There is no doubt about it, the ongoing Corona-Crisis is a pain in the neck. It limits my mobility. But there are also positive aspects to it. I begin to move in local recreation areas and discover new things in well-known places from the past. And that is meant in a litterally sense because this sunday we go back in time, back to the Palaeolithic. Once more we walk across the nature reserve Elm-Lappwald. We start at Warberg and head towards Schöningen, passing by a forest elephant until we reach the paläon (a museum which is closed due to Corona) with its famous lances located at the end of the town. On the way there is always something to discover.
Through the Elmgarden via the forest elephant to Schöningen’s lances
We start our tour at the fortress of Warberg. We cross the village and than turn right reaching the edge of the forest, the so called Elmgarden. From there we continue on a lovely trail right through the forest towards Schöningen. The path is well signposted. The fresh green of the trees is superbly illuminated by spring sunshine and it beams mood enhancing through the leaves. After approximately five kilometres we pass Buschhaus on our left side and reach the Elmhaus on our right side. Even though the tavern is closed the parking lot in front of it is quite packed. We approach the building and suddenly ralize what aroused the public interest. It is the lifelike copy of a forest elephant that has ever lived on earth and that at Schöningen! We learn that the 4.15 metres high monument was errected in 2018. Well that must be the reason why I had not heard of it yet. Anyway, the elephant is a perfect subject for a photo.
We continue towards Schöningen and its castle. It is another 1,5 kilometres away. We are passing a residential neighbourhood that appears as if it belongs to a different era. In my point of view the closely spaced houses symbolize plain narrow-mindedness. Nobody is on the street; garden gnomes and other cheesy decoration characterizes the landscape as far as the eye can reach. There is a revival of awkward childhood memories from the past. Fortunately, these are quickly elemenated when we reach a small public park and shortly afterwards the castle itself. It is a small but nice site that delights the eye. The benches place in the sun are inviting us for a rest. In the pedestrian zone we spot an ice-cream parlour offering street sale. Even though the ice-cream is only served in paper cups these days and not in cones any more we still enjoy our treat.
We stroll up the pedestrian zone and are quite astonished about the variety of sights to see. Apart from the party venturesome domestic architecture – it has it all: from half-timbered work to concrete-horridness – we come across the water maid, the local museum and the impressive church of St. Vincenz. We plan to walk for another 2.5 kilometres to reach the paläon before we return to our starting point in Warberg.
We leave the inner city and pass by a very interesting housing complex which has been errected to accommodate workers from the brown coal mining. Just some minutes later we walk past an allotment and finally catch sight of the paläon building glittering in the sunshine. Of course, the museum is closed as well. However, the financial straights the institution got into are not caused by the crisis. The facility was in trouble before. And I realize why. The futuristic building is located between the former open cut mining, the power plant Buschhaus and grassy steppe. In polite words: the location is simply unattractive.
A spectacular discovery does not make a tourist magnet
You cannot deny it: the finding of the so called seven Schöninger lances that stem form the Palaeolithic is sensational. But that fact alone seems not to be sufficient for constructing a museum around it. The location itself was meant to be a tourist attraction, however, it did not work, the financial burden makes that clear. The point is, the site lacks the attractions around it. People are not willing to drive for three or more hours just to see some ancient lances. The question is what can they do afterwards?
We stroll back to the castle square, pass by the housing complex of the narrow-minded again (there is still nobody on the street) and reach the edge of the forest again. The sunday strollers have gone home already, the forest is ours! Awesome! It is such a nice pre-summer day and we enjoy the way back to its fullest. Having reached the fortress of Warberg again we enjoy another rest in the evening sun. After the hike I am somehow impressed how much can be discovered and experienced within cooee.