Hameln, DE

On the way back to our hotel after visiting the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, we stopped in the town of Celle to find a nice place to have dinner for Sean’s birthday.

Celle is another town known for its half-timbered houses and it contains over 400 of them. 

The town was minimally damaged during World War II, so the vast majority of the buildings remained intact. 

The British military had barracks in Celle for almost 70 years.  We heard a lot of British accents while strolling around the town and the staff at San Marino, the restaurant we went to, also spoke English.

It was a beautiful fall evening so we sat outside to eat.

When we first arrived, only one other outdoor table was occupied.  The seats filled up quickly, as you can see.  The meal and the atmosphere were really enjoyable and I wish we’d had some more time to spend in Celle.

The next day we went to the town of Hameln, known as Hamelin in English.

Yes, that Hamelin, of Pied Piper fame.  I was very excited when we stopped at the tourist information office and saw an actual Pied Piper.

If you need your memory refreshed about the Pied Piper story, it goes like this:  One day in the year 1284, a man dressed in bright clothing arrived in Hameln and told the townspeople he was a rat-catcher.  They agreed to pay him to get rid of their rats, which were spreading the plague.  The man took out a pipe and when he whistled it, the rats came out of hiding and followed him to the river, whereupon they drowned.  However, the townspeople then refused to pay the rat-catcher for his services and he left the town in anger.  He later returned and whistled his pipe again, but this time all the children of the town came out to follow him.  He led them into the mountains and they were never seen again. 

Even though the tale is morbid, the town is very cute.  Everywhere you turn you see Pied Piper references.

On an entrance gate to a park.

On business signs.

Gaststätte Rattenfängerhaus means Pied Piper restaurant, although the German word Rattenfänger literally means “rat catcher”.

Built in 1602-1603

You also see them on the ground.

Those little bronze plaques guide you on your way if you’re doing a walking tour of the town.

On a fountain in town.


Tour guides.

A mosaic window in the Marktkirche St. Nicolai church.

On top of a bridge across the river Weser.

Clockwork figures on the Hochzeitshaus (“Wedding House”). 

3 times a day

Even their multi-use hall is named Rat Catcher Hall.

It’s used for sporting events, concerts, exhibitions etc.

Walking through an underground passage, there were rats on the walls.

And another fountain.

Although we didn’t go in, there is of course a Pied Piper museum as well. 

And in the summer months, there is a live performance of the Pied Piper story where children dress up as rats and follow the piper.  I would really like to go back to Hameln to see that.

Aside from all the Pied Piper stuff there are other things to see and do in the town, which is very walkable.

We started off with a stroll through the farmer’s market.


I love seeing what the markets in different towns and cities in Europe have to offer.

The architecture and the ornamentation on some of the buildings were absolutely gorgeous.

That sculpture is on a merchant’s house that was built in the late 16th century.  It depicts Lucretia, a Roman woman who was raped by Sextus Tarquinius, son of the last king of Rome.  Afterwards, she committed suicide by stabbing herself in the heart.  You can see that she is holding a sword in her left hand that she is about to plunge into herself.  The rape and suicide eventually led to a revolt against the monarchy and the established of the Roman Republic.  Lucretia died around the year 510 B.C.

Look at the elaborate wood carvings decorating the corner brackets of this building.

That building, the Stiftsherenhaus, also dates from the late 16th century and was built for a town councilor.  There were numerous carvings all around the building.

There was an autumn festival going on throughout the town during our visit.

No German festival would be complete without a temporary bar set up in its midst.

Or without lots of meat being grilled.

In the St. Nicoli church were you saw the mosaic glass earlier, Sean paid a small fee to climb the tower stairs.

I’m glad I opted out of that one because there is no parapet or balcony or anything at the top.  You can just look out some tiny windows and Sean said you couldn’t see much of anything.

Here is a rebuilt section of the old city wall.

The wall was originally built in the 14th century but most of the wall and its towers were torn down by Napoleon in 1808.  That section of wall as well as two towers were reconstructed in the 1990s.

I liked all the scrollwork on this house.

It’s from the 16th century as well.

This ornate house is called the Bürgerhus.

It dates from – you guessed it – the 16th century and now houses a restaurant.  The colors on the house were just amazing.

TIPPLE OF THE DAY: At this point in our walking tour we stopped at a little place called Café Pepino and I had this delicious drink.

It was a Baileys Mocha which had, as you can imagine, Baileys Irish Cream in it.  It was yummy. 

Those of you with sharp eyes might be able to see the reflection of the chocolate swirl cheesecake I had to go along with it.  It was very tasty, as is all German cheesecake.

Like a lot of German towns we’ve been to, there were also a couple of American-themed businesses.

You can probably guess that the German word Onkel means Uncle. We’ve seen several Uncle Sam bars and restaurants around Germany, but Ellis Island was a new one.

We paid a visit to the St. Bonifatius church.

It’s the oldest church in Hameln.  The Roman crypt is the oldest part of the oldest church and they date back to the year 1120.

The arch that you see at the back of the church there is a memorial to the two world wars.

This just made me smile.

Hameln turned out to be a really enjoyable town to walk around, made even better by trying to spot the various Pied Piper references.  If you’re in the area and are looking to escape the rat race for a day (yes, terrible pun intended), Hameln is a great place for it.

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