This garden, named garden of sensuality, is a lovely, quiet piece of earth with little fields of herbs, flowers and small trees, with chirping birds, and benches lovely set up along the ways. The garden yet is located up hill with stairs too, so getting and walking there might be more than just challenging for elderlies or visitors with wheel chairs.
The Externsteine is Germany’s answer to Australia’s Ayers Rock. This distinctive rock formation is situated in the Teutoburger Wald, not far from Detmold. This series of tall, narrow rock columns rise from the wooded hills and appear to be the only such stone formations in the entire area. The Externsteine are an unique series of sandstone columns up to forty meters tall, forming a wall several hundreds of meters long. Arriving around ten on a sunny, late May morning, will reveal few visitors and a gigantic car park. By noon, it is clear why the car park is so large. Most tourists come there to climb the Externsteine, by means of two steep staircases, one which leads to a viewing platform, the other to a small, but enigmatic chapel that has been carved on top of the middle rock. The first point of interest is at ground level, where there is a relief, known as the Descent from the Cross. It is, at first sight, a normal depiction of Jesus at the Cross, with the usual angels and crying people. Christ is held by Joseph of Arimathea, with the Virgin Mary on the left. Nicodemus stands on a tree-like chair, to the right John holds the Book of Revelation, while above all, is God, as well as the sun and the moon. In the lower section, a huge dragon entangles two kneeling figures, probably Adam and Eve. It is the tree-like chair, right next to the Cross, which has been suggested to represent the Irminsul. The Irminsul was a World Tree, and its cutting down – echoing the cutting down of the elm in the French town of Gisors – signaled the demise of the native pagan religion, which was substituted with Christianity.
Due to the increase of visitors and patients that came into Bad Meinberg back in the 1950's, the town decided to create a Laenderwaldpark, what is called Silvatikum. It is a marvelous mix of a designed park and a natural forest. About 36.000 trees of about 14 different countries were brought into town and surrounding area, they were planted, and made then together that so called Silvatikum which' seize is about 40 hectares huge. On the edge of the Silvatikum is also the Thermalbewegungsbad (therm pool) emerged.
Bad Meinberg's Kurpark is kept natural, it's not fancy-modern but modest and very lovely too. This spa town is famous for its treatments by moor mud baths. In 1820 visitors and patients have gotten the first treatments with moor mud baths. Then 1903 was the announcment done that the town of Meinberg is going to be Bad Meinberg. The add of the German/Austrian term Bad (=spa) to a town's name like the add of Bad to the town of Horn-Bad Meinberg, is only then given when the presence of Heilbaeder (=medical spas, thermal baths, fountains) is confirmed. The title Bad (=spa) ensures that the certain town provides certain medical conditions which are government awarded.
Bad Meinberg's pedestrian zone right at the Kurpark, is a rather small one with few shopping options and lovely cafes, no grocery store yet . The pedestrian zone's closeness to the Kurpark makes a stroll there pleasant. A visit of this town is truly delightful due to its very calm and very friendly atmosphere and citizens. Particulary visitors that enjoy peaceful and romantic places, that love the quiet, the pure and the nature, and looking for healthy advices and treatments, will be quite fond of Bad Meinberg. It is not a spot for loudy excitement and big entertainment.
The Velmerstot is the highest mountain of the Eggegebirge (Egge Range). It has two peaks that are about 1km from each other, connected by a ridgeway:
“Preußischer Velmerstot” (468m): On this peak, you will find the „Eggeturm“, a 17m high wooden tower. You can climb it for free and you have a great panoramic view from there. We even could see the Hermannsdenkmal (Hermann monument) near Detmold.
“Lippischer Velmerstot” (441m): On this peak you find some rocks, it’s a nice place but the view is much better from the other peak!
In former times the border between the princedom Lippe and the prince-bishopric Paderborn (belonging to Preußen/Prussia). This is why the peaks are called “lippisch” and “preußisch”. I first was confused about the name “Velmerstot” as “tot” means dead, but it has nothing to do with that. There’s an old word “stot” which means something like scarp. And the other word part “Velmer” comes the from the nearby village name “Feldrom”.
There are many hikings paths that go up to the Velmerstot. Also the long-distance path “Hermannsweg” passes this place. We started at the car park near the hotel Silbermühle and it took us about 1,5 hours up to the Velmerstot. There are some signs, but a hiking map is definitely helpful.
The Silberbachtal is a nice valley near Leopoldstal with several hiking paths. Some long distance hiking paths also go along this valley: The Hermannsweg,the Eggeweg and the Lönsweg. The paths are well signposted with many signs, but sometimes it was a confusing, so we were happy to have a hiking map. The path was easy to walk, a bit up and down, and the rivulet was looking nice with the moss covered stones.
