Buying the the roadbike has probably been the best decision in 2018.
Because it allows me to cover distances and visit places on a bicycle,that I would have never ever thought to be possible.
Today I want to show you one of those places:
The Open – Air Observatory
This landmark is one of the tallest and largest hills in the area. The top of the hill is 150 m above the sea level, which is more or less sky high, compared to the local standards.
Most of the paths and roads upwards are covered with tarmac, which makes this landmark pretty much the only choice for training uphill rides on a roadbike, because usually the hills around here are kept more or less wild, with gravel roads and a lot of dirt on the paths…
However, the paved tracks are beautifully winding their way around and up the hill, just like a snake would do.
At the bottom, there are a lot of pines and birches, so it feels like riding through a forest. But as you get closer to the top, the trees are slowly disappearing and finally, there is just dry lawn, rocks and a whole lot of wind from every direction.
Riding roadbike upwards that hill, gives you the feeling of your own personal Alpe d’Huez Tour de France stage victory.
Of course, it is not that long and not that high and not that hard, but you can get a pretty good feeling of what it may be like to be riding bicycles up the real mountains.
At least, that’s what I thought, while I was climbing my way to the top…
Once you’ve reached the top, you can get the most greatest view of the whole planet it seems! But of course, there are a lot of cool things to discover right at the plateau itself:
On the northern side of the landmark stands a huge open air sky observatory. This structure looks gigantic and makes you feel so small, when you stand right in front of it.
I wish I could explain, how that structure works in detail, but I have to admit, I wasn’t able to understand it at my first visit, because the sky observatory is closed for a rather long time, due to the fact, that there are little fractures in the two steel bows. Right now, it’s not quite sure, whether or not this building is going to be open to the public in the near future.
On the southern side of the landmark they placed a huge paved plaza and one big obelisk made of steel.
Together with hundreds and more signs and marks on the ground, this works as one gigantic sundial.
There is one specific place to stand at and if the sun is shining, the viewer is able to tell the clock by reading the signs and marks on the ground.
Additonally, they added signs, that, I think, tell the viewer the current sign of the zodiac and the time of the next lunar and sun eclipse!
The observatory and the sundial are the main attractions at this sight, but if you take a closer look while riding ( or walking ) around observatory hill, there is a lot more to discover:
For example, Dragon Bridge. This bridge is the main entrance for hiking up the hill. The bridge itself is winding over the main road beneath and painted in a dark red and black. Thus it looks like the tail of a dragon.
After crossing the bridge the visitor is greeted by a gigantic dragon head made of steel. This beast is so huge and intimidating, that every visitor might find himself running up that hill as fast as possible.
When the sun has set and it has got dark outside, this mystic dragon is lighted up by two spotlights. The lights throw shadows on the creature and make it look even more alive as it already appears during sunlight.
Just need to add a fog machine and a few sound effects and it is the perfect illusion…
At the bottom of the observatory, you can discover a tunnel, that was once used by the trains of the local mining company.
There is a cool story behind this tunnel that I definitely have to share with you:
The train that used to run on these rails connected two buildings of the mining company. When the company decided to dump up this huge coal pile, they knew, that there was still a need for this train connection.
So, what did they do?
They first build this tunnel over the rails and then piled up this huge amount of coal above the tunnel.
First the tunnel, then the mountain. I’m sure this method is pretty unique, don’t you think so?
If you look closely, you can see the other entrance to the tunnel, which means, you can see all the way through this huge hill. And believe me, this is a long way!
I’m sure, this tunnel is closed to the public for a reason, but I would really like to cross this tunnel on my roadbike. How cool would that be?
So far, I’ve visited this place twice and I’m sure I haven’t seen everything there is to discover. For example, I saw many mountainbiker at this landmark, which means there are probably some mtb trails around here.
And even if there’s nothing left to discover, this place has quickly become my favourite spot for training my uphill riding skills and of course the downhill part is always a lot of fun, too.
So, I guess I’m going to come back quite a few times…
What do you think about this place? Do you know a similar place in your area? If so then please let me know about it.
Feel free to share your thoughts, knowledge, and feedback in the comments!
Thanks for your reading and time!
Have a good day!
++ The Blogpost “The Open – Air Observatory” was originally published on dennisthecyclist.blog ++