1. I love cycling. If I had more time, I would cycle the world. I also like jogging, although it is a bit of a necessity: a 10-mile jog every second day allows me to stick to marzipan-and-chocolate diet with little risk of reaching the size of a blue whale. Whether on a bicycle or wearing running shoes, put on a windbreaker and let's explore the area where I live.
2. This is Monschau, a picture-postcard town at the Belgian border. Busloads of Chinese tourists come here to take selfies with three-hundres-year old houses in the background. During the pandemic however, Monschau is blissfully quiet. Although the area witnessed regular (less and more violent) dispute whether it should be part of France, Prussia or Wallonia, time seems to stand still here.
3. Anything can happen in March in the Eifel: sunshine and 20 degrees Celsius (68 degrees Fahrenheit) follow a blizzard. This is the time to get up early and dive in the bathtub full of hot water with eucalyptus oil, drink a cup of coffee and then enjoy the run before browsing morning emails in home office.
4. Billig is said to be 2,000 years old. At least this is what archeologists gather by the looks of stones excavated here and from the records of ancient Romans. Much nicer than the archeological finds are neat houses surrounding little chapel and bicycle trails around rapeseed fields that will soom blossom yellow.
5. The Eifel is famous for its high quality water which ancient Romans would transport via aqueducts all the way to Cologne (Colonia) and Trier (Augusta Treverorum). Nowadays, mineral water brands such as Gerolsteiner are well known all over the world. Few consumers in Tokyo or Miami realize they come from the German outback.
6. A couple of sunny days and nature bursts back into life. Go out in the evening and breathe in the scent of cherry or apple blossom. If no winter comes back, fruit will be ripe at the beginning of June. Feel free to pick the cherries which are so much sweeter than the ones you get in supermarkets.
7. The catkins on willow trees are one of the earliest signs of spring. The word "catkin" comes from a Middle Dutch word katteken ("kitten"). We associate them with Easter, especially when it comes early, at the end of March or the beginning of April.
8. Bad Münstereifel is a spa town near Euskirchen where I live. Once a week I take an early morning train there and then jog back home. Bad Münstereifel had been very quiet until its old houses were turned into an outlet center with more than fifty fashion and lifestyle brands. Although busy at weekends, it retains its charm while being more prosperous than ever before.
9. This is my favourite house in the Eifel. It is located in a small village close to where I live. I would be happy to buy it if only its owners were willing to put it on sale one day. Dream on...
10. The Eifel is laid back and I like its countryside bliss. I also appreciate its proximity to high speed railway line and three major international airports. I do miss long-haul flights to all out-of-this-world destinations and hope the airports will work at their capacity again soon...