Tag Archives: Harz

Taking The Train

And not just any train! We are referring to the Harz Narrow Gauge Railways, one of the most popular attractions in the Harz region. It is a network of 140 km railways, connecting the principal cities and offering one of the very few possibilities of going to the top of the Brocken, the highest mountain in the Harz.

Lars and I have had doubts of taking this steam train. We usually stay far away from popular/touristic attractions and places. Moreover, from no matter what station you take the train to the Brocken, the price of the ticket is the same and it’s quite high. A return ticket costs € 32.00.

So why did we change our minds? Because, according to a lot of websites, it’s quite a thrilling experience. We had seen pictures and somehow we knew we simply had to do it. Besides, I had never taken a steam train before.

So, on Monday morning – 30 December 2013 – we found ourselves at the station of the Drei-Annen-Hohne. And we were not the only ones!

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Around 11.15 am, we were finally in the train! It takes about 30 minutes to reach the top of the mountain.

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I made some short videos as well. Check them out on our YouTube Channel!

Starting in Osterode

On the second day of our trip, Lars and I first went to the southeast of the Harz, to a small town called Osterode.

We didn’t have any specific plans in mind here. Let’s just say that Osterode was on our way to a specific destination and we were just curious. Curious to see what it looked like.

Because it was Sunday it was easy to find a place to park the car. We had a stroll towards the center of the town and looked at the last remains of the Christmas market and the beautiful (half-)timbered houses.

Mist At The Rabenklippe

Rabenklippe means Raven Crag in English and is actually a enormous granite rock formation in the Harz National Park.

The name sounded interesting, so Lars and I were very eager to see it. Getting there was quite a challenge though; most of the time we drove on very slippery narrow roads in the middle of a dense forest.

When we arrived at the spot, we were a bit disappointed. This is indeed a beautiful place, but also a very touristic one. Normally, you have a splendid view on the Brocken – which we will mention later -, but all we saw was mist and clouds.

Better luck next time… By the way, if you love hiking, this is the place to be!

Idyllic Ilsenburg

Next destination of our first day in the Harz was Ilsenburg.

As you can see on the map, Ilsenburg is located in the north of the Harz. It is a small town, with about 10.000 people. Last time we were in the Harz, Lars and I concentrated on the bigger places, now it was time to discover small gems.

The first thing you see when you arrive is a beautiful trout pond with benches around it. We followed the main street, parked the car and went for a stroll. I quickly saw a sign saying “Romantic Street” and we followed it. Conclusion; quite a cozy town!

 

The Harz – Bad Grund: Where we could have danced

The Harz is scattered with pretty, cosy villages where it looks as if time has stood still. I was surprised to see so many buildings from the 17th – 18th century or earlier that are still in very good condition, even in the smallest villages. And I especially like the wood-carvings.

Bad Grund is such a village.

Apart from the historical buildings and the fact that this is also a health resort, Bad Grund has few touristic attractions. But it is such a charming small town.

When we arrived, people were eating and drinking on the central square and listening to some music. We could have danced, but The Viking is too shy to dance in public. Instead we had a short walk and took some pictures.

The Harz – Innerstetalsperre: What’s that thing?

A couple of minutes after our arrival, a lot of clouds appeared and I switched to black and white pictures. As always, you can tell us which ones you like best in the comments below!

Our attention was also drawn by a strange construction in the water. The Viking and I started guessing what it could be, without reaching a conclusion though… I did some research afterwards and discovered it was a shaft spillway. According to our good friend Wikipedia,

a spillway is a structure used to provide the controlled release of flows from a dam or levee into a downstream area, typically being the river that was dammed. In the UK they may be known as overflow channels. Spillways release floods so that the water does not overtop and damage or even destroy the dam.

During the high season, the reservoir is used for sailing, rowing and fishing. When we were there, we saw one person trying to catch some fish; most other tourists did some hiking or cycling.

The Harz – Innerstetalsperre: A bit of sunshine

Innerstetalsperre means Innerste Dam, Innerste being the name of a river.

This dam was built in the 60ies and its purposes are – according to Wikipedia – “the supply of drinking water, flood protection, water flow regulation and hydroelectric power generation.” It’s less impressive than the Okertalsperre, but also less touristic, so less people around.

When we arrived, the sun was still shining, so I started taking pictures in color.

The Harz – Lautenthals Glück: Entering the mine

In the main building at Lautenthals Glück, there are a couple of exhibitions. You can see models of the mine, smaller equipment and information about different metals and minerals. And last but not least, you can visit a part of the mine.

But… I have a problem. As a child, I was terrified by darkness. Or at least by complete darkness. As long as some light could be visible in the bedroom, I was okay. So, I always left the curtains and/or the bedroom door a bit open. Otherwise I became so terrified that I simply couldn’t sleep.

And I have to admit that I still have this habit. This fear of the dark is still there. So, when I saw The Viking disappearing in the dark entrance of the mine, I didn’t feel at ease. It wasn’t just the fact that it was dark in there; I could see that it was very narrow as well and that the ceiling was quite low. It felt like entering a grave. Somehow, I did manage to go inside and I did take some pictures. Maybe, it was because I saw some children running in, without any fear. And I couldn’t leave my Viking alone, could i?

Anyway, after some time, I felt more at ease in the mine, but I was happy when I was back outside. I guess I would have been a lousy miner… In general, I did enjoy myself at Lautenthals Glück, but on a next visit, I think I would join a group, so that I could have more explanation about how the miners worked. I have a general idea now, but I want more.

Lautenthals Glück is the biggest attraction of Lautenthal by the way. The town itself has little to offer, apart from some beautiful 17th century houses. And the beautiful scenery of the surrounding mountains and 2 rivers, the Innerste and the Laute.