Soltau to Rotenburg (Wümme)

imageIt was an early start this morning in an (ultimately successful) attempt to avoid the afternoon thunderstorms. The slanting sunlight at that time of day really showed how summer is turning into autumn: the glow of the rowan berries, the shiny apples on the roadside trees, and the dry rustle of fallen leaves as my tyres swished by. Very sunny again, but fortunately there was plenty of shade.

The Leine-Heide-Radweg was abandoned at Schneverdingen in favour of the Lüneburger Heide-Radweg. The idea of going to Bremen has also been abandoned: it’s too hot to cycle into and around a city. Another time. Instead, it’s going to be the River Wümme towards Achim, and then the River Weser southwards.

Schneverdingen and Scheßel were both en fête; it’s surprising how many local festivals there are and how they survive. The tractor carousel, policed by clowns, on the main road roundabout outside Schneverdingen was the first sign. And there was another saviour café on what had threatened to be a dry day: the Melk Hüs:

image

I had wondered about the bilingual signs at the edges of a couple of villages, and at the Melk Hüs I discovered that I had come across Plattdeutsch. It may also account for the Dutch-sounding greetings I’ve had from other cyclists. Delicious yoghurt and a linguistic discovery: brilliant.

imageRotenburg is a bit unusual. As far as I can tell on a cursory walk, there is nothing remarkable about this town. With a few Fachwerk exceptions, everything seems to be from the 1970s and 80s. Purely functional.  It’s not even due to post-war reconstruction as far as I can tell. It’s a bit like a mini Milton Keynes. I admit I sometimes feel there’s a certain sameness about German towns with their Marktplätze and heavily restored mediaeval Rathäuser . . . but I feel rather cheated when that’s not what I get!

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