared by Walter.


Eddie transferred his suitcase, as he had arranged

to spent the night in their spare caravan bed.


Loes and I had opted in advance for a rather nice room

at the Victor Rosa Hotel in town.


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. . . well sometimes you just have to go for it !

In the morning Walter insisted on picking us up in his car

as he was coming into town to buy fresh bread for breakfast, at the supermarket adjacent to the hotel.

I was amazed at the shear diversity of the types of bread and bread based confectionary, all freshly baked.

This was just a small selection of what was on offer.

Heading south into the hills of Germany, crossing over the railway that we first crossed back in Hofgeismar.

Walter and Joosje wanted to show us the statue of Hercules and the

Bergpark Wilhelmshöhe in Kassel, an UNESCO World Heritage site.

This is 246 hectare parkland including an impressive water feature where

water is released and takes an hour to cascade down through the park.

The crowning glory is a tall tower building at the top of the hill . . .
. . . topped by a statue of the Greek god Hercules.

The gardens, built in stages, ran down the hillside and in doing so drops over 240 metres via multiple pools and features.

They end up on the front lawn of the Wilhelmshöhe Palace far below.

The water is released from a reservoir and flows down the cascade, culminating in a 50m grand fountain,

all driven by natural water pressure as it did when built some 300 years ago.

It only flows on special occasions and is undergoing some renovations at present, hence the cranes and scaffolding.

In the season it flows each month as part of a classic water and light spectacular.

There are five major water features that come to life in turn . . .
. . . as the water cascades down the hill.

Hidden grottos to step into while the water flows.
A view of the Palace as Loes and I walk down the hill terraces.

An aqueduct delivers water to cascade off the bridge structure.
The fairy grotto on the opposite side of the park.

The grand Wilhelmshöhe Palace at the foot of the hill.

The Palace Orangery, outside where we met the others at the end of the walk.


Afterwards we travelled to Vellmar in the northern outskirts of Kassel, where Walter and Joosje have their flat.

Just a brief stop to look around and presumably check the post . . .

. . . before we set off on foot for the restaurant in the local Ahnepark.

Walter and Joosje brought their dog Nikan, but ours were back in Loweswater of course,

being looked after by our good friend Hilton.

This was a favourite place for Walter and Joosje to spend time

and having lived here for so long they knew the owner well.

The food was extremely good and there was plenty of it . . . always a winning recipe for long lasting success.

Afterwards the owner joined us.  Her son now runs the restaurant.
We were entertained by the fish and believe it or not, a turtle !

The water looked a little murky but she told us how she released them many years back and they have survived well by the look of it.

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The next day Walter and Joosje wanted to show us

another famous town in Lower Saxony.


Hann Münden is an historic town

built on the confluence of the Rivers Fulda and Werra.


It is in a very scenic part of the river

which by virtue of several lock gates is navigable

to reasonable size boats.



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The best translation I can get is :  "Where the Werra and Fulda kiss you have to say their names.

Here through this German kiss, the (River) Weser came into being, all the way to the sea."

Inscription dated - Hann Münden July 31st 1899.

Well, not a sea going vessel but one certainly capable of cruising the river.

The confluence of the two rivers includes several islands and this one is connected to the far side by an old suspension bridge . . .

. . . on the other side it is connected to the village by a classic wooden covered bridge.

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The town of Hann Münden

therefore holds a strong defensive position

surrounded as it is by the two rivers.



Looking down we can see the remarkable old houses.

This first one we see has five separate floors.


Many of the old wooden buildings in town

will even exceed that figure, as you'll see.



We head down from the bridge to walk around the town.


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The grand Town Hall and central Market Square . . . where we stopped for coffee.

Loes looks into the Cafe Ratsbrauhaus entrance.
A famous medic Dr Eisenbarth presumably lived in this nearby house.

The Sexton's House restaurant . . .

. . . complete with a table of local guys in traditional costumes.

We were to see some of them later, walking about town.

The traditional dress was thought to be that of  German wood workers, who used to travel round offering their services.

Whether these guys were doing that or not, we didn't ask.

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Hann Münden is famous for its half timbered buildings,

some of them more than 600 years old.

In those days the town was surrounded by a defensive wall.


The walls date back to the 12th century

but were rebuilt between 1603 and 16118 (Wiki)

This would included the low round tower in the picture above.


On the old perimeter of town there is evidence of more old walls

and this impressive high tower, the Fahrenpfortenturm,

which was open to visitors who had more time to spare than us.


- - - o o o - - -

After our late morning coffee in town we were still feeling a little peckish

so stopped by the River Fulda at a roadside cafe.   That large display bottle of wine might have caught our eye !

The afternoon snack included chips, Dutch-style . . . with mayonnaise rather than tomato sauce.

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Before we left Hofgeismar to go home, it was only right to explore the old town.

This was the central square, looking clean and immaculate.

Part of the reason was that the pavements have been recently renovated . . . but not yet quite finished in this area.

The old Town Hall in the main square.
A place full of history.

It is regarded as one of the oldest stone town halls (1387 - 1390) in Saxony, but during its life it suffered several disastrous fires and re-builds.

It became a Courthouse, a health spa and gymnasium for 'healthy bathing', a school and finally returned after renovation, to the City Council in Dec 1977.

Hofgeismar is regarded as the "Sleeping Beauty Town", with the inspirational Castle Sababurg just some 15 minutes drive away.

A statue depicting the legend created by the Brothers Grimm, stands here in the main square.

A little further from the centre my eye was caught buy this simple but effective artwork

of a mother and daughter fetching water . . . and the young boy playing boats in the stream that flows through the cobbles.

Such was our visit to Germany.

Our thanks to Walter and Joosje for their hospitality.

- - - o o o - - -

Two last random pictures, one of a condom machine on a fence next to a green open space in the town

and a second of a sign in a local toilet, on the correct use of a toilet brush.

Another indication of how continental sensitivities differ somewhat from those of Britain.

Cheers . . . stay healthy !

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Technical note: Pictures taken with iPhone 11pro mobile phone camera.

Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.

This site best viewed with . . . the chance to meet up with family that we didn't see last year.

Go to Home Page . . . © RmH . . . Email me here 

5. Purmerend and home

Previous walk - 3 - Buren and 'Dam to Dam'

A previous time in the area - Last year 2022 - Naarden and The Hague

Next walk - 5 - Purmerend and home

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