May is (was…this post is making it out long after I’d intended!) National Walking Month, the month when we are encouraged to ditch the car and get out to walk. Walk to school, walk to the shops, walk when we normally wouldn’t, walk for the sheer pleasure of it. I’m a huge advocate of walking, and I do a lot of it. Even though I finally passed my driving test a few years ago, I still walk where ever and whenever I can.
The appeal of walking- aside from it being good for physical and mental health, free and better for the environment that jumping in the car- is how much freedom it gives you to explore. When not constrained by the rules of the road and needing to keep to the flow of traffic you are liberated to meander at your own pace, to pause, to explore the tiniest streets and the quirky corners. As someone who lives a mobile life, I often have to find my feet in a new place and walking is a great way to do it. If you want to get to know a place go out and get lost, on foot.
I post a lot about where I’ve been and where I’d like to go. I’ve not really posted about the place I live in. So, to celebrate National Walking Month, I thought I’d take you all on a little walk with me around the place I currently call home.
Bad Lippspringe is a small town with a population of around 15,000, including a fair number of British ex-pats and those serving or supporting the British military. There has been a settlement here since the 16th century and traces of the original castle and town walls still stand.
Following the town walls brings you to the Liborious Spring, dedicatedto St Liborious. One of many in the town, this natural spring is said to have healing powers when consumed or bathed in. As well as a shrine to the man himself, there is a kniepp pool for wading. It is believed that wading in the cold spring water promotes wellness. Given that the locals here seem to live long and healthy lives and that Bad Lippspringe has long been known as a healing place, there might just be something in it.
The castle ruin stands on the edge of a large park with lots of open space, tree-lined walks and play areas. Many local residents live in apartment buildings with limited outdoor space and so the park is very much a social space, a huge communal garden if you will. It is also a venue for community events across the year from summer beer festivals to Christmas markets.
Presiding over the park is the Princes Palace, dating from the 1800s. Built as a spa house and then to accommodate the social life of Dukes in days gone by, it was also used as a hunting lodge It is now a listed building and used as an exhibition space and information centre.
As with many German towns in this region, there isn’t much in the way of historical or heritage buildings Most were lost due to bomb damage in WW2. However, there are still some timbered houses and beautifully restored and converted buildings. This fairy tale-esque house with its carved eagle and curved balcony fascinates me. I’d love to peek inside.
It wasnt just buildings destroyed by the events of WW2 and a stark reminder of this can be found in the form of a memorial stone to those of the town who were affected by the Holocaust.
Although it has a long and sometimes turbulent history, modern-day Bad Lippspringe is a quiet and restful place. A walk up the main , pedestrianized street takes you past shops, bakeries and cafes to the town hall and main market square.
The modern town is place of peace and healing, home to several medical clinics and spa’s that cater to visitors and residents seeking healing or relaxation. Even an outdoor fitness area, if that’s your thing.
If you want to get your exercise in a less strenuous manner though, there is no shortage of open space and pleasant places to walk, including the Garden show park with its fountains, pretty planting and the Chapel of Peace.
National Walking Month or not, this is a beautiful place to get outdoors on foot. But National Walking month, combined with the fact that we are due to leave soon, has made me get out and walk with a fresh perspective, and to stop and see the things that I’m maybe guilty of noticing less or taking for granted after living here for many years. Putting one foot in front of the other is about so much more than getting from A to B.
If you’ve taken part in National Walking Month, or blogged about an interesting walk,I’d love to read about your experiences. Leave me a link or chat to me in the comments.