It's just a few short moments and the journey is forgotten - two days off, out of the daily grind in the Ruhrgebiet and into the heart of the Sauerland in Winterberg. The unique atmosphere of the extensively renovated Hotel Hessenhof with its new restaurant "Stadtkern" in the center of Winterberg immediately compensates for the two-hour drive when you enter. Modernity and tradition enter into a perfect symbiosis in this family-run hotel owned by the Braun family and located directly on Winterberg's market square. And this applies not only to the hotel's tasteful furnishings. Excellent quality is also served. Just the sight of a freshly tapped Veltins Pilsener makes you want more. This is how the short vacation can start and the first day in the Sauerland can come to an enjoyable end.
The breakfast buffet at the Hotel Hessenhof leaves nothing to be desired after a good night's sleep. After this hearty start to the day, the decision quickly matures to stimulate the adrenaline production a little. The Astenkick - Europe's second-longest rope slide in the Winterberg hilltop village of Altastenberg - is the place to be. With over 70 km/h it goes from the start tower either alone or even in parallel flight almost 1,000 meters down into the valley - heart palpitations and adrenaline kick included. An unforgettable experience in the Sauerland countryside. Sky stormers or not, the pulse is already racing at the thought of the rapid descent. But you can't chicken out, what you need now is a cool head and the best possible preparation.
Click, click - half an hour later the carabiners for the safety ropes click into place. Now there's really no turning back. Briefly close your eyes, take a deep breath and off you go. Wow, flying is really not an understatement, freedom the perfect description for this extraordinary adventure. The ride on the Astenkick is a real experience. Despite or perhaps because of those wobbly pudding knees after the successful landing in the valley.
Back at the three-star hotel with its 42 rooms and spacious wellness area, the path leads directly to the "Stadtkern" restaurant, one of the three themed restaurants. Immediately followed by a pleasantly cold Veltins V+ and a Veltins Pilsener. And a good beer simply needs a good meal. The decision is easy: it should be game. And not just any game dish. After all, Daniel Braun is a chef who likes to combine regional products in unusual ways. And so the venison is given a unique touch with bacon, mango and pineapple. The game comes from the restaurant's own hunt. Daniel Braun, together with his parents Dirk and Birgit Braun and his sister Ina Haas, has been running the hotel, which opened in 1792 as the last post office before the Hessian border, very successfully for years. Before returning to the Sauerland, the passionate cook gained experience all over the world, including on the former ZDF dream ship "MS Deutschland".
We, for one, are thrilled, as the hearty yet slightly exotic game dish goes excellently with the tangy character of the drinks. Simply the perfect conclusion to a successful time out. And even before the journey home, both are looking forward to the next visit to the Sauerland.
Text: Rita Maurer
Photos: Steffi Rost
Video: Jannik Fischbach