After a succcessful hike in Brocken which we did in 7 hours, we drove directly to Thale. It was a 35-kilometer drive which became almost 60 kilometers because ironically, there was a bad detour just 3 kilometers to town and we had to drive an extra 20 kilometers to get there. It was raining and already getting dark when we arrived in our parking area.
Campsite : Parking, Seilbahnen
Walter-Rathenausstrasse 06502 Thale
Coordinates : N: 51.74602 E: 11.02501
It is a big mix-parking, free of charge, used mainly by visitors of the cable cars and amusement parks in the area. There are no other services, not even a waste container! It was busy during the day, but really quiet at night. We stayed here for three days, from July 23-25, 2016.
THALE AND THE MYTH TRAIL
Thale is a town in the Harz district in central Germany. Thale, once a small industrial town, is a good starting point for several good hikes in the Harz mountains. The town center is not much; there are only a few shops and restaurants and no striking and impressive architectural buildings like in some of its neighbouring areas. But it has a nice park with lots of charming wooden benches (Kurpark) opposite the tourist office and wonderful recreational areas for young and old. We came to Thale to do some hikes, but because we were still suffering from muscle pains from the previous hike in Brocken, we had a day’s rest on our first day in Thale (Saturday). We spent the day just walking around in town, having lots of rest…and yes, doing the Mythenweg (Myth Trail).
Interesting wooden benches and sculptures in the village
There are many myths and legends surrounding Harz mountains and maybe this inspired the community of Thale to set up the Mythenweg. The Myth Trail introduces different characters in German mythology, from the upper God Wotan to his loyal horse Sleipnir and other strange creatures like seasnake, dragon and dwarves. The trail begins at the cable car station and ends up at the market square in front of the Rathaus. The tourist office offers a guided tour of the train for 6 euro per person. We did it on our own, with a result that we were not able to find one of the figures, the Mythentor!
THALE – FUNPLACE FOR EVERYONE
Even though the town center of Thale doesn’t offer much in terms of shopping and dining out, nature compensates for it. The fun begins just about 500 meters from the tourist office, where all various recreational facilities are found which cater to all ages. There is the selbahnen Thale Erlebniswelt with a funpark, mini-golf, climbparcours, a downhill bike trail, playground, simple restaurants and most of all, the two cable chairs/cars that go up to Hexentanzplatz and Rosstrappe. Indeed, Thale is a perfect place for a family day full of fun!
HIKES IN THALE
Thale lies in a wonderful setting of a river gorge where the Bode River cuts thru Harz mountains and flows thru just outside the town. With such a wonderful striking environs, Thale is a very good starting point for hiking, the main reason we were here on the first place.
We did two wonderful hikes here : the hikes to Hexentanzplatz and Rosstrappe.
HIKE TO HEXENTANZPLATZ –BODEKESSEL
It was Sunday, July 24, when we did our first hike in Thale. It was a combi-hike of Hexentanzplatz and Bodekessel. Hexentanzplatz (translated as Witches’ Dancing Place) is a plateau which lies 454 m high above the Bode gorge. It can be reached by foot, by car or by cable car. We did the first way, by foot. The hike is categorized as an average one, and up to Hexentanzplatz is only about 3 kilometer long. But because we combined it with the hike to Bodekessel and made lots of stops, it took us 6 hours to finish it, hiking a toal of I think 8 kilometers. We started at 9.30 and finished at 15.30.
The path to Hexentanzplatz was a good one : a bit wide, went gradually steep and offered lots of viewpoints. We did a lots of stops, not wanting to tire ourselves too much. It took us 2 hours to reach the Hexentanzplatz. It was a nice area, which we didn’t expect at all! There are lots of small stands that sell food and refreshments and souvenirs. There are museua, the Berg Theater (mountain theatre), a Witch house, Harzbob, and even a zoo! Lots to do in this plateau, that we spent a good one hour here! We even bought a witch doll, which we put on the dashboard of our camper!
After our break at Hexentanzplatz, we followed the path to viewpoint La Vierschone, and then started our hike down to the river. It was a steep zigzag narrow path up to the Junfernbrucke. We crossed the bridge, turned left and walked extra 700 meters along the river, crossed another bridge, this time the Teufelsbrucke (Devil’s Bridge) before we finally arrived at the Bodekessel. We retraced our steps, arrived at Junfernbrucke again, followed the path along the river and after 20 minutes walk, we were back at The starting point of the hike, by the cable car station.
THE HIKE TO ROSSTRAPPE
The following day, Monday, we did our second hike. This time, to Rosstrappe. Rosstrappe is a big granite rock that rises 403 meter high in the Bode gorge in Thale. Just like Hexentanzplatz, it could also be reached by foot, car or cable car. And of course, we did it again by foot.
The hike to Rosstrappe is shorter (6 kilometers retour) and less exciting than Hexentanzplatz. It took us only 4 hours to do it. The starting point is also at the cable car station to Hexentanzplatz, walking past the mini-golf course and turning right at the first possibility. The path was an easy one, and one kilometre before Rosstrappe, there is a nice viewing platform called the Bulowhohe.
There was also a very long (almost a kilometre) path in going to the viewpoint of Rosstrappe where a footprint of the horse which jumped from Hexentanzplatz to Rosstrappe is found, alongside with a short description of the Rosstrappe Saga. (legend of Rosstrappe with princess Brunhilde). It was also busy in Rosstrappe. The views were amazing; we could see the depths of the valley and also the Hexentanzplatz on the other side. After spending an hour here, Hans and I hike down, following the same path we used in hiking back.
It was a reasonably easy hike, but we were so tired when we arrived at the camper that we did nothing but sat on our chairs! After a while, we went back to the riverbank, sat on one of the big stones there and had our feet immersed in the cold waters for almost an hour . Refreshing!!!
Our customary pictures together