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Elizabeth was with me when we approached Oberhof, located in the Thuringian Forest close to the "Rennsteig".
Even not being sports fanatics, we knew that Oberhof hosted the Biathlon World Cup in January 2005.
After we entered the village we were surprised to see nobody on the road. Then we knew why - an UFO had landed and must have snatched all people
Did we really see an UFO?
We proceeded and learned immediately that it was not an UFO but a spa, called the "Rennsteig-Thermen". It was still early and only a few cars were parked around this attraction. We decided to spend an evening here during our next visit to Thuringia.
No UFO! Just a modern designed spa!
The following is the official greeting to all participants and visitors of the Biathlon World Cup 2005. I am sure it applies still to all visitors.
A message from the minister for economy, technology and employment:
Dear Ladies and Gentlemen, dear friends of the sport of Biathlon, it is my great pleasure to act as the patron of the Oberhof Biathlon World Cup in January 2005. I think this World Cup will be a great event, both for the country and for the sport, and I am looking forward to attend the opening ceremony.
I would like to bid a very warm all athletes, trainers and coaches from home and abroad to the Free State of Thüringen! As well, I welcome the representatives of the International Biathlon Union, of the media and a great many fans of the sport of Biathlon in the beautiful Thüringer Forest.
In February 2004 we celebrated a Biathlon festival organizing the World Championships in Oberhof. Both, the athletes and the organizers and their volunteers did a very outstanding job. Exciting sporting competitions and a versatile by-program ensured a record attendance and an extraordinary interest of the media. Sporting highlights which trigger a world wide interest add to the standing of the winter sports center of Oberhof and support tourism in the entire region.
For the Biathlon World Cup 2005 in Oberhof the organizers will combine all their efforts to create, once again, the best conditions for this sporting highlight. Let me take this opportunity to express my profound appreciation to all for their great and mostly volunteer engagement.
Please join me in looking forward to the oncoming competitions. Our fair and knowledgeable audience will again inflame a unique enthusiasm in this beautiful Biathlon Arena. The warm hospitality of the local people and the services offered by the shops and restaurants in and around Oberhof will be a lasting advertisement for tourism in the Thuringian Forest because winter sports in Thuringia is very popular as competitive sport or just for own relaxation and recovery.
I wish all athletes competing in the Oberhof Biathlon World Cup 2005 much success, I wish the organizers a successful outcome and the numerous visitors exiting competitions and long-lasting impressions in the winter sports region of Thüringen.
Jürgen Reinholz Thüringer Minister für Wirtschaft, Technologie und Arbeit
The eye catching "TREFF Hotel Panorama" overlooks Oberhof
We could not resist to see this hotel which belongs to the Ramada group from a closer distance. It certainly will not be the cheapest place to stay, but obviously it offers all comfort which you may ask for.
Oberhof is certainly a great tourist attraction and the surroundings are beautiful. What I did not like was the arrogance of certain business and of some people in the tourist information center when we came back the following year.
Obviously these "experts" are still following the old GDR philosophy that customers or visitors should be thankful for any service. For that reason I am not surprised that for example the beautiful spa went into bankruptcy and again I could not see many visitors - no comparison to Bavaria and not even to places like Schmalkalden, Meiningen etc.! Even little Tabarz was crowded compared to Oberhof.
I don't think that pumping more money into Oberhof should be the first priority. Managers with a proven experience in tourism are a mandatory prerequisite to make Oberhof to an all year long destination for visitors from many countries. Not everybody comes for biathlon or winter sport.
Watch the video "Oberhof 2007 - Impressionen eines Kurzurlaubs":
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