Sonntag, 31. August 2008

Stecklenberger Burgen, Teufelsmauer, Thale und Stahl Thale - Germania Wernigerode

WE109 II: Ruined castles, spectacular landscape, dismal small towns and weak amateur football in the Harz Mountains.

SV Stahl Thale 1:3 Germania Wernigerode

Saturday, 30th August 2008 - kick-off time 15.00
Landesliga Mitte (7th level, 3rd amateur division)
Result: 1:3 after 95 min. (45+2/45+3) - Halftime 0:2
Goals: 0-1 8th Preuß, 0-2 36th Fredl, 1-2 89th Otto, 1-3 90th + 2 Preuß.
Bookings: Thale 6 yellow cards (+1 leading to an expulsion), Wernigerode 3.
Sent-offs: Kaye (Thale) due to repeated foul play (67th).
Stadium: Sportpark Thale (cap. 5,000; 800 seated)
Attendance: approx. 150 (25 away fans)
Match quality: 1.5/10 (poor)

Ground No. 243 (new ground; this season: 13)
Sporting event No. 650 (this season: 17)
Kilometres that day: 290 (260 by train, 30 by bike)
Km this season: 6,480 (4,810 car/ 1,210 public transport/ 460 bike)
Number of football matches since the last goalless draw: 69
Number of weeks since the last week without any sporting event (Aug 1st-6th 2006): 109


Although we went to bed at 1 a.m. my dad and I started with the 7.22 train to Halle. That train arrived 15 minutes too late, but nonetheless we managed to catch the train to Halberstadt. Then we took the train to Thale there, but jumped off one station before Thale in Neinstedt, another dirty train station. The village was not so interesting but riding about three kilometres by bike you will come to the village of Stecklenberg. Then you have to ride two kilometres right atop of the steep hill and you will find a small keep of a medieval castle. You can only enter that keep which is not so well preserved through a window hole which is 1.5m above the ground. The interior of the keep is empty despite a small tree climbing up the stones and some Neo-Nazi graffiti on the walls, among them a Black Sun and swastikas. Another example for the unpleasant fact that the Harz region is notorious for being a central spot for rightwing radicals in Germany. The other part of the castle is even less preserved - no comment on the former bridge which is a path now - so the second keep can’t be entered at all, there are several chambers filled with rubble under the ceiling and few remaining walls as well as one well preserved archway. The highlight is an old linden tree that has large aerial roots suspended over a cellar.
Not even one kilometre away from that once great castle - have a look at the reconstruction model in the village! - is another ruined castle. That one is called Stecklenburg - don’t confuse with the village called Stecklenberg - and its only remnants are few walls, but partially up to a height of six or seven metres.
To sum it up: these two ruins are only interesting to persons who are very interested in medieval history or like to climb up difficult castle destinations. These are really no castles for a typical family trip with ‘medieval romance’!
We went on by bike via Weddersleben where the Teufelsmauer - a spectacular rock formation - is situated, to Thale which is very close to these castles. Our first stop was at the stadium. No meal available. Doesn’t matter: we found a tiny Italian restaurant run by a German and an Albanian serving excellent Italian dishes for fair prices.
After that we came back to the stadium with its characteristic mountainous scene and the plastic benches on the main stand. About 150 fans who should remain silent despite swearing and complaining about the players and the match officials the whole match. Quote of the day: after a player of Thale shouted at one from Wernigerode after being fouled by him, a fan of Thale shouted: ‘Let him in peace! Go away! We will beat him up after the match!’
The match was characterised by poor performances: the players from Thale played very weak and boring, that lazy and arrogant guys from Wernigerode did almost nothing and the referees took the biscuit - especially in the second half - with being fussy and arrogant and deciding arbitrarily and unjustified. That was not only the weakest match I saw for months but also the weakest referee action - including his linesmen - since a Verbandsliga match in Berlin. But that referee was even more disturbing and out of place.
Germania Wernigerode did as much as they had to do to beat the weak team from Thale, so the match became weak after 8 minutes when the first goal was scored and really poor after 36 minutes when Wernigerode scored another goal. Thale needed 89 minutes and about five chances - and countless weak shots 20 metres beside or 10 metres over the goal - until scoring their first and only goal. After that goal Germania countered and scored their third goal by running over the goalkeeper that was out of his goal when trying to score after a corner kick.
After the final whistle we went to the town centre which is occupied by ugly super market buildings - never saw such an ugly town square as in Thale! If you leave for Hexentanzplatz - there was not enough time for that rock formation and celebration spot - you will see the two most interesting buildings of the town: two churches.
After that we went to the train station and arrived via Halberstadt and Halle in Merseburg.
The costs on the train ticket were at 27€ (13.50€ for each person) - comparing it to the costs on petrol for 260km (10l/100km, 1.43€/l) which are at 37.18€ (18.59€/ person) it is a good deal to use the train on that track, although you should always take your bike with you because the two castles for example, are 5km away from the next train stop and the stadium of Thale 3km. The entrance fee to the stadium was 3.00€ for each of us.


For more photos see: (Castle Ruin Lauenburg) (Castle Ruin Stecklenburg) (Rock Formation Devil’s Wall) (Stahl Thale vs Germania Wernigerode) (Ugly Small Town Thale)

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