Christina/ August 30, 2020/ The daily grind

On this saturday we are planning on a tour tot he Salzgittersee, which is a man-made lake serving as a local recreation area. A friend of mine suggested this trip. Good idea I think to myself, I have not been there so far. At the end of the tour we agree upon the impression: „Never again Salzgitter.“
On the way we are asked to pay 1.000 Euro for posing a question and we are witnissing that people in Salzgitter-Beddingen are using the morning for disposing their empty Vodka bottles. Moreover we can satisfy our coffee thirst quite late, however we are spoiled by a history lesson of a special kind.

Two Polish guys and a bag full of empty Vodka bottles
Admittedly: I was kind of doubtful when I heard the keyword „Salzgitter.“ That is because I traveled there myself before and I did neither like the cycle tracks nor the landscape too much. But I am open to anything new and in pairs things sometimes look nicer as they really are.

We start our tour at the Ringgleis in Braunschweig, cross the Westpark and finally reach Groß-Gleidingen. We discover a signpost to the watergate Salzgitter at Üfingen and decide to have a look. By chance we come across a cycle path directly at the branch canal and follow the trail. On the latitude of Salzgitter-Beddingen we reach the harbour. We spot a Polish ship with two guys on board. We think about going on board but we do not carry this thought out.

After some meanders, unfortunately often on tar roads, we reach Salzgitter-Beddingen. It is Saturday noon. There is hardly anybody on the street. Well, beside a young guy. We stop him to ask for the way. Whereas my friend talkst o the guy I see that his bag is full of empty Vodka bottles. Well, what else can you do on a Saturday in SZ-Beddingen?

A closed village café

At the bridge leading from the village across the branch canal to the other side we spot the signpost for a village café. That gives us hope. We drive once again alongside the branch canal and see „Schacht Konrad“ a couple of minutes later. We cycle into the village, Salzgitter-Bleckenstedt. The café is well signposted, the place is easy to find. But, we are in for a big disappointment: due to Corona the café opens only on Sundays.

The 1000 Euro-Question

Well, we have to accept this defeat. Still the question remains how to reach the Salzgittersee. Our GPS shows a different route than the bikeway signs. Ony a local can help us. I have already spotted a funny looking old guy with a dog squeaker taking it for a walk. The man wears – according to his social status – sweatpans and a baggy sweater. Well, there is no use in overdressing at this place anyway. I have to think of the young man with the empty Vodka bottles again. I guess this guy has already put this phase behind him. The sweatpans are the remains of it.

Just for fun I suggest: „Let’s ask the elderly gentlemen“. The guy with the dog comes up to us and the look on his face tells me that he was kind of waiting for our question. „Hello“, my friend says, „can I ask you a question?“ „1.000 Euro“, the guy answers right away. „Oh“, we say and smile. Finally he tells us the way to SZ-Lebenstedt and thus to the Salzgittersee.

Das Grubenunglück von Lengede

We reach the artificial lake. The cylcle towards it is not nice at all. For many times we had to take the tar road and that had put a damper on us. No, we do not want to cycle to Salzgitter no more. It is a pitty but that’s it.

We decide on a different way connection to go back. We go via Broistedt and from there to Lengede. The cycle path bypasses the historical site of the mine disaster which took place there in the 70ies. We literally dive into the history by reading the information boards. In autumn 1963 129 mine workers were dumbfounded by the collapse of a sedimentation-pond. I cannot imagine how bad and scary this must feel.
Passing by the lakes of Lengede we continue our way back. We reach Vallstedt and head towards Wolfenbüttel. Having almost reached SZ-Thiede we turn into the direction of Groß-Gleidingen again. Via country roads we go to Timmerlah. We cross the Westpark again. We are back. „Never again Salzgitter“ is our result of the day. It is gonna be Gifhorn next time.

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