One thing struck us at our first discovery tour: Bremerhaven has much space. All streets and places are wide and vast and nothing is really narrow. Between the houses there is much space and you can always see far. You are always near to water. It looks quite strange when a car seems to drive over the water because the street is very near to the basin. Or when behind houses loading cranes are peeking out. The connection to shipping and fishing is omnipresent.

Stadtansichten von Bremerhaven by AchimMeurer.com . Stadtansichten von Bremerhaven by AchimMeurer.com . Stadtansichten von Bremerhaven by AchimMeurer.com . Stadtansichten von Bremerhaven by Achim Meurer.

 

 

City and Pedestrian Zone

But also the city and the pedestrian zone are wide and vast. Inbetween is much space. Always something historical. An old industrial memorial. Or an old house. Right beside, but subtle connected there is something new. It is so much fun to look around here. Behind every corner there is something to admire. Like the university for applied science which is right at the end of the pedestrian zone. One the one hand an old store-houses area and on the other side a modern creative and artistic architecture. You can’t stop wondering. And you can take pictures here without end.

Weser Beach

Only a couple of minutes to walk there is the Weser beach. A tiny sandy beach. A couple of beach chairs and the dike. Here natives and tourists are wandering, look out on the water or let the wind caress their faces. Everything is close and drawn from curiosity you end up at the Havenland. One museum right beside the other. In-between again old cultural assets and modern design. A shopping center. A hotel with a viewing platform in lofty heights. Right beside there is the marina. Everything harmonius side by side.

Somehow this is the nice thing about Bremerhaven. Everything mixes up. You walk through the streets and you will meet professional skippers or sportsmen. And everyone is busy with their own occupation. Old things persist beside new things. Work with leisure activities. Science with sightseeing. Tourists mix with natives. Wonderful.

Cycling in Bremerhaven

We rented bikes at the tourist information office and hit the town. And we ended up inevitably at the harbour. You can’t get around the harbour here. There is a harbour everywhere. New harbour, old harbour, city, harbour, fishing harbour, container harbour and overseas harbour. You might mess it all up in the beginning with all the names. Doesn’t matter. Just have a look. And listen to the natives. They offer their advice unasked and share their haunts or recommend where you can have the best fish! Great!

 

Fishing Harbour Bremerhaven

At the fishing harbour there is a special area: The shopping window (Schaufenster Fischereihafen). Here everything is about fish and fishing. There is an old fishermans’ village and fish is prepared, processed, smoked and their are again some historical things to be admired. But also here where you would assume only tourists there are also natives shopping fish from sellers that could have as well their own stand up comedy program. Or they buy one kilogram of Granat – as the shrimps are called here – from the last shrimper to shell them.

 

Many workers let you have a look at their work. There are some transparent factories: You can watch the fish processing through a window. Or go to see the fish smokehouse with historical smoker. And one gets tipps everywhere.

 

Fish and Co.

So we ended up at „Fisch 2000“. A snack bar which we never would have visited if it wouldn’t have been recommended by several locals. But you can eat here very good fish. No  fuss. Fresh prepared and yummy. And here Bremerhaven is reflected in miniature. There is the traveler with suitcase sitting beside the worker with smocks. Pensioners besides touristic families and all enjoy their fish. Dreamlike! But please bring some cash. Fish is only sold against cash.

 

View over Bremerhaven

There are some other view points: The container view tower. At the overseas harbour. The name has a double meaning and says it all. The tower is build of containers and you can watch the container harbour with all the loading cranes and lorries and coming and going. At the evening this all becomes a shadow play in front of the sun set.

Stadtansichten von Bremerhaven by Array. Stadtansichten von Bremerhaven by AchimMeurer.com . Stadtansichten von Bremerhaven by AchimMeurer.com .

Other points for a general overview are the viewing platform at sail city at the Havenland. Here you can have a panoramic view. In the summer time you can even watch the sun set. But this is nothing for people with fear of heights. The radar tower would be another possibility but it was closed while our stay.

