Shortly before the town of Lohr we cross the 50th parallel. There is a red line painted across the bicycle route at this point, with the number 50.
Beside the bicycle route there is a large boulder with a plaque, set up by the local chapter of the Social Democratic Party, listing some of the places in the world that are on the 50th parallel. Lohr is listed first, of course, followed by Aschaffenburg, Wiltz (Luxembourg), Arnstein, the southern tip of England, Schesslitz, Winnipeg (Canada), Prague, Krakau (Poland), Charkov (Russia), Tenurtan (Kasachstan), Ulangom (Mongolia) and Sachalin.
Update: Kharkiv, the second largest city in the Ukraine, is also on the 50th parallel and claims to be the largest of all the cities on this parallel worldwide. VT member toonsarah has written a tip about the 50th parallel monument in Kharkiv.
Heidelberg is one of the visited cities in Germany, but not many people go there to hike and that’s a pity since there is some great hiking trails just across the river and up behind the magnificent castle. Here is one hike that will get your blood pumping but also provide you some great views of the city and a chance to see some history, both ancient and fairly recent.
We started our hike on a chilly February day in the town of Handschuhsheim located just north of Heidelberg and home to a little known castle called Tiefburg. (address: Steubenstrasse 78, 69121 Heidelberg). It wasn’t open for visitors on the day we were there but it was still a great starting point for the hike given the free parking along the residential streets nearby and some nice views of the exterior of the castle. From the castle, you want to head toward Heidelberg City by walking down Steubenstrasse which will merge into Route 3 which is called Handschuhsheimer Landstrasse at this point. Continue down Route 3 until you cross the Neckar River and enter the city.
As you cross the bridge look up the river to see you next destination : the Alte Brücke or old bridge. Head to the bridge by walking along the river or heading into town and walking along the main pedestrian walkway called Hauptstrasse. When you cross back over the Neckar River on the Old Bridge look for a sign pointing to the Philosophen Weg (Philosopher’s Way) which was where some famous German poets used to walk and think on great matters. Can’t remember who they were but I’m sure they were famous.
The path is a pretty steep climb with lots of steps and switchbacks and contained on both sides with stone walls. There are several places to pull off the path to take some pictures and catch your breath. At the top of the climb, head to the left (back down the river). You are now on the Philosopher’s Way and on the “red line” trail. Continue down this path with its excellent views of Heidelberg until you see the “red line” trail head off to the left and up the hill. Stay on the “red line” trail all the way to the top of the mountain (maybe not a mountain but it is a very large hill). Along the way you will see a Turm (a tower) you can climb up, ruins of two abbeys (one with a tower you can climb up for an excellent view looking down on Heidelberg and one with a tower that lets you look down over the abbey ruins) and an amphitheater built in the 1930s.
When you are done checking out the sites continue on the “red line” trail until you see the “upside down T” trail which you will want to take to the left (East), down the hill and back to your car. Stay on this trail all the way back into Handschuhsheim, to the castle and to your car.
The entire route is a little over 7 miles with steep uphill assents, doable if you take your time and are in average shape. We stopped for lunch in Heidelberg at the brewery restaurant called Vetters but still completed the hike in under 4 hours. If you want to see the sites but don’t think you can make the hike there is parking at the top of the hill which is how many of the folks we saw walking around arrived at their destination.
If you have read some of my other hikes in the Odenwald area you will have seen one called "Hiking, Odenwald and two castles." This hike covers the same two castles (Alsbach and Aerbach) but throws in the largest hill in the area (Melibokus) to get your heart rate going.
Start at the parking lot at the top of the road leading to Alsbach castle (located above the town and Alsbach and only a couple of minutes off the A5 about 15 km south of Darmstadt. Head through the playground and follow the trail labeled with the #4 in a circle. Follow this trail until it intersects with the "V" trail which will head off toward the right and continues to head up the mountain. This trail will meet up with the "SJ2" trail which you will turn right on and continue to head up the mountain. The trails are not steep but they always seem to be heading up! The SJ2 trail will run you into a trail that is used for a number of different marked trails to include the "white horizontal line" trail. Jump on this trail and, once again, continue up until you his the top of Melibokus mountain. From this vantage point you will get an excellent view of the Rhine valley.
After enjoying the vista and catching your breath, continue on the while line trail now gratefully heading downhill until you see the "6" trail heading to the left. Follow this down the hill until to intersects with the "7" trail and head left (south) toward Auerbach. You are now on the blue "B" trail which if you follow it to the left will take you all the way to Auerbach Schloss. Once you are done exploring the castle, head back the way you came on the Blue "B" trail all the way back to Alsbach Schloss.
Total distance is seven miles: two to the top of the hill/mountain, two more to Auerbach Castle and then three more back to Alsbach. I did it in 2 hours and 20 minutes but didn't stop for the view or the castles. Suggest you add an extra hour to take in the sights.
No, it is not a must in Germany!
