Following the Eder

Edersee, Edertal

The Eder is a 176 km long river leading from Westphalia (near the Rothaargebirge) to the river Fulda with the confluence being located at Edermünde south of Kassel, Germany. It is mostly known for the Edersee – Germanys second-largest artificial lake used for sports, recreation, flood protection, drinking water provisioning and energy production. From Kassel, you can visit it easily by bike on a 70 km long tour – mostly flat if you ignore the final ascent to the dam. A trip very worth to be taken!

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Sinuosity, Büchenwerra, Guxhagen

If you managed the trip downstream from Kassel to Hann. Münden by bike you might be ready for the trip in the reverse direction: upstream to Melsungen. The way is a bit more hilly and sometimes you’ll have to ride on ordinary streets which are also used by cars. This route might be one of the good reasons to buy an e-bike (which everybody in Kassel except me seems to have done already). The trip is 37 kilometres long in each direction and you can do it in two to three hours depending on your speed and the number of breaks you take. You’ll end up in a nice old city with lots of half-timbered houses which is definitely worth the effort.

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Fullestein, Fuldabrück

If you’re visiting Kassel, Germany or are travelling throughout the villages along the river Fulda you should look out for hand-painted stones: the Fullesteine. ‘Fulle‘ is the name of the river Fulda in the local dialect. A group of people takes stones, paints them and writes the name ‘Fullesteine‘ on the reverse side. They distribute them somewhere in the region and you’re invited to participate in the game.

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Russian embassy

Rhönmarkt, Kassel

People living abroad tend to create a desire for food they know from home. Germans always search for typical German bread and beer. It seems to be the same with the large Russian community at Kassel, Germany. At the city quarter Süsterfeld-Helleböhn you can find a special supermarket that fulfils their needs: the Rhönmarkt. A supermarket full of Russian products, articles from Eastern Europe and a very small amount of German and Turkish supplements.

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Niedersachsen-Eck, Staufenberg-Speele, Germany

The most beloved racing track for cyclists at Kassel, Germany, seems to be the one from Kassel to Hann. Münden along river Fulda. It is one of the few tracks that is rather flat and long, it leads to a beautiful town with a city centre full of half-timbered houses and you will pass a valley with nice forests next to the water. One way the length is about 25 kilometres which you can do within 1.5 hours if you’re going fast or about 2 hours if you’re riding more relaxed or have a break in between. It is a good option to easily spend a day on tour.

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Wet grave

Fuldabrücke, Guntershausen, Baunatal

Different stories about bridges could be told at Guntershausen. The village belonging to Baunatal, Germany, is an important railway junction where the tracks from Kassel to Frankfurt (Main-Weser-Bahn) and from Kassel to Bebra (Friedrich-Wilhelms-Nordbahn) meet. Since 1848 a large and beautiful bridge leads over river Fulda, but its centrepiece was destroyed during World War II by the Nazis. It was rebuilt in 1952 in modern style. The most macabre story happened during the construction works of a nearby road bridge. High water stopped the construction works in 1924 right after the piling walls had been placed.

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Söhrebahn, Wellerode, Söhrewald

The Söhrebahn was a railway leading from the city quarter Bettenhausen of Kassel, Germany, to the forest behind the village Wellerode (passing Eisenhammer, Lohfelden and Vollmarshausen). It was built in normal width (1435 mm), more than 10 kilometres long and opened in 1912. Within the Söhre brown coal had been found and it was transported from there to Kassel – but also other companies along the track started to use it and connecting tracks where built. The railway track was also used to transport persons and its existence connected the Söhre closely to Kassel. Many villages along the way grew and people used the trains to commute to the city.

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Paris of the Middle East

بيروت, Lebanon

The question most often asked while I was preparing for my visit to Lebanon was: Why? Why should one go to a country that is in Europe mostly connected with war and acts of terror? I had not one clear and good reason for this but a bunch of minor ones: I had travelled throughout Israel and when arriving at the border to Lebanon I was unhappy that there was no chance to pass. I had contact with many different persons in Germany that had fled from Lebanon because of the civil war, I had read so much about the conflicts in this region. I enjoyed Lebanese food at home and wanted some more. And I simply wanted to see how life is like in this region of the world. And then there is Beirut – a city once called the Paris of the Middle East; doesn’t that sound inviting?

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Civil war

Wall of hope, بيروت

Lebanon is a country quite far away in the Middle East and part of the Levante states. But already in my youth, I somehow got in contact with the country and it was all because of the Lebanese civil war which was long-lasting (from 1975 to 1990) but already over by that time. I got in contact with Lebanese people who fled to Europe and started a new life here. With that guy who opened up a fantastic falafel eatery at Göttingen, Germany, or later with the nice Lebanese family that sold delicious food at Hann. Münden, Germany. My image of Beirut was shaped by a rather unexpected medium: computer games.

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Harbour, Byblos

The city of جبيل, Lebanon, is one of the oldest, still inhabited cities in the world. It dates back to 5th century BCE and was over many centuries an important harbour for trading with Egypt and Cyprus. While the Egyptians preferred the strong Cedarwood of Lebanon, the Lebanese needed stones that were less weak than the local material. Byblos also became an important hub for trading papyrus. Under the name Gibelet and under Christian reign it became an important harbour for the Christian crusaders travelling to the Holy Land.

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