Mülheim an der Ruhr; a part from the Ruhr area or somehow not really. Not anyway from the Ruhr area that is still in the head of the people. The dark, dirty, loud Ruhr area. Mülheim was one of the first towns that started with transformation. Towards green. But not only green but also comfortable and quiet.
There are huge parks with old trees and beautiful alleys. But also wide meadows. Sometimes you can find sculptures or a rose garden with fountains. For the children there are playgrounds and everything is actively used.
Also the Ruhr islands are green and the Ruhr promenade. Everywhere green. Lush green. Sometimes the watersides are overgrown so that you can hardly see the river. But then it blinks between the bushes and you can watch it flow slowly.
We rented bicycles and went on one side of the Ruhr towards Essen Kettwig. We struggle a bit with the cycle lance system inside the town. But soon we left the traffic behind and were in the country. Yes exactly. Really in the country.
Right after the streets in town we went along the promenade, passed the water station (Wasserbahnhof). At the weir we went a little bit along the road and through a green gate on the towpath (Leinpfad).
An old path where horsed dragged the ships along the river. Today it is used by pedestrians, bikers or walkers which enjoy the beautiful nature. Not in the affluent suburbs but outer areas with tiny villages, big farms, estates, huge stables and many fields. Only the motorway bridge reminds you of the Ruhr area.
Cylce lanes lead well signed through the Ruhr floodplains or right beside the river. Now and then there is a rest stop. The villages are small and straightforward. There is a church and a grave yard. Maybe café, some cozy camping grounds, a hotel, a lot of half timbered houses and a few pieces of art and sculptures.
Again and again we had to stop to admire the view. And of course to take photos.
But we were still quite fast at the old town of Essen Kettwig. Really pittoresque. Times seems to stand still here. Half timbered houses everywhere. Old handcrafted doors. Cobblestones. A duck pond full of common waterlens. Two coots are swimming in it. The tour around the old town does not take long. Maybe a cup of coffee – or a bite in one of the restaurants with terraces with a view. And then you can go slowly back. Everything cozy. Everything slow.
In case you don’t want to walk or go by bike you can take the boat. The ships of the ‚white fleet‘ (Weiße Flotte) also float unhurriedly. In Kettwig they turn around and go back to the water station.
Everything is straightforward. Everything is slow. Nobody hurries, nobody honks impatiently. Everybody has time for a chat. People are helpful. When there we had a problem with one of our rented bikes we stopped and asked two men in their gardens for a tool. Both went into their garage or workshop and one of them came back with a screw-wrench. After the screw has long been tightened we still were standing at his front garden chatting. No stress! The Ruhr also flows very slowly after all.
Mülheim has no big sensations. No „world’s first X“ or „Germanys longest Y“ or „Europes most beautiful Z“. Nothing. Nothing at all. And maybe that is the reason that it does not need to be blatant. Mülheim is the town of gems. Those can be discovered individually. By strolling around the city. All shops are located in a mall though. But there are nice cozy cafés outside under rows of trees. Streets and places are wide and after six in the afternoon you can use your bike also within the pedestrian zone. No stress!
As a visitor you don’t have to worry that you might have missed something great. There is no list of points of interest, that you have to see, no attractions, that cost so much that you would need one of those guest cards that grant you free entrance or a deduction.
The real gems are free anyway. Like walk along the Ruhr promenade. Sit on a bench for a while and admire the water lilies. Watch the geese or one or the other artist that are sitting on benches. Have a look over their shoulders and admire their pieces of art.
Sit on the steps of the city harbor and watch the sunset. Or watch others ride a pedal boat. Admire the water fountain in front of the town hall and watch how it changes with the wind. Sit at the water side and watch the swans swim by. Try your luck with fishing. Have a picknick. Sit on a bench and have a chat.
Go to the castle „Schloss Broich“ and have a rest in the park. The kids are playing. The teenagers brought a ball or some other sport equipment. In the evening there glow LED lamps instead of bonfires.
And even major events like the ‚KULI-Treff‘ (culinary art event) or a concert in a park or at the open air theater do not cause any stress. No traffic jam. No human masses that block your way. No special trains or busses or trams. No riding around the block five times to find a parking spot. No stress!
In Mülheim riding a car is nice. There are no traffic jams. You will always find a parking place and it is cheap. We left our car for example at the Delle. With a parking attendant who hands out the ticket and collects the money when you are leaving. Here we paid one Euro for one hour. After six o’clock in the afternoon you can mostly park for free. You do not have to search long and in many streets there are free parking places.
But you can also walk a lot in Mülheim. The most beautiful spots can be reached within walking distance. From the train station to the water station or to the city harbor, to the museum or in a park, to the town hall or to the castle ‚Schloss Broich‘. No big distances.
In the evening it gets quickly quiet. Many cafés and restaurants close early. People disappear in their houses. Places and streets are empty. No nightlife district, no parties or events. Nothing to miss out on. Only many many things to discover and to sense. Mülheim.
Alle Fotos © DieMeurers