Crowded car parks and blocked forest paths Siebengebirge experiences big crowds during Easter weekend
Siebengebirge · Many excursionists used the Easter weekend for hiking in the Siebengebirge. Almost 200 parking violators took home a parking ticket.
Bright sunshine, blue skies, a mild spring breeze - the weather on the Easter weekend was not only perfect for hunting for chocolate bunnies in one's own garden, but also for a trip to the Siebengebirge. Especially as the Easter bunny had also announced that he would be there: At Drachenburg Castle, at any rate, Master Lampe's visit was firmly scheduled and even announced in the diary.
There, the visitors were invited to a cheerful egg hunt in the park on Easter days. The colourful finds could then be exchanged for sweets by the castle staff. No wonder that there was a lot going on in the castle on Easter Sunday and Monday. The Drachenfels, the Rhine promenade and other popular destinations were also very busy. Those who could still get a free seat in the beer garden on Grafenwerth Island in Bad Honnef were lucky. Meanwhile, the kids had a great time at the playground on the northern tip of the island. The new sports and climbing equipment installed on the island last autumn was also very popular with the visitors.
Crowds in the beer gardens
Whether in Königswinter, Bad Honnef or Unkel - the region was not only busy on Easter days. "This week was really busy," Oliver Bremm, Managing Director of Tourismus Siebengebirge GmbH, was pleased to say. "You could tell that the number of visitors has increased noticeably." Above all, bus and day tourists are currently coming to the Siebengebirge, as well as groups who spontaneously go on an excursion.
And the tourists are not only arriving by car or bus: there has also been a lot of coming and going at the railway station since the beginning of the Easter holidays. As Bremm further reports, hotels and accommodation providers are also reporting a very good booking situation. "We've had a lot of enquiries recently as to whether something is still available at short notice."
Overcrowded car parks and blocked forest paths
The other side of the coin of the high number of visitors leads all too often to overcrowded car parks, cars parked illegally on grass verges or on forest paths, walkers going cross-country and dog owners who do not leash their animals.
The Verschönerungsverein für das Siebengebirge (VVS) therefore looks forward to "big events" like Easter with mixed feelings. Especially when the weather is nice, the number of visitors is very high, says VVS chairman Hans Peter Lindlar. "The Siebengebirge has an important role as a recreational area, but it would be nice if visitors would also abide by the rules and regulations." VVS employees describe what sometimes happens in the forest as very unpleasant.
Trampling paths continue to be trodden without regard for fauna and flora, signs and plaques are wantonly damaged or removed, and mountain bikers are repeatedly on the move cross-country. "I don't understand why some people are so careless with nature," says Nora Wickert. This also includes unreasonable dog owners who don't keep their four-legged friends on a leash - a great danger at the moment, especially for the next generation of wild animals and for ground-nesting birds.
Busy, but not crowded
The association no longer wants to send volunteers to guide forest visitors back on the right track, so to speak: "We've had bad experiences with that. You wouldn't believe the answers you sometimes get when you talk to people. And we don't have any legal competence," says Lindlar.
This year there was a lot of activity both in the Siebengebirge and on the Rhine, but the feared mass influx did not materialise. Nevertheless, the employees of the Königswinter public order office had their work cut out for them: on Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Easter Monday until 1 p.m., 190 administrative offence procedures were initiated due to parking violations. On Good Friday alone, 95 drivers had a parking ticket stuck behind their windscreen wiper.
According to the head of the public order office, Nico Klein, the reasons ranged from not having a parking ticket to parking in a no-parking zone. In contrast to the previous year, however, no incorrectly parked vehicles had to be towed away. "The area around Heisterbach Monastery, which was very conspicuous last year, has been very quiet and inconspicuous so far," Klein reports. Apart from the parking offenders, the public order officers had no other special incidents to report on the Easter weekend.
(Original text: Gabriela Quarg; Translation: Mareike Graepel)