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Published: June 13th 2017
Special trip today. A ride on the pretty famous steam railway of the Harz mountains. All the way from Wertingerode to Brucken at the top of the highest mountain in Northern Germany. Not terribly high, only 1100m or so but an exhilarating trip when on a traditional German steam train.
Bob had seen details and also watched a Michael Portillo documentary about it so it became his focal point in planning this trip.
Up quite early as our train was booked for 9.40 and both Tomtom and Google Maps refused to find us the route to the front of the station. Of course we couldn’t find it again today and ended up on the wrong side of the tracks ( ! ) as we did yesterday when we booked the tickets.
We wanted to get there in plenty of time so we could watch the engine arriving and also to secure seats back left as we were advised when we bought the tickets.
Bob would have preferred to sit at the front so he could hear the engine “breathing” as it puffed its way up the steep inclines but the view from the back was
really brilliant, and in fact the entire trip was brilliant too.
As usual for me on an interesting train with camera to hand I spent most of the time standing and on this occasion out the back so I could get photos of the front of the train as it went round bends.
Really enjoyable. Made new ‘friends’ who spoke good English which is handy as English is not widely spoken round here as it is old East Germany and Russian not English was taught in schools. Fortunately for us most visitors speak English to some degree which is handy when we need something translating and most are more than happy to help.
The trip to the top took an hour and a half then we had two hours before the train back down. Really rather chilly at the top and a pretty icy wind. The weather had changed anyway and temperature at ground level was 10 degrees down on yesterday. At the top it was another 10 degrees colder. It seems that we were exceedingly lucky. It might have been cold but it was dry and clear. They have fog in Brucken 300
days a year.
The top of the mountain was reserved for Russian military during the early years of the West / East Germany divide and the Russians somewhat surprisingly didn’t leave the area until 1998. Don’t know how they got on with all the Hexens (witches) which abound in this area, flying hither and thither on their broomsticks. Not sure what they do around the Harz mountain area but there are lots of them about and think they are connected to Proust. We only bought a small one to add to our collection on the shelf in Tandy.
We found a canteen out of the cold to get some lunch but we don’t know what we ate. I pointed at a dish of ‘red stew’ with a slice of lemon on top the person in front had just ordered and ordered one of those and some pommes-frites as well. With the bread roll provided it was absolutely fine. Would have ordered drinks but had a rude man behind who kept pushing my tray along impatiently (I wasn’t even being very slow) so abandoned the idea of choosing a drink and we drank the water we had
Back down on the 13.05 train this time right behind the engine. Bob made friends with another good English speaker and the last part of the ride they stood outside behind the engine which Bob said was as good as being on the footplate.
Back to Kisbee and into town for an icecream as saw so many yesterday but didn’t have one as we were too full after lunch. Then back to the campsite stopping at Aldi on the way for a few essentials. I really need to find a good supermarket. Don’t like either Aldi or Lidl but they are the most obvious ones we have seen.
Tomorrow we move on further south. Expecting to have an indoor swimming pool so hope the temperature restores itself as really a bit chillier than I would like.
Tot: 2.086s; Tpl: 0.054s; cc: 11; qc: 29; dbt: 0.0237s; 1; m:saturn w:www (188.8.131.52); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.4mb