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New discoveries in Rheinland: Houseboats on a lake make for a peaceful getaway

New discoveries in Rheinland : Houseboats on a lake make for a peaceful getaway

A farmer has given up the struggle over milk prices and is now banking on houseboats on a lake. City dwellers appreciate the taste of calm and the view of the water.

The clear water glistens in the sun and a gentle wave washes ashore. Only the splashing of the water can be heard, otherwise there is only peace and quiet. And water as far as the eye can see. The Wesel districts of Bislich and Diersfordt are surrounded by lakes, streams and forests on all sides. And in the midst, Dorothee (52) and Volker Dingebauer (58) created a holiday resort with five houseboats on Diersfordt Waldsee. Three of them are made of the light wood of Siberian larches, and the Biberburg and Kingfisher houses are in dark gray. "They were also bright, but the wood is darkening," explains Volker Dingebauer.

Guests reach the accommodations via a footbridge, the terrace leads around the houseboat. On the lake side there is a large deck with table, chairs, sun loungers and a hanging basket. The houseboats offer everything a vacationer needs: bed, bath, kitchen, TV, WiFi and even a fireplace. The walls are decorated with animal photos, and portholes make for a maritime atmosphere. The first two houseboats can accommodate four to five people, the new ones are made for two to three guests.

The first houseboats were available in September of 2016, and in February this year, three new ones followed. A houseboat weighs about 36 tons - "that had to be brought to a swim first," says Dingebauer. For the transport of the boats from the Czech prefabricated house manufacturer Freedomky to the Lower Rhine, they needed three trucks per houseboat. And there is an agreement for five more houseboats to be built, pilings already in place.

The Dingebauers also own and operate a farm. In April, their dairy operation went bankrupt and was sold, along with 65 cows. “Without the dairy business, we are more free,” says Volker Dingebauer. "So we can focus even more on the houseboats, which have become our mainstay. In summer and autumn we are booked out on many weekends." Peak season is from mid-June to mid-September, but the houseboats are rented all year round. Initially, it was curious people from the region who came, but today guests come from all over Germany, Switzerland and Austria. "Most stay for three to four days," says Dingebauer, "but we also had families who stayed for two weeks. Our target group are people who are stressed out at work, but also retirees. "

From the houseboats, one can cycle along the Diersdorfer Waldsee (lake) to the Diersfordt Castle, around three kilometers away. The private property there covers an area of 18 hectares and includes the castle, a cottage, an orangery and other buildings. There is also a historical church, where a regular service takes place twice a month. Before Petra (55) and Axel Beichert (63) bought the property, the castle stood empty for 15 years. She said it was overgrown with ivy and heavily destroyed by vandalism.

The couple hauled out tons of debris and the conversion took three years. Today, magnificent chandeliers hang from the ceiling, the walls are decorated with paintings and intricately decorated mirrors. Antiques adorn the rooms. The castle was completely refurbished, parts of the ceiling and new parquet floor were added.

Between the lakes and forests, visitors can cycle nine kilometers to the center of Wesel and see the Berlin Gate or Willibrordi Cathedral. Worth seeing is also the peace church "Zu den Heiligen Engeln". In the 18th century, the Prussians in Wesel built the fort on the Fusternberg as a protection against enemies. During the Second World War, the fort - now used as a bunker - was attacked. "95 percent of the city was reduced to rubble during the war, but a bomb that fell into the basement of the fort did not detonate," says Stefan Sühling, pastor of the parish of St. Nicholas in Wesel.

Back on the houseboats in the evening, guests can recover from the day and let their feet dangle in the lake. For a fee, they can also go fishing on the lake. "One guest once reeled in a seven-pound zander and a six-kilo pike out of the lake," says Volker Dingebauer. In the evening, the houseboats cast their light on the lake. Visitors to the three new houseboats can end the day in a Finnish sauna - overlooking the lake.

(Orig. text: Merlin Bartel / Translation: ck)