Horn-Bad Meinberg (Germany), 22-24/11/12: Yes! We made it to Horn-Bad Meinberg.
Yes! After one wrong number, the taxi came.
Yes! We made it to our cosy room.
…and yes! It featured arts.
I had assumed that our friendly hosts at Hotel Waldschlößchen could, like many Germans, speak perfect Oxford English but spoke German to humour us but later decided that perhaps this was not the case. This presented us with a good opportunity to warm up our Deutsch in the field – Nicole being proficient and me able to ask “where is the [noun]?”, etc.
The hotel itself was quaint and cosy, befitting its location and featured a restaurant downstairs offering several variations on the theme of schnitzell.
As it was relatively isolated, we also got breakfast there which, in what turned out to be typical German style, appeared to us more like lunch.
One advantage of this was that the matron would kindly pack our left-overs as lunch – perfect for long walks in the forest. Also, when we later switched back to cereal, my metabolism really missed the bready, meaty morning jump-start. However it does make you wonder whether bowel cancer is endemic here, given the near-absence of vegetables in the German diet… So here are some hard numbers. It turns out that Germany’s ranked 14th, well behind Australia at number 6, so they must be doing something right.
But I digest. Our visit to Horn-Bad Meinberg (HBMB hereafter) was not for the bread rolls but rather to visit their local attraction, the Externsteine (infrequently refered to as the Ayers Rock of Germany).
These large, rocky protrusions apparently attract around a million tourists each year although it seems that even within Germany the name draws more furrowed brows and puzzled head-scratches than validating “aaaahs”. The Externsteine has also been an important religious site for Pagans and Christians (it features evidence of both groups) and has also had nationalistic signicance, especially around WW2, when the Nazis attempted to prove that it was an important religious site in pre-Christian times in order to boost national pride (kind of “we were holy first” I think) – but with limited success. To this day it attracts neo-hippies and renneisance festival types (those that sup of the pig and drink of the wine from ye goblet), who like to dance at make merry on the site around important astrological dates, much to the chagrin of some of the locals.
It also makes for good photos. The approach was made on foot through pretty, autumnal forest in perfect walking conditions.
There were rest points along the way where you could really kick back.
Then, after about 40 minutes, there was this:
Which led to this:
As you can tell from these epic pics, there are stairs leading up to the top and a sadly closed bridge, built in the late 19th century. From up there one can take pretty autumn panoramas.
It was all quite mystical, and the sureptitious whispers of nature were interupted only by the sound of the public employee with the leaf-blower across the lake.
This man will always have a job.
Once we felt we’d absorbed as much of the Externsteine and its infotaining visitors center as we could, we went out to take in the sights and sounds of bustling HBMB.
It is a small, cute town attached to national forest with nothing in particular for tourists on drizzly winter days. There was however a future echo of our trip in this monument:
…in that we would be visiting Metz, France in a few weeks time. As yet I haven’t been able to determine the significance of this memorial though.
We trudged through the rain back to Waldschlößchen, our eager sights set on a warm dining room, a Schnitzel dinner (which did not disappoint) and a good night’s sleep, since the morning promised another day of train travel which we were determined would this time be without incident.