Due to a thankfully mild eye infection I caught at the end of my vacation and the kids having their birthdays it has taken quite a bit longer than I announced before, but I will now able to continue developing fbroc and writing. Fortunately, our vacation in the Harz was great and I being well-rested always help my motivation.
The Harz is the highest mountain region (still not that high) in the northern part of Germany and in case you are going (or are considering to) there, here are some suggestions about what to do.
- Visit some mines. The Harz has a history of iron ore mining and every little town seems to have its own mine. It is very interesting to see how they worked there and there are often beautiful mineral formations as well. When you consider working conditions and the resulting life expectancy it makes one feel grateful to live here and now. Since you often have to stoop, I wouldn’t recommend if you have trouble with your back and are of above average height. Most of the mines also have museums to give the historical background.
Not obviously for a mountain regions, there are lots of opportunities to go swimming. There are lots of lakes and small rivers, many built to supply all the mines with water to drive the wheels. Some of them are now open for bathing (often without payment). This was very nice on some of the hotter (>30 degrees Celsius) days.
Above all, do some hiking. As an additional motivation, there is a stamp system, the Harzer Wandelnadel, where you get regarded with various badges, if you collect enough by hiking to various locations. As usual, this gamification also helps to motivate children. The stamps are usually well-placed, so that you are rewarded with a great view or a visit to a historical significant site.
There are also many other options, like visiting Goslar or the highest mountain in the region, the Brocken (1141 m). In addition, there are also many gondola lifts, summer toboggan runs and some nice castles. All in all, it’s well worth one or even several visits.