Hanover to Schwarmstedt

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Who’s going to make my tyres now? Limmer, north of Hanover. (But I shouldn’t be so frivolous because (a) this means that people lost their jobs when it closed in 1999, and (b) it used slave labour during the war.)

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Ihme-Zentrum, Hanover

After yesterday’s four-hour journey to Hanover in a very hot train, it’s a relief to be outdoors again – even though it’s just as hot. And very sunny.

The River Leine goes through Hanover; on a previous occasion I cycled south on the route as far as Göttingen, but this time I’m heading north and then (probably) cutting across to Bremen. It’s a pleasant route that frequently moves away from the river towards woods and fields. Very sandy in parts (hence Leine-Heide-Radweg) and unspectacular – but yes, definitely pleasant. imageI’m happy with any route that takes me from  hotel to hotel with clear signposting and away from busy roads. Finding cafés is going to be difficult, but I’ve probably eaten enough Pflaumenkuchen at other times. Finding enough water may be more of a problem.

Hanover is holding elections soon, so lampposts in even the smallest villages round here proclaim their political allegiance. For an English person it’s interesting that posters are so prominent, so prolific and carry either slogans or policies. Compare that to elections in England: a few “Vote x/y/z” in people’s windows is about all you get. imageOf course there are large posters in big cities – like “Labour isn’t working” from 1979 – but they seem to be designed more so that their unveiling gets coverage in all the media than to catch the attention of passers-by. I wish now I had stopped to examine today’s posters or take photographs – all those smiling local candidates with their small-scale policies (no more wind turbines or a town hall for Neustadt).

There was one very, very welcome café stop today opposite St Osdag’s Church in Mandelsloh. It won my heart just by being there and being open (Fridays to Sundays only, if you’re passing), but its coffee and cake were the Kirsche on the Kuchen.

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