 

Actually one should visit every place twice. Once at high tide and once at low tide. It looks completely different. The difference are around four meters anyway.

Along the Geeste

We had a bike tour along the Geeste with the amazing horseshoe bends and enjoyed nature but also the industrial culture.

Bridges and Locks

Take your time in Bremerhaven. It is nearly impossible to get quickly from here to there because you have to cross a bridge or lock. And then one has to wait until the boat is gone. At the lock at the new harbour you can hear the announcements in the local dialect. Very funny.

 

Shop around the clock

There is also plenty of time for shopping. One supermarket is open 24h from Monday to Saturday. And it is huge. Have we talked about time yet. If you like you can pay in dollars. Where else can you do that?

Stadtansichten von Bremerhaven by Achim Meurer. Stadtansichten von Bremerhaven by Achim Meurer.

 

Bremerhaven:

A lot of water, many ships, huge width, much fish, a lot of old, a lot of new, a lot to discover.

Photos © DieMeurers

 

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Let’s talk about summertime. About freshness. No. Not about the fresh temperatures. But about fresh things that you can find now everywhere.

Fresh vegetables, fresh herbs, fresh drinks, juicy fruits…

 

Wolfenbüttel has been a gardener’s town.

More than 100 gardeners grew vegetables and provided people with tubers and salads. Today unfortunately not much is left. But we looked out for some traces of the old times and searched for gardeners.

Öffentliches Gemüsebeet in Wolfenbüttel by AchimMeurer.com .

When we were strolling through town we not only noticed the numerous half timbered houses with all the tiny details. But we also came across a special flower-bed. In front of the church St. Trinitatis. This one was looking different to the other flower-beds. And when you take a closer look you will realize. Those are no flowers. This is vegetable. In the middle of the city. No wonder. As this flower-bed is right beside the gardener’s memorial. And there they really grow vegetables.

Öffentliches Gemüsebeet in Wolfenbüttel by AchimMeurer.com .

Also some seldom varieties. At least we had to ask at several points to find out what it is. Some vegetables we knew. Like mangold or lovage. But there were others. And – as always – we were curious and asked around. The answers were vague: „Maybe green cabbage. Or a special sort of savoy cabbage?“ „No this is mangold. A special type of mangold.“ Hmmm… nobody really knew.

Öffentliches Gemüsebeet in Wolfenbüttel by AchimMeurer.com . Öffentliches Gemüsebeet in Wolfenbüttel by AchimMeurer.com .

So we went to the gardener’s museum.

200 people are caring for this museum in their free time. Among them are also some gardeners. They should know. Of course they did! It is a special type of green cabbage, called: „Lerchenzunge“. (Lark’s tongue). Wonderful. So this is cleared.

Das Gärtnereimuseum in Wolfenbüttel by AchimMeurer.com .

Once we are there we can as well have a look around. The museum is right to my taste. Ha, ha. Taste has a double meaning here! Because this museum is not only about theory. Here you can do some gardening. You will find a lot of vegetable patches and some flower-beds. Everything grows here. And therefore the taste. You may harvest here. With competent support you can learn about plants and gardening and you may try it out yourself. Especially the harvesting of potatoes is supposed to be very popular. With a tasting afterwards of course! As I said. Totally to my taste.

 

So I had a look around the patches and found something. I only say: Yummy! But I get distracted…

In the museum you will hear all about the history of the gardeners and learn about the tools and equipment. You can stroll around in the garden and – as mentioned – do it yourself during guided tours. One tool has even been invented in Wolfenbüttel. The „Schüffeleisen“. A special tool to get rid of the unwanted plants. Again something learned.

 

In the house everything is like in former times. From the washstand over the oven in the living room to the cooker and the welsh dresser in the kitchen. And there even is a boiler room. In those boilers everything has been cooked: sausage after the slaughter, clothes from the whole family and apples to make apply syrup. They still work though. At special days the boiler will be fired. So the gardener’s museum is worth a visit. As it does not open on a daily basis here is a tipp from us: When the colourful ribbons are flutter in the wind on the flagpole the museum is open. By the way: There is also freshly baked cake.

