For everyone from the Ruhr region and everywhere else, February, yes?! Does February also make you dizzy? The New Year has greeted you for 31 whole days and then you would think that the first buds of spring and faint birdsong would be around the corner, wouldn't you? No! February manages to squeeze its way in. You either do nothing... or make the best out of it.
For this reason, I have four ideas in the "what you can do when waiting for spring" folder as, after all, you’ve got to kill the time until March comes around. So, here we go.
1. City Skyliner in Essen
To start with, I’d like to recommend the City Skyliner in Essen city centre. This recommendation is primarily due to being restricted in terms of time, as the Skyliner is only there until 6 March. The highest mobile observation tower in the world grants a 360-degree view over Essen and - if the weather is good - large parts of the Ruhr region. Just imagine the following: You approach Kopstadtplatz and the first glance of the Skyliner gives you a feeling of Independence Day as the observation platform, when it reaches its final height of 72 metres, really is faintly reminiscent of the spaceship in Roland Emmerich’s science-fiction film. When do you see such a large, round structure so high up in the air? Exactly! Never! For that reason, the Skyliner per se is well worth seeing. You can buy a ticket for €7, quickly get a drink at the Skyliner bar for a reasonable price on your way to the “cabin”, then it’s up, up, and away in the fully enclosed observation platform. The cabin rises at a leisurely place... both upwards and in circles, probably so that no crazy fairground feeling sets in. However, those who are scared of heights will certainly feel the fear somewhat as 72 metres ... is a long way up. The whole trip lasts seven minutes and those who know me know that I can usually complain about something. However, I can only say: This is great, and I’m glad I paid the €7 for it. The hot chocolate I bought at the bar was also good. Nothing to complain about, just warmly recommended...for those who aren’t scared of heights. Tip: Your entry card gives you 50 cent discount on drinks at the bar.
2. Mystery Rooms in Essen
The term "Mystery Rooms" means what is known as a live escape game, which is great fun in a group. You are locked in a room full of puzzles with your team and have exactly one hour to solve the puzzles and escape the room as a result. That sounds as if something really bad could happen if you failed to hit the target, but that is naturally not the case. I didn’t go to the Mystery Room for quite some time as, honestly, I was worried that I would be confronted with some incredibly complicated general knowledge questions where incorrect answers would make me feel like a complete idiot. Let the following be said: This is not a test of your general level of education! In order to solve the Captain’s mystery, you need strong powers of deduction, logic, and skill. We were a group of three and solved it just in time, but winning is winning! The whole thing is not exactly cheap, but when you fancy something a little out of the ordinary then it’s well worth every penny as ultimately it's not something you do every day. Tip: The more people, the cheaper it becomes, however with more than 5-6 fellow players you may be standing around for longer than you’d like.
3. Moonlight Minigolf in Duisburg
Now this is a recommendation that is mainly aimed at families, as whilst mini golf in a black light backdrop is pretty entertaining, children in particular particularly like that the themed worlds (jungle, knights, dinosaurs, and the ocean) in which you play are created with a childlike style. There is both an indoor and an outdoor course, however every course can be booked individually so that there is no need to be outside during cold weather. The whole site considers itself to be a “leisure temple” as under one roof you can also find a bowling arena, a restaurant, and a laser game where light barriers have to be avoided to reach the target. And...if you are in the area: The Tiger and Turtle roller-coaster is only a short distance away! Tip: It can often be pretty full on typical “going out” days such as Friday or Saturday night. This means you could be waiting to play the holes for longer than you would like. A reservation is generally recommended.
4. Blaze-Lasertag in Herne
I was born with a big mouth and sometimes this big mouth can put me in some pretty daft situations. A prime example was a few years ago when I got a large group together to go paintballing, then was the only one that wouldn’t actually get out and play as I got too scared that one of the colour balls would hit me. Since then, paintball has been taboo. It’s rather different with a game of laser tag. Laser tag doesn’t hurt anyone and I really like that. I can recommend plenty of laser tag places, but my choice is the one in Herne. Herne doesn’t otherwise have a great deal to offer and is almost the stepchild of the Ruhr region - and stepchildren also need attention too! When in Blaze-Lasertag you can select from one of 6 different game modes that you’d prefer best so that you can search for opponents whilst creeping through around 200 light show tanks. However, I like any kind of thrill that doesn’t hurt...and if you think the same way: give it a go! Tip: Make certain you wear dark clothing!
At this point I hope you have a decent February which doesn't just have bad weather, but also a bit of sunshine in store too!