The Rappenecker Hutte - Europe's
first green restaurant -- in Germany.
(Germany): You can have your adventure and eat too at
Europe's first green restaurant where traditional German food is
served in a beautifully lit wooden hilltop restaurant powered by
solar energy at a height of 1,025 metres amid tall conifer trees
in Black Forest.
Rappenecker Hutte is a 350-year-old farm house in south Germany
which has been serving as a hikers' inn for several years. The hut
in 1995 was the starting point of the downhill course of the
Mountain Bike World Championship and is a well-known station of
the Black Forest Ultra Bike Marathon.
Europe's first solar-powered restaurant has been a pilot project
of the world's famous solar research institution -- the Fraunhofer
Institute for Solar Energy Systems. The restaurant is not
connected to any power grid and generates its own energy from
photovoltaic cells and a small wind turbine.
Due to heavy snowing during winter, the restaurant opens only for
six months from April to September when it receives around 500
guests per week. The restaurant has a capacity to handle around
100 guests in its groundfloor and terrace restaurant besides one
in the garden with apple trees and cherry orchards.
"People come here for adventure trips, mountain biking or hiking
and stop for traditional German food. We generate all our energy
from renewable sources as it is very expensive to get a grid
connection at this site," Dirk Behringer, owner of the Rappenecker
Hutte, told IANS.
Like the restaurant, the story of its present owner is equally
thrilling as Behringer, 57, left his fat package job as an
accountant in a multinational company in 2003 to stay here with
"I have travelled across the world and as I was growing old I
realised I want to retire and live in nature. So I applied for the
lease of the restaurant and got it for 10 years. Since then I
along with my wife live here in summer and we travel during
winter," said the six-foot-tall man dressed in a T-shirt and
The Behringer couple has employed no helper and does everything
from cooking to cleaning at this hilltop restaurant which gives a
picturesque view of the Black Forest.
There are not many dishes on the menu for sudden visitors.
On a routine basis, there is one vegetarian dish which includes
fried potatoes with dense milk cream, boiled vegetables and fresh
salad. The non-vegetarian dish includes fried potatoes with pork
and salad. There are also options to pick from fresh juices, hard
drinks and coffee.
"There is a waiting period for bookings for parties as many people
now love to organise birthdays, wedding parties here," said
Behringer while busy cooking some fried potatoes.
All vegetables, fruits, dairy products and meat supplies to the
restaurant come from farms in nearby villages.
For adventure lovers and mountain bikers, Rappenecker Hutte is a
permanent stop during their trip.
"I come here biking often during summer and stop for an hour to
eat something. It is a beautiful place and unique in itself for it
generates its own energy using renewable resources," said Tony
Baumgart, a mountain biker.
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