A long weekend with friends was ahead of me (the group as for my Basel or Vienna trip); this time we had picked the Ruhrpott – a former coal-mining region along the Ruhr river – today comprising a metropolitan area of more than 5 million inhabitants – and a strong industrial history. With one of us from Essen (one of the cities comprising the Ruhrpott), we had a great program ahead of us – putting together the must-sees of the region.
I left home Friday morning and made my way to Düsseldorf; with some time to kill, I made my way to the K21 art collection – a museum of 21st century art – this included some time in orbit. As things happen I met two other from our group in the museum and we made it back to the train station – just to meet the next two – for our journey to Essen. We stayed in the Parkhaus Hügel, the former executive and manager canteen of the Krupp company right next to Lake Baldeney.
On Saturday we had a full program – starting with a visit of the Hügel (hill) Park and the Hügel Mansion – the headquarters of the Krupp company and the residence of the Krupp family. This was quiet impressive and must have been intimidating back in the days, when the Krupp company was the largest company in Europe, specializing in steel and related products – from vehicles to plant engineering).
From here it was to a change of perspectives, as we made our way to the Zeche Zollverein – a former coal mining facility and coal processing plant (complete with coal washing and coke ovens). During a guided tour we could get a glimpse of the process and a feeling of what must have been the (inhuman) working conditions here.
A visit to the German mining museum completed the view – now with a focus on the activities underground – with a small mine rebuild under the museum, complete with machinery and equipment from various periods and good explanations around that. From underground a lift got us up the conveyor tower for good views of the Bochum area.
Of course we also had plenty of time in between, to catch up, share a drink or two and have some incredible food – overall a great weekend to a region, I’ll definitely have to come back to.