Bismarckstein, Göttingen

A strange building made of stone hidden behind high trees in the forest. A temple? A ruin? If you walk around the building on the Klausberg in Göttingen, Germany, you will spot a tiny inscription: ‘Gedenkstein für Otto von Bismarck‘, a memorial for the former imperial chancellor. It is officially called ‘Bismarckstein‘ but the locals have a different name for it: ‘Elefantenklo‘ (elephant loo). Bismarck was very famous by his time even though his role in history has a lot of dark sides – but the people were willing to donate for memorials to commemorate him.

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Mintrop-Kugel, Göttingen

When you’re hiking on the Warteberg mountain in the east of Göttingen, Germany, you can come across an old earthquake observatory. It is the so-called Wiechert’sche Erdbebenwarte named after the former director Emil Wiechert. The university gave up the building in 2005 but now a private association cares about the legacy of the scientist, including different seismographs that still work. A highlight of this place is a four tons weighing giant: the Mintrop-Kugel.

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Kleiner Reinsbrunnen

Kleiner Reinsbrunnen, Göttingen

Everybody in Göttingen, Germany, knows the Schillerwiesen – a long stretched park in the East of the city leading up the hill. Most people only know the lower section where people meet for picnics and barbecues, to do sports or play miniature golf. Some get a little bit higher and also see the Jérôme-Pavillion where you can also have your wedding ceremony. Not many people get further on to a more quiet part where you can see the Merkelstein (remembering the former mayor Georg Merkel) and the Kleiner Reinsbrunnen – a nice spring hidden in the forest.

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Werdersee, Bremen

Every city has this recreation zone which locals get to for having a barbecue, swimming, doing sports or just for sunbathing. In Bremen, Germany, it is the Werdersee – an artificial lake created from 1953 on. It is connected to river Weser and has, therefore, a rather good water quality. Formerly it only contained water during high-water flood times, but human intervention made it a nice lake all year round.

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Dornröschenschloß Sababurg, Hofgeismar

The Sababurg is a wonderful old castle within the Reinhardswald forest and belongs to Hofgeismar, Germany. It dates back to the year 1334 and carried different names over time: first, it was the Zappenburg protecting pilgrims, as the Zapfenburg it was later used for hunting. Today you can find a hotel and a restaurant within the grounds of the castle.

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Seeburger See

Seeburger See, Seeburg

It is called the Eye of the Eichsfeld (the region it is located in) – the lake Seeburger See named after the city Seeburg next to it. You can use this natural lake for boating and swimming but it is rather flat with a maximum depth of 3.5 meters. Better test upfront how deep it is before you jump into the water. 😉 The Seeburger See is a famous tourist destination and you will find good infrastructure at its shore.

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Dransfelder Rampe

Dransfelder Rampe, Hannöversche Südbahn, Dransfeld

If you look at satellite data of the area west of Göttingen, Germany, you can see some unusual slopes of trees. It is the track of the former railway connecting Göttingen to Kassel (Hannöversche Südbahn). via Dransfeld and Hann. Münden – a route that was suboptimal because of the very high inclination in a section called Dransfelder Rampe (‘Dransfeld ramp’). It was nevertheless built because it was the only route from Göttingen to Hann. Münden without leaving the territory of the Kingdom of Hannover. The new route opened in 1876 switches between the German federal states Lower Saxony (formerly Kingdom of Hannover) and Hesse (formerly Kurfürstentum Hessen) several times.

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Burg Plesse

Burg Plesse, Bovenden

A famous hiking destination for people living at Göttingen, Germany, is the Burg Plesse – it is a castle ruin high above the village Eddigehausen belonging to Bovenden. It was first mentioned in the year 1015 and offers fantastic views on the valley of the river Leine. You can visit the castle free of charge and there are two towers; you can climb onto one of them to have even better views. On the castle grounds, there is also a restaurant, the Burgschänke.

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Mühlenplatz, Gieselwerder

If you want to feel like a giant you need to get to Gieselwerder belonging to Wesertal, Germany. Close to the village, you will find the place where once a mill was standing and the small stream Lumbach running down the hill. Today it is an outdoor exhibition with hand-made miniature buildings named ‘Der Mühlenplatz‘ which started as a hobby in 1969. In the centre of the 3,000 m2 large area, there are several small mills which are powered with water taking from the Lumbach. Surrounding it you can see copies of castles, town halls and churches of the region – and some well-known from further away.

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Optical illusion

Wasser bergauf, Gieselwerder

Of course, water can only float down a hill due to gravity – but at Gieselwerder belonging to Wesertal, Germany, it looks like it is running up the hill. Close to the town you can find the Mühlenplatz where formerly a mill was located (today it is an open-air museum with miniature buildings). Above this place, there are water channels that brought the water to the mill in earlier days. Next to these channels a road can be found (the L763) which is pretty steep – it has an inclination of 10 % over 3 km (the pure horror, if you ride a bicycle). Because of that, the water seems to conquer gravity; a phenomenon called ‘Wasser bergauf‘ (water uphill).

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