In the southernmost region of Schleswig-Holstein and on the banks of the great Elbe sits the busy city of Geesthacht. A center for major energy and scientific research, it is an area of great minds — as well as some great lakes. The huge artificial lake nearby is an awesome hydro-electric power-house!
Anyone who has visited this area of Germany will say how green it is — not just in renewable energy, but in the actual appearance of the environment, too. The Elbe Biosphere Reserve is currently a protected UNESCO Heritage site since 1997 and is rich in plant and animal species. The region also has two great forests for you to explore with over 35 km of hiking paths to choose from within these secluded, peaceful settings.
The city is probably most famous for a scientific experiment that took place on nearby Krümmel Hill in 1865. A young scientist combined a few known chemicals and produced the first dynamite! His name was Alfred Nobel. The factories are still open to the public, so you might even get yourself a guided tour. A Water Tower stands on the very hill to this day in his memory.
Other places to discover while relaxing in Geesthacht include Karoline, the old steam train for the area which sits in the museum and is sometimes brought out for tours. Equally the 300 year old house that houses the museum is certainly worth a visit in its own right — its artifacts are an added bonus!
However, don’t overlook information on the Bronze Age tombs just outside of town. They are in a site that will really get you thinking about past cultures as you peer into the vertical cavities exposed by the weather.
If you want to enjoy the sunshine, head for the large outdoor swimming pool beside the Elbe. Not only is it heated (by solar energy of course) it is set in large gardens and has a fantastic 70 meter slide. You won’t be the only one there though… so take a packed lunch and make a day of it. :-)