Solo Getaway Birthday’19: Winterberg
And I wanted to spend my birthday a bit different this year.. neither was I looking forward to late night parties nor spending the day with friends and family in-person! I took a leave for just this one day and wanted to go somewhere by myself.
Feb 6th was right in middle of the week on a Wednesday! It was a sunny week in Düsseldorf. As usual for this region, I didn’t see much snow through the season! I wished for some white sceneries. Going to Bavaria or Switzerland seemed not feasible for a day’s leave. And then I stumbled upon the idea of Winterberg!
Some 150km away from Düsseldorf, the village of Winterberg is well-known as a Ski resort! Being located strategically 700m above the sea level like a plateau, in the middle of flatlands of Nordrhein-Westfalen, this place has good amount of snow even in season when the neighbouring town are sunny!
Perfect situation for my headspace for a day’s get-away! I wasn’t looking forward to Ski, but to simply stroll around in the snow laden valleys, observe people, have good food, and possibly capture some good frames through the day! I was looking forward to linger and refuel.
It was Tuesday afterwork when I took trains and buses to arrive Winterberg. It takes roughly 3-3.5hrs from Düsseldorf. The first thing I did after arriving at 19:30 (midnight in India) was sit down in the corner of the street and attend birthday video calls from my family back home. It was a lovely feel to do it this way for a change!
Once I began to look around, I wasn’t quiet sure how good an idea this was given the cold and dark ambience as you see in the image above! My AirBnB was around 5km from the train station. I had no other plans other than to walk, till I realised how the situation could be in this village at 8pm with not a single soul out on the street. I straightaway took a cab and didn’t regret the idea once we drove through the dark highways between the hills.
I must agree I had a lovely little AirBnB to myself with a welcome as cute as this. How warm a welcome is that at sub-zero degrees! Little cottage for the evening at the far end of this village.. middle of the week solo-getaway!
Once freshened, I went around the alleys in the dark. It was an uncanny feeling to be honest. Dark sky lit by some street lamps here and there. The snow cover would reflect the moonlight to make things brighter. You could see sharp ice-frost hanging across the roof-top edges here and there. Since I was by myself, I had all the time in the world to absorb into all of this!
Later that birthday midnight, I cooked myself some warm and spicy noodles. Attended some birthday calls, and went off to sleep looking forward to Winterberg by daylight.
And indeed this village was far from disappointment the next morning once I began my stroll. I had the plans to walk the whole day in snow. Insane some people might say, but I was dearly looking forward to observe nature and skiing stories.
The village is located on the ridge of a low mountain range in this area. And thus I could witness such breathtaking views overlooking beautiful valleys.
I would stop by walking along the highways to sit and look at these miniature snowmen.. only to realise that this time its nature and not children who built these!
I kept walking for a few hours by the Nordic walking route. When I would cross highways, I realised I was the only weirdo walking by myself along the pathways in the snow on a Wednesday morning. But well, I was loving it to the fullest!
Soon I began to have a sneak-peak into the sight of snow-covered meadows with people far away possibly preparing for their ski!
Once I got closer, it was a wonderful sight to see families and friends of all age group bonding together over the sport!
I did sit around for a while with a warm coffee just staring at the vast white valley with colours of joy skiing around. If one would observe them carefully, there’s a possibility of weaving innumerable lovely stories!
It was midday and I decided to treat myself. The image above is from Panorama Café, and I highly recommend it if you are here! It’s a cozy restaurant at the heart of skiing slopes in Winterberg. I could look around to see families and groups of people gathering for a wholesome lunch after hours of skiing!
I cozed up in the warmth after hours of walking, and had a lovely Birthday brunch by the valley.. To the new experiences and midweek solo-getaways! 🙂
I spent some more time along the Skiing valleys. I did attend quite a few birthday video calls in the middle of this. But sooner or later got back to observe stories. The green forest sprinkled with snow in the background would appear perfect to frame the infinite skiing valleys sloping down.
People of all age groups were here. It was lovely to notice families in caravan off-boarding with skiing equipments, right from toddlers till grandparents. School trips for early teenagers also seem to be pretty common!
I walked further along as and when the Sun began to shine bright. In addition to almost endless glistening white skiing slopes , there were little valleys that eloped with silence. One could hear the soft wind blowing and snow flakes dropping from the fluttering leaf.
In the afternoon I ended up coming across a professional photographer based in Dortmund. It was really nice to meet her. We had a quick chat when I noticed she was flying drones over the slopes of Winterberg! 🙂 Her studio work could be found here.
The only photograph I have which isn’t a selfie is by Venessa! 🙂
I had my train back later that evening. I spent quite some time now going away from the Skiing slopes and more into the village where people live. With the snowflakes fall, every outdoor stay becomes an experience. And so was this.
I was happy to have spent the birthday strolling across a snow-white village as pretty as this! I had a very late lunch in an Italian restaurant. Unfortunately I didn’t have the chance to have the acquaintance with the local mulled wine and Jagertee. Nevertheless, I decided to order my favourite Pasta and coffee at the Italian place and later some beer!
In the last lap of my tour while I walked across the narrow streets away from the skiing crowd, I ended up onto a beautiful lake. This lake was half frozen in the middle of snow meadows. I sat down quietly by one of the wooden fences.
There were ducks, goose and several other birds I didn’t recognise. It was 4pm in the evening and the lake was filled with the birds singing their tunes. These playful little creatures would flutter in the ice-cold water and rub against the soft snow along the edges.
Winterberg is a lovely place for more than one reason: You could enjoy beautiful hiking trails, have a lovely skiing vacation with your family with more than 50 well-equipped skiing valley, witness the panoramas of the white hills and forest that you will not soon forget, or simply stroll across and absorb yourself into nature & people, like I did in the middle of the week! 🙂
Indeed some chicken-soup for the soul out of the never-ending busy life, cheers to turning 27!
Lets stay connected! 🙂