The last weekend before social distancing was enacted in Germany as a result of the Coronavirus, my family and I decided to visit the longest suspension bridge in Germany, Geierlay and the highest mountain in the German state of Rhineland-Pfalz, Erbeskopf. This decision was made as we sat around the table drinking the last of the coffee in our mugs and polishing off the remaining morsels of our Saturday morning breakfast of pancakes and bacon. Fully caffeinated and fed, we were ready to explore. Many times, these spontaneous trips result in some of our favorite experiences.
My stomach lurched as the bridge swayed slightly below me. I’ve never been afraid of heights, however, the 100-meter drop to the valley below is daunting when standing in the center of the 360-meter suspension bridge known as Hängeseilbrücke Geierlay.
Built in 2015, it is Germany’s longest suspension bridge. This bridge is an experience, but was built with the intent of becoming a tourist attraction and is truly a bridge to nowhere. Other than being included in a hike, it isn’t a structure that has a utilitarian purpose of transporting goods and services, just hikers and sightseers.
It hangs over a valley in the Hunsrück low mountain range that is part of the Rhineland plateau region and is between the towns of Mörsdorf and Sosberg. We parked in Mörsdorf and paid a small fee of four euro. Other than the parking fee, there were no other costs associated with hiking to and crossing the bridge.
There are three options to get to the bridge; a short hike a little more than a kilometer through the woods, a medium hike approximate four kilometers through the woods and countryside, and a walk along a paved route on the outskirts of Mörsdorf. We wanted to hike the shorter path through the woods, but it was closed. So, we chose the paved path behind the village because with my daughter, we weren’t prepared for the longer hike.
Once we arrived, it was fun to watch my daughter cross the bridge. She was a bit nervous at first. As I mentioned before, the swaying is a bit unsettling, but by the time we were crossing back over the bridge heading to our side of origin, my daughter was lost in her imagination humming and doing a little dance.
People-watching on the bridge was entertaining. Lovers kissed at the center, sealing their love with a lock clasped tightly to the structure’s side. Numerous individuals struggled to get the perfect selfie at the exact angle to avoid any awkward happenings in the background. Most dogs crossed the bridge vastly better than their human companions. The group was a mixture of avid hikers and Saturday sightseers.
The village of Mörsdorf has some charming features and a few dining options if you want to make this a full day trip in the area.
Our second excursion of the day was to Erbeskopf, which is the highest mountain in the German state of Rhineland-Pfalz. It was nearing sunset as the car made the final turn up the narrow road leading to the peak where the snow-covered view opened up before us.
When my daughter saw the snow, her excitement level skyrocketed. My little, warm-blooded, beach babe has been obsessed with snow since we moved to Europe. We thought we had seen our last snow of the season, but due to the elevation, there was still about three to six inches of snow on the top of Erbeskopf. There was enough snow for a snowball fight, but not enough powder to please skiers. So, we pretty much had it all to ourselves.
Our spontaneous itinerary for the top of Erbeskopf was as follows. First, we walked the boardwalk out to the observation deck to see the panoramic view. Then we climbed the lookout tower for an even more elevated perspective. Finally, we commenced pegging each other for twenty to thirty-minute in a energetic snowball fight. It was definitely time well spent.
Though this day trip was a last-minute decision, my family and I enjoyed the experience and memories we made exploring. It was also one of the least expensive day trips we’ve had so far in Germany. Since we packed a picnic lunch, the total cost was four euro, plus the cost of gas. Not bad.
Happy travels (once we all can again)! For now, stay safe!