What do you think about when I mention wide-open spaces and oil rigs, the heart of Texas, the Middle East perhaps? No way! This is Wietze in Lower Saxony, Germany only about a half hour north of Hanover (also Germany ;-).
Oil production was big business to Weitze’s economy; and a few oil rigs still dot the landscape. One oil rig is found at the Deutsches Erdölmuseum or German Mineral Oil Museum, as well as exhibits on the history and economics of the industry.
Wietze’s cultural side is seen at its Stechinelli Chapel. This Baroque chapel was built in 1692 by Francesco Maria Capellini, banker to some 17th century duke. Wow, there really is money to be made in banking. I think I’m in the wrong business. ;-)
But, even if you don’t have a banker’s salary you can still enjoy Wietze. The nature reserve doesn’t really cost anything, so hike or bicycle your way around all the local flora and fauna.
I guess it is true; the best things in life are free. The posh Lüneburg Heath is not too shabby for not really costing anything.
There are a couple of cycle tracks through Wietze (a total of about 250km of trails). One is about 25km long taking you past the Oil Museum, the Stechinellikapelle (we went there already, didn’t we?) but follows along the Hornbostel.
There’s another one that’s a little over 17km; but even if you take this shorter route you won’t miss anything.
If you don’t care for all the cycling, there are still all kinds of other sports in the Aller-Leine Valley. Try the Fitness Trail (as if cycling isn’t a workout enough), tennis, or the outdoor swimming pool (if it’s too cold, there’s an indoor pool too) with a “leisure park” right there for your convenience.
Wietze is also a festive town, with its Potato Market and many musical concerts; and I promise you won’t need to earn a banker’s wage to enjoy them.