We often look for beauty in things far away, and yet it’s often so close. I don’t usually look for new things to do around Cologne because that’s where I live. And where you live, you think you already know everything about the area. But thanks to my friend Sarah, who is as fond of traveling as I am, I spent two days enjoying the Alpenpark in Neuss and its treehouses.
I spent the summer of 2019 mostly in Cologne for the first time in four years. It was nice to be there again for a long stretch, but I don’t really feel at home anymore. My conflict with Cologne could fill an entire diary, but anyone who knows me knows that anyway, and everyone else will experience it here bit by bit…
At any rate, I’m happy to take short trips within Europe or, thanks to Sarah and her Instagram Account, short excursions in my immediate vicinity. The two of us met a few years ago while working as graphic artists. I was a freelance project manager and Sarah took the helm on a permanent basis. You can talk about the drawbacks of social media as much as you want, but it enabled us to follow each other year after year, and then it suddenly happened:
We met again over Kaiserschmarrn and coffee.
The Alpenpark Neuss, also called “Aktivfreizeitpark in NRW”, is about 40 km from Cologne and can be reached by car in less than 45 minutes…Jaaaaaa, even without TT! 😉 And the short tour is worth it! In addition to an indoor ski area for young and old, there is alpine golf, a climbing park, fun football and lots of things to do in the huts.
“A tree house, to me, is the most royal palace in the world”
― Munia Khan
Check-in time was at 3:00 pm, but the weekend promised everything but sunshine. That turned out to be lucky for me because the park was quite empty despite it being peak season in July. Booked for one night, I had the standard treehouse for about 110 euros, including breakfast. However, I was able to upgrade it upon arrival for just a 20 euro surcharge and get a private sauna. You don’t necessarily need that, but it’s great to have!
Sarah was already some weeks before me in the tree chalet, and does not live far away from Neuss. So all the better was a visit from her for coffee and Kaiserschmarrn in the afternoon. Unfortunately, the restaurant reminded me a bit of a cafeteria. It somehow makes you feel as if you’re in a Center Parcs holiday resort. And who likes that…?
I didn’t really care, because with a view of the ski hall, we had enough time to chat and make new plans: “Yoga With Wanderlust” (coming soon). Yet it’s always nice to know that with some people you have great chemistry, no matter how long you go without seeing each other or how far away you live from one another. Ten years felt just like yesterday…
The entire Alpine Park in Neuss is definitely worth a visit. A short stay is especially worthwhile for two people, and is about the same price as a day in a good sauna facility, such as the “Mediterana“. But here, you have more privacy and a night in the treetops (though the treehouses are not as much in the forest as I expected). Unfortunately, the individual leisure activities are very close to one another, which means that from the treehouses, you can see the fence and the people on the mini-golf course.
I would definitely recommend the surcharge for the sauna. With the small terrace, it has a real holiday feeling. The restaurant features delicious food in the evening, and is stylishly furnished with a Bavarian flair. And I especially enjoyed the breakfast buffet, where everyone gets really full and happy.
I would have liked to stay a second night, but it’s not far from Cologne, so I can easily return…