Just 35 km south of Hamburg are the four districts of the town of Hanstedt (Nordheide). I think I mean the Samtgemeinde Hanstedt — confusing, yes?
What’s not confusing is Hanstedt lies along the Lüneburg Heath, filled with almost 200 kilometers of trails for hiking, Nordic Walking, and biking.
No problem if you’ve wandered too far, every year from June to October the Heide Shuttle runs along a 3-ring route to pick you up, or drop you off — it even has a bike trailer hitched to the back of the bus.
Did I mention it’s free? Ha, an even better deal! ;-)
Before you’re off to other places around the Lüneburg Heath, it’s best to stick around for a little while. No one is saying you gotta hike all 44 km of the Pastor-Bode-Weg, but a leisurely horseback ride would be nice.
A visit to the Local History Museum (in the town of Egestor) is also a good place to start — and if you don’t believe me, go ask at the Tourist Information Center. I’d bet they’ll tell you to see the Art Bossard, a museum that also hosts all kinds of concerts and special exhibitions.
Some people might consider architecture a form of art — and I must be one of them, because I loved the half-timbered St. Magdalen Church in the village of Undeloh, the Lutheran St. Jakobi Church is quite pretty, and there’s yet another church to see — St. Stephen’s in Egestorf.
All this sightseeing and physical activity work up a hearty appetite, so thankfully there are restaurants serving up yummy seasonal and regional cuisine. According to one Lutheran Pastor, German food isn’t particularly spicy (rich, hearty, but certainly not spicy), it seems kind of strange to celebrate a Chili Festival in the Heide every June. Oh yeah, pass the 5-alarm chili — and add more hot pepper, if you please. Where’s the nearest beer garden to wash it all down? ;-)
No big deal if chili’s not your thing, you’re more than welcome to grill your own bratwust at the BBQ areas at Egestorf’s swimming area — in addition to a day of water splashing fun.
Hanstedt might be confusing with its name, is it a town itself or a Collective Municipality — but whatever name it chooses to use, it’s a fantastic place to enjoy the Lüneburg Heath Nature Park, the wonders of Hamburg, and the beauty of art.
Forget the Heide Shuttle, I think it’s a good idea to hang around here for a while longer.