Today’s walk from Soltau to Handeloh was one of unexpected surprises.
The walking day got started after breakfast at the hotel at 8:30. The route was excellent with a bike path to follow right out of town. I’d walked 4-5 miles and could see a small town coming up. I also began to see random people walking and bicycling into town, and they were all dressed alike; black shoes, black pants, white dress shirt, and the men and some women were wearing the same type hat. At first they looked very much like a religious group on the way to church. However, from what I’ve observed and discussed a few days ago about the lack of religious gatherings, I had my doubts. As I got into the edge of this very small town, named Heber, I then saw a few people also dressed the same way, carrying musical instruments and forming up on the sidewalk. I crossed the road and approached what was obviously a small marching band and asked if anyone spoke English. One girl said yes and I asked her what was going on. She said they were members of the local shooting club and today they were having a meeting. A few seconds later the drum major blew her whistle and they started playing and marching down the sidewalk to the meeting place. I could hardly get my camera out quick enough. I captured the playing on video and will post it when I have a faster WiFi connection.
When I got within about four miles of today’s destination, I noticed Google Maps had me getting off the nice bike path and onto another trail that cut through the woods to my hotel. As always, when the route goes through heavy woods, you can’t actually tell by looking at the image what the trail consists of. It can be anything from an actual paved road to a gravel road to today’s surprise; a grown over old logging road that had no signs of traffic in years. This was not the way I wanted to end my day, but the alternative was an extra three mile walk on the bike trail. I reluctantly followed the new route into the woods and made it out safe and sound four miles later. So I found the hotel in Handeloh, which wasn’t hard to do because it’s the largest building in this town of 2400. Everyone online talks nicely about the hotel restaurant. I’m about to go find out for myself.
Tomorrow I will be walking 18 miles to Hamburg’s southeast suburbs. After tomorrow night’s stay, I make a right turn to the northeast and don’t actually walk through Hamburg. I am down to one week remaining in Germany. I hope everyone back home has a great weekend! JB.