The E1|R1 Blog Summit from Sven’s Perspective
At the beginning of September, the first E1|R1 Blog Summit took place in Detmold. It was a great opportunity for me to get to know the beautiful region around the “Hermann” even better, to exchange ideas with travel bloggers and be on the road along the E1 and R1.
You can view all Sven’s photos on his website in the German language version.
I was invited to the summit by the organisers of the E1|R1 Photo Awards, about which I have already written a brief note. The aim of the event was to introduce travel bloggers from all over Germany to the region’s numerous sights and the E1 and R1 (European Biking Route 1) long-distance routes which intersect here. It was also a nice opportunity for me to travel to Detmold again, from where I started my several-month-long hike on the E1 three years ago and to reminisce a little (here is the first part of my travel report from 2014). And so I was immediately reminded of the start of this hike when I left Detmold train station. But instead of going to the Alps, this time it was to the “Lippischer Hof”, where the organisers René and Katharina and the first travel bloggers were already waiting. Below you will find a report about the summit, some sights in the Teutoburg Forest and a hiking tip for the weekend in the region.
Day 1: Detmold / LWL Open-air Museum
After some brief introductions, we went straight to the LWL Open-air Museum. Located at the exit of Detmold and in the immediate vicinity of the E1, you will be able to experience history up close on a 90-hectare site. At the open-air museum there are approx. 120 historic buildings from all over Westphalia to see. These were remodeled on their original sites and rebuilt as exactly as possible in the open-air museum. Whole villages have been newly built like this, often with the original or historically appropriate interior design. There are numerous residential and commercial buildings, two windmills and a school, as well as typical gardens with old plant species and agricultural land to see. Even old farm animals have their home here. Round a bend we are a bit surprised to find ourselves standing in front of an original petrol station from the 1950s. The photo-dedicated bloggers and I love the subject, which appears somewhat strange given the context, but is no less interesting to look at.
The attention to detail with which everything is built and maintained is clearly visible. Souvenir photos can even be made in a historical photo studio (the walls including paintings were transported here). The picturesque gramophone is not simply decoration; it is fully functional, just like the old plate camera. The construction of a miniature half-timbered house is an interesting and fun group activity. A viewing tower offers a beautiful view across the surrounding area.
The time in the open-air museum flies by and there is so much to discover – ideal for a trip with children. If you plan to visit during an E1 hike, you should either schedule a day off or start early so that you have enough time for a visit. Hikers with tired feet can follow part of the trail comfortably in a horse-drawn carriage. With our heads full of new impressions and memory cards full of photos, we finally make our way back to the hotel. After an interesting and sociable evening, I go to bed with a well-filled belly.
Day 2: E1 – Detmold – Hermannsdenkmal (from an unusual perspective) – WALK – Externsteine
After breakfast, I leave alone along the E1 towards the Hermannsdenkmal, where I have arranged to meet the rest of the group. A nice opportunity to recreate the first kilometers of my big hike and to take notes along the route for a stage description. The E1 runs quite nicely through a park-like green belt along the Friedrichstal canal from Detmold. While I was almost alone here a few years ago, many people are now crowded around the flea markets. But after a few hundred metres it gets a bit less busy and once behind a pond, I’m travelling alone again. I still remember this stage very well and I am delighted when I reach a road to be crossed over to it. From here, the path leads along a beautiful avenue into the forest of Grotenburg.
The road gradually changes to a narrow path. I enjoy every metre and remember the sweaty climb at over 30 degrees with a heavy backpack. With just a day backpack today, the whole thing is a piece of cake. Finally, I am standing in front of the WALK competence centre, a newly created centre for the promotion of hiking. A little later I reach the Hermannsdenkmal. This colossal statue, completed in 1875, is in memory of the Cherusci prince Arminius, who united the Germanic tribes and defeated the Roman legions. Today I have the opportunity to get to know the statue from a new perspective – from the inside.
Behind a wooden door in the base a climbing coach is waiting for me. A little later, I climb securely into the statue. A steep ladder leads upwards and it is quite tight. The climber who is securing me is extremely cramped in a “side wing.” He welcomes me kindly and I am glad not to have to crawl into the narrow hatch too. Because from here it goes up again. Finally, in the darkness, Hermann’s face is visible from the inside. Eyes, mouth, nose – the light shines through the nostrils, and the distant treetops of the Teutoburg Forest are visible. A great experience! The amazingly thin sheet skin is supported by an ingenious, branched steel framework. The construction is still in its original state – apart from the rust-proof paint. It is wonderful to explore the interior of the statue with a headlamp. On the descent, I stop once again with the hatch between my feet and take a look outside. In addition to the great panoramic view, it is also possible to take a look under Hermann’s robes…
The others’ happy faces show that they had just as much fun climbing as I did. We take a well-deserved refreshment break in front of the WALK and listen to a passionate talk about the history of the region and the upkeep of the cultural monuments.
Now we are finally on the E1 again towards Externsteine. I recognize the curve on which I discovered my first blister three years ago (after just 6 kilometers!). This time it is going much better and I enjoy the walk with the other participants – we talk a lot about our previous trips and hikes. It mainly continues at this elevation through the forest towards the village of Heiligenkirchen. The route goes directly past the Adlerwarte Berlebeck, a bird of prey park with daily flight demonstrations. After an ascent, the trail continues through the forest with occasional good views. Just before the descent to Holzhausen, the path reaches a more open heath area with a viewing point and rest amenities.
We finally arrive at our destination for the day, the impressive Externsteine, having crossed over the Bärenstein. These are an attraction for tourists, hikers and cyclists, but also followers of esoteric groups. The sandstone crags can be climbed upon payment of a fee. A pond artificially installed in 1837 was intended to draw attention to the Externsteine and could be navigated with rowing boats. It was later drained as the National Socialists hoped to find traces of a Germanic cult site – without success, or else the finds could not be attributed to the Germans. The surrounding meadows are an inviting place for picnics and resting. The E1 stage actually leads further to Altenbeken. However, since there is so much to see in this section, it is a good idea to finish the hiking day at the Externsteine. Accommodation can be found in the nearby villages of Holzhausen and Horn-Bad Meinberg.
We also stay in Holzhausen overnight. A beautiful and exciting day on the E1 ends in a convivial round at the Hirschsprung inn.
Day 3: R1, Crossroads and Silberbachtal
Since the meeting was next to the E1 but also close to the R1, and the crossroads are near the Externsteine, today we exchanged our hiking boots for bicycles, or more specifically e-bikes. An absolute first for me. We speed towards the E1/R1 crossroads with unusual ease. This is not far from the Externsteine. But as I notice at the location, it is also unfortunately a few hundred metres away from the E1 route. Nevertheless, I am happy about this prominent indicator for the European long-distance path 1. It’s just a shame that hardly any E1 hiker will see it without making a small detour.
But since we are now on the R1 route for a little while (it leads across 4,000 kilometers through ten countries from Boulogne-sur-Mer in France to St. Petersburg in Russia), we are in the right place to get to the Silbermühle. Here, the R1 and E1 actually meet each other (next to two further junctions in Detmold and Holzhausen). The Silbermühle is an ideal starting point for a trip into the beautiful Silberbachtal.
The E1 leads up to Velmerstot through this (464m). I remember this section as a real highlight of my hike. And although the weather is rather cloudy today, I really enjoy walking through this romantic valley again. The other bloggers seem to like it here too – it is photographed like crazy. Unfortunately, our schedule does not allow us to reach the summits of Velmerstot. These are also a worthwhile goal. There is an inviting heath and a beautiful viewpoint from some sandstone crags on the Lippischer Velmerstot. On the slightly higher Prussian Velmerstot you can climb a viewing tower – the Eggeturm. So it is worthwhile to follow the E1 further along the crest of the Egge mountains.
A small conclusion and “what really makes the E1 so special”?
The summit was a great and interesting experience for me. I am also very pleased that the organizers are actively promoting the two long-distance routes and the region in which they cross with the E1|R1 Photo Award and the blog summit. I hope that the E1 became a little “tempting” for the visiting bloggers.
And, of course, I hope that more people will get to know the E1 and want to hike along it. Whether in part or all at once – there are so many possibilities to discover the E1. And if you are on the road for the first time – even if only for a weekend, for example, in the Teutoburg Fortest – you will quickly be struck with wanderlust. At some point the inevitable question will arise: what would it be like to hike across Germany from north to south and to get to know your own country better? How would you like to reach the Alps or even cross them on foot? How about hiking with a tent through the Scandinavian Fjell before finally standing at the Nordkapp? Or to explore the Apennines of Italy and to see Etna and Capo Passero in Sicily? All this is possible on the E1.
My E1 tour tip for the weekend in the Teutoburg Forest:
The E1 in the Teutoburg Forest offers an attractive “warm up” stretch, e.g. for a weekend hike. The stage from Detmold to Altenbeken (approx. 30 km) can easily be divided so that it can be hiked in two days. This leaves enough time for sightseeing.
A possible division would be:
Detmold (by train) – Externsteine - Overnight stay e.g. in Holzhausen or Horn-Bad Meinberg (approx. 14 km + approx. 1 km to the accommodation)
Externsteine - Altenbeken (with railway connection, approx. 15 kilometers) or continuing to Bad Driburg (+ approx. 6 kilometers, with train connection)
With the LWL Museum, Hermannsdenkmal, the Adlerwarte Berlebeck, the Externsteine, the Silberbachtal and the Velmerstot, many cultural and scenic attractions are to be found along the way. All starting and ending places can be reached by train.
Extensive information about the E1 trail can be found on Sven’s website: e1.hiking-europe.eu/en (english version available)