However, Dortmund is my best know town in Germany, and I didn't dislike the several days I spent there. Shopping, the park, the surroundings, well... not much indeed, but, in Dortmund, they don't care much about tourists - working is the rule. I think!
I love to get out of the house and into the woods especially if it is a new set of trails. After looking over my maps of the Odenwald area I decided to hike along the ridge line between Hemsbach and Weinheim. While the weather wasn't the greatest as least the rain stopped by the time I got to the parking lot and didn't start up until I was already back in my nice warm house. I had no idea what to expect on the route I choose since my maps didn't show any points of interest (except for some scenic overlook symbols). Therefore I was pleasantly surprised when I found the old Jewish cemetery, a group of people in old German outfits (from the Roman period) acting out some scene and a tower on the top of the ridge that gave me a great, if cloudy, view of the Rhine Valley and the beautiful valley on the east side of the ridge.
A good place to start the hike is at the Am Mühlweg parking spot in the small town of Hemsbach which is right off the A5. From the parking lot you can either head up or down the valley on the “yellow circle” trail. I went up the valley and almost immediately came across an old cemetery on the side of wooded hillside. Upon closer inspection of the tombstones I saw that it was an old Jewish cemetery. From the cemetery I continued up the trail until it hit the “red line” trail and headed south (went right). Before I did this I walked north a couple of hundred feet to see a tower and some actors doing their thing (not sure what).
One you are on the “red line” trail you are heading south and will come across a tower (Turm in German) that you can climb for fantastic views of the valleys on both sides of the ridge and a look at the next set of hills (above Weinheim) that have a tower and castle on them. From the tower you continue south on the “red line” trail down into Weinheim.
As you arrive in the town you should see blue and yellow B trail markings. You have your choice of routes to take back to your car. Both trails head back up to Hemsbach so if you want some hills follow the “yellow B” trail up into the hills and along some one-lane roads that pass through some vineyards. Once the “yellow B” trail meets back up with the “blue B” trail you can head off on the “blue B” trail when it separates with the “yellow B” trail and heads back up into the hills. The trails will merge back together before you arrive back at Hemsbach. To return to your car, you just need to find the “yellow circle” trail and head up the valley to your car.
The hike was approximately 8.5 miles and took me under three hours to complete it. There were a number of hills but they were not too steep. The path at times was covered with wet leaves which made the descents slippery at times. However, despite all the rain we are getting the paths were in good shape and worst part was the parking lot which was all churned up by forestry equipment. I plan on doing this hike again in the spring when everything is in bloom.
Am Mühlweg parking lot, Hemsbach Germany
Looking for a nice walk that isn’t very demanding and includes 16 defensive towers every couple of minutes? If so, suggest you head to Dinkelsbühl and walk the city’s 2.5km long defensive walls which contain four intact gates and a total of 16 towers almost all of them built in different styles. To get the most from the walk I suggest you stop at the local tourist office and pick up their town map which contains a suggested walking trail and will give you information on the various buildings you will be walking by. For an excellent view of your walk I suggest you climb St. George’s bell tower click hereand when you are done stop at Wieb’s Brauhaus for a glass of beer brewed by a female brewmaster (click here).
contact information is the tourist office in the town.
In the south of Germany in Bavaria are nice landcapes-
- the Alpen mountains
- the border to Austria
- the green valleys with the cows and the concert of cow bells
- the mountain seas and so much to see.
Here a little view of the crossway in the area Allgäu near Wertach at mountain "Sorgschrofen".
- and there is the link to PNG!- only one day in the year (like a Stargate )
to the PNG - Meeting the "Painim Wantok". For travellers with special interest to "PNG",
to the far away pacific island Papua Niugini!
So got interest, please find more in the internet side www.wantok.info of Mr. Michael!
This little view to Magdeburg is only a little remark- -
To mention town Magdeburg would not complete without recommending the great Otto von Guericke, in the past difficult time around 1640 and later.
Otto von Guericke studied at Holland the University in Leiden and had much done for the town. He became long time Ratsherr (councillor) and got later the honour to be one of the well known "Buergermeister" (mayor) of Magdeburg that time.
In scientific and university world he was in this time well known with the "Experimenta Nova (ut vocantor) Magdeburgica de VACUO SPATIO" - so his book, published 1672 in Amsterdam and discussed in the univerity world in this time.
The Royal Society in London in Dezember 1672 ordered his book as the Philosophical Transactions Nr. 88 (November 1672) and even a remark by Robert Hooke about the electricity experiments in a letter to Hoyle shows.
The Otto-von-Guericke University in Magdeburg is now named by him....
If for further interest,
see more about Otto-von-Guericke in the homepage of the Otto-von-Guericke-Gesellschaft.
At the photo see the Johanniskirche- inside is with others, the tomb of Otto von Guericke. And near of this a monument, dedicated to him with fountains and pictures and him sitting with the the "Magdeburger Halbkugeln"(his well known vacuum experiment). The monument is situated near of the Johanniskirche, north of the house of Mayor (das Rathaus).
