The target of our tour for this year is: no hills - and once more: no hills. Now find out such an area in Germany or Europe, which is unknown for us, not so far away and structured by well documented cycle paths. Easy to find by the information of some cycle journals: At the Münsterland there exists a 100 Schlösserroute, 1250 km long and around the Niederrhein there are various routes, as well longer than 1000 km. And definitely there are no hills around.
Since some time the brochure "BVA-Radführer: "100 Schlösser Route" im Münsterland" waits in one of our drawers and this will now come to life. Of course we will not absolve the full length of this meandering tour, but there are various shortcuts to manage a certain distance.
We will start at Espelkamp, one of my hometowns were I once went to school. So we ride at the memorable date 9.9.99 by car to visit our friends Anne and Roland, to have a nice evening together and to deposit the car for a week.
Friday: Espelkamp - Bad Iburg
7.45 - 16.15, 77 km trp, 49.2 kmh max, 12.6 kmh avg
We start early into a grey morning with mist and some drizzle. Some hundred meters away we have the first observation: a mink which was run over on the road. This is because enthusiastic friends of nature and animals have freed some 1000 minks from an animal fur farm some time ago. Don't ask whether the animals now have a better life - but yes, the manner of death has changed, as is to be seen.
We soon hit on the Mühlenroute, this is a signed path too. We reach the village Levern on a hill, which won a beauty award many years ago ("Unser Dorf soll schöner werden"). We ride on a smaller road towards Bohmte and eventually realize, that the drizzling rain is wetter than we have thought. From time to time I must wipe my eye glasses, for the windscreen wiper for spectacles is still not invented. But then the sky gets lighter and we find ourselves in nowhere land (you are in nowhere land when you are not able to recognize your location on the map). But then the sign of the cycle path Osnabrück - Bremen puts us out of misery. We only do not know, if we now ride this path into the right direction, for we did not plan to go to Bremen.
A historic event is now to be discussed. In the year 9 pCn there was the famous "Schlacht am Teutoburger Wald" as the Germanic chief Herrmann der Cherusker defeated the Roman army with their governor Quintilius Varus. Recently they have found out, that this battle was not at the Teutoburger Wald but just here where we are now near the village Kalkriese. Somewhere at the Teutoburger Wald there is the famous monument and statue Herrmannsdenkmal, so this should be placed here at the Wiehengebirge.
We study the map and find out, that all smaller roads to Bad Iburg are fairly hilly. We must cross the Teutoburger Wald now, and if I told you at the beginning, that we will not have any hills - this is not totally true. I had hoped for an easy pass but this does not exist. May be the direct route on the B51 is not so bad.
But it is worse. A 6 track lane and a dense traffic respectively. Fortunately there is a bike path at the side of the road. At Oesede we have a rest and look for the market. But now we must enface the challenge, like a ramp the road runs dead ahead up to the summit of the Teutoburger Wald (263 m). Moreover it is very hot now and my wife nearly comes to her psychical and physical limits. I try to understate the matter for it is definitely the first and the last hill. Gasping and moaning we finally reach the summit.
Iburg Clock Museum
Some time later we walk around at this nice town, up to the castle where all entrances are closed. The shopping center "Mühlentor Zentrum" is not so romantical like many new built areas, and we will see more examples later on. Now the (usual) accustic impression: a clerk of a bank blows some single leaves to a heap by a noisy blower machine. He would have needed half of the time by a simple broom - we think.
We end successfully at a Greek restaurant, its name was Athen.
Saturday: Bad Iburg - Telgte
8.45 - 14.45, 65 km trp, 31.1 kmh max, 14.6 kmh avg
Hohes Haus in Lienen
This area is called the "Münsterian park landscape" and there are: hedges, meadows, fields, birk alleys, maize. The maize is cut just now may be for the horses, the cattle or the pigs or all together. The Münsterland is famous for its horses "Münsteraner". And among the cattle we observe some specimen, which have come from far away as the long haired Scottish Highland cattle or the black Galloway.
We have come to a former saw mill, and there is exhibited an industrial monument, which is absolutely untranslatable: "Vertikalvollgatter". This was a saw machine to produce planks. Meanwhile we get a little bit lost again but then find the village Ladbergen and settle on a bench between church and a children's playground. Heidi buys some fruits and then returns laughing with a bag of Gummibärchen (jellybaby) which was dedicated by a political party to lure people for the communal election tomorrow. Unfortunately this is not our part. On the next section we find out, that we nearly move in a circle and in the future we should prefer to look out for a proper shortcut. Some are even officially signed by black pinnacles.
But some time later among confusing maize fields we miss a fork and so miss Schloß Loburg near Ostbevern, "one of the most impressing water castles of the area". So we rest for a second time on the shadowed steps of the church (St. Ambrosius) at Ostbevern. Apparently there are no benches around at this town. On the other hand we are somewhat disappointed of the atmosphere of the most inner villages. They have fenced and paved and cleaned and polished so that the inner part of a town or village looks rather sterile. Moreover the outer settlements of new built houses with their "Rosen-Rasen-Rhododendon-Charme" do the same in addition. May be we have come to be used to the wilder relicts of the former DDR. But of course they have learnt their lesson as well.
Old House in Telgte
This was the way we got our chamber at Telgte without seeing anyone. And we did not know, that there is a big pilgrims meeting this weekend and hence none accommodation available. We just got the room because someone cancelled short dated. So we are in luck though not beeing pilgrims ourselves. And Telgte is a nice town though suffering of damage during WorldWar II. This means that there are not so many ancient houses. But they have obtained a closed wall arrangement (Hagen) and rebuilt the town on the medieval fundaments. You can look at the Marienlinde and the monument of Fürstbischof Christoph Bernhard von Galen and of course the pilgrim's chapel and church St.Clemens. But I do not write a touristic guide, we only have a short glance on these things and then look to some ducks, as they dive at the water barrier of the river Ems. We would like to change with them.
