If You’re So Inclined

| September 29, 2012

One morning, I picked up a brochure whose front showed a picture of a trolley on a hill: Die Nerobergbahn. It reminded me of the Duquesne Incline in Pittsburgh, PA, so I decided we must check it out. I didn’t tell Sequoia where we were going, just that we were going on an adventure. That was enough to pique her interest.

At the front desk, I asked if we could walk there from the hotel. The girl said yes, though it was a little far. Together, we looked at a small street map on the brochure, which happened to show from the Nerobergbahn right up to our hotel. She said I would pass through nice areas and be able to see large, beautiful homes. Sounds good.

I actually took the map with me–a first thus far. We started off uphill on our street. Sequoia was quick to point out that it was uphill, but I explained that she would appreciate when the return was downhill. She accepted that.

We quickly came upon and appreciated a church we had not seen before. I checked the map and saw a cross. Yup, right on track.

There were the markings of a cemetery coming up on the map. This piqued my interest, so I crossed the street to ensure we would not miss it. You couldn’t miss it. A large arch and gate greet you. I told Sequoia we would be cutting through a graveyard. She was curious.

So was I, when we walked past several beautiful tombstones and then came across…the swings. Set among the giant, scattered tombstones and memorials were some of the coolest jungle gyms a kid could ask for. One included a zip line (early preparation for the armed forces?). There was a skate park. There were basketball courts. There was a trampoline set inside not-too-soft a square border that no doubt has seen its fair share of blood and skull fragments.

I was slightly put off by the row of tombstones kind of leaning against the stone wall behind a jungle gym, as I don’t want to imagine them being separated from their namesakes for the purpose of securing the posts of play structures. Otherwise, the playgrounds, creepiness factor aside, were awesome. As were the tombstones. Some memorials were masterfully carved, such as a grieving granite widow. One could take a nice stroll through some graves on the way to the biergarten nestled in the corner of the cemetery. A bar, nestled in the cemetery-playground. Germans really know how to use space efficiently. I guess it’s not much different from an apartment building, except that the people in the basement are dead.

I let Sequoia play in the cemetery playground for a little while before we chose a path that seemed to go in the direction we were heading. We walked along (the wrong) road for a bit, gleefully pausing for a photo with a sign when we both knew its meaning (and that Sequoia was one!)

This road led us through a neighborhood of very large, beautiful contemporary homes. I gawked. Sequoia nudged me along. We stopped at a clearing. In front of us was a wide open view of vineyards, a large, golden-domed church on top of a hill, and the Nerobergbahn. “Mommy, look at that bus way up there!” I told her it wasn’t a bus, and that we were walking to the bottom of the hill so we could ride on it. She was excited! At that point, we were standing above a garden. Stone steps winded down through it. “Mommy, can we go down there?”

As I began to say No, I looked at the map. Well, turns out I’d taken the wrong road a little ways back, and the best way to get back on track was right through that garden. “Sure!”

We were let out onto a street filled with even larger homes—much older, very stately, ornate mansions. As I paused to photograph one, I heard a squeal. I turned around. Sequoia was squishing something with her shoe. “Slugs are different in Germany,” she declared.

Soon we came to the station at the bottom of the hill. The walk really hadn’t been bad, especially being broken up by the park. Unfortunately, there was a good portion of downhill walking during the end of the trek, which would give us an uphill start when we returned. But since I didn’t expect to walk much up top the hill, it shouldn’t be a big deal…

We entered the station and I bought a ticket (Sequoia was free). I asked if there was a specific time I had to come back. I didn’t understand if the kid was saying I had only 15 minutes up top, or the car ran every 15 minutes. I’d figure it out.

Sequoia was reeeeeeeeeally excited about this new mode of transportation.

On the way up, we passed the other trolley going down. I didn’t realize, since the only brochure available was in German, that the descending car was pulling us up. If you’d like more information about this (interesting) funicular railway, see the simplified English explanation in wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nerobergbahn

After passing through vineyards and through the woods, the Nerobergbahn let us off in…Neroberg. We came to a clearing and saw a tower that had been turned into a restaurant, a dome, and a beautiful view of Wiesbaden. I noticed a sign with various points of interest listed. It seemed to me that no one would come up here for just 15 minutes, so we were going to enjoy ourselves. I saw that one sign pointed to a Russian Orthodox church and deduced it must be the one we could see from down below. I told Sequoia we were going on an adventure to find the gold.

It was a little bit of a walk down through the woods (i.e. prologue to walking uphill through the woods) on a paved path. Every now and then we caught glimpses of gold through the treetops. When we arrived at the church, there were more views of Wiesbaden. We took in the sight of the church itself, then approached the doors. For a small price you could enter. I figured after the walk, why not. The gentleman didn’t speak English, but money speaks for itself. The church was quite ornate. There was a lot of God going on in there. Gold. Painted ceilings. Statues. I had Sequoia sit on a chair so she could look up and appreciate the ceilings without falling over backwards (I didn’t need her knocking over everyone’s prayer intentions and setting the place on fire). I felt it was worth the couple Euro.

Unfortunately, since I rarely do research before jumping into day travel, I had no idea there was a cemetery up at the church, so we missed that. Instead, we started right back uphill. And now the whining begins. In Sequoia’s defense, we’d walked almost 3 km by then (I now know), were heading uphill, both had to pee and were starving. I reminded her that the restaurant was at the top of the hill, and that restaurants have bathrooms. After what seemed like an eternity, we reached the restaurant. I had an amazing salad, despite not knowing what the main meat (or fish?) was. As we left, Sequoia plunked a Euro into a bubble gum machine and got herself a Smurf toy. We made our way back to the Nerobergbahn, which indeed ran every 15 minutes; Sequoia was as excited to ride down as she was to ride up.

On the walk back to the hotel on the road we had missed earlier, we noticed a few oddities, like a giant giraffe on one balcony of an apartment building facing a giant penguin on the balcony of another apartment. We of course cut through the cemetery park. The next night, we even returned to the cemetery Biergarten for dinner with Paul, to learn that there’s bier, a garten and plenty of nice locals who speak no English, but no food.

Aside from the whining atop the hill, Sequoia did a great job with what ended up being about 5K of disorganized wandering up and down the streets and hills of Wiesbaden/Neroberg. Of course, graveside swing sets were a huge help. The Nerobergbahn itself was certainly worth the fare for a nice little half day of walking around somewhere in Wiesbaden located just outside of the city.

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Category: Activities, FAMILY, Family Travel, Germany, Hiking in other regions, In Germany A Broad blog, Parks, Zoos & Aquariums, Travel

About the Author ()

Kari Martindale is a writer and ESL instructor. She’s visited all 50 states and 37 countries, including many of the big cities of Europe and a ton of Christmas Markets. She spends her days straddling the fence between a sense of adventure and a sense of dread. She is married to what is clearly a patient man and has a daughter who, frustratingly, is just like her. Her academic and professional backgrounds are in linguistics and foreign languages. When she's not teaching ESL, she's writing. When she's not writing, she's thinking about her next trip.

Comments (1)

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  1. Michele boyd says:

    Loved the story time (especially the reference to Pittsburgh.