Wittumspalais is the name of the residence of duchess Anna Amalia, that she had bought in 1775 after the Weimarer Schloss had burned down.
She lived there untill her death in 1807. The building was built from 1767 till 1769 by Jakob Friedrich von Fritsch, a Minister in Weimar.
Wittumspalais is open for tourists:
April - October: daily except Mondays: 10.00am - 06.00pm
November - March: daily except Mondays: 10.00am - 04.00pm
This is one of the backdoors of the Weimarer Schloss and I think it is really worth to take a closer look at it. On the total you might need at least a whole afternoon in order to explore all of the most important sights of Weimar.
Hofapotheke - that is the pharmacy that delivered to the royal court - is another interesting sight on Marktplatz, the main square of Weimar. This building and obviously also the pharmacy are dating back to the year 1567. Take a look at the great bay-window and the sandstone-frames of the windows and doors.
In my other pictures: a lot of celebrities used to visit Weimar or lived there.
There is another significant place of german and european history close to Weimar: The former KZ of Buchenwald is just 5 kilometers north of Weimar and you will still see lots of remains of this terrible part of German history there. In my main picture you will see the cynic motto of the KZ in Buchenwald : "Jedem das Seine" (everybody gets what he/she deserves) . You will read this motto only from inside the KZ. I came in the evening, when the main gate of the site was locked already, but I was able to walk along the fence and find an entrance through a side-gate next to the former crematorium.
The museum is open for visitors
april - October : 10.00a.m.-06.00p.m.
november - march : 10.00a.m. - 04.00p.m.
last entry always 30 min. before closing-time!
closed at dec. 24th+26th+31st and jan. 1st !
It is always CLOSED on Mondays !!
BUT the gate-house and the Krematorium is
open for visitors between 10.00a.m. and 03.00p.m.
Albert Schweitzer, ( 1875 – 1965) was a theologian, organist, philosopher, physician, and medical missionary of french and german nationality. In 1953 he got the Peace-Nobelprize.
There is a small museum about Albert Schweitzer in Weimar, just a few hundred meters from the Schloss.
Albert Schweitzer had been already Dr. of Philosophy and Dr. of Theology and an excellent organist, when he read an arcticle about the bad conditions in African hospitals. So he began to study medicine and built several hospitals in Lamberene / Gabun.
The museum is open for visitors
November-April : Mon-Fri 11.00a.m. - 04.00p.m.
May till October : Mon-Fri 11.00a.m. - 05.00p.m.
In 1982, especially in East Berlin, it was still possible to see bombed-out buildings that were in a ruined state from Allied bombings that occurred during the Second World War.
In the later years of the Second World War, Berlin sustained 363 air raids carried out by the Allies. Some of the bombing was so intense that it caused conflagrations that burned large swaths of the city. At the end of the war, about one-half of the city's buildings were completely destroyed and another one-third were uninhabitable. Approximately six square miles (16 square kilometers) of Berlin was nothing but rubble, and it was calculated that for every inhabitant of the city, there were 39 cubic yards (30 cubic meters) of rubble.
After the war, massive clean-up and rebuilding projects were carried out in West Berlin. The rubble was cleared, and new buildings were constructed. The city came to life again. In a few instances, the bombed-out shells of buildings were converted into memorials for those who lost their lives during the bombing raids.
In East Berlin, however, the clean-up progressed at a slower pace than it did in West Berlin, mainly because the Communist government did not have the resources that were available in the west. All of the rubble was eventually cleared, but buildings that were substantially damaged but still standing were not torn down. Although slated for eventual demolition, many of these bombed-out buildings could still be seen in 1982. In addition to bomb damage, some of these buildings had many bullet holes from the ground battles that occurred as the Soviets first entered Berlin.
I have not been to Berlin since 1982, so I imagine that, apart from the memorials, none of those bombed-out buildings remain.
Pictured here is a bombed-out church with grass growing from its walls that was just inside East Berlin on the street leading from Checkpoint Charlie.
From the time when the Berlin Wall was erected in 1961, many East Germans found innovative ways to jump over the wall to escape to freedom. Unfortunately, many were killed while trying to escape. Between 1961 and 1986, anywhere from 136 to 245 people were killed while trying to cross the Berlin Wall. They are known as the wall victims, or Maueropfer.
There are several memorials for the wall victims located around Berlin. One of the first was the White Crosses. In 1971, a private group erected seven crosses on the tenth anniversary of the construction of the Berlin Wall. The crosses were originally placed on a fence directly in front of the Berlin Wall just behind the Reichstag (as pictured here). After the reunification of Germany, they had to be moved to a new location because of a construction project. In 1990, they were relocated to an area south of the Reichstag next to the Tiergarten.
The names of 13 wall victims are inscribed of both sides of the seven crosses, and one cross is devoted to all the unknown wall victims.
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