Last weekend, we took a day trip to the nearby town of Hameln. One nice thing about the Deutsche Bahn is that on weekends, up to five people can travel for the price of one ticket. This means it’s easy to be spontaneous and fun without blowing all of your money.
One bad thing about the Deutsche Bahn is that very rarely are its trains on time, at least in our area, and there is not a clear way to ask questions or receive updates. Our train from Bielefeld to Löhne (about ten minutes away) was right on time. However, we missed our next train (from Löhne to Hameln) because the only indication that it was on a different track was a tiny sign pinned to the bulletin board on the track that we were on.
After two hours of wandering through Löhne, we got on the correct next train to Hameln. Hameln (as in “The Pied Piper of”) is a small town. It’s spelled about a dozen different ways depending on where you’re from. We tried pronouncing it a few different ways as well, but no one could understand us. That’s been a common theme here.
Of course, we saw the statue of the Pied Piper, along with lots of rats painted on the ground. I had completely forgotten about the Pied Piper and was surprised to be reminded that he’s kind of a bad guy. I think I was confusing him with the (good) guy in Ireland that drove out all of the snakes, leading me to forget that the Pied Piper stole all of Hameln’s children in the 1300s. Since ‘To Catch a Predator’ was not yet invented, they never did find the town’s children.
One notable feature of Hameln is that at any given large intersection, there is usually not a crosswalk. Instead, you can cross underneath the streets, taking stairs that go down as though there were a subway. We spent a while at our first large intersection trying to figure out when to run across, before seeing the stairs that led underground. We then kept accidentally crossing to the wrong side of said large intersection.
We strolled through the main square and then walked along the river. It was later in the afternoon than we had anticipated, and the sun doesn’t rise too much these days, so the light was pretty rad.
Ever booked a posh hotel, only to find out when you got there that it used to be a prison and place of death for Communists, war criminals, and other undesirables? Hate it when that happens.
As with a lot of the towns we’ve seen, many buildings seem suited for an Escher drawing.
And just before our train home, we caught the 3:45 (I mean, 15:45) chiming of the clock in the town center.