 

Enough talk bout fresh and gardening and harvest. Now we want to do it ourselves and want to cook something. No sooner said than done.

Wie macht man einen Mangoldstrudel - kochen im Jugendgästehaus in Wolfenbüttel by AchimMeurer.com .

Right now there is so much ripe for harvesting. Everywhere fruits twinkle below the leaves. Salad is shining green. Herb gardens flow over. Corn fields glow yellow or are just harvested. At the market so much is offered. And the air is full of smells and flavours. And there are still a handful of gardeners in Wolfenbüttel. So we went to see the „Gemüsescheune“ (vegetable barn). Here vegetable is still grown. So we harvested a salad and some herbs.

The first ingredients were there. Then we went to the flower-bed at the gardener’s memorial to harvest mangold. There are some plant with various glowing colours. Wonderful. The other things we had to buy in the supermarket. Next time we have to find out where we can get fresh eggs, butter and milk from a farm. But that’s a different story.

 

Good. So we went to the chef of the „Jugendgästehaus“. A kind of a youth hostel. There we cooked with all these nice things a mangold strudel. How it is done you will find in detail in a different article:

How to make mangold strudel

Wie macht man einen Mangoldstrudel - kochen im Jugendgästehaus in Wolfenbüttel by AchimMeurer.com .

 

It was really funny anyway to work with such nice fresh stuff and cook with it. After work we enjoyed some fresh air. You can get around quite well by bike in Wolfenbüttel. We rented e-bikes from the tourist office and cycled through green parks and along the water. Did you know that the air is little bit more fresh at the water? They say it is about one or two degrees.

 

You can also experience some fresh air right in the city. We like to sit outside and enjoy a coffee. Have we talked about freshly roasted and freshly made coffee, yet? Or how about a freshly baked cake? Or a freshly grilled bratwurst? Everything is available.

Espresso trinken in der Fußgängerzone by AchimMeurer.com .

And there is freshly brewed beer. Yes, we found that as well. There is a new brewery – Mad Dukes Brewery. They have celebrated a party for their first fresh craft beer. There were some nice varieties: An espresso-stout, a pale ale and the new „Weizenbüttler“, a wheat beer. For the special burst of freshness try the beer ice cream. There were all three of them as ice cream. It’ s a must. An explosion of flavours.

 

After all this partying we went to the beach. Quickly we arrive with our bikes at the „Strandwolf“ and had a freshly made cocktail while we were playing with our toes in the sand. Great! If you need more freshness put you feet into the water.

There it is again. The feeling of freshness. „Wellbeingbüttel“. At summertime.

So? Where do find freshness in Wolfenbüttel?

All photos © DieMeurers

One more thing: half timbered houses in Wolfenbüttel

Anf because Wolfenbüttel has so many awesome half timbered houses here are some more impressions:

Sunset over Wolfenbüttel

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We tried it and cooked with freshly harvested ingredients from the region of Wolfenbüttel. Thanks to the kitchen staff of the Jugendgästehaus in Wolfenbüttel that we were allowed to look over their shoulder. And thanks for the Gemüsescheune that we could watch the harvesting. And thanks to the town’s gardener for the nice vegetable patch in the city.

We want to make mangold strudel with a side salad.

So let’s start.

All the ingredients.

Wolfenbuettel_2017_3136 by AchimMeurer.com .

Let’s first prepare the strudel dough.

Mix egg, flour and water

Wie macht man einen Mangoldstrudel - kochen im Jugendgästehaus in Wolfenbüttel by AchimMeurer.com . Wie macht man einen Mangoldstrudel - kochen im Jugendgästehaus in Wolfenbüttel by AchimMeurer.com .

And knead it.