There also is a hotel and restaurant "Silbermühle" which is a great place for a rest. We had dinner there after our hiking tour and it was nice sitting at the lake, eating a good Flammkuch (Tarte Flambée).
I’m not sure where the name “silver river” comes from as only in 1710 and 1711 silver was searched here and actually not much was found. So maybe it’s also because it’s said that when the sun touches the ground of the valley, the water is shining like silver…
Horn has a nice town centre with many houses from the 16th to 18th century. If you want to see the main sights of Horn, you can follow the “Hörnchen” – yellow post horns that were painted on the ground. There are 100 of them and I guess especially kids will have fun to search the next one!
There are several half-timbered houses and at the market place you find some more interesting buildings like the town hall, which was rebuild in 1866 after a fire, and another large building at the opposite side of the place, built in the 17th century. In the centre of the place is a monument of Franz Haumann who live from 1818 until 1877 and was member of the parliament.
Horn has a little castle that was built in the 14th century together with the town fortification. Some parts like the wing were added in the 17th century. Originally it was used as residence and later as town hall, granary and prison.
Inside the castle is a museum about the history of the town and the Esternsteine. Also you there’s a registry office. Next to the castle is another nice building, the “Geisesche Haus” and the barn, which are part of the former dairy farm. On the backside of the castle you find the moat and you can see pieces of the old town wall.
The museum is open daily except Monday from 14:00 to 16:00. Closed from early November until Easter.
Admission: 1,50 € adults, 0,80 children*
In addition to the spa gardens, there's a “Länderwald” (country forest) with trees from all over the world, planted in 1962. You will reach it when you come from the historical spa garden, pass the lake and go through the passage underground. There are 14 areas (about 1 hectare each), covering one region each, for example “China - Himalayas”, “California – Sierra Nevada” or “Caucasus”. There are signs at the trees so that you know what this is and usually there’s a sign at the beginning of each area with a list of the different trees you find here. I’m not a tree expert and to me it rather was like a normal forest (with some grassland also), but even I did recognize that there are trees that you rarely will find in “normal” German forests. In any case it was nice walking around and there are many paths through this forest.
In the centre of Bad Meinberg is the “Historischer Kurpark” (historical spa gardens) which was created in the late 18th century. In the middle you will find the “Brunnentempel”/“source temple” with a mofette (gas source). It’s not really big but a good place for relaxing, with many old trees and nice plants. Next to this historical spa garden, there’s the “Seekurpark” (lake spa gardens) which was created in the middle of the 20th century. It’s a little lake with ducks and swans, and a path around it. Nothing special, but why not have a short walk there!
A bit north of the historical spa gardens then is another garden which is called “Bergkurpark” (hill spa garden). It’s on a hillside, while the other spa gardens are flat. There are several planted terraces and you have to climb many stairs to go to the top. There also is supposed to be a “garden of senses”, but either it’s no longer maintained or we were too late in the year for this. Nevertheless the rest of the garden was nice, with several benches. As it’s a bit outside of the centre there were only a few other people – but Bad Meinberg is not really a busy town!
The Externsteine are a group of sandstone rocks near the village Holzhausen. Such rocks are pretty unusual in that region. It’s an interesting place that already was used for religious rituals long ago. There are some caves and chambers in the rocks and on one of the rocks you find a relief that dates from the 12th century. In two of the rocks there are stairs (probably carve long ago), so you can climb some of the rocks. Admission for this is 1,50€ (adults), the site itself is free.
It’s a very touristy place and when we were there on a public holiday there was a kind of traffic-jam on the rocks, with all the people climbing up and down. And there were many people who were sitting on the lawn in front of the rocks and had a picnic, it’s really a great place for this! When we returned during a week-day in the early morning it was completely empty then – much more relaxing to get on the rocks!
There are several possibilities to go to this site, and there are many hiking paths. The direct way is to take the car park next to the Externsteine (note there is a parking charge); there are signs for that car park on the street between Horn and Holzhausen-Externsteine. Another option is to park in Holzhausen-Externsteine for free, there’s a small car park at the sports field (street “Am Bärenstein”) and another one further down that street at the other end of the village. It’s only 10 minutes from there to the rocks on a nice flat and wide forest path. Another nice path is from the car park “Waldschlößchen“ (free as well). There’s a path on the ridge with wooden loungers to relax (that way is part of the Hermannsweg, it takes a bit more than 30 minutes to the Externsteine), or you take the direct and flat path (signposted with an X1, about 20 minutes).