In the so called „Ruhrpott“ everything is a little bit differently and above all more relaxed. Suddenly Switzerland is situated close to the town of Hattingen and Schalke (the German football club) does not play in the Veltins-Arena but in a kiosk close to the Emscher Radweg. What does that mean in sequence?
We are taking advantage of the nice autumn weather and are going to the Elfringer Schweiz in order to enjoy a stroll around the forest. Arriving at the parking lot “The red house” we instantly realize that a lot of people just had the same idea. A true sea of cars awaits us on the overcrowded parking lot. My friend must have seen my petrified facial expression as she quickly tries to calm me down with the words: “Do not worry, these people only want to visit the pony ride. Nobody here wants to hike for 10 km.” She’s right. We hardly met anybody on the loop road thus we are able to enjoy the beautiful landscape and the warming rays of the autumn sun. We also have still time for coffee and a shop tour at the nearby yard sale.
Next day we are changing our hiking shoes for the boneshaker. We are once more discovering a piece of industry culture as it can be found alongside the former rails trails that has been turned into bicycle trails. At first we are cycling to the Nordsternpark close to Gelsenkirchen. Among others we are visiting the Herkules statue on top of the Nordsternbuilding and are relaxing in the beer garden close by.
We are heading on alongside the „Tour Nord“ by „Essen erfahren“ until we reach the park of sculptures, a former mine dump. Disproportionately to the rest of the terrain you really have to climb up to that park with your bike – but it’s worth it. For a magnificent panoramic view you have to climb a little bit further up the “stairway to heaven”. At the end of our tour, we are crossing two cultic kiosks: firstly, the “Schalker” kiosk and then the mobile kiosk directly at the crossing to “Zeche Zollverein” (insider will understand what I am talking about). Nach so viel Anstrengung haben wir uns schließlich einen Jumbo-Cocktail in der Bochumer Innenstadt verdient. After all that cycling we deserve a Jumbo-Cocktail downtown Bochum.