Wie macht man einen Mangoldstrudel - kochen im Jugendgästehaus in Wolfenbüttel by AchimMeurer.com .

 

Add oil and work it in.

Wie macht man einen Mangoldstrudel - kochen im Jugendgästehaus in Wolfenbüttel by AchimMeurer.com . Wie macht man einen Mangoldstrudel - kochen im Jugendgästehaus in Wolfenbüttel by AchimMeurer.com .

 

Wie macht man einen Mangoldstrudel - kochen im Jugendgästehaus in Wolfenbüttel by AchimMeurer.com .

Do another pressure test.

Wolfenbuettel_2017_3177 by AchimMeurer.com .

Let the dough rest for at least half an hour.

Wie macht man einen Mangoldstrudel - kochen im Jugendgästehaus in Wolfenbüttel by AchimMeurer.com .

During that time you can prepare the mangold.

Wash the mangold, dry it and rip the stem out.

Wie macht man einen Mangoldstrudel - kochen im Jugendgästehaus in Wolfenbüttel by AchimMeurer.com .

Cut the stems.

Wie macht man einen Mangoldstrudel - kochen im Jugendgästehaus in Wolfenbüttel by AchimMeurer.com .

Cut the leaves.

Wie macht man einen Mangoldstrudel - kochen im Jugendgästehaus in Wolfenbüttel by AchimMeurer.com .

Peel onions and garlic and cut it.

Wie macht man einen Mangoldstrudel - kochen im Jugendgästehaus in Wolfenbüttel by AchimMeurer.com . Wie macht man einen Mangoldstrudel - kochen im Jugendgästehaus in Wolfenbüttel by AchimMeurer.com .

Sweat the onions and the garlic and add the stems

 

Stirr eggs.

Wie macht man einen Mangoldstrudel - kochen im Jugendgästehaus in Wolfenbüttel by AchimMeurer.com . Wie macht man einen Mangoldstrudel - kochen im Jugendgästehaus in Wolfenbüttel by AchimMeurer.com .

Cut the cheese into cubes.

Wie macht man einen Mangoldstrudel - kochen im Jugendgästehaus in Wolfenbüttel by AchimMeurer.com .

Add the cheese to the eggs

Wie macht man einen Mangoldstrudel - kochen im Jugendgästehaus in Wolfenbüttel by AchimMeurer.com .

Add the mangold leaves to the frying stems and fry them as well

Wie macht man einen Mangoldstrudel - kochen im Jugendgästehaus in Wolfenbüttel by AchimMeurer.com .

Add the fried mangold to the egg and cheese cream and mix it.

 

For the salad

Wash the salad and pluck it. Pluck the leaves from the herbs and fry the herbs in oil and add some maple sirup

Wie macht man einen Mangoldstrudel - kochen im Jugendgästehaus in Wolfenbüttel by AchimMeurer.com .

Grate the carrots and add some lemon peel

Wie macht man einen Mangoldstrudel - kochen im Jugendgästehaus in Wolfenbüttel by AchimMeurer.com . Wie macht man einen Mangoldstrudel - kochen im Jugendgästehaus in Wolfenbüttel by AchimMeurer.com .

Cut an apple into small pieces

Wie macht man einen Mangoldstrudel - kochen im Jugendgästehaus in Wolfenbüttel by AchimMeurer.com .

Fry the apple with a little bit of sugar and add the carrots

Wie macht man einen Mangoldstrudel - kochen im Jugendgästehaus in Wolfenbüttel by AchimMeurer.com .

Let the apple and carrots dry on a kitchen paper

Wie macht man einen Mangoldstrudel - kochen im Jugendgästehaus in Wolfenbüttel by AchimMeurer.com .

Back to the strudle dough

Stretch the strudel dough out. Start with the hands an turn the dough around.

Wie macht man einen Mangoldstrudel - kochen im Jugendgästehaus in Wolfenbüttel by AchimMeurer.com .

Work on with the rolling pin.

