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In Beethoven's footsteps: New hiking route in the Siebengebirge mountains

In Beethoven's footsteps : New hiking route in the Siebengebirge mountains

A brochure by the tourism Siebengebirge GmbH gives an overview of the most beautiful tours. The new Beethoven hiking trail is an anticipation of the programme for the anniversary year 2020.

It is well known that Ludwig van Beethoven was born in Bonn in December 1770. What is much less common knowledge, however, is that the world-famous composer also came to know and appreciate the natural surroundings through excursions and hikes. This is reported, among others, by the French composer and music critic Hector Berlioz, who visited the first Beethoven Festival in Bonn in August 1845 and moved to Königswinter as referenced by contemporary witnesses.

According to Berlioz, Beethoven often crossed the river in a small boat in order to dream and work in the Rhine plain. Hikers can soon follow in the footsteps of the great composer in the landscape of the time – on the Beethoven hiking trail. It is to be opened this year, in keeping with the theme of "Beethoven as a friend of nature" in the Rhein-Sieg district for the Beethoven Year.

Journey down history lane into the 18th century

"We have thus anticipated the Beethoven year 2020," explains Marzia Templeton of Tourismus Siebengebirge GmbH. The Beethoven Jubilee Society will install three plaques describing Beethoven's life and work in the Heisterbach Monastery, on the Petersberg and on the Drachenfels Plateau. "The Beethoven Hiking Trail will connect these three places," announced Templeton. Hikers can thus undertake a journey through time into a century in which neither Schloss Drachenburg nor the Nibelungenhalle nor the Grandhotel Petersberg existed.

Instead, stone quarrying in the Siebengebirge was in full swing at Beethoven's time.The Cistercians lived in the Heisterbach monastery, the agricultural fields and vineyards stretched as far as the Rhine, and narrow paths led up to the Drachenfels. Of course, there was also no rack railway. The exact route and further information can be found in the new hiking brochure "Wandern Nah & vor Ort".

"It's a 'Best of' from the Wanderfibel," says Templeton about the book just published. In addition to five selected hiking trails from earlier editions (Klosterlandschaft Heisterbach, Tretschbachtal & Löwenburg, Eudenberg: Basalt & Biotop, Rheinbreitbach: Breite Heide & Kupfer, Unkel: Drei Täler & ein Weg), there are also tours to a total of twelve chapels in the Siebengebirge. The chapel hike, which includes three hiking loops through the Pleiser Hügelland, has been equipped with information plaques by the Siebengebirge Nature Park.

These circular walks should be presented in one product, explains Templeton. This is how the idea for the 48-page brochure came about, in which, in addition to route descriptions, further information on the chapel routes and various anecdotes, the Beethoven hiking trail and "five of the most beautiful circular hiking trails between Ennert and Erpeler Ley" are presented.

In addition, the Rheinsteig will once again introduce the reader to the favourite route of the tourists. The brochure "Wandern Nah & vor Ort" is available at the tourist information offices in Königswinter, Drachenfelsstraße 51, and Unkel, Linzer Straße 2, as well as in selected bookshops in the region for 8.90 Euro. Original text: Alexander Hertel Translation: Mareike Graepel