Schwarmstedt to Soltau




Bothmer Mühle

It’s been a bucolic day’s cycling in sunny weather with a couple of gentle climbs that raise you briefly above the surrounding countryside. Local crops include blueberries (with pick-your-own options available), Christmas trees, and fennel (which looks rather like feathery Christmas trees). At Düshorn there was some kind of festival going on, so the kind of village where normally barely a cat stirs was full of people, cars and stalls.

imageIn some ways this is similar landscape to the Altmarkrundkurs – sleepy villages, sandy soils, the dominance of agriculture – but quiet towns here are not moribund as in the east. Bad Fallingbostel was closing and Soltau had closed by the time I arrived, but there were still people in the streets and cafés. In Bad Fallingbostel several small groups of recently arrived refugees (not just a guess – I had to dredge up some Italian to ask the way al centro) were taking the air.  I wonder how this social change will turn out. If the reports of widespread goodwill are correct, the doom-mongers could be disappointed.


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