Adventure "Kanonenbahn" cycle route
Cycling in the Eichsfeld district
In the southern part of the Eichsfeld district – often referred to as "the Tuscany of the North" – there's a cycle route that runs straight through this impressive scenery. On 32 inspiring kilometres, the Kanonenbahn ("cannon run") cycle route crosses the Thuringian districts of Eichsfeld and Unstrut-Hainich, and then continues on to the Werra-Meißner district in Hesse. So we get on our bikes, and cycle past the source of the Unstrut river and the Unstrut viaduct, the Küllstedt tunnel, the tufa waterfall, the Draisine station and the cycle route church.
Hang on a minute! Draisine? We should have a go on one!
Roller coaster meets ghost train ride
The wind ruffles our hair; the landscape seems limitless. Then we're in the dark. We travel through five tunnels along the disused Leinefelde-Treysa railway line with the Draisine. It's a little bit like a roller coaster and a ghost train ride rolled into one. The cyclists are pedalling furiously next to us, and we overtake them easily. Interesting, we hear different language and dialects. The Kanonenbahn cycle route would lead us all the way into Hesse. Of course, the experiences of the people who live in the Eichsfeld district are still shaped by the border that divided Germany for so many years. We strike up a conversation and learn that there is a museum dedicated to the former border close by that is also a memorial, the Border Museum Schifflersgrund. We'll have a look at it later on.
Made it. Numerous rest areas along the route invite you to take a break, and because we started the tour with a tasty treat, we'll also finish it with one and reward ourselves with a piece of delicious "Schmandkuchen" cake, another local speciality. Wonderful!
A walking aid village
There's a discussion going on at the table next to ours. Carbon fibre or wood? A discussion amongst hiking acquaintances. One of them does not consider modern telescopic sticks to be suitable alternatives to the traditional walking aids made from oak and chestnut. He fumbles around with his hiking stick and laughs, proudly shouting over to us: "Made in Lindewerra! Just like Dr House's."
It turns out that this village in the Eichsfeld district has a long tradition of "stick making". The sticks produced by the two local workshops reach customers all over the world. They've even made it onto our TV screens. We are suitably impressed, and are planning a visit on our way northwards before staying overnight at the Klausenhof. However, that's another story, and definitely not recommended for anyone suffering from hay fever!
Header image: ©Iris Blank Fotografie, HVE Eichsfeld Touristik e.V.