We began with a rental car picked up in Heidelberg on Thursday night. The first place we wanted to visit seemed too far away to drive to that night, so we'd gotten out a map to look for alternative places along the way to stay the first night. Nothing on the map was very inspiring (Kassel?) so we got out our handy Green Guide to see if any of the recommended sites were on the way and convenient to the Autobahn. It had the perfect answer for us: Hannoversch Münden (for short, it goes by Hann Münden)! It's right off the Autobahn and a short enough drive from Heidelberg to leave HD after work and arrive before it's crazy late.
Our rental car was, alas, a crappy Fiat Panda. (Germans joke that Fiat stands for Fehler in allen Teilen - essentially, every part is defective.) Who names a car Panda!?
Thankfully we managed not to get killed in it on the ever-terrifying Autobahn. SCARY. As we were puttering along at about 110 km/h (68 mph), we were passed by a Porsche going more than double our speed. We barely saw it coming before it was gone. Amazing. For a brief moment, I understood why the Autobahn has no speed limit and Germans don't want to make it have one. A car like a Porsche is pointless in the US, where it can never legally be driven as it is built to drive. Still, for me I prefer a speed limit!!
We left the Autobahn and descended down a few dark, foresty hairpin curves into Hann Münden, where we were the last guests to arrive for the night at Hotel zur Fulda in the Hann Münden Altstadt (50 EUR/night for a double including breakfast). The trade-off for such a great location and free parking is a super-basic room - not even one of those combo shampoo/bodywash/handsoap dispensers you often see in cheap German hotels. It was fine for us!
In the morning I discovered that despite confidently crossing it off my packing list, I'd forgotten to pack any underwear. Oops. Tchibo to the rescue - there was one right by the Stadtkirche!!
|Hannoversch Muenden Aug 09|
When I read about Hann Münden - a well-situated village at the confluence of the Werra and Fulda rivers with over 700 half timber houses - it had sounded a little touristy, but it didn't feel that way to me. The streets weren't too full, and most of the people we did see appeared to be locals going about their usual business. Unlike a lot of towns we've been to, there weren't just a few streets or a couple of squares of half timber houses - nearly every house in the entire, large Altstadt was one! They don't seem to treat it like anything special, though. The houses have Pennys and Tchibos and all manner of common German chains with their big ugly signs in them, and there are cars everywhere, a scruffy, weedy riverfront, and a lot of curious stares at tourists. It's partly disappointing that it's not the picture of storybook perfection that you might imagine, and partly awesome to see such an old town not overdo the tourist thing and just feel like a regular place, moving ahead while still preserving the past. The little details on the houses are fascinating. Check out the photos!
From our long list of places we were considering visiting, our next destination has already been guessed in the last post - Wernigerode. Coming soon!