30 km north-east of Hamburg, Germany just west of the Hahnheide National Park, there lies a small town by the name of Trittau. This town, dates back to as early as the 12th century. It may seem like any other small town in the state of Schleswig-Holstein, but is it?
A small town – a label to describe an area of inhabitated land, consisting of 5,000 to 20,000. Trittau has a population of aproxiamtely 8,834 residents, allowing it to fit comfortably into the small town buffer. This Kleinstadt (small town) has a total of 3 hotels, 5 supermarkets, 12 hair salons, and 18 restaurants all residing within it’s 28,59 km wide rural border. Trittau welcomes all who seek nature, a sense of familiarity and, most importantly peace and quiet.
Right after that first cup of fresh brewed coffee has been sipped, before all of the stores open up to embrace their customers, you can expect to see the Edeka semi trucks parking and unloading their goods. Looking through the window, as the crisp fall air hugs the town, you will hear the ecstatic giggles of the children on their way to the kindergarten. You will exchange greetings with the serious shoe store owner, as she carries her sale merchandise to the store front. Smell the motor oil emitting from the bus station, bringing many students to school, and feel the welcome embrace this town has to offer. After the morning hustle and bustle has subsided, a sense of calm falls over the town.
Walking down the main street, you’ll pass the people with oversized bags heading in for their work- out. Neighbouring the gym is the art gallery and the traditional Chinese tea store. Here you will find everything from traditional tea to knick knacks, from foot massages to bamboo plates. Further down you will pass by gossip central, better known as Eis Café Greim.
This café is often frequented by teenagers wanting to catch up with friends, parents taking their little ones out for a small treat, and seniors exchanging news from the last week. After the ice cream store, you encounter your usual drug and clothing stores, pharmacies, and banks. Sitting in front of the government building is the Jugendzentrum (youth center). Here the teenagers meet to hang out, work on their homework, or kill time before their next activity. As you continue further down the road to where Poststraße meets Kirchenstraße, and where Kirchenstraße meets Zum Riden, you will see the Martin Luther Kirche (Martin Luther Church), which dates back to the year 1239.
This Protestant parish church, originally named St. John’s Church, changed it’s name in 1968 Martin Luther Church. It is home to more than 4,400 members. Throughout the years this church has gone through many restorations. The organ has been repaired and replaced five times since 1620. The last exchange took place in October of 2016. . Carl August Wilhelm Lohmeyer redesigned the inside of the Church in 1880. Lohmeyer modelled the stout arches and repeated motifs after the early 19th century Gothic style. The three choir windows, as well as the paintings lining the back walls have all been donated by members of this house of worship. The church space made its new debut in the 1800s. The floor boards however, date back to 1783 and the baptismal font to 1736.
In the early 1900s a Mr. Weinbusch built a dairy farm named “Hof Weinbusch”. He placed the Hof – yard back behind the Trittau Mühlenteich-mill pond, but just in front of the old Trittau-Vorburg National German Railway station, to ensure the freshest milk possible to his customers. Later on, he sold the Hof to Colonel Maximilian Freiherr of Stoltzenberg. Colonel Freiherr ceased the dairy farming and renamed the Hof Sonnenhof – Sun Yard. One of Colonel Freiherr’s daughters, Baroness Gisella Freiin of Stoltzenberg, bred Cocker Spaniels for over thirty years on these grounds. She bred the Cocker Spaniels to hunt through the Hahnheide Forest. She also ran a very well known kennel named “zum Weinbusch”. After one of her beloved Cocker Spaniels died, she took to the hills of her property and buried him. She tended to his grave, built a pathway for easier access, and welcomed others to bury their beloved pets there as well. Many have since buried their dogs, cats, and even their guinea pigs there. After the passing of Baroness Freiin (November 2007), the Trittau government requested the residents refrain from burying their pets on this plot of land. However, many people still take their furry friends to the hill behind the Sonnenhof upon their passing.
After passing the Sonnenhof, going towards the forest, you’ll encounter a path reminiscent of an old railway. A path that proceeds kilometre after kilometre through the trees. A path that goes on as far as the eye can see. This plateau used to be part of the National German railway. The mile marker seen above is one of the few remaining markers for the stop Trittau – Vorburg on the Schwarzenbek – Oldesloe trail. This railway and stop were in operation between 1887 and 1984. The main commuter stop was a little further outside of the town. This was positioned so far outside of the town to allow for faster and more direct travel to Berlin. However the Trittau-Vorburg stop had a mostly economic purpose; allowing freight trains to pick up perishable goods much quicker and to extend their reach to places much further away.
Further into the Hahnheide, you may come across the Hamfelde Aussichtsturm – The Hamfelde Observation Tower. Mayor Otto Hergenhan built this tower in 1974. In 2001, it was refurbished and rebuilt to the height of 27 meters. It is said that on a good day, you will be able to see all the way to the Hamburg Elbe, located 30 kilometres away. Surrounding the observation tower, you can find continuing paths where many a “Trittauer” and tourist spend their day wandering the leaf lade trails.