Apart from the Baltic Coast few Central Europeans have access to the sea, therefore being from the UK it is a very odd feeling not to be within even a 100 kilometres of a beach or sea in a landlocked Goettingen.
So what to do? Central Europeans visit the lakes and there are many to choose from. During the Cold War in an isolated Western Berlin cut off by guns, walls and barbed wire the Wannsee drew Berliners and Allied soldiers to the largest in-land beach on the globe and I recall reading that Berlin also had the highest number of boat owners in the World at that time. Many French, British and US soldiers would spend their leave messing about in boats.
Close to my new home and not far from the centre of town there are a number of swimming pools – some indoors others out, this is not uncommon even in the smallest town in Germany, but it would seem to me they are perpetually under financial stress.
Then there is the Keissee Lake which features a thriving water sports scene. A 20 minute ride there is also the Wendebach Stausse, a man-made lake that is free to use and was recently saved after a big campaign.
Further away is the Seeburg See, a natural lake and we rode to this lake in the middle of a heat wave which is boiling Europe. The ride was 40k there and back, and seldom were we on roads with motorised traffic.
We followed cycle signs and thankfully we are getting the knack of interpreting the sometimes iffy direction and some are badly faded. A good sense of direction and a map usually sorts it all out.
All three local lakes are accessible with few cars to contend with and it is very common to see young children riding their bikes to go swimming.
One thing that you should take into account is that many of the cycle routes are a mixture of gravel (sometimes rough), concrete farm roads and tarmac, plus our trip included forest roads, so no lightweight tyres!
The Seeburg See is not really my cup of tea as a swimming venue but it’s great to go boating there.
Oh, sheep and goats are back to tending to Kesterlingroder Feld.