Funicular Fun!

28 May

Neve and I just had the best morning and I couldn’t wait to share! Since it was such a neat little spot right here in our city, I decided it deserved its own post and I’ll save the rest of the week for tomorrow.

I’ve been reading and seeing alot about this particular area of the city called Neroberg. It’s up in the northwest corner and is basically a giant hill full of houses, businesses, etc. At the very top of the hill is Nerotal Park and to get to it, there’s a two car funicular train called the Neroburgbahn.

thumb_IMG_3908_1024

A funicular is a cable railway situated on a cliff that has a cable connecting two tram cars and moves them up and down a steep slope on a rail. The cars counterbalance each other like a pulley system. There’s one track except for at the point where the trams cross paths, where it splits into two.

thumb_IMG_3941_1024

thumb_IMG_3909_1024 thumb_IMG_3911_1024

The Nerobergbahn is  the oldest water ballast-driven cog-and-rack railway in Germany. Since the service opened in 1888, the two original wagons– bearing Wiesbaden’s brightly colored blue and yellow livery- have been rumbling up and down the Neroberg, Wiesbaden’s landmark mountain. The train moves at about 5 mph and takes about 5 minutes one way. Every time the downhill carriage reaches the top, it’s filled with 7000L of water, which then pulls itself back to the bottom and the other carriage up to the top. At the bottom, the water is released (collected and pumped back to the top) as the other carriage is now being filled. A driver at the front of each car controls the speed. No electricity at all.

thumb_IMG_3913_1024

At the top, you can spend as much time as you like. The views are amazing. You can see all of Wiesbaden, as well as neighboring Mainz- all beyond the Hessen State Vineyards that occupy much of the hillside.

Looking over to Mainz...

Looking over to Mainz…

Wiesbaden. Just to the right of center, you can see the cluster of spires sticking up. That's the red brick church at the center of Old Town that's in so many of our pictures. It's where the Farmers Market is held.

Wiesbaden. Just to the right of center, you can see the cluster of spires sticking up. That’s the red brick church at the center of Old Town that’s in so many of our pictures. It’s where the Farmers Market is held.

What better place for a selfie sesh?

thumb_IMG_3921_1024 thumb_IMG_3918_1024 thumb_IMG_3917_1024

One of the highlights of Nerotal is the St. Elizabeth’s Russian Orthodox Church and its cemetery (the largest outside of Russia) about half a mile down an awesome wooded path.  The church was built in 1847 by Duke Adolf as a memorial to his wife, Russian Princess Elizabeth Mikhaelinova. Adolf and the princess married in 1844, but the following year, she died in childbirth, as did their newborn daughter. He grieved so profoundly that he decided to build a church around her grave. He obtained the money for this church, with the blessing of Tsar Nicholas, from her dowry. The domes were re-guilded in the late 1980s for Vladimir Putin’s visit to Wiesbaden. A really, really pretty church…

thumb_IMG_3926_1024 thumb_IMG_3928_1024

Neve’s reward for hiking back up the hill without my carrying her was a quick pit stop at the playground. Of course, there’s a playground!

thumb_IMG_3930_1024 thumb_IMG_3932_1024

The history that I found most interesting about the area was the old Neroberg Hotel that once sat at the peak. All that remains is its tower, that is now a cafe and biergarten. The hotel was opened in 1881 and was only accessible by the funicular still in use today. Through the 1930s, the Neroberg remained one of the most opulent, sought-after destinations in the area. It was THE place to stay and to socialize in its restaurant, bar, gardens…In the 1920s, the hotel’s pool, Opelbad, was opened and just added to the elegance- a spa experience with panoramic views and mountainside relaxation. The Opelbad, including its restaurant, is still in operation today and is still considered the premier swimming destination in Wiesbaden. The hotel survived both World Wars unscathed, but was in desperate need of remodeling by the 1940s. In 1945, the US Army seized the property and for the next 11 years, used it for officer housing. By the mid-1960s when it was returned to the city, it was in shambles and would’ve taken a fortune to bring it back to what it once was. Despite several attempts to redevelop it over the years (Wiesbaden residents could never agree on proposed designs), the Neroberg burned down in 1989- all except for its tower. On the connecting grounds, where the main hotel once stood, a small ampitheater for performances and cabaret has been constructed.

thumb_IMG_3929_1024

thumb_IMG_3937_1024 thumb_IMG_3938_1024

And before heading back down the hill, we decided to grab a late lunch at the biergarten- the one attached to the tower. It was such a beautiful day. And I even found my first big, beautiful salad with grilled chicken! Finally!

thumb_IMG_3934_1024

thumb_IMG_3935_1024

Headed back down the hill with the other tram coming up...

Headed back down the hill with the other tram coming up…

From the base of the funicular, looking up at the track...

From the base of the funicular, looking up at the track…

Almost back to the car!

Almost back to the car!

So yep, it was a fun morning for us ladies exploring a new corner of our city. Neve was so excited to tell John all about it when he got home from work- and that we shared our ride down with a family from Canada who spoke English 🙂

2 Responses to “Funicular Fun!”

  1. Robin May 28, 2015 at 10:33 PM #

    I just love the picture of you and Neve smiling and wearing your sunglasses – just 2 fine ladies out for the day. Wish I was there to be the 3rd.

    • Erin T. May 29, 2015 at 9:34 PM #

      We had such a good morning just hanging out. And she was so into taking pictures of us, I just went with it 🙂 SO SO SO wish you were here to be the 3rd.

Let's talk about it!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: