nature park altmühltal

October 10, 2011

Early last week, we got the cabin fever and wanted to get outside for some fresh air. It was Reunion Day, our national holiday, and a gorgeous late summer afternoon, so we decided to go on a hike in the beautiful Altmühltal, a nature park just around the corner from my home town. The river that used to meander through the valley has in part been replaced by the Rhine-Main-Danube Canal, and with it a lot of the endemic species of both plants and animals went away. However, parts of the old river still remain; squeezed in between a former branch and a formation of impressive limestone cliffs is the medieval village of Essing – a scenery right out of a movie set.

The medieval village of Essing is squeezed in between limestone cliffs and a former branch of the river Altmühl. Located above the village is the Castle of Randeck, which dates back to the 10th century. Monday, October 3, 2011.

Located on the cliffs above the village is the Castle of Randeck, which dates back to the 10th century. Monday, October 3, 2011.

The old city gate (Stadttor) of Essing with the wooden bridge across the Altmühl river. Monday, October 3, 2011.

The old city gate of Essing with the wooden bridge across the Altmühl river.

Fall has colored the trees lining the historic Ludwig's Canal southeast of Essing, Monday, October 3, 2011.

Fall has colored the trees lining the historic Ludwig's Canal southeast of Essing.

Bicyclists ride past a pedestrian underpass on the Altmühl bike trail near Essing, Monday, October 3, 2011.

Bicyclists ride past a pedestrian underpass on the Altmühl bike trail.

The historic houses near the market square in Essing are dwarfed by the limestone cliffs that tower over them, Monday, October 3, 2011.

The historic houses near the market square in Essing are dwarfed by the limestone cliffs that tower over them.

The sun sets over the historic Ludwig's Canal near Essing, the 150-year-old predecessor of the Rhine-Main-Danube Canal, Monday, October 3, 2011.

The sun sets over the historic Ludwig's Canal near Essing, the 150-year-old predecessor of the Rhine-Main-Danube Canal.

Filed under: Germany

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