Wie macht man einen Mangoldstrudel - kochen im Jugendgästehaus in Wolfenbüttel by AchimMeurer.com .

Stretch the dough further over your hand.

Wie macht man einen Mangoldstrudel - kochen im Jugendgästehaus in Wolfenbüttel by AchimMeurer.com .

Put the dough on a clean dishcloth and stretch it further.

Wie macht man einen Mangoldstrudel - kochen im Jugendgästehaus in Wolfenbüttel by AchimMeurer.com .

Put some melted butter on it.

Wie macht man einen Mangoldstrudel - kochen im Jugendgästehaus in Wolfenbüttel by AchimMeurer.com .

Put grounded almonds on it.

Wie macht man einen Mangoldstrudel - kochen im Jugendgästehaus in Wolfenbüttel by AchimMeurer.com .

Fry some whole mangold leaves shortly in olive oil from both sides.

Wie macht man einen Mangoldstrudel - kochen im Jugendgästehaus in Wolfenbüttel by AchimMeurer.com . Wie macht man einen Mangoldstrudel - kochen im Jugendgästehaus in Wolfenbüttel by AchimMeurer.com .

Put them on the dough.

Wie macht man einen Mangoldstrudel - kochen im Jugendgästehaus in Wolfenbüttel by AchimMeurer.com . Wie macht man einen Mangoldstrudel - kochen im Jugendgästehaus in Wolfenbüttel by AchimMeurer.com .

Add the pressed mangold mixture.

 

Put egg yolk on the edges

Wie macht man einen Mangoldstrudel - kochen im Jugendgästehaus in Wolfenbüttel by AchimMeurer.com .

Fold the strudel and roll it with the dishcloth into a firm roll.

 

Put the strudel into an oiled form, put egg yolk on the top and put the strudel into the oven.

 

While the strudel is in the oven you can prepare the sauce.

Heat egg yolks in a bain-marie and stirr them with some starch flour, salt and vegetable stock.

 

Add nutmeg

Wie macht man einen Mangoldstrudel - kochen im Jugendgästehaus in Wolfenbüttel by AchimMeurer.com .

The salad

Decorate the salad on plates and add the crispy herbs and caramelized apple and carrots

Wie macht man einen Mangoldstrudel - kochen im Jugendgästehaus in Wolfenbüttel by AchimMeurer.com . Wie macht man einen Mangoldstrudel - kochen im Jugendgästehaus in Wolfenbüttel by AchimMeurer.com .

Back to the strudel

Get the strudel out of the oven, cut it and arrange it on a plate

 

Add some nutmeg whip and decorate it

Wie macht man einen Mangoldstrudel - kochen im Jugendgästehaus in Wolfenbüttel by AchimMeurer.com .

Enjoy!

Tell us about your best mangold recipe!

All Photos © DieMeurers

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Mülheim an der Ruhr; a part from the Ruhr area or somehow not really. Not anyway from the Ruhr area that is still in the head of the people. The dark, dirty, loud Ruhr area. Mülheim was one of the first towns that started with transformation. Towards green. But not only green but also comfortable and quiet.

Impressionen aus Mülheim a.d. Ruhr, Ruhrgebiet , NRW by Achim Meurer.

There are huge parks with old trees and beautiful alleys. But also wide meadows. Sometimes you can find sculptures or a rose garden with fountains. For the children there are playgrounds and everything is actively used.

Impressionen aus Mülheim a.d. Ruhr, Ruhrgebiet , NRW by AchimMeurer.com . Impressionen aus Mülheim a.d. Ruhr, Ruhrgebiet , NRW by Achim Meurer. Fahrradtour Mülheim - Kettwig - Mülheim a.d. Ruhr, Ruhrgebiet, NRW by AchimMeurer.com .

Also the Ruhr islands are green and the Ruhr promenade. Everywhere green. Lush green. Sometimes the watersides are overgrown so that you can hardly see the river. But then it blinks between the bushes and you can watch it flow slowly.

