I wrote this post about hiking all the way back in April and am not sure why I never posted it, so here it is. But first: our amazing European adventure is drawing to a close shortly (shortly…as in next Friday, eee!) I’m feeling bittersweet about it in many ways, but I’m also ready to head back to a time zone closer to family and friends, return to the working world, and eat some delicious tacos (yeah….they don’t have really good tacos/Mexican here! surprise! ha), but wow has it been an amazing, unforgettable year. The past few months have been a whirlwind of awesome. Over this past year Sean and I have been to the Netherlands, Portugal, France, Italy together, and England, Germany and Austria with his lovely family. I hopped over to Sweden for a solo adventure, and also visited Belgium with Alice and Laurance. We also saw lots of Germany with U.S. friends (thanks Cindy, Maggie and Sean, and Melinda and Andrew, for coming!) and my brother came for a visit too. Needless to say, summer has flown! I’m planning on getting more posts up over the next few weeks because I have a lot of pictures of beautiful places and friends we’ve traveled with, and I really want to share them. I’ll cut the text on the future posts…I’m a rambler 😉
SO yeah….back in April when spring was still trying to emerge, we noticed yet again that the high for that Saturday was going to be mid 60’s and sunny. As was the case all winter long, and as I’ve expressed before, when the sun shines we get outside (the weather turned mostly lovely over the summer, but we had a lot of rainy and cloudy streaks still)!! A group of our friends from Max Planck planned on going hiking on the Rheinsteig so we were excited to join. I only ended up going because sadly Sean’s foot was being weird, so he couldn’t make it seeing as hiking’s not the best way to soothe an aching foot. But don’t worry, it’s all better now!)
The RheinSteig is a 320 km trail on the right side of the Rhine that links Bonn, Koblenz and Wiesbaden on mainly narrow paths with steep climbs and descents, leading walkers and hikers to forests, vineyards and spectacular views. (http://www.rheinsteig.de/) While the route is well marked once you’ve found it, the access points for hikers coming by train or other public transportation aren’t easily clear. Luckily Claudia had a map and was our saavy hiking guide (thanks Claudia!) so we made it to the trail and did part of the hike. We plan on going back for more hiking when the weather and time allows! Hiking to the vineyards? Yes please!
We took the train to Königswinter (about 10 min south of Bonn) and made our way to the trail. Wandering through lots of (honestly kind of boring) forest we made our way to our first vista point, the Steigenberger Grand Hotel Petersberg, and hopefully to find coffee. This Hotel is an official guest house of the Federal Republic of Germany, called the”Bundesgästehaus” and thought of to be “the German Camp David.” Among many noteworthy guests and politicians who have traveled here on official business, are Queen Elizabeth II, Nelson Mandela, Mikhail Gorbachev, with his wife Raisa, Emperor Akihito of Japan, and last but not least Bill and Hillary Clinton! A special “Bill Clinton Jogging Pfad” (path!) was built for Bill before attending a G8 Summit here. I can’t find much about the path other than it was built just for him so they could easily monitor him while out and about.
Many pretty views around here:
We hiked on, finding Hobbit houses/little huts for the youths to make mischief, and beautiful wooded areas:
Then we came to our next destination in the woods: LUNCH! We ate a late lunch in this little restaurant and biergarten in the woods, Milchhäuschen. This cute little restaurant was an oasis for hikers like us wanting some hearty German grub. I had a plate with traditional German meats, bread and cheeses and unfortunately I didn’t take pics, but just enjoyed the time. We had some great conversation, Claudia had some of their Buttermilch (which unlike in the U.S. is common to just drink alone here), we eyed the beautiful ice cream and waffles of other diners, and finished the meal off with a cappuccino. Mmmm!
Fueled up, we kept going to reach our final destination: the ruins at Drachenfels. Sean and I hiked up here in October and again with Kate and Luca, but this time we approached from a different direction. We passed the little train, hiked up to the ruins, then made our way down on some tiny little rocky and steep paths. Much to the amusement of my tall hiking buddies, my short legs were operating at a slow cautious pace, and the average height of our hiking group was probably around almost 6 feet lol! But Patricia and I (the shortest of the group!) happily stuck to our perfect pace for the petite hiker.
Heading back down we stopped at an old mill, took a rest and then wandered back to the train station through this little town (whose name I do not know lol) It was a lovely day getting out, even with the clouds! If you ever make it to NRW, I’d definitely recommend hiking around. Just don’t forget your maps.