Germany – Vulkaneifel
In the last week of September 2004 we went on vacation to the Eifel. The Eifel is a region in Germany, located east of Belgium and Luxembourg. Although Germany wasn't the first thing which pops to mind when we started searching for a holiday destination, we had the time of our life's! The Eifel is beautiful!
Since 1989 I have to rely on a wheelchair because of an accident I had which broke my neck. I live together with my girlfriend and two children in the northern part of the Netherlands. The vacation to the Eifel was together with my girlfriend and our 5 months old son. Our daughter of 17 stayed home and had the house to herself…
When you are using wheels to get around, most of the times it is very difficult to find something suitable! When we started searching accommodations in Germany, we found a site with lots of wheelchair accessible destinations. Look no further! This is the place to be when you are looking for a wheelchair accessible place in Germany (in German): www.rollstuhl-urlaub.de. Because we didn't want to travel to far with our 5 month old baby, we searched for an apartment in about a 500 km radius from were we live. No luck in Belgium, no luck in Luxembourg, so we started searching in Rheinland-Pfalz Germany. With thanks to the above mentioned site, we found a nice looking apartment in the Vulkaneifel about 100 km north of France and 50 km east of Belgium/Luxembourg. Although Germany was our third choice, it turned out to be a very good one!
Even if you are traveling from one Schengen-country to another, you still will need a passport. Babies have to have a passport of their own or their name and photo has to be in the passport of one of the parents. They will not check it at the border like they used to, but it will keep you out of trouble when you have to identify yourself. To get to our destination, we had to leave the freeway at Gelsdorf. The last 40 km would be over secondary roads. The further we got to the west, the more beautiful it got! We expected a hilly landscape, but mountains is a better word I guess. After a beautiful ride which led us trough several villages, we arrived at our destination… a very small village listening to the name Rothenbach.
We rented an apartment in Haus Sonneck, a hotel and appartment-complex in Rothenbach. Although the entry to the apartment was very steep (you will need help!), the apartment itself was OK. The bathroom was fully adapted and probable the only thing of concern is the height of the bed (very low). The view was great, especially in the morning when the mountains were surrounded by fog. For the average wheelchair user I give it an 6,5 on a scale of 10. This number is on the low side because of the terrible entry to the appartment. Beside that it is a great place to be! Kelberg-Rothenbach is located in the Vulkaneifel. A very long time ago, there were a lot of active volcano's in this area. Although these volcano's are long gone, the craters are still there and filled with water. Beautiful round lakes, sculptured by nature. The closest big city is Koblenz which is situated 70 km to the east. Great place to be when you are in a shopping mood. Be sure to check out Deutsches Ecke, the starting-point of the river Mosel. A smaller city closer to "home" is Adenau, about 15 km to the north. Enough stores if you have to buy something, enough restaurants for a cozy meal. Adenau is worth a visit! The most famous place in the neighborhood is most likely the race-circuit Nürburgring. Beside several races from different championships, once a year the circuit is the host of the Formula1 championship. The races take place on the Südschleife (the new ring). Until a heavy crash of Niki Lauda about 25 years ago, they used the Nordschleife (20 km long) for Formula1 races. Although the races for the different championships moved to the Südschleife a long time ago, the Nordschleife still is in place. A few time per week the Nordschleife is open for the public. For €14.- per lap you can ride through "die grüne hölle". Personally I found driving the Nordschleife a big thrill, but be aware! If you push to hard you might lose more than only your car!
As I mentioned earlier… Germany was our 3rd choice. The landscape was more beautiful as we expected, the people friendly, and the beer good. We will definitely go back to the Eifel, if not for a holiday then for a midweek or a long weekend. You might wanna consider Germany as your 1st choice!