 

We rented bicycles and went on one side of the Ruhr towards Essen Kettwig. We struggle a bit with the cycle lance system inside the town. But soon we left the traffic behind and were in the country. Yes exactly. Really in the country.

 

Right after the streets in town we went along the promenade, passed the water station (Wasserbahnhof). At the weir we went a little bit along the road and through a green gate on the towpath (Leinpfad).

Fahrradtour Mülheim - Kettwig - Mülheim a.d. Ruhr, Ruhrgebiet, NRW by AchimMeurer.com . Fahrradtour Mülheim - Kettwig - Mülheim a.d. Ruhr, Ruhrgebiet, NRW by AchimMeurer.com .

An old path where horsed dragged the ships along the river. Today it is used by pedestrians, bikers or walkers which enjoy the beautiful nature. Not in the affluent suburbs but outer areas with tiny villages, big farms, estates, huge stables and many fields. Only the motorway bridge reminds you of the Ruhr area.

 

Cylce lanes lead well signed through the Ruhr floodplains or right beside the river. Now and then there is a rest stop. The villages are small and straightforward. There is a church and a grave yard. Maybe café, some cozy camping grounds, a hotel, a lot of half timbered houses and a few pieces of art and sculptures.

Fahrradtour Mülheim - Kettwig - Mülheim a.d. Ruhr, Ruhrgebiet, NRW by AchimMeurer.com . Fahrradtour Mülheim - Kettwig - Mülheim a.d. Ruhr, Ruhrgebiet, NRW by AchimMeurer.com . Impressionen aus Mülheim a.d. Ruhr, Ruhrgebiet , NRW by AchimMeurer.com .

Again and again we had to stop to admire the view. And of course to take photos.

Fahrradtour Mülheim - Kettwig - Mülheim a.d. Ruhr, Ruhrgebiet, NRW by AchimMeurer.com .

But we were still quite fast at the old town of Essen Kettwig. Really pittoresque. Times seems to stand still here. Half timbered houses everywhere. Old handcrafted doors. Cobblestones. A duck pond full of common waterlens. Two coots are swimming in it. The tour around the old town does not take long. Maybe a cup of coffee – or a bite in one of the restaurants with terraces with a view. And then you can go slowly back. Everything cozy. Everything slow.

 

In case you don’t want to walk or go by bike you can take the boat. The ships of the ‚white fleet‘ (Weiße Flotte) also float unhurriedly. In Kettwig they turn around and go back to the water station.

 

Everything is straightforward. Everything is slow. Nobody hurries, nobody honks impatiently. Everybody has time for a chat. People are helpful. When there we had a problem with one of our rented bikes we stopped and asked two men in their gardens for a tool. Both went into their garage or workshop and one of them came back with a screw-wrench. After the screw has long been tightened we still were standing at his front garden chatting. No stress! The Ruhr also flows very slowly after all.

Fahrradtour Mülheim - Kettwig - Mülheim a.d. Ruhr, Ruhrgebiet, NRW by AchimMeurer.com .

Mülheim has no big sensations. No „world’s first X“ or „Germanys longest Y“ or „Europes most beautiful Z“. Nothing. Nothing at all. And maybe that is the reason that it does not need to be blatant. Mülheim is the town of gems. Those can be discovered individually. By strolling around the city. All shops are located in a mall though. But there are nice cozy cafés outside under rows of trees. Streets and places are wide and after six in the afternoon you can use your bike also within the pedestrian zone. No stress!

 

As a visitor you don’t have to worry that you might have missed something great. There is no list of points of interest, that you have to see, no attractions, that cost so much that you would need one of those guest cards that grant you free entrance or a deduction.

Impressionen aus Mülheim a.d. Ruhr, Ruhrgebiet , NRW by Array.

The real gems are free anyway. Like walk along the Ruhr promenade. Sit on a bench for a while and admire the water lilies. Watch the geese or one or the other artist that are sitting on benches. Have a look over their shoulders and admire their pieces of art.

