Bonn · The city of Xanten and its maritime leisure center are worth more than a day trip and the Sauerland is a hikers paradise. These and other tips are part of a GA series on exploring and discovering what the region has to offer.
In Xanten, the North and South Lakes are right next to the Rhine
Visitors to the Lower Rhine might have to rethink their orientation: In Xanten, for example, Nordsee (North Lake) and Südsee (South Lake) are just a few hundred meters west of the Rhine and also very close to the town. The bodies of water are two former quarry lakes that now form the core of a leisure center. They are called North Lake and South Lake, are each 110 hectares in size and up to 15 meters deep. With ideal conditions for water sports, these are concentrated on the South Lake. On offer are: Sailing, surfing, water skiing, stand-up paddling, diving, rowing and swimming.
The more passive activities are also extremely popular, for example lying lazily on the 1000 meter long sandy beach and simply doing nothing. The photo shows the natural swimming pool at Südsee, with the cathedral in the background on the right and the Rhine in the background on the left. The Xanten leisure center (FZX) is run by the local authorities and boosts the overall attractiveness of the town. Lots of space, lots of variety: you could spend a longer vacation in Xanten. "It's enough for a week and more,'" says Anne Stenmans of the tourist information office, reporting that there are visitors who book their next stay right away because they are so enthusiastic about the place. People hike through protected floodplain forests, cycle beautiful flat routes and follow in the footsteps of the Romans in the spectacular Archaeological Park. Xanten even has a money museum. In front of the neat brick building stands - a piggy bank.
Info: Tel.(02801) 77 22 00; www.xanten.de
Tel. (02801) 71 56 56; www. f-z-x.de
Exciting adventures on the Flussfern trail
You don't have to jump into every pool of water, even a ride on the water can bring a refreshing effect. The Lahn is a people-friendly river in this respect: 160 of its 245 kilometers are navigable. People like to call permanent paddling in this context "water hiking," and the Lahn is recommended as a river transfer trail that begins at the entry point south of Marburg and ends in Lahnstein on the Rhine. One should take several days for the journey. There are interesting towns and buildings to see along the way. And also a lot to do. For example: operate a floodgate, activate a water slide, pass through a ship tunnel. Sounds like an adventure.
Info: Tel. (06441) 30 99 80; www.daslahntal.de
Trekking places: Legal overnight stay in the middle of nature
One can also camp out in nature legally. For some time now, there have been designated trekking sites almost nationwide where you can spend the night in the middle of nature. In the trekking park Sauerland, nine campsites are available. These can be used, for example, during multi-day hikes.
Meanwhile, the sites are also available to cyclists. "The Bike Trekking Park Sauerland is the only one of its kind in Germany," says spokeswoman Susanne Schulten. "Equipped with a bike and backpack, families experience small adventures, while sporty riders use the stations when traveling along long-distance bike trails."
The trekking sites are equipped with a wooden platform, bench and table plus composting toilet nearby. Check for available dates online and book. Cost per night: one person 15 euros, two people 20 euros.
Offspring at Cologne Zoo
The Cologne Zoo is "beastly" happy about offspring. Two weeks ago, Lisa, a German Lowland Cattle, gave birth to her calf Luise. The breed is endangered. For 25 years, the zoo has also supported a conservation project for the preservation of the Przewalski's horse "with animals for reintroduction, money or biological know-how," according to a statement. A foal was born in Cologne in mid-April. The photo shows Viola with her parents Luna and Vandan. The Swabian-Hallian sow Uschi gave birth to nine piglets in May, sired by Eberhardt. Bearded monkeys, black storks and California sea lions have also given birth.
Info: Tel. (0221) 567 99 100; www.koelnerzoo.de
Orig. text: Heinz Dietl