Aller River — A Golden Beetle In A Glacial Valley

Ask yourself this… If you wanted to navigate your way along the Aller River, where would you start? The river’s some 260 km (162 mi) long, and not all of it is navigable. Would you think to start at the end and work backwards?

Well, if your intention is to boat the Aller, that’s what you’re gonna have to do. Because it’s so un-German to start at the end, following a certain order, I can’t do it.

I have to start at the source, the Allerquellen if you will, in the village of Eggenstedt (which is part of Wanzleben-Börde, BTW). This is what’s known as the Upper Aller, but it doesn’t change the fact that the Aller River is the Weser River‘s biggest tributary.

The Aller River was also prone to flooding, so thanks to a number of locks that risk has been substantially lowered. Too bad the Aller is still polluted, although efforts to reduce this have been seriously undertaken. Maybe this is why the Aller has like 40 sewage plants along the way.

Interesting, a bit of the modern within this glacial valley.

Part of the pollution is created from the mining industry, but the Aller was also a waterway used for timber rafting.

Timber what? Timber (wood) rafting — which is how Celle managed to get much of it to build all those framework houses we love so much.

Ahh, I’m just as guilty about doing things out of order. Let me go back. After Eggenstedt the Aller meets the Lappwald in Wefensleben, which also has a beautiful Village Church.

To the east of Wolfsburg lies Grafhorst, along the Drömling nature area with all sorts of endangered plant and animal species. Please tread carefully.

The city of Wolfsburg can handle a bit more, but is where you’ll find six nature areas. It’s also home to the Golden Beetle — which isn’t a bug, BTW. It’s the one millionth Volkswagen Beetle.

Cars, nature reserves — is there anything Wolfsburg doesn’t have? No, not really — it’s got a castle (three actually: Schloss Wolfsburg, Schloss Fallersleben, and Burg Neuhaus), a huge shopping mall, a pedestrian zone, a planetarium, and an old brewery.

That should just about cover it, huh? Cheers, Mate! ;-)

Wienhausen is where the Aller becomes navigable. Well, just as soon as you leave after visiting the half-timbered Mary Magdalene Chapel, the the Cistercian Monastery, and the Water Mill.

Welcome back to Celle and all 400 of her half-timbered houses. This is why it’s on the German Framework Road, a scenic route totally dedicated to this kind of architecture.

Remember, the Aller made it all possible. And this isn’t the only scenic route, the Aller Cycle Trail is another wonderful (and healthy) way to see it.

Water skiing is not only “healthy,” it sure is fun too. Good thing you can do both on the lower sections of the Aller River, more specifically on the last 120 km.

Leaving the half-timbers behind, Winsen (Aller) counters with the Lüneburg Heath. This is where the Aller picks up one of its biggest tributaries too.

Winsen is a quiet town with a bird sanctuary, but it’s also got a windmill and an ancient hotel from 1648 (the Hotel zur Post).

We’ve made it to the end of the Aller River at Verden, a Low German speaking town. Verden’s got an Old Town, with a Horse Museum, an Amusement Park, and a Romanesque Church (St. Andrews), and a cathedral.

Over the course of the last 260 km, the Aller’s been dyked and widened, it’s also been straightened a bit too. Most of it through the decade of the 1960s.

I hope they make the Aller River more clean soon. Because it brings folks to some of the prettiest little towns and stunning cities. And all I wanna know is, can I have that Golden Beetle? ;-)

 

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