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Germany - River Weser and the Fairytale Route

After a night halt at an ACSI campsite near Utrecht we entered Germany on minor roads  and turned off to stay one night in Havixbeck north west of Munster, then drove north on a meandering route to Dummersee and the first of the many tourist routes, the Muhlestrasse although the mills were well hidden. We eventually came across a windmill at Semmer before heading to Minden and a large stellplatz with an impressive modern footbridge across the Weser to the Altstadt. 

The Mittelland Canal   The Mittelland Canal crossroads -  twin aquaducts
The Mittelland Canal crossroads 

In the morning we walked a couple of kilometres along the riverside to look at the impressive canal crossroads  with massive old and new aquaducts and barge lift, then set off towards Hameln through the old town of Rinteln and along the Extertal valley with a disused railway line where pedal powered railcars can be hired.

We were able to park at the well signposted new stellplatz in Hameln, a short walk from the busy pedestrianised town centre with lots of shops, cafes and the famous pied piper statue and museums with plenty of  "rat" bread and gifts for sale everywhere. We called into the tourist information centre but there were few leaflets available and very little in English. That afternoon we followed the Weser river through a more industrial region passing a large power station to reach Bodenwerder, a pleasant riverside town and home of the Baron Munchhausen fairytale legend. There were many statues depicting his improbable adventures such as riding on half a horse and flying on a cannonball. We were intrigued by the old timber-framed houses with shooting target trophies on the walls and the decorative shop signs and murals especially above the "Blumen Eck" florists! Most of the houses had long descriptions in old German carved into their beams.

      the pied piper of Hameln
   the pied piper of Hameln

Bodenwerder - Baron Munchhausen fairytale statue      Bodenwerder - another Baron Munchhausen fairytale statue       Baron Munchhausen fairytale statue
Bodenwerder - Baron Munchhausen fairytale statues

Bodenwerder shooting target trophies
Bodenwerder shooting target trophies

Bodenwerder  mural
and mural

Many towns and villages along this section of the Weser, set in low wooded hills, were full of attractive old half-timbered buildings. We continued south to Bad Karlshofen - an exception with streets of more severe baroque style white washed buildings set out on a grid pattern, and more interesting shop signs such as the one above a bookshop. We then we turned off to Hofgeismar with an excellent free stellplatz in a park near the Altstadt with more decorated old buildings and statues.

Bookshop sign Bad Karlshofen
Bookshop sign Bad Karlshofen

Bad Karlshofen
      Bad Karlshofen

Another obscure fairytale statue Hofgeismar
Another obscure fairytale 
statue in Hofgeismar

After a quiet night we took a minor road through rural villages to Hann. Münden the jewel of the region where the rivers Fulda and Werra meet to become the Weser. There were 700 half-timbered buildings in the town centre although there had recently been a fire in one of them judging from the photos in the local shops, luckily the fire brigade had averted a major disaster.

  Hann Münden Rathaus     Hann Münden Rathaus doorway detail
                                                           Hann Münden Rathaus
More touristy than some of the smaller villages we had passed through, we found it an interesting town as there was plenty to see with an amazingly ornate Rathaus and more sculptures and water features in the streets as well as in a rather tired looking sculpture park by the river bank where canoeists were testing their skills over the weirs.

                 Hann Münden town square
              Hann Münden town square

Hann Münden - sculpture in park
Hann Münden - sculpture in park

After spending a few hours in Hann. Münden we decided not to stay at the stellplatz in the busy riverside parking area overnight so turned north east initially up a the east bank of the Weser river then across country to Einbeck which was more industrial and on to Bad Gandersheim where the stellplatz "Rio Gande" provided another pleasant overnight stop. This was another interesting town with more old buildings, a castle where open air concerts are held and a large lakeside spa and clinic complex. We managed to obtain a local walks leaflet so the next morning had a pleasant walk through the woods and along a disused railway path to the lakes. We found that everywhere in this region of Germany there were well signposted cycle paths which seemed to be well used especially at the weekends. The Weser valley was well worth visiting, not as dramatic countryside perhaps as the Mosel but the numerous old towns compensated for the lack of vineyards, but it was less busy and there were plenty of overnight stopping places.
Bad Gandersheim Rathaus       Bad Gandersheim shop sign
                      Bad Gandersheim Rathaus                                       Bad Gandersheim shop sign
 From Bad Gandesheim it was a short drive east to Goslar and the Harz mountains. 

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