Two 430 metre hills dominate the approach to Goettingen from the south east and upon each a castle was built. We spun out along a mix of gravel, cycle paths and road, which included my favourite the Kopfsteinpflaster Carrousel to seek out the Burg Alte Gleichen (castle).
Just after the carousel we approached the Alte Gleichenwhere via a concrete Weg and turned left onto a long and very steep gravel climb. This in turn became a series of single track trails and we were forced to duck, dive and weave through stinging nettles and over fallen tree limbs.
The castle upon the Alte Gleichen was built in the 12th century and on the Neu Gleichen a little later for the Counts of Reinhausen before the Knights of Gleichen took over. Neither castle fell in war rather they simply became disused when the Knights sought greater luxury in their Manor House in nearby Appenrode. Like so many other castles they became quarries for stone but whilst the Neu Gliechen has gone completely some of the Alte Gliechen remain in ruin including a wonderful fire hearth and large stone walls.
On the Old Gleichen is a plaque in commemoration to Edith Stein who was born into a Jewish family before converting to the Roman Catholic faith and who loved this area writing much about it. She was subsequently murdered by the Nazi’s at Auschwitz and is now a Saint of the Catholic Church. People have left pens as a mark of remembrance to her.
Another woman who plays a part in local folklore is Mutter Specht who lived alone on the Old Gleichen and she ran a small gasthaus which drew many visitors. This closed in 1959, which is a great shame as we would have given a lot for a cold beer on what was a very hot day.
Coming off the Old Gleichen saw us fly down a long, long, long gravel descent which must have been 6/7 kilometres in length and we emerged from the forest at the Spinnerei Gartetal, then it was back home along the gravel trail that was once the Gatertetalbahn.
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