If you’ve ever flown from the United States to Germany you probably took a “red eye” flight, tired from your day at home, but equally excited to touch ground and get those feet on European soil. Well, this was how I’d spend the better part of my last weekend, starting Saturday night. I first flew to Amsterdam, where I had a few hour layover, and then on to Hanover, in northern Germany. From Hanover I got in my rental car and drive about an hour to my final destination, where I had to promptly get ready to start the work week abroad. Before having to turn myself over to work, though, I was determined to do something exciting before the end of the weekend.
Although I’ve traveled fairly extensively throughout Germany in the past, I actually had never been to Hanover. So, based on the time I landed and factoring in for luggage, rental car and the need to not arrive to my final destination too late in the day, I determined I had approximately 3 hours to explore Hanover. But is 3 hours really worth it? It turns out, it sure was!
During my layover in Amsterdam, I had gone online briefly to scope out my possibilities in Hanover with a 3 hour window. I scoped out a few restaurants as well as some sites I might want to explore, all the while knowing that I was going to have to play it by ear given the time constraints and my complete lack of knowledge whatsoever about this city. Upon arriving to Hanover, I picked up an orange VW T-ROC, a crossover vehicle that could be likened to a Tiguan, only a bit sportier. (We don’t have this model in the US, in case you were wondering.) From there, I started the car’s navigation towards what looked like a lake (Maschsee) in the middle of the city. This is probably a pretty area, I thought to myself, as I fumbled with the clutch of a car that responds much differently than my 2003 Toyota Celica.
My assumption of beauty at this lake destination did not miss the mark! The path from my car to Maschpark (Masch Park) was simply gorgeous. It certainly didn’t hurt that it was a glorious 77 degrees in the middle of October. I passed by many beautiful buildings in traditional German half-timbered architecture before arriving at the Niedersächsischer Landtag (State Parliament of Lower Saxony), aka Leineschloss.
Here I saw a memorial to August Heinrich Hoffman from Lebersfallen, a German poet, who wrote many children’s as well as political songs around the time of the 1848 Revolution. There you could see a bronze plaque for August which reads “Meine Waffe war das Lied,” which translates to “My weapon was the song.” Above the plaque in large letters reads “Einigkeit, Recht, Freiheit” or “Unity, Law, Freedom.” With google and wikipedia as my tour guide I learned that these words of his are particularly meaningful to the Germans as they became a part of the third verse of the German national anthem.
Across the way from Leineschloss was a gorgeous city square that I couldn’t help but stop to photograph. In the park itself, the leaves were just starting to turn and the entire path around Maschsee (the lake) was filled with slightly different, but equally spectacular views of the Neues Rathaus (New Town Hall).
After my stroll around Macshpark I headed back to Zeitfür, an excellent restaurant situated in Leineschloss right where the Leine River that runs through the center of Hanover. The atmosphere could not have been better. I watched the sunset on the river over a tasty traditional German specialty called Currywurst. If you’ve never had this traditional dish imagine the best hot dog you’ve ever had covered with ketchup mixed with curry spice. Normally it’s served with fries, but since I’m ketogenic and all, I asked for a fresh side salad instead. The waiter recommended a white wine to pair, and I was happy as one could be in this picturesque setting. I opened my computer to catch up on some emails and watch a bit of my daughter’s soccer game that was live streaming from back home in the states. If you’re looking for an intimate place to get a high quality, traditional German meal with your loved one, then you should check out Zeitfür.
According to my physical activity app, I ended up walking about 5 miles, more than reaching my steps goal for the day. I was equally relaxed and satisfied by the views and delicious food to boot! And all this was just from 4-7 pm on a Sunday afternoon. All in all I can recommend a visit to this city if you happen to be planning a trip to Germany. Next time I’m in the Hanover area I’ll be planning a few more days to see what more this city has to offer.