Fahrradtour Mülheim - Kettwig - Mülheim a.d. Ruhr, Ruhrgebiet, NRW by AchimMeurer.com . Fahrradtour Mülheim - Kettwig - Mülheim a.d. Ruhr, Ruhrgebiet, NRW by AchimMeurer.com . Impressionen aus Mülheim a.d. Ruhr, Ruhrgebiet , NRW by Array.

Sit on the steps of the city harbor and watch the sunset. Or watch others ride a pedal boat. Admire the water fountain in front of the town hall and watch how it changes with the wind. Sit at the water side and watch the swans swim by. Try your luck with fishing. Have a picknick. Sit on a bench and have a chat.

 

Go to the castle „Schloss Broich“ and have a rest in the park. The kids are playing. The teenagers brought a ball or some other sport equipment. In the evening there glow LED lamps instead of bonfires.

 

And even major events like the ‚KULI-Treff‘ (culinary art event) or a concert in a park or at the open air theater do not cause any stress. No traffic jam. No human masses that block your way. No special trains or busses or trams. No riding around the block five times to find a parking spot. No stress!

 

In Mülheim riding a car is nice. There are no traffic jams. You will always find a parking place and it is cheap. We left our car for example at the Delle. With a parking attendant who hands out the ticket and collects the money when you are leaving. Here we paid one Euro for one hour. After six o’clock in the afternoon you can mostly park for free. You do not have to search long and in many streets there are free parking places.

 

But you can also walk a lot in Mülheim. The most beautiful spots can be reached within walking distance. From the train station to the water station or to the city harbor, to the museum or in a park, to the town hall or to the castle ‚Schloss Broich‘. No big distances.

Sonnenuntergang - Impressionen aus Mülheim a.d. Ruhr, Ruhrgebiet , NRW by Array.

In the evening it gets quickly quiet. Many cafés and restaurants close early. People disappear in their houses. Places and streets are empty. No nightlife district, no parties or events. Nothing to miss out on. Only many many things to discover and to sense. Mülheim.

Alle Fotos © DieMeurers

More Impressions

Camera Obscura

 

City Mülheim

 

Mühlheim Districts

 

Essen Kettwig

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The Cycle Marathon Tannheimer Tal 2017 lies behind us and though we have not been active participants the whole week was fun.

I say the whole week because we have been their earlier for the preparations and for the racing bike week. The Cycle Marathon on Sundays is the highlight of the events.

The Racing Bike Week

It all starts on Monday afternoon with the first rides out. Those are meant for getting to know the different s and check out your performance „Will I manage?“. To benefit all there are up to five different rides out with different levels of difficulty. Those range from easy trips affectionately called „Cappuccino Round“ up to challenging pass tours. The Cappuccino round ist according to Marcel Wüst „for all those that regard a bicycle as a means of transport instead of a sports equipment“. Those trips are lead by well known and famous race bikers like the above mentioned Marcel Wüst or Gerrit Glomser or dedicated cyclists that know the routes by heart.

 

The fulll range of these trips show quite well the spirit of this event. It is mostly about fun about being part of it but it is not about racing or ambitious goals. Therefore a stop for drinks and snacks is always part of those trips. Talking to each other and having fun while cycling is the first priority. If you ever have been part of such a tour you will know what I mean. People are laughing, are making jokes and are chatting while pedaling. And the routes through the Tannheimer Tal and the Allgäu are stunning. Whenever possible the bikers use the bike lanes so that they are able to enjoy  the beautiful nature and so that they can bike in groups.

 

Everyday there are several tours. Always at ten in the morning. Weather permitting. In case it rains at that time there will be a second try at two o’clock in the afternoon. So you can get ready for Sunday.

