Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Vacation Time - Sauerland and Hennesee!

Pretty river landscape in Meschede, Germany

My family and I spent this summer vacation in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. We stayed in an area called Sauerland at a campground right on the lake Hennesee. Being from Michigan, and living in a lakeless area of Germany, I was really excited to be on the water for a whole week.

Turns out, the advertising was a little misleading. A main road separated the campground from the lake. And there was a bigger, more important difference.

The lake was man-made, created from a dammed up river. It turns out they were cleaning this portion of the lake, removing truckloads of muck and silt. So the below picture shows the "swimming area" for our campground. 

In case the lack of water didn't make it clear, the security tape encourages you not to dive in.

Disappointing, but the rest of the lake was still full of water, and we enjoyed a nice boat ride. The temps were pretty low, but the kids even managed to get in some swimming at a stony beach down the road, at least until they came out with teeth chattering.

My kids (and dog) making a rare, but still anonymous appearance on the blog :)

I love the way it looks like these rocks are growing up out of the ground on shore
We also got to walk on the dam itself.

The area is extremely hilly, and a long, long, long stairway was built so you can walk up to the top of the dam from the other side. Seriously, once on these stairs was enough.

Looking down
Looking up the Himmelstreppe or Stairway to the Sky

The region is known for its slate mining, and many houses were covered in it, giving them a dark but really unique appearance.

House in Meschede
House in Eversberg. It's built into the hill so this side only shows the upper floors.

Being a reader, I liked the buildings in the village of Eversberg even better. They had phrases painted on them. My favorite house reminded kids to keep their bedrooms clean!

The phrases are in the horizontal timbers.

In Eversberg, we hiked up to the ruins of a fortress built in 1242 for a lovely view.

View from the top

Something I wouldn't have noticed on my own, but my husband did, is how all of the roofs are dark slate, compared to the red tiles in Franconia, where we live.

As for whether I'd recommend this area for a vacation...let's just say there were some nice aspects, but it was generally less suitable for sightseeing that most of the places we've vacationed in Germany recently. But we enjoyed our relaxing time there nonetheless.

Bonus pic: I had to prove I actually visited the ruins, didn't I?

All pictures by me or my family.