This past weekend we went to visit some family friends in Hannover, Germany. They just returned to Hannover two months ago after a five year hiatus, and they were eager to show us this place that they will now call home again.
We took a tour of the city by bike which began in a huge forest area right near their house. Before entering the forest though, we rode by their church.
We biked through the forest for a while finally emerging in a field area before entering city streets. We biked along the street (carefully because there was a triathlon going on) for a bit before biking along the large man-made Maschsee Lake. Our friends told us that this lake (which I regrettably have no pictures of myself) was dug by hand during the Third Reich to keep people busy and not thinking too much. It is a really large lake so one can only imagine how intense the construction must have been. It is a beautiful spot for boats and rowing and there is a swim beach and club to one end. We stopped at a beer garden along the lake and had a drink which was very nice.
We then biked to the new city hall which is still very old by American standards.
We saw an old gate and wall of the city and then on to the old city hall, a church in the area and a walk around some of the streets in the old part of the city.
We had lunch near the old part of the city. I didn’t take any pictures (not like me, I know) but it was really good. One dish was a traditional German style potato pasta with mushrooms and cream and the other was mushrooms on rosti (hashbrown style potato). Of course, we had a little more German beer as well.
After lunch, we biked through the more alternative or “punk,” as our friends called it, neighborhood which had a more artistic feel.
Then it was on to the formal gardens, Herrenhausen. The gardens were built in Hannover because the House of Hannover has a tie to the British Monarchy. The grounds were very large with many different garden alcoves and huge fountains. There was also a grotto with a modern art interior. There were so many women at the garden having pictures done in their wedding gowns that I lost track of the number we saw.
After the gardens, we biked through more park space in front of the university and then through the more modern parts of the city on our way back to their section of the city. Near their home is a pedestrian area where no cars or bikes are allowed. It is lined with shops and restaurants. Children can lay out blankets along the path with used items for sale any day of the week all year long as a way to make a little money. They even had a carousel and we were told that they have a really nice Christmas market there in December (might be worth a return visit!).
On Sunday, they took us to Marienburg Castle which was about 30 minutes drive from their house. The castle was once a gift to a princess who was not happy with it as it did not have a heating system. The castle was fairly large and very pretty. We toured the inside and then walked around some crafter stalls and a children’s area as there was a summer festival going on.
Sadly, that was all we had time for on this weekend visit, but we would definitely consider going back as there seems to be a lot to do and see there (and of course we would love to spend more time with our friends).