Finally it’s spring in Germany! Although I am (as always) busy with all kinds of things for university, I took some time last week to spend the weekend with my family. My father invited us to the small town of Bad Ems, which is close to Koblenz and not too far away from Cologne, too. The city is situated at the river Lahn, in a valley between the two mountain ranges Taunus and Westerwald. We stayed in a small hotel on the mountainside and had a nice view on the city and the surrounding hills from up there.
We arrived relatively late on Friday afternoon, so all we did on that day was take a walk through the rainy city and around the park close to the river. It was still raining on Saturday, but we set out for our first hike anyway. We took the funicular railway up to the first of the four towers surrounding the city: the Bismarck Tower. From there, we hiked down one hill, crossed the valley and walked up the next mountain to finally reach the second tower: the Concordia Tower. Despite the rain, we climbed to the top of the tower and had a great view of the valley and Bad Ems below us.
After a short lunch break with a great Tarte Flambee, we decided to take the car and visit the city of Limburg, some 40 kilometers from Bad Ems. It was still raining when we arrived, but I still enjoyed walking through the somewhat medieval-looking old city center. With the great number of timber-frame houses still existent there to this day, I really felt like I was looking at what Germany is so famous for abroad.
On Sunday, the last day of our short getaway, we set out to hike once again. As the town is surrounded by four watchtowers, we decided to tackle the two remaining ones on that day. First, we went up the Malberg, where there used to be another funicular railway up the mountain. However, it has been closed for several years now and the station on the mountain is now slowly decaying. Obviously, some people had been living there for some time, but left the place again. They still left a lot of stuff up there, including a note for anyone visiting to leave everything as it is, as they would be returning soon. I loved the place, as it somehow looked like a magic garden right out of a fairytale. Wherever you looked, there were hidden trinkets, little statues, and paper lanterns everywhere. We also climbed another tower there and enjoyed yet another nice view of the mountains. Finally, we headed to the final tower on the Wintersberg, which once used to be part of the limes, the border of the Roman Empire.
In the afternoon, we once again took the car to go see the Lorelei, a rock at the Rhine river close to the city of St. Goarshausen and quite famous in Germany. Here, the Rhine river is at its narrowest and the current is extremely fast, which led to many boat accidents in the area. After a short lunch with a nice view of the river and a castle ruin, we decided to head back home and my father dropped me off in Cologne.
In addition to this small getway, I also went to see the rather famous cherry blossom alley in Bonn yesterday. Finally. I have loved cherry blossoms ever since I saw them in Japan, so a whole alley of blooming cherry trees so close to where I live was a must-see. The alley is in the Heerstraße in the old city center of Bonn. After I walked along the street for a bit with a friend, we decided to sit down at an outside table of a nice bar and have a beer. It was a great feeling finally being able to sit outside again in the evening, enjoying the warmth and the fact that it now stays light for so long. And having a beautiful sunset and so many cherry blossoms around at the same time helped, too. Now I’m looking forward to the summer even more.