This year from July 13th to the 16th, the OutDoor trade fair took place for its twenty-second year in Friedrichshafen, south Germany. Since its conception in 1994, OutDoor seems to have grown exponentially, welcoming 940 exhibitors from 34 countries as well as over twenty-one thousand visitors from 84 countries as of its 20th year in 2014. Aiming to present and introduce outdoor activities such as climbing, hiking and water sports, the OutDoor trade show offers new product displays, activities, and social events. So, with the arrival of summer, now may be the best time to take up hiking as a new hobby for people all around the world!
According to the German Hiking Association’s statistics, around 40 million Germans regularly embrace the hiking trails, meaning almost half of Germany’s overall population of 80.68 million may participate in hiking as a steady way to maintain fitness and mental health. This may be because of the wide selection of popular hiking trails in Germany, such as the Westweg Schwarzwald trail which runs from Pforzheim to Basel, travelling through the scenic Black Forest down to the border of Germany, France, and Switzerland.
For 150 years, the Black Forest Association (or Schwarzwald Verein) has aimed to encourage tourism and travel to and through the Black Forest by signposting over twenty-three kilometers of walking trails and protecting the nature and landscape of the region. Today, the Black Forest tourism services go so far as to claim hiking as a recreational activity which was conceived thanks to the forest itself, further citing Philipp Bussemer as the original creator of tourist information centres in the Black Forest.
The trails themselves are far from the only opportunity for travel, tourism and cultural experience in the Black Forest region, however. Around half way along the trail lies one of south Germany’s historic towns, Freiburg, which may offer a glimpse into both the historic side of the country and its modern ideals and aims. One such historic site may be the Freiburg Minster, the almost 700-year-old cathedral which looms over the rest of the historic side of town at 116 metres high. In addition to this, visitors may see the old town hall, and hear the glockenspiel tower bell which chimes at 12 o’clock daily from the new town hall.
Freiburg may also be considered a cultural experience in itself as a town, as it has its own lore surrounding The Freiburg Bächle (small canals), which form an integral part of the town, with the rumors advising visitors who step in the canals they will visit Freiburg once more. The town is also home to several native Badisch pubs, Swiss Beizen and Badischen cuisine and wine. If relaxation is needed after a long day of tourism or hiking, then visitors may visit the KEIDEL Bad spa and wellbeing centre, which is located in the Mooswaldes near the main town of Freiburg, and aims to offer leisure activities such as thermal baths, water sports, swimming pools and many more activities.
As well as the potential physical benefits of Hiking, it also may be a way to successfully maintain and improve mental health, with the American Hiking Society advising that the gradual release of testosterone that occurs when hiking may aid in the stabilisation of some mental health conditions. Through combining hiking, travel and cultural exposition, a trip to the Black Forest may enable travellers to experience a refreshing relief from their everyday lives.
How may people bring travel into their hobbies?