The Perfect Hiking Trail

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The circular walk around the moated castle of Kemnade and the medieval Blankenstein fortress ticks all the boxes of a pleasant hiking experience Some hikes are great because they focus exclusively on One Big Thing and never let you forget how magnificent that One Big Thing is: hikes through the Grand Canyon, for example, fall into this category, but so do – one level down on the scale of awesomeness – ascents of the smaller

The Perfect Hiking Trail

A Walk to the Most Famous Dambusters Raid Target

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What to See in Germany The Most Famous Operation Chastise Target What was the greatest military feat of WWII? If you are from North America, you might say: the D-Day landings, while Russians would probably go for the defence of Stalingrad. But I suspect that, if you are English, you will be thinking of a less obvious candidate.

The choice of the dambusters raid may, at first sight, seem slightly

A Walk to the Most Famous Dambusters Raid Target

The Way of the Wire

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German Hiking Trails The Drahthandelsweg One of the things that mark out hiking trails in Germany is their attention to detail. German hiking trails are carefully routed, making sure that you take in the best views and everything of interest along the way from pre-historic caves to breeding grounds of rare species.

For some trails, however, even that is not enough: these trails link their route with something that has happened some time

The Way of the Wire

The Railtrack Hiking Trail

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Easy Hikes in Germany The Erzbahn – A Railtrack Hiking Trail Some hiking trails have always been hiking trails, and there is nothing wrong with that. Others, however, have a history behind them: itinerant tradesmen may have been using them for centuries to carry their wares from village to village, or the trail gives you the chance of walking in the footsteps of customs officers who were once patrolling a neighbouring “bandit country”.

The Railtrack Hiking Trail

West Germany’s Favourite Daytrip Destination – Syburg

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Where to Go in Germany Daytrip Destination: Syburg I had seen the Syburg (not knowing at the time what it was called) many times from the train and on various hikes in the area, always wondering how its disparate elements – the monument with the equestrian statue, the medieval ruins – were connected. It simply did not seem to make much sense.

I had seen it so many times,

West Germany’s Favourite Daytrip Destination – Syburg

A Nightingale in a Coal Mine

"An old coal mine along the Muttental hiking trail in Germany"

Day Hiking in Germany A Coal Mine Called Nightingale Nightingale or Nachtigall Colliery (“Zeche Nachtigall“) at the foot of the Muttental trail prides itself on being the “cradle of coal mining” in West Germany.

Coal was actually dug out of the surrounding hillsides as long as 300 years ago, and in 1839, at the very dawn of the Industrial Age, one of Germany’s first deep mining shafts was sunk here.

A Nightingale in a Coal Mine

The Lake District of the Ruhr

"Lake Böllert along the Duisburger Seenplatte"

Easy hiking in Germany Meet the Lake District of the Ruhr A few weeks ago, we travelled all the way to the Mecklenburger Seenplatte in Germany’s “Far East” to experience a near-Scandinavian blend of beauty and bleakness. This week, we discovered that we could have had all of that much closer to “home”.

Well, nearly all of that. The Duisburger Seenplatte (Duisburg Lakeland) on the western edge of the Ruhrgebiet, Germany’s old industrial

The Lake District of the Ruhr

The Coalminers Trail

"Witten Muttental Mining Museum in Germany"

Hiking in Germany The Coalminers Trail There are two things you should know about the Muttental Mining Trail, east of the Ruhrgebiet, Germany’s old industrial heartland:

Firstly, for nearly all of the trail’s 9 km, you would never think that you are in the middle of what is essentially a city of 7 or 8 million people, the fifth largest urban agglomeration in Europe. Even on the few occasions where you leave the

The Coalminers Trail

Hiking A Man Made Mountain

"One of the balconies of the Balcony Promenade in Hoheward Park in the Ruhrgebiet in Germany "

Hiking in Germany A Man Made Mountain In Europe, at least, no landscape has been left untouched by man. Think about it: what chance does a forest, a meadow or any other biotope stand in close vicinity to a tribe of busy apes like us – and what defense mechanisms does it have? They can’t very well run away and start afresh somewhere else – and besides, where would that be: on Mars?

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Hiking A Man Made Mountain

Hiking In The Old German Industrial Heartland

"An old factory seen from the Westfalenpark in Dortmund"

Hiking in Germany

We continue our exploration of the Ruhrgebiet:

Hiking the old German Industrial Heartland The Emscherweg

This walk is short, just right for the time of the year when there are so few hours between dawn and dusk. It features a park, a river promenade and a lake.

St. Petri Church

But beware: nothing is quite what it seems. The idyll

Hiking In The Old German Industrial Heartland