On my second walk I had more time to play with as all I had to do was to roll out of bed and get ready. Apart from taking a tram to the beginning of this trail, I would rely solely on my feet for the whole walk. I could have walked from my hotel but I decided I want to spend that extra hour on the trail rather than getting to it.
When buying a tram ticket just make sure you are paying the correct fare. You will find a poster with all the zones and ticket prices on the machine so just search for the name of your destination. You can also buy ticket in the tram. Make sure you will validate it.
Rhondorf turned out to be another small gorgeous town. So gorgeous in fact that I found it hard to follow my gps which was set to nature trails, as all I wanted to do was to get lost in those beautiful small cobbled roads.
My trail started just past the Hotel Weinhaus Hoff.
What started as a road very quickly turned into a forest trail.
Drachenfels stands at 321m (1053 feet) tall. The climb isn’t too challenging tho. Can get pretty muddy when wet so make sure you wearing proper shoes, waterproof and with a good grip.
The forest seemed to be very popular with woodpeckers and I also saw a red squirrel and an owl. Now I’m not on really good terms with birds of prey, as I was attacked by a falcon once and black bird twice.
You will find lots of viewpoints on this route where you can admire the view of Rhein and the surrounding area.
It was super foggy when I was there so my views were a little bit restricted. Hey, I was happy I could see the trail and my own nose.
You can book first class and best hotel in the town but you can’t book the weather…
The last part of this trail leading to the hill was made of stairs.
Yes it was tiring especially since I was carrying a backpack (fairly heavy since I’m still mastering the art of packing light!).
At the top you will find a cafe with excellent outdoor terrace, toilets and a train station. No, not DB. Just a small touristy train which can take you all the way to Drachenburg Schloss.
Sadly the Burg Drachenfels and the hill are off limit at the moment. There is a construction going on.
Off limit is also the most scenic route, Eselsweg.
Since I would have to wait an hour for the first train departure, I decided to hike to Drachenburg Schloss instead. The distance was only a 1km (3280 feet) so why not?
Well I could have given you a couple of reasons: firstly it was super foggy
and very slippery. But what’s a hike without a little bit of danger? And how can I believe I actually hiked when there are no scratches, bruises or cuts???
I’m glad I took this walk because I stumbled upon the most magnificent building, the Burghof.
I was so drawn to it like a moth to light. Was very tempting to actually go past the fence and see what’s inside but I didn’t it. It appeared there may be surveillance cameras so why risk it?
So the Drachenburg Castle opens to visitors from 12pm.
In the months of January and February the castle stays open late and they have a great light display after 6pm. I could easily come back for it then. Or so I thought. Little did I know a small mistake will prevent me from seeing that display.
Since it was only 11am I had about 6hrs to burn on the hike. My next destination was Grosser Olberg, standing at 460m (1509 feet) tall. I knew there will be a restaurant at the top so the vision of a hot beverage and possible hot meal helped me made my choice:) A good meal can only be made better when it comes with stunning views.
I followed Drachenfelsstraße and then Ferdinandstrasse. At the crossroads where those two meet you will find another restaurant: Milchhauschen. So plenty of opportunities to replenish your energy.
I love the fact that similarly to Norway, Germany build bridges to allow any wildlife and hikers cross roads more safely.
I paid a visit to Burgruine Rosenau because it was along my chosen path. Those are literally ruins or remains of yet another castle.
There is a bench on the top so a great spot for a picnic. In the summer perhaps lol
I also visited the Heinrich-Imbusch-haus which I think it’s a residential building now. Quite pretty but it spooked me.
When I looked into the windows this is what I saw:
I was actually about to wave thinking those were actual children. So creepy. It reminded me of the horror movie “The boy”. You can be sure I actually sprinted away from there.
I could actually tell I’m climbing higher as the fog was getting thicker. There were other people around as I could hear them but not really see.
The path also got a little bit steeper. I hiked in fog before but not with a snow at the same time.
I should have taken a selfie when I smelled food as I approached the restaurant. Pure bliss:)
Berggasthaus auf dem olberg it’s a very nice restaurant with an outdoor terrace. Sadly I won’t ever be back there. Why? After having a hot chocolate and a delicious meal I proceeded to pay when it turned out my visa has been blocked. And I had no money on me nor any other card… never happened to me before so I didn’t know if I will have to wash dishes or sleep with the owner? (Joke!).
It was really humiliating experience since they probably thought I’m a tourist trying to scam them. And the guests had a free entertainment since everyone was now waiting what will happen…
How I wanted the ground to open up and swallow me whole. Or for the Slenderman to come and get me!
What happened instead is they took copy of my ID and gave me the bank details on where to send the money.
I had no choice but to hike my way back to the hotel and phone the bank.
I was really grateful for the fog and snow and barely any people around when I let out my outburst once back on the trail. I was angry, ashamed and frustrated! Argh!! All thanks to the courtesy of NatWest!!
There was no way I could make it to the light display at Drachenburg Castle. It will have to wait till next time.
I was surprised at how busy the park got in the afternoon. Everywhere were families with kids sledging. So much fun. Someone even made a little igloo:)
The path now was mainly downhill and I needed some sort of support. As always nature provides:
Found one magnificent stick. I even got complimented on it:)
The closer to the town the less snow in sight. And more mud.
Luckily the most muddy part of the trail had a special wooden track:
And this hut made me feel so special. Like it was made just for me:)
Even tho it was getting dark quick whilst I was still in the forest, I wasn’t scared or anything. I always carry a flashlight and powerbank.
I think it’s fair to say at this point that Germany has some of the finest forests in Europe. Totally recommend this route.