We can taste dust particles on our tongues, our eyes are burning, and everywhere around us is loud, really loud. We are standing in the middle of a quarry on one of the last active volcanoes in the Eifel mountains. Hans-Heinrich Obergfäll, the project manager for the new Klugheim themed world, had a tip for us. This quarry is supplying the basalt stones used in the uniquely rocky landscape of Klugheim. So we set off on the hunt to find these mysterious masses of stone, which were created from lava long before our time on earth and are one of the planet’s more robust forms of primary rock.
Our trail leads us into a landscape that is as wonderful as it is secretive – the Eifel mountain range, which is dotted with volcanoes. The maars filled with water are spotted throughout the bleak landscape of the mountains, providing proof for the steam explosions of the past, caused when hot magma met groundwater. There are also huge craters everywhere, the signs of the mighty eruptions that shook the earth here just 10,000 years ago. Incredible to believe that not too long ago, volcanoes were still smoking not too far away. We start to get goosebumps as we spot Lake Laach not far from the quarry and find out that an active volcano is still slumbering beneath it, waiting patiently until the next eruption.
Now we understand why Hans-Heinrich Obergfäll had to have basalt rocks from the Eifel. This primitiveness, this bleak landscape, this mystery – there is nothing like this anywhere else on earth. It also reflects everything that Klugheim is going to stand for: the extraordinary and the unique. And we did not even need to travel to Iceland, the land of volcanoes. We travelled just 45 minutes and found exactly what we wanted. Eight-metre-high columns of basalt emerge from the visible cross-section in the layer of earth. “They are over 150,000 years old” explains Rainer Krings, CEO of Mendiger Basalt, as he guides us through the quarry. Using enormous diggers, the stonecutters break the thick lumps of precious basalt away from the rocks. And by lumps, we really mean lumps! Jagged, mighty lumps of igneous rocks.
Only the power of 180 tonnes is enough to penetrate the millennium-old layers of rock and cut the stones. Then they are just the right size for Klugheim and are ready to be transported to Brühl by truck.
After our visit to the quarry, it is also time for us to head straight back there. We are excited to see how the authentic artificial basalt columns look next to the igneous rocks from Eifel. The project manager Hans-Heinrich Obergfäll leads us to the spots at the foot of the foot of the rocky landscape. And what can we say? It’s impressive! “We wanted the stones to look like they had rolled down from the rocky mountains” he explains. The best way is to see for yourself; luckily we had our camera with us.