Epic castle banner in Germany: Wasserburgen-Route

NelkonNelkon ✭✭✭
edited October 2019 in SITREPs

There is a new mission series "Wasserburgen Route" (watercastle route) in Germany.

Hopefully some agents will use it for their next ingress adventure. Other agents might be inspired to create more conceptional banners.

Ingress Mosaic link: https://ingressmosaik.com/mosaic/49513

About the banner

The idea was born in May 2019 when Rainer (agent @Perkins45 , Instagram ) and I ( Agent Nelkon's Instagram) discussed cool places and routes in our region in a telegram chat. We both longed for a long time to visit the historical places along the official water castle route in the Rhineland area of Germany. It features 33 unique castles and let you dive deep into the