Gütersloh is a Green City

Gütersloh is a green city. It is often called the green city on the Dalke River. The adjective green is aptly applied to the city for a number of reasons. These include the many parks and green spaces in and around the city, an impressive 100-year-old botanical garden, and the many biking and walking trails throughout the city. Added to these is the fact that the city is a fair-trade city.

Gütersloh Coat of Arms

The wavy bars symbolize the city resting between the Ems, Dalke, and Lutter Rivers. The wheel stands for the Flywheel of a spinning wheel representing the fine yarn spinning mill that used to be based in Gütersloh.

Visiting Mohns Park

Entrance to Mohns Park

About two blocks down the street from me is Mohns Park, created in 1937. I spent the first two nights after my arrival here attending a rock concert and a movie in German in this park. The park has a large amphitheater seating 1,100 people. It was constructed in 1949 from 50,000 meters of rubble left from the heavy bombing the city received in World War II.

The park is named for Friederike Mohn(1859–1946), a bookseller at what is now the largest media company in the world (Bertelsmann). The park is very much a family park, crowded on Sundays with people of all ages. There is a special emphasis on children with an adventure playground area containing a tube slide and ropeway, a water-and-mud playground, large sandbox, and various playground equipment. Especially popular is a large paddling pool.

Mohns Park is not only for Strolling

Mohns Park Amphitheater

Facilities for adults are not overlooked in this park either. Beside the large amphitheater and its events, there is a concession stand for food and drinks, a miniature golf course (for all ages), and many sports fields including hockey in the winter. Even a delightful stroll under the many old trees offers a cool environment on a hot day.

The city also has four swimming pools, inside and out. The outdoor pool is Olympic size with diving boards. The indoor pool also offers a sauna and steam room. I have visited the park several times, but I have not yet gotten to the swimming pools.

Sports in Gütersloh

With all of this green space, it should come as no surprise that Gütersloh is a sports city. At last count, there were 96 sports clubs with 25,000 members, 24 sports fields, and 39 sports halls and arenas. There are three nature preserves accounting for a little of 2.5% of the town’s acreage.

The use of bicycles is very prevalent seen by the large number of persons riding on the bike lanes. These lanes are usually alongside the walkways in a different color brick. It is essential that pedestrians not step into these lanes as bikes are steadily flying by. Gütersloh is on the R1 European Cycle Route which connects Boulogne-sur-Mer in France with Saint Petersburg in Russia.

The reputation that Gütersloh is a green city is well deserved and celebrated.  

Fact: Gütersloh was first mentioned in 1184 in a document from the Bishop of Osnabrück
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How to Get Around Cuenca – Part Two

Getting around Cuenca is fairly simple using 4 wheels, 2 wheels, or 2 feet. Last week, I discussed using cars, taxis, and light rail for daily transportation. Today, I will tell you about using buses, bicycles, and walking.


The bus system in Cuenca, or Moovit, is quite extensive and up to date. There are 475 buses crisscrossing the city until about 10:00 pm. Like the Tranvia system, you buy a $1.75 card to which you add money. Purchase your card at one of 4 offices in the city, and later look for a red sign in shops where you can go in and add money to your card. There is a map showing where these stores are and a map of the routes at the tourist office opposite Parque Calderon.

Get on the bus at the front, swipe your card for a $.30 ride, and exit toward the rear. The stop names are announced on each bus. The integration of one card you can use on both the Tranvia and the buses has started to take place and will be fully developed as the year proceeds.

Each bus has signs in the front showing a route number along with the start and end points. The  Moovit system operates with an interactive app which you can download to your phone or computer.. The system can suggest routes to destinations of your choice. You can select your route, find stops, determine how long your trip should take, and even learn how far you will need to walk to your destination after departing the bus. Wi-Fi is available on the bus for you to use your app when traveling.


Bicycles in Cuenca are very common as the city fathers have been very proactive constructing bike lanes throughout much of the city. Called ciclovías, these bike lanes parallel major roads and run alongside the rivers. They often  double with pedestrian paths, so the bike rider must be careful when coming upon a walker. These bike lanes may be cement stretches or gravel paths, and more lanes are being improved or added continually. Riding a bike is one way to combat the congested streets.

Don’t have a bike? No problem. Bike rental stations are scattered throughout the historic district and popular parks. Join the BiciCuenca program for a low fee and then pay a quarter for a 30-minute ride or $10.00 for a full day. First, register at the BiciCuenca office along the Tomebamba River and deposit $8.00 for a card you can use at any of the rental stations. A secret is to pay the quarter for a 30-minute ride, check the bike in and then pay for another 30-minute ride. Otherwise, a 60-minute ride is 75¢ or $2.00 an hour thereafter.

If you download the app, you will be able to see the amount of money on your card and find the number of bikes available at the stations. After your ride, simply return the bike to any station.


The cheapest and most scenic method to traverse Cuenca is to walk. Cuenca is mostly a very easy walkable city, as much of it is flat with only a few hills, while steeper hills lie outside the city center. There are, however, stairways between 80 and 90 step leading from the Tomebamba River up to El Centro. A couple of these have ramps in addition to the stairways. Three of the rivers have walkways running alongside in park-like settings, often with children and adult exercise equipment for your use.

Cuenca’s sidewalks are not uniformly constructed as many of these are old and may have broken pavement, holes, or other obstacles with which to contend. Consequently, these sidewalks are challenging for the impaired or those needing a wheelchair. Other stretches are newer and a pleasure to walk.

In Ecuador, pedestrians do not have the right of away. At corners, it is essential to look for turning cars before stepping into the street. Legally, you may jay walk with care.

However you chose to get around in Cuenca, you will have a positive experience, see the sights, and easily get to your destination. Cuenca is one of the safest cities in South America, which allows you to have an even better exposure to the city.

Fact: Cuenca employs a team of 1000 people who keep the streets and sidewalks clean, 7 days a week
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