Unfortunately our vacation to Gdańsk (Poland) earlier this year was canceled due to travel restrictions. We therefore chose to go a bit later and closer. The Eifel nature park is very near and also offers a lot for a vacation. Taking the opportunity to explore more of the local country side, we decided to go to Heimbach (Germany).
Heimbach is a rather small town, with a main street full of tourist targeted restaurants and cafes. The street is rather narrow and lined with half-timbered houses. It looks just like I expected a town in the Eifel to look like.
The target audience seems to be older people who want to have a very relaxed vacation. Also there are a lot of motorcyclists on day trips that come here, have a coffee and cake and continue riding. This always makes it harder for me to find a nice dinner as having allergies or being vegetarian is not so common in that generation. In larger cities I tend to have no issues, but the hotel keeper told us that it could be a bit harder there. I was told that she is a very good cook, just that her menu is very reduced during the pandemic. Therefore I looked at the restaurants beforehand.
And it was really amazing: Most of them are German restaurants, featuring meat heavy dishes like Schnitzel and of course beer. The restaurants feature a cozy sounding name with “court” or “parlor” and then one brand of Pils on one side and a brand of Kölsch beer on the other. Some even advertize skittle alleys. Basically you can have variations of Schnitzel, sausages and other meat dishes with a variety of beer. And indeed I had Tarte Flambee and deep-fried camembert on the first two days. The Italian restaurant that I had chosen for the third day did not exist any more, so we actually drove to Nideggen to get a proper pizza.
We went to the Hotel Hinter den Spiegeln which has themed rooms and also does a lot of board game and pen & paper events off season. I'm not heavy on either, but she already knew the hotel from various such events. We have booked the Narnia room, which turned out to be quite roomy! It offers a couch and a table with chairs in one room.
In the second room one has a bed and plenty of room to move around. We were fortunate with the weather and did not stay inside that much.
The city appears to be very conservative politically, possibly even right-wing. In stark contrast to this one has the two flags in front of the hotel: European Union and Pride. This has amused me very much!
On our first day we have looked at a castle, “Burg Hengebach”. As usual it is located on high ground. It was initially built in around 1000, but then destroyed multiple times, rebuilt and extended. During World War 2 it got destroyed again in attempts to destroy the dam. They have rebuilt it in around 1980 and used a bunch of cast concrete blocks, as one can see in the picture. This is nowhere a historically accurate restoration.
In the evening we even had our dinner there, in a restaurant serving Tarte Flambee. The atmosphere is lovely, you can see the castle and enjoy tasty food.
There is not only the Rur river, but there also is a dammed lake right there. It likely is the major attraction there. We went walking/hiking around the lake on two days. On the first we did not know where to go and just went for the south side. It turned out to be a good cycle route but not so much for hiking. Luckily we also went to the north side, that is much better!
We spent a several hours hiking there, it was a really nice trip! My feet did hurt a bit, but they were partially recovered the next day, so we just went again.
Water power station
A little down the Rur river there is a water power plant in an historic Jugendstil building. One can apparently get a tour, but has to apply for it first.
Leading to it, there is a beautiful hiking trail. I can wholeheartedly recommend that one!
There is a parking lot in Heimbach at the river, we have started from there and one can directly start hiking.