BONN In the Westerwald, colourful eggs fly through the air; in the Eifel and at the Moselle children replace the ringing of bells with the sound of ratchets. Easter is just around the corner. In the Hohes Venn in the Eifel, nature awakens and lures with great hikes. These excursions are worthwhile over the holiday period.
The season of canoeists starts on 1 May at the Wupper. One of the tour providers is a former competitive athlete in Solingen: Thomas Becker (51) was world champion in 1991 and Olympic bronze medallist in 1996. He and his team organise daily tours on the river. Special tours, such as “after work” or “with the dog”, are also possible. There are also kayak courses as well as children's birthday parties and “fun-filled” company outings.
Info: Tel. (0212) 26 42 705; www.wupperkanutouren.de
In the Westerwald, the eggs are low-flying. On Easter Sunday (21.4) in Horhausen in the district of Altenkirchen, the 33rd Easter egg-throwing competition starts on the meadows at the fire station at 2 pm. The record remains, as it has for years, at 57 metres. Holiday guests may also join in with the throwing. Note: the projectile, a hard-boiled Easter egg, should travel as far as possible – and land safely. An art in itself.
Info: Tel. (02687) 26 830; www.horhausen.de
From Maundy Thursday to Easter Monday (18.4–22.4), several places on the Middle Rhine shine in a special light in the evening hours. At this year's “Rheinleuchten” festival, the new culture and landscape park on the Loreley will also be artfully illuminated. In Koblenz, between these dates and from 26 to 28 April, the Ehrenbreitstein fortress (photo) will be the focal point. There, the Roman past will be resurrected, at least visually. Other places include Rhens, Spay, Braubach and Lorch.
Info: Tel. (06771) 95 99 103; www.welterbe-mittelrheintal.de
From Good Friday to Easter Sunday, the “Kläpperkinder” (clatter children) wander through the alleyways in some places in the Eifel and on the Moselle. Their wooden ratchets differ from region to region. They replace the ringing of church bells, which remain silent on these days. The clattering reminds the faithful of going to church. Today the tradition has been rediscovered. At Treis on the Moselle, clatter children are also out and about.
Info: Tel. (06531) 97 330; www.mosellandtouristik.de
The open-air wine season near Trier starts with the festival of the Roman Wine Route in Schweich from 3 to 5 May. The towns of the Schweich municipality are represented by 17 wine stands, in one of the largest street wine festivals on the Moselle. A varied music and entertainment programme is offered on two stages from Friday to Sunday.
Info: Tel. (06502) 93 380; www.roemische-weinstrasse.de
The Belgian Ardennes, an extremely varied region with beautiful forests, waterfalls and secluded valleys, are only a stone’s throw away. Discover old abbeys, hidden breweries, numerous markets and the unique high moor, Hohes Venn. The author Rolf Minderjahn presents such tips in his current book. Title: “100 Places in the Ardennes” (GEV Verlag Eupen, 216 pp., 15 Euro). Worth reading!
The Zoom Erlebniswelt adventure park in Gelsenkirchen is home to around 100 animal species. The former Ruhr-Zoo is divided into three thematic areas and attracts at least 780,000 visitors per year. A turtle garden will open on 11 April. One of its new residents is Leonardo (photo), who at 30 years, is the old oldest turtle in the Zoom Erlebniswelt park. Other species include Russian, Moorish and Greek tortoises.
Info: Tel. (0209) 954 50; www.zoom-erlebniswelt.de
(Orignal text: general-anzeiger-bonn; translation John Chandler)