Short getaways Hiking, paddling and picnics - four tips for day trips
Bonn/Region · When it’s hot outside, a visit to the seven lakes district in Westerwald is a great way to cool off. Boat rentals and a big sandy beach make for a perfect day. A “Sunset Picnic” is coming up soon in the Ruhr region, and Rheinessen offers a place where geology and world class wines come together.
Relief from the summer heat: A day trip to the Westerwald lake district
When it’s hot outside, seven lakes in the Westerwald provide a little relief from the summer heat. Postweiher, Brinkenweiher, Dreifelder Weiher, Hofmannsweiher, Haidenweiher, Hausweiher and Wölferlinger Weiher - they all make for blue accents in the green forest and grassy areas south of Hachenburg. The lakes were created in the 17th century as mainly fishing ponds. Today, the Nabu Foundation National Natural Heritage owns the properties and takes care of the protected 228-hectare lake areas.
But just because they are protected does not mean that recreational activities are not allowed. Visitors can row or paddle across the water on the 123-hectare Dreifelder Weiher. Equipment can be rented on shore. This is perfect for a day trip - or if you want to stay longer: on the shore in Steinebach is the Haus am See campground.
The beach at the Postweiher in Freilingen has been around for 110 years. "The large lawn for sunbathing and the generous sandy beach offer enough sun and shade for around 1,500 people,” says the management. The facility includes boat rentals, a surf school, a miniature golf course - and a campground as well.
Hiking is also a popular activity at the seven lakes. Trails for shorter hikes lead around the lakes; but the "7-Pond Trail" covers 32 kilometers. The lakes and groves of trees provide an ideal habitat for 200 bird species. In the fall, Nabu lowers the water level at some of the lakes. The reason: the muddy bottom makes it easier for the birds to find food.
Info: Tel.(02662) 95 83 39; www.hachenburger-westerwald.de; www.westerwald.info; www.campingplatz-freilingen.de; www.hausamsee-dreifelderweiher.com
Dramatic scenes at the waterfall
60 performers, 40 horses and a 100-meter-wide natural stage: theater season has opened in the Wild West, which in this case is in the Sauerland region. The open-air stage in Elspe in the Olpe district has been hosting the Karl May Festival since 1958, and the current production, „Der Schatz im Silbersee“ (“The Treasure in Silver Lake”), is based on the legendary author's classic of the same name. Karl May was one of the best-selling German writers of all time, writing about a fictional Native American hero called Winnetou.
Once again, plenty of pyrotechnics are used. Some dramatic scenes with Winnetou and Old Shatterhand take place at the waterfall.
Info: Tel. (0272) 94 440; www.elspe.de; shows: several times a week until September 4; admission: from 22.90 euros (adults) and 17.90 euros (children).
Cosmic setting: Picnic at sunset
At the 20th Extraschicht, the Ruhr region celebrated its mines, blast furnaces and other industrial sites with a major event last weekend. Nearly 200,000 visitors were recorded at 43 venues in 23 cities, including those who came multiple times. The Hoheward Visitor Center at the "Future Site Ewald" in Herten was also involved and opened its "New Horizons - In the Footsteps of Time" exhibition.
And the next big event is already on the horizon: On July 16, friends of electronic beats will meet for the popular "Sunset Picnic" on the Halde Hoheward. From noon to 10 p.m., you will hear relaxing music that matches the "cosmic" landscape of the Halde Hoheward. Responsible for the music program is, among others, DJ Jonas Saalbach.
Info: Tel. (02366) 18 11 60; www.hoheward.rvr.ruhr
“Red Slope” in Rheinhessen: Geology meets world class wines
Reddish Permian clay sandstone colors the terraces and steep slopes between Nierstein and Nackenheim in Rheinhessen. The "Rote Hang" (“Red Slope”) enjoys a good reputation among wine connoisseurs. The five-kilometer-long and 200-meter-wide area is home to several vineyards.
"Geology meets world-class Rieslings," is how the local winemakers sum up their geological advantage. The view of the Rhine is also not too shabby. On so-called ridge walks, certified cultural and wine ambassadors explain the interplay between soil and wine. Dates: July 12 and August 14.
Info: Tel. (06133) 960 500; www.nierstein.de
Orig. text: Heinz Dietl