Nestled in the midst of green hills and fields, Gummersbach is quite possibly one of the most peaceful places on earth you will ever come across. The closest cities are Cologne and Dusseldorf and though you may not have heard of it (I know I hadn’t!), it is quite famous in Germany for its handball team, I discovered later. A myriad of slopes and endless stretches of lush greenery will greet you wherever you look. If you’re looking to spend some time with your thoughts and the right dose of natural beauty or making a list of potential places you would like to retire to, Gummersbach should definitely be on your radar.
As we set off for Europe, the first stop on our itinerary was Gummersbach where the International Academy of Leadership is situated. The Academy provides an opportunity for political discourse by bringing together experts and opinion leaders in various fields along with budding young liberals (like me!) from all over the world. While my experience at the seminar itself calls for a few more blog posts, this one is focused on the town of Gummersbach which possesses a unique magic of its own.
I was living at the Academy which is placed atop a hill, surrounded by a beautiful forest. A winding path among the trees through the forest leads you to the town centre where you will find all the shops and cafes. I have to admit I felt like I was living in an Enid Blyton book every time I would walk down that forest path, expecting to witness elves and pixies feasting on google buns.
Quiet and secure in its beauty, Gummersbach has a serene, magical quality that is difficult to put into words. Even in May, the weather was chilly, making a Karachiite like me, unused to the vagaries of winter, put on at least three layers of clothing before stepping foot into the great outdoors. If you’re a desi with an uncontrollable hunger for spicy food though, you may just want to cut your trip short before that withdrawal kicks in. Luckily for me, another Pakistani participant had had the presence of mind to bring along canned biryani, qorma and other treats which turned into midnight feasts for us while the others had their fill of beer at the bar.
If you’ve got the itch to travel somewhere far from all the tourists, take long walks among fields of green and just be at peace with the world, consider spending a few days in this beautiful fairytale town.