Roman and Mediaeval History, Illlustrated Travel Journals, Mediaeval Literature, Geology


5.9.12
  Oh Dear, It's September Already

And I have done only one post in August. Bad blogger, no cookies.

But at least I did some hiking tours with my father to collect more photos. Our latest hangout has been the Nature Reservation Meissner and Kaufunger Wald, halfway between Göttingen and Kassel and thus an easy target for day tours.

Karst formations in the Meissner mountains

The foothills of the Meissner mountain are another of those dolomite karst mountain areas (like the southern Harz) that developed out of the Zechstein Sea some 250 million years ago. The karst makes for picturesque formations and nice photos.

One of the dolines

Since water is still washing out the rocks, it's not safe outside the marked paths because the ground may give way. You don't want to fall into a a sink hole in the karst. Those thingies last swallowed an ox cart back in the 60ies.

Kalbe Lake

The Meissner itself consists mostly of basalt with layers of brown coal inclused. The Kalbe Lake was caused by coal mining. After the mine had been abandoned, the pit filled partly with water. There is still coal in the mountains and it's still burning, so the air smells of sulphur around the lake.

View from the Kalbe

Besides the main top, the Hoher Meissner, there are several other ones that offer a nice view over the surrounding landsape, like the Kalbe (719 metres above NN). The Meissner also draws lightning storms as we learned a few days prior to this visit when we were forced to turn back, though the weather was fine all around the mountains.

Mother Hulda's Lake

At the foot of the Kalbe (but still 623 metres above NN) there's a much older lake, or rather a pond; Mother Hulda's Lake (Frau Holle Teich), a natural standing lake on a layer of clay. A casual mention of Roman coin finds in the lake made me wonder if it was a sacrifical lake in Germanic times, but I need to find out more about that.

The Romanesque church in Reichenbach

We also got a bit of culture, mostly Romanesque churches. There were several monasteries and nunneries who after the secularization left behind quite impressive churches; and the villages got stuck with the big things. The above one is in Reichenbach (not to be confused with the falls Sherlock Holmes fell into) - it was stripped of its apses at some point, but the church itself is still beautiful.

Germerode church, interior seen from the organ platform

Another such example is Germerode, also minus its transepts, but it still has two beautiful crypts. Several of the buildings belonging to the former monastery are today used as hotel, exhibition rooms and other such purposes, so that the entire place is still pretty much intact.

Boyneburg Castle

And finally a castle in the mists, the Boyneburg. Today the weather didn't play so nice but we had a plan, drizzle be damned. The few remains don't give the impression that the castle once was important, but it did play a considerable role in Mediaeval times.

I'll leave you with another view from the Kalbe.

Another view from the Kalbe

So that's fodder for some posts once I'll get back to being a good little blogger again.

But first we have at least two more day tours planned, and a longer trip to Naumburg and Memleben; important places of Medieaval (esp. Ottonian and Salian) history.

 
Comments:
Gabriele

Nie pics. one can see the geography and d=geology of the area.
 
Lovely photos! They look like great places to walk.
 
Everything looks so green and lush - beautiful!
 
Isn't it funny how September suddenly appeared?
Kalbe Lake looks very mysterious.
I love Romanesque churches. So solid and straightforward.
Neat photos! Makes me want to go for a hike.
 
Fabulous pic of the castle in the mist! Oh my, falling into a sink hole sounds really scary. ;-)
 
Sink holes are really scary. The local caving club near Ingleborough in Yorkshire occasionally offers to lower visitors into Gaping Ghyll on a caving winch - the joke is that it's free to go down, they only charge if you want to come back up :-) Falling into one unexpectedly is the stuff of tragedy and adventure novels....

Fabulous karst scenery, and great photos - thank you. Who is Mother Hulda? Is she a figure from local folklore?
 
Thanks everyone.

Carla, Mother Hulda (Frua Holle) goes back to the Germanic pantheon, but later got reduced to a fairy tale figure in Grimms' Tales. There is a story about a good girl who fell into a well, came out in another world and had to do several duties, among them helping Mother Hulda to shake the cushions so it would snow on earth. As reward, she was showered with golden coins upon her return. So her lazy sister went down the same well, but didn't work, and so upon return was showered with pitch.

Considering those last winters, I suppose it's the lazy girl's time right now. :)
 
Many thanks for the information about Mother Hulda. I remember hearing the story about the good sister and the lazy sister (or a variant of it), but I had either forgotten Mother Hulda's name or it wasn't in the story when I heard it.
 
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Miscellaneous musings of an aspiring Historical Fiction and Fantasy author. Illustrated essays on Roman, Dark Age and Mediaeval history, Mediaeval literature, and Geology. Some poetry translations and writing stuff. And lots of photos of old castles, cathedrals, Roman remains, and beautiful landscapes from Germany, the UK, Scandinavia, and the Baltic States.

All texts (except comments by guests) and photos (if no other copyright is noted) on this blog are copyright of Gabriele Campbell.

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I'm a writer of Historical Fiction and Fantasy living in Germany. I got a MA in Literature, Scandinavian Studies, Linguistics and History, I'm interested in Archaeology and everything Roman and Mediaeval, an avid reader, opera enthusiast, traveller with a liking for foreign languages and odd rocks, and photographer.


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