As we go out for dinner we have a sight into the church which is fully crowded (650 seats). They all sing a chorale and there is a wonderful accustic effect. We turn to the nearby china restaurant "Yang", where one can sit outdoors at the street. "Gut Tach" a small grown Chinese smiles at us. Soon we dine in garlic and sharp spices. Thereafter we can relax and observe the scenes at the street. There is the cleaning service for shop windows busy wiping at a pharmacy, the waiter of the restaurant wipes some plant louses from the leaves of a rose bush, jackdaws shoot down from the church tower and throw moss out of the gutters. A boy with some broken eye glasses comes along and our small Chinese states: "Hattu puttemacht?"
So we have a marvellous summer evening. During the night some singing homecomers from the fair give their concert and someone tries to practise the north-German yodel sound: "Huluble lubelbu".
Sunday: Telgte - Lüdinghausen
8.45 - 14.45, 73 km trp, 28.6 kmh max, 15.4 kmh avg
Pilgrim's Procession and
From Sendenhorst we go west until we hit the Schlösserroute again. But a misfortune happens which I keep for my own. I recognize that we go in the wrong direction for the signs have no green symbols. But because this route is so meandering it is no problem to find a discrete improvisation and finally we end at Schloß Westerwinkel. And this is really our first castle on this tour. To get there we have to pass a bumpy track and approach a crowded park site. We then find out that this castle is somewhat like the scenery for a golf course and all the cars belong to the golf players. So we only meet some more cyclists in the inner yard of the castle, feel individual and let the scene impress to us until we continue.
Now there is one sensation after the other. At Nordkirchen we admire the "Westfälisches Versailles" and this is the huge castle. I produce a panorama photo, this means two frames side by side to allow everything to come into the view. At a bench in the park we consume a banana. We leave the park down a staircase, as usual we miss the correct exit. Now we head for the last section of today to Lüdinghausen, a town offering three castles. We are good in time but it is very hot again.
The "Westfälisches Versailles"
We look for an accommodation and a local can only give vague informations. But we manage to find the Hotel Borgmann, ring the bell again and have contact to a voice in some space. But this time a friendly gentleman comes out and leads us to the room in the guesthouse.
Old Mill at Lüdinghausen
We find back to the town and at the church St. Felizitas there is a poster announcing a pilgrimage to the grave of the holy St. Liudger at Essen. You must know that this area of Westfalen is strictly catholic - may be you did realize this before. We then find a small path named "Hakehuspättken". This leads to an ancient restaurated house, the former "poor house". This is named Hakehus and nowadays the most representative building of this town, even outranging the modern town hall. And it was the poor house only at those days...
We end at the terrace of the chinese restaurant "Golden Dragon" vis a vis to the town hall. This is advantageous because the communal election procedure comes to an end and now a lot of people meet at this place. They all come up by bike and we are astonished about this fact. But we cannot tell something about the particular results of the election in this town.
Past our tour someone told us, that at Lüdinghausen there is one of the most famous ice cream parlour far and wide, unfortunately we didn't got any notice of this fact.
Monday: Lüdinghausen - Schermbeck,
7.45 - 14.15, 77 km trp, 34.9 kmh max, 14.8 kmh avg
From Lüdinghausen the course of the Schlösserroute forms a southern mesh and this is not a must. We prefer the dead straight main road B58 to Seppenrade. This is located on a hill and my wife with her city bike prefers to push up there. Since years I try in vain to convince her of a more qualified trekking bike but I always get the same answer "I do not want someone to withdraw my bike!". Oh yeah, sometimes life is difficult...
The Schlösserroute now prefers to imply some hills up to the height of more than 100 m. We want to avoid this and while riding I find out a short cut on the map. While reading the map we miss the correct junction on the other hand and now go in the wrong direction. After we have pushed half the way up a hill I do not dare to confess to my mistake and look for another secret short cut. This is the way we enter the village Maria Veen with a monastery. We pass a group of wheelchair patients enjoing the sunshine. One of the wheelchair is equipped with high tech stuff like microphone and keyboard as we know it from the english astrophysician S. H.
May be it is boring for the reader when I tell him once more that we
We end at a road where we can identify the location and then head for Schermbeck to finish for today. It is too hot to continue. At the town hall we get the accommodation list and choose the Gaststätte Rademacher near the Ev. Church. The planks of our room crunch and the beds squeak but a tired cyclist does not care. We start for our walk, at least a castle exists at this place as well. It once was a moated castle but dry now and is private property today. Nothing peculiar to be seen. Aside there once was a mill and some relicts of the machinery are to be seen. Behind the castle an old iron paddle wheel oxidizes through the sequence of time...
In the evening we sit outdoors at the place in front of the church and the Gaststätte. We have roast pork and dumpling (Kloss) - a typical german dish - and it is very good. Many guests of the pub are locals and this is always a good signal. The town of Schermbeck has celebrated it's 1200 annual existance supported by the rich local club organisations. We can observe that averyone talks to everyone. But then a thunderstorm comes up and everyone rushes inside the pub. Finally we watch some members of the choral group as they arrange a competition in pushing nails by a hammer into a trunk.
We soon disappear into our crunching an squeaking chamber and for some
time from the window we listen to the clattering of the vehicles down on
the pavement in front of the house. But nonetheless we have a fine sleep.