 

On Friday there has been an additional technique workshop with Marcel Wüst which has been interesting just by watching. It is always amazing how many tipps you can get from professionals. And even if it is just one single tipp you take along. It might be the one thing you needed to drive more easily or more pleasant or just more smoothly. Maybe you can loose your fear of certain situations and increase your driving pleasure.

 

On Saturday the last tours take place called „rolling in“. Some parts of the original routes are taken to get to know them. As there are some challenging parts with steep descents or intensely ascending slopes. Some bikers change their choice of route afterwards. But this is good. Because every ones wants to reach safely and in good spirit the finish line. False ambitions are out of place here. Some even change their mind while on route by driving left or right at the turnoff between the 85 km or 130 km route. The Lech bridge seems to be a special trail marker and for one or the other even a nail biter „Shall I or shall I not?“.

 

Preparations

While the bikers are preparing for the highlight on Sunday by bike or workshop around 300 people are busy working to enable the Cycle Marathon. The organizing team is very busy. Until the very end registrations are arriving. Starting numbers have to be prepared. Applications have to be handled. The route has to be checked several times. Contact to police and maintenance area is close during this week: „What about this traffic light? Where will car traffic be stopped?“.

 

Sponsors have to be found and taken care of. Starter packs have to be prepared. The floor in the tennis hall needs protection against street shoes and cycling shoes. The racing office has to be installed. Speakers have to be arranged. The stage has to be erected and needs a carpet. The winners’ podium has to be ready. Catering is needed. And for the pasta party huge amounts of noodles have to be cooked. There are workers everywhere. Everyone is busy. All in T-shirts in bright colours working in the name of the Cycle Marathon. And again and again there are questions and challenges. Smaller ones and bigger ones. „Where does this go? When will the beer tables be delivered?“. Telephones are ringing. Information is given all the time and questions are answered.

 

Also here the mood is good. People are working well together. Jokes are told and everyone is eager to answer questions if possible. And so the tennis hall turns into a cycling centre and the cafe becomes a race office. In the evening the sign posts are distributed. There are not only directories but also warning signs. One teams finishes work around midnight and the next team starts at two o’clock in the morning. Everything for the participants.

 

Outside protective gratings are mounted. On the meadow bike racks appear. And a start and finish gate is raised. Music arrives and plays loud while the car for the time measurements is put in place. Bikers get their starting numbers, chat along and loads of boxes are delivered. Food, documents, office material, t-shirts, trophies, vouchers, cutlery (no plastic by the way!), rubbish bags, cake, posters, a video wall, cables, barrier tape, drinks and much more.

 

Sunday – the cycle marathon

On Sunday morning the whole start-finish area is humming like a beehive. Those go still for their starting number. Others use the offer to have breakfast. And the other ones are already standing in front of the starting line. You can feel the excitement everywhere. Everybody is nervous. Some fear for their starting position. Others keep a spot free for their friends that are coming late. The one or other bike is lifted over the heads of those already waiting. Sometimes the bike is pointing in the wrong direction and has to be turned again. Others ask themselves whether they will cope or whether they have chosen the right route and if everything will work out. Others think about wearing a rain jacket or leaving it in the back pack. GPS trackers are set and they twitch at their starting number until the very last minute.

 

And then they are off on the route. The bikers get moving. The biking shoes klick, when they latch into the pedals. In front there are support vehicle with blinking lights and a camera car. It lasts several minutes until everyone is on the route.

 

Inclusion

On Sunday there have been three starts. At six o’clock the biggest group started for the 220 km round. One hour later the bikers for the 85 km and 130 km route started off. And for the first time ever at the Cycle Marathon Tannheimer Tal there has been a start from tricycles. The two participants were allowed to start 15 minutes earlier to make sure that there would be no problems in the crowded start area. How nice, that such a thing was possible here. Each start has been celebrated accordingly by the present audience.

Along the route

Along the route assistants, security guards and policemen are standing. Provision stations are set up. They spread butter and chocolate cream on bread, but fruits and mix isotonic drinks. There is even magnesium in case the muscles cramp.