We only had one day to explore Hannover because we were on our mission to reach Sweden for Midsommar. Unfortunately that one day had pretty miserable weather. Thankfully it didn’t rain much, but it often threatened to and the skies were grey. The very long drive and our tricky arrival also did not put us in the best mood. The GPS system had not been informed that certain streets had become one way and construction was going on all over the place. Just as in Lille, we made a few loops around the CBD before we could work out how to access our hotel, even though we could see it on each loop. The hotel was clean and large and we were grateful. Then we found some dinner and rested up for a day of sight-seeing.
Hannover has developed an interesting and useful system to explore the main landmarks of the city: The Red Thread. When I first heard of this red line, I thought it meant a red line was marked on a city map that you could use to take a self-guided tour. Instead it was actually a red line painted on the ground that you diligently follow to all the sights. And follow it we did.
Sadly more than 90 % of Hannover was destroyed by Allied bombing raids during World War II. The age of most of the existing buildings and significant sites in Hannover are a reminder of that history. So the tour we took of the town was confronting at times, although Hannover has tried to lift the mood a bit with many pieces of public art. Overall, with the bad weather and sadness of stories associated with much of what we saw, I really couldn’t say it was fun. I did find it very interesting and appreciated that red line. The children enjoyed looking out for the trail and we probably saw more than if we had tried to work it out on our own. Actually we probably wouldn’t have tried to work anything out because we were so tired and would have just wandered the town aimlessly in a fog of grumpiness. The purpose given to us by that red line got us out of the hotel room and a better appreciation of Hannover and its history.
After following that red line all day, we hunkered down for the night and watched the World Cup. Coming up was another long drive and a ferry ride to Denmark. After all, we were on a mission. A Midsommar Mission.
I’ve cobbled together a slide show of us ‘walking the line’ in Hannover, we didn’t buy the official map (we didn’t know there was one), so I think we didn’t actually cover the whole tour. More information about the self-guided tour can be found here.
Click on an image for a larger version and to enter the slideshow.