Ahh, this is utterly fantastic; wait until you hear what you can do in the Hessian town of Gersfeld (Rhön).
Pardon me, I’m putting the horse before the cart. Gersfeld is a winter sports lovers dream town, located right between Fulda and Bad Neustadt, on the northwestern border of Bavaria. It’s spot along the Rhön Mountains sort of has something to do with it looking like a winter wonderland postcard.
Anyway, in addition to the usual stuff of cross-country skiing and alpine (downhill) skiing — Gersfeld’s got Snowkiting.
Oh my God, this is so cool — you’re flung around the snow on a snowboard attached to this big old kite. You’re pretty much paragliding on the snow — even better that, if you’re not some expert, there are “courses” for the beginner and intermediate skier.
And for those of you who are already old-hat at it, there are advanced courses for snowkiting. Plus, why didn’t anyone tell me about this before? ;-)
Now, everyone isn’t all into the snowy, cold winters that can hit Germany. For you more warm weather loving peeps, you’re in luck because Gersfeld can keep you busy, too. The town is a climate health and Kneipp resort, so hit up the Kneipp pool in the middle of town — or try some of the “cures” over at the Schlosspark Clinic.
You can’t just go working the body without working your mind, too. It’s actually possible to do both if you hike on over to the Osterburg, a medieval castle ruin. The history of the Osterburg goes back to around 1000 B.C. when the Celts first used the area as a stronghold — then came the Merovingians, Carolingians, and Franks. By the time 1600 A.D. came around, the castle was nothing but a pile of rubble.
As if that won’t keep you busy enough, come see the Baroque Evangelical Luthern Church, and make sure you get to see the Wildpark Gersfeld — an animal park full of ibex, deer, pheasant, grouse, and snowy owls to name a few.
Gersfeld is a really special place in Germany. Not only am I still amazed by the whole snowkiting thing, but the town as a whole too — one visit and I know you’ll agree.