Two things are big in the Ahr valley (Ahrtal). Those are WINE and HIKING. But there is also another side of the valley. We spent one week there and experienced a lot other things without hiking the famous red wine hiking trail or the Ahrsteig. Okay we drank a little bit of wine. But we also have seen many interesting things and spots.
We have seen the big sputterer at the spa gardens in Bad Neuenahr. You can drink the healing water but you can also watch it coming out of the depth. The spa gardens are even without the spectacle worth a visit. You can stroll through it and if that is not enough you walk the streets of the old town.
And because the Bad in ‚Bad Neuenahr‘ means ‚spa‘ we visited the thermal spring ‚Ahr‘. Unfortunately only for taking pictures. Here you can bath in different kinds of healing waters. And there is also a huge sauna section which looked really inviting.
There is a different kind of healing water. It is also used internal. We found that one in Grafschaft and tasted it: Korn. The basis for aromatic schnapps and liquors. While touring the brandy shop you learn a lot about the different complex methods and can try the result of this old handicraft afterwards.
Talking about trying… Have you ever tried a forest climbing garden? First you get a lot of instructions for using the climbing gear and then you have to do a beginners parcour. Here you try the different exercises which you will face in the other parcours with different levels of difficulty… … up to the ‚death slingshot‘. Nothing for tender dispositions.
Then you might rather sit in old monestary ruins. Even if it is nearly just some walls… You can find that also in the Ahr valley. Today it is a popular destination in the middle of the wine yards. You sit ‚topless‘ in the old remains and walls of a huge monastery. And… psssst… the ‚Flammekuchen‘ are just great!
Ancient walls can also be seen in the form of castles and castle ruins. They can be often reached without having to walk long hiking trails. Okay you have to go uphill a little bit because those castles were built high up. They needed the far sight to be able to recognize an approaching enemy. But in the end you are awarded with a great view. Our tip: Walk up for a sunset. They are beautiful and very romantic up there. All around you see vine yards which is really pretty.
Those who watch carefully might discover something between the vine yards which does not necessarily belong there. A bunker. A special one. That one that was kept a huge secret because it was meant to be for the German government. A very small part of it can be visited nowadays a a museum. Only with a guided tour. But this is an amazing experience. A mixture between utter admiration of the technical and organizational talent and the creeps when you think about being kept in between the walls hermetically sealed… A goose bumps feeling! And not only because the temperature down there is 12 degrees Celsius all year round…
Quite cool are also the wine cellars – Okay. We admit. We have been in a wine cellar. But only in one! Honestly! It is supposed to be also the most beautiful one in the whole valley. There is also a wine growing museum integrated, which we have not seen because it is just rebuilt.
How about a stroll through one of the other village? A lot of small alley ways, pedestrian zones and rustic half timbered houses are waiting to be discovered. Now and then there is an old corner shop or another relict from former times. Or some oddities like „wine to got“ or the ‚Ahraton‘.
The Ahraton is a marathon with a treat. You run or do nordic walking or just walk through the vine yards along the river Ahr. But you do so with colleagues or friends and some of them even with funny comstumes. At the provision stations you not only get the necessary stuff to put you through the effort but you can also try different wines.
Yah okay! Completely without wine the Ahr valley won’t do…