At the moment my husband and I are visiting northern Germany. I was born in this region and most of my family still lives here. In this and some of my next blog posts I’d like to show you some of my favorite places to visit.
Soltau Toy Museum
Soltau is located halfway between the cities of Hamburg and Hannover and is easy to reach by both car (take the A7, exit Soltau Ost or Soltau Süd) and train. The Toy Museum was founded in 1984 originating from a private collection. It has since grown to occupy two buildings.
Yesterday we spent the whole morning browsing through the exibits of antique toys. At first we thought we’d be through there a lot sooner and had made plans for other things but we had so much fun that we almost missed lunch. If you find yourself anywhere near here you absolutely must check it out! They have a huge collection of tin windup toys, antique dolls, model trains and so much more. There are lots of interactive activities, a coffee corner and gift shops in both buildings. The main attraction is a 2 meter high, 3 meter wide doll house aquired in 2003 at Christie’s in London for €190000. Tickets are €5 for adults, €2.50 for children. The museum is open 365 days a year.
After the museum in the summer months we recommend lunch in Dolce Vita, our favorite Italian restaurant, located in a little plaza, the Burg. This is the oldest part of the town, founded in the 14th century. If the weather is nice you can sit outside. Food here is belissimo!
Lübeck’s Rich History
Located in the east of Schleswig-Holstein, Germany’s most northern state, Lübeck’s Brick Gothic architecture dates back to its time as the medieval capital of the Hanseatic League, a powerful trading confederation. The historic city center is beautifully restored and well worth a visit. In the summer the city is full of buskers and there are many cafes where you can sit outside and enjoy the beauty of this city. Recently we were here for a short visit on our way to somewhere else. That was definitely not enough, we will be back!
Experiencing Nature – Migrating Cranes in Lower Saxony
The Tister Bauernmoor is an area of raised bog on the Luneburg Heath in the county of Rotenburg Wümme. It has an area of 570 hecters and, together with several other bogs in the area, is part of 1220 hecters of protected wetlands in this region. In the autumn, thousands of cranes and geese stop here on their annual migration. They love the shallow water of the peat-exausted moorland. The Bauernmoor has easy to navigate trails and viewing platforms only a short walk from the parking area.
Every evening around dusk, thousands of cranes can be observed as they arrive to spend the night in the shallow water. It’s an amazing experience as our group walks through the preserve; we hear the cranes calling to each other overhead and from time to time we can spot flying birds through the tree tops. Then we reached the lake and thousands of birds keep landing in the water, one group after another, after another. Slowly the light fades from the sky with yet more birds arriving. Finally, when it is almost dark, birds are still calling to each other, but eventually settling down to sleep, as we walk back to the car. Another special experience is to go early in the morning when they all take off on their way to the feeding grounds.
The Bauernmoor has a little train to help the elderly reach the viewing area. This of course is also a hit with kids. There is also a small cafe with washroom facilities. If you find yourself in northern Germany in October, we highly recommend a visit to this fascinating place!