Germany: the Eifel.
A vacation in the Eifel
The Eifel national park is a beautiful area in Germany in the province of North Rhine Westphalia near Aachen and Bonn. It is a region of hills and valleys. Hidden in the country are numerous, cute villages and towns, as Monchau, Blankenheim and Bad Münstereifel. The Eifel has many castles, Monasterys and mostly white, half-timbred houses.
Through an internet auction, we got a lucrative voucher for a studio in Hotel Eifelburg in Bad Münstereifel. As the name suggests the hotel is located in the local castle, so we are very curious. The package includes two nights in a studio at the hotel, breakfast twice, a beer tasting and a dinner. It’s worth a try.
A short holiday
On a beautiful Wednesday morning in September we leave for Germany We decide to make a complete holiday from it and to travel at ease, with the necessary breaks, through the Eifel. That seams nice, as we pass many beautiful places.
Through the reservoir by Heimbach (the “Rur reservoir”) we drive deeper into the Eifel.
At half past three in the afternoon we reach (after some searching) the parking of the castle high above the town of Bad Münstereifel. In the restaurant we are very friendly greeted with a welcome drink and a good explanation, so we feel right at home. Our studio appears to be in the village below.
The friendly, young cook brings us with our light luggage about 50 steps down to the village and opens the door to our studio, witch is situated on the first floor of a half-timbered house. The floor slopes, the walls are charmingly crooked, but the rooms are well renovated and the bed looks inviting.
We install and use our last sandwich. Tonight we get the “beer tasting” in the “Felskeller” which lies
under the restaurant at the castle. We don’t know what it includes, but we let them surprise us. It’s still early, so we walk into town. Bad Münstereifel looks nice with little nice shops, great cafes and the stream (the Erft)that flows through the town center where several bridges are connecting the separate sections.
The basilica is even in the darkness beautiful
Bad Münstereifel has a church and a basilica. Both are open, but the basilica is unfortunately shrouded in darkness. The other church looks beautiful. Everything looks well cared for and lovingly decorated. The shopping streets are busy and despite the late season, there are quite a few tourists on the terraces.
A friendly welcome
Around six hours we climb back up to the castle and find a spot at a table in the Felskeller. The friendly waiter brings first three glass jars with wooden spoons and each a different mustard and also a basket of brown bread pieces. The many types of mustard is made in the castle and everyone can buy them. It tastes best, only the Diabolo Mustard is too heavy for me. My husband gets a jar with a pint of Burg beer and I have a glass of water. (Beer is just not my favorite drink!). Furthermore, we can choose from three menus.
Sauerkraut and Flammkuchen
We take a piece of meat and sauerkraut with mashed potatoes and “Flammkuchen“, a very thin, but savory pastries super delicious with bacon, cheese and onions on it. It tastes good and after dinner we go satisfyed to our studio. There we move quickly the table behind our bed and watch TV from the bed. We are tired, but happy. Our holiday for three days has started excellent.
Steinfeld and his monastery
The next day we climb for breakfast the now familiar stairs to the castle again. Our breakfast is fine. Besides a hefty pot of coffee, where we get each almost three cups out of it, there are sandwiches, slices of bread, chocolate rolls, bowls of various types of sandwich meat, jam, cheese, a soft boiled egg, scrambled eggs, three types of yogurt, fruit, etc.. We have breakfast at ease, because you have to enjoy such a delicious meal. After breakfast we take the car and drive to one of the oldest monastery’s Germany has: the monastery of Steinfeld. There is a large complex that was founded around 900.
An old garden to meditate
The beautiful basilica dates from the 12th century and over the years continually grown and expanded, as the monastery itself. Currently it is not only a spiritual center, but also a center for education and art. Next to the monastery is an old quiet garden, where one can meditate. We visit the Basilica, walk around and sniff the scents that around noon in the kitchen. There should be a good cook very busy.
The Castle Wildenburg at Mansfeld
From the Monastery of Steinfeld we drive to the Castle Wildenburg at Mansfeld. There are at this time many people busy to renovate it. The castle belongs to the community and has been largely rebuilt and is now used for habitation. Therefore it doesn’t much interest us. We just enjoying the beautiful view on a bench and then drive through the rolling country to Schleiden. There is also a castle on the hill high above the town. It has a restaurant located on the terrace and we drink a strong coffee with delicious apple cake and are enjoying the excellent view of the town and the land below us.
From Schleiden we drive to Gemünd, where the river flows into the Olef Urft. We walk around and look at the two churches. One of them dates from 1500. Through Mechernich we drive back to our apartment. At six o‘clock we climb back to the castle for our, “Ritter Essen”. That includes a nice salad, the now famous mustard pots and a few pieces of brown bread, potatoes witch are boiled in their skins with a delicious sauce and for each of us five different pieces of meat on a large scale that can be grilled on a stone / iron grill. We get also four pots with different sauces for the meat.
It doesn’t only looks appetizing, it tastes also that way. After dinner we leave satisfied and exhausted to reach our apartment down in the village.
Saying goodbye Eifel
The next morning we enjoy for the last time an extensive breakfast in the castle. Then we get our luggage. We buy, aided by the friendly staff at the castle, some little mustard pots and a few bottles of Castle beer and drive after the farewell to Blankenheim. That’s a pretty town, full of nice corners with a (rebuilt in 1927) own castle now in use as a youth hostel. For who can read this:
In the basement of one of the houses rises here the Ahr which flows through the Ahr valley into the Rhine.
At that moment there’s an extensive tour going on. People look just then at the source and are apparently not finished. We therefore take some pictures and then drive through Heimbach to Niedeggen, where we just below the high castle in a restaurant a delicious schnitzel with mushroom sauce and fresh herbs get put on. The owners appear to be Dutch from Utrecht who are well established here. Their cook is a convenient, Walloon lady who cooks with French flair. We take a chat and then go into the gathering dusk by car to home in the Netherlands.
It was a short, but wonderful vacation worth repeating.
I am married and have two sons. I write for 22 years. In the past there were 17 Children’s Books published by me on Deltas. I am also a writer / teacher in correspondence courses in various administrative fields. That gave so much work that there was little time to find a publisher for my written material.
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