Staycation week: KMC edition

Staycation week: KMC edition

by Karen Bradbury
Stripes Europe

Should you have you chosen to stick close to your home in the KMC on your hard-earned week off, don’t despair! With deep dark forests, verdant vineyards and cooling waterways all well within a couple hour’s drive, you’re spoiled for choice when it comes to fabulous day trip destinations. Here are just five we’ve lined up for your consideration:

Monday: Ride the pedal-powered trolley

If you’ve new in town, you’ve probably never heard of a Draisinentour. But once you know what it is, you’ll certainly want to try it! This wheeled contraption travels along a disused railway line completely under the power on the people riding on it. You don’t have to steer, but pedal power is required from two of its riders. The other two can sit on a bench and enjoy watching the scenery roll by.

Riders spend the entire day traveling in a single direction and can choose to cover a distance of either 20 km (12.5 miles) or 40 km. Public transportation whisks you back to where the car’s parked or all the way home. The “Draisinen” trolleys are found at either end of the track on alternating days; pick-up stations are located in Altenglan, Staudernheim and Lauterecken, the mid-point station. Rental of a single trolley accommodating four costs 39 euros on weekdays and 49 euros on Sundays and holidays. Large families or groups of friends will need to reserve the so-called “conference trolley,” which is capable of accommodating up to seven riders. Booking online in advance is essential.

Address: Pick-up stations are found at Bahnhof, 66885 Altenglan; Bahnhof, 67742 Lauterecken; or Bahnhofstraße, 55568 Staudernheim.

Tuesday: back-to-school shopping for a new pair of shoes

Dozens of thematic routes crisscross Germany, including one called the German Shoe Route (Die Deutsche Schuhstraße), a 60-mile stretch of highways connecting towns in which the shoemaking industry once thrived. There’s not much in the way of footwear manufacture going on in the Rhineland-Palatinate nowadays, but selling shoes to eager consumers remains a thriving business. The so-called “shoe-mile” is a concentration of more than 20 shops and outlets selling brand-name shoes, sneakers and sandals near the town of Hauenstein. What’s truly remarkable is this that this little enclave retains the right to sell their wares even on – gasp! – Sundays between the months of March and October.

Truly shoe-mad? Check out the Shoe Museum in the same town.

Address: Schuhmeile 1, 76846 Hauenstein

Wednesday: swimming in a pool/lake hybrid

Swimming is fun, but it can be risky business in unknown waters. The “Naturfreibad” in Otterberg offers bathers the natural beauty of a lake with the security of a pool in one location. Shallow depths in many places make it a safe bet for those with children and give the water a chance to warm up in the mid-day sun. As this spacious natural pool is fed with pure spring water and is free of chemicals, the bathing experience feels more natural here. A children's playground, diving platform, field for sunbathing, snack bar and restaurant with a beer garden make a day here fun for young and old alike. Due to Coronavirus safety measures, tickets to the pool must be booked in advance. Adults pay 3 euros, while those under 18 enter for 1.50 euros.

Address: Schwimmbad 3, 67697 Otterberg

Thursday: hiking and dining at the Devil’s Table

The Teufelstisch, or “Devil’s Table,” is a curious stone monument deep in the heart of the vast forest known as the Pfälzer Wald. According to local lore, the 300-ton sandstone plate perched atop two narrow columns of rock was the handiwork of the devil himself, although the process of erosion over millions of years is the more scientific explanation for it. This natural sculpture found in a region rich in rock formations can be reached by means of a five-minute walk from the parking lot. Slides and playgrounds make the area an attractive destination for those with smaller children. Pack a picnic to keep the little devils well-fueled on their big adventure. Entry is free, but there is a moderate charge for parking.

Address: Im Handschuhteich 29, 66999 Hinterweidenthal

Friday: conquer the treetops

With so much forested land surrounding the KMC, the number of tree-top high-ropes courses available in the region hardly comes as a surprise. The Fun Forest Adventure Park in Kandel is a good choice for those in search of challenging physical activity in the great outdoors. Here, 24 different courses give those of varying abilities the chance to do their thing. With bathtubs and skis forming some of the obstacles, you have to admire the course designers’ sense of humor! Once you’ve climbed, clambered and hugged your way through the trees, you can sail down back to earth on the flying-fox contraption. Reservations in advance are a must. Use of courses 1-14 over a three-hour period costs 20.90 euros for adults, 17.90 euros for youth ages 14-17 and 14.90 euros for ages 7-13. Use of the children’s course meant for those above the age of three goes for 7.90 euros. Four hours of climbing and use of courses 15-16 costs a few euros more.

Address: Fun Forest AbenteuerPark Kandel, Badallee, nähe Waldschwimmbad, 76870 Kandel

There may be an absence of fests this summer, but there’s no shortage of other ways to have fun. What’s your favorite day-trip destination outside Kaiserslautern?

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