Last week, I took advantage of one of the perks of being an army wife and used the British Army Sailing facilities at a local lake called the Mohnesee. It was the site of one of the successful dambuster bombs during World War Two and as a consequence, its dam draws a fair crowd on sunny days. The huge reservoir is about a half hour drive from my front door in Paderborn and dog friendly, which in my view are two big brownie points. That being said, its biggest pull was the cost. At 20 Euros a person for room, breakfast and dinner, plus hiring a sail boat for a whole day only being a tenner, it really was cheaper than a meal for one in London. (This is how I rate things in terms of expense). The husband, the dog and I literally had nothing to lose, and with the added bonus of Mrs L joining us with her 8 month old Vizla, we had planned a nigh on impossible weekend to ruin.
That isn't to say that the weather didn't attempt to do so, however. Indeed, my first attempt at paddle boarding saw me getting wetter with monsoon like rain, than my ineptitude at the actual sport. But soon the clouds moved over, seeing that everyone was enjoying themselves in spite of the biblical downpour, and the sun came out to let us enjoy the beauty of the lake at its finest. And it truly is beautiful. It is vast with many different restaurants, hotels and cafes dotted around its shores. There are abodes for all different types of budget, and activities for all different levels of lazy versus active.
For instance, the husband, Mrs L and I (and the other members of our group) vary greatly in how we choose to relax. The husband likes to use the sun to sail, Mrs L likes to use dry weather to cycle and do yoga and, I, well, I like to sunbathe with a gin and tonic in my hand. (Though questionably both hubby and Mrs L would like to partake in their chosen sport with a glass of Hendricks and tonic too).
This isn't to say that all I did at the weekend was sunbathe and take the below photos. The ease of the set up of our facilities and the opportunity to do something different (and almost for free!) got the better of me, and I attempted my said first paddle board. As did our dog Harry and it is yet to be seen who is the better out of the two of us. I also cycled with the husband for the first time since a friendly 'fracas' in Richmond Park two days before we wed, and I am happy to say we are still happily married. That being said, in the main, I rode round the Mohnesee with Mrs L, whilst hubby was out in front all the way bar the time we stopped for an ice cream. It was an easy ride despite one hill coming out of nowhere, but the scenery and chance to see all the eateries took any thigh pain away. Coming from someone who does not buy into the lycra look at the weekend, I cannot recommend a cycle around the lake enough. It is stunning.
The area is also great for kids - the swimming is safe, there are loads of playgrounds and more pedalos than I have ever seen in my life, all in very jaunty shapes. The lake is popular with bikers too and road side cafes that serve coffee and wurst soon fill up with leather clad men and petrol heads. There is also a popular spa and a well frequented Youth Hostel showing that all different types of people find a lure in the Mohnesee.
I hope my pictures do the place justice and if any one would like some recommendations about where to go, or even where to park!, when visiting the lake, please do get in contact.