Lower Saxony is on the train
In each German Bundestadt (like a state in the US), one or more people can travel on any public transit for a day with a special ticket. Hannover is the capital city of Lower Saxony, or Niedersachsen. One person can purchase a Niedersachsen ticket for 23 euros and each additional person (up to 4) can ride along for only 4 additional euros. You can substitute one (and only one) dog for one person, but all of these riders must stick together. These days you can buy these tickets on your smartphone, and the conductor can scan one qr code for the group. Too bad we only had the two of us. But, oh, well.
You may remember the story of the Pied Piper of Hamlin. The town has a rat problem, the man with the flute (and hat and costume) comes along and arranges a deal to get rid of the rats for a fee. He does, but the town reneges on payment, and then the children disappear. Apparently this is based on a true story where all but three of the town’s children disappear and are never found. In any case, the town is crazy for rats.
You can see it in the paving stones, in the trinket shops, on the walls, in the statues – it’s rats or the piper, in various forms.
Several times a day the glockenspiel plays some tunes, and a few of those times there’s a little show with figures who come out of the building. Here are some photos, but you can see a youtube video of the show here.
It’s a cute German town with lovely decorations and half-timbered houses and worthy of a day-trip.
A look at the map showed us that we could hit up another adorable town, Hildesheim, sort of on the way back to our Hannover AirBnB. Why not?
If Hameln is crazy for rats, then Hildesheim is crazy for roses. Apparently there is a 1,000-year-old rosebush, but you have to pay to go into some little museum to see it, so we just enjoyed walking the town.
Since this was towards the end of the day, we didn’t pay much attention to which church was which, or the special significance of anything, but we really loved the feel of the town, and I would be happy to return one day.
Before taking the train back home, we had some of the very best apple torte ever, but we ate it way too fast to remember to take a photo. Another reason to return.