In August 2022, we explore Thüringen. From Saalburg, we drive to the ponds of Plothen (Plothener Teiche) to do a small hike…
… along the nature discovery trail that is proposed by our Müller guidebook and, as I find out later, also by Bergfex.
So far, I have consulted Bergfex for skiing in the Alps, but they seem to cover lower mountains in various countries as well.
Plothen – the area of a thousand ponds
The ponds of Plothen are also called “the area of a thousand ponds”, as the plate near the information centre says.
Benedictine monks have set up 1600 ponds (some sources mention 2000 ponds), as this historical map shows (My photo at the information centre).
The monks set up the ponds in the 11/12th century to meet the growing demand for fish, particularly during lent times, when it was forbidden to eat meat, but fish was okay.
Today, about 600 ponds are left. After 1990, their original state has been restored. They became a paradise for campers, hikers, bikers and people interested in nature; numerous panels inform about life in this protected nature park.
The reed sparrow lives in the reed and is endangered by the fact that reed is disappearing. German speakers say “Schimpfen wie ein Rohrspatz” (literally “scold like a reed sparrow” meaning “to curse loudly”). So far, I have never thought about this phrase. Now I have learnt that it goes back to the “Rohrspatz”, a sparrow that lives in the reed and sings persistently and loudly.
Our walk around the ponds
We park our car near the stilt house. It is closed today.
We walk along the Hausteich. Across the stilt house, we can see the camping site.
After some ten minutes, we reach the information centre that has been set up with care.
The centre commemorates Alfred Brehm. He is known for Brehm’s Thierleben, a reference book about animals written in the 19th century. He was born not far from here, at Renthendorf.
We continue our way along the Hausteich and get closer to the camping site, as the boat indicates.
The camping site is a “village”, with some houses firmly installed, …
… and other houses built around caravans.
Some have installed a barbecue near the lake, …
… others have constructed a small terrace, …
… and this lighter version of a terrace has been decorated with the sunflower that seems to be a little thirsty.
Even cigarettes are available here.
So, why stand in the traffic jam to drive to Italy… the paradise is much closer!
We walk through the forest and get to the Fürstenteich, where the red berries of the rowan tree contrasts with the water (Eberesche).
Path closed. We cannot continue our walk around the Fürstenteich.
We walk back. The ducks hide in the reed, and where we walk, they swim away.
For some time, we walk on a small path along the road. We get to the smaller Klemms pond with another, more luxurious camping site.
We reach our car, have a picnic and after that continue our way to Ziegenrück, the Hohenwarte and Eyba near Saalfeld, where the hotel waits for us.
This is the overview of the places we visited in Thüringen.
- Heidi Schmitt, “Thüringen Reiseführer”, Michael Müller Verlag 2020
- Dina Stahn, “Bädeker Reiseführer Thüringen
- Wikipedia entry about the Plothener Teiche https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plothener_Teiche
- Thüringer Information about the Plothener Teiche https://www.thueringen.info/plothener-teichgebiet.html
- Vogtland Zauber https://vogtland-zauber.de/entdeckungen-wandern-plothener-teiche/
Fascinating as ever. The need for Friday fish resulted in a wonderful mosaic of ponds all across Europe!
Do you know of other such ponds set up by monks? And thank you, I am happy to read that you liked joining me at the ponds of Plothen. Blogging is a wonderful opportunity for me to visit once more the places I have seen.
[…] explored Thuringia. We have already been at Neustadt an der Orla, Saalberg with Burgk and Schleiz, Plothen with its ponds, the dams of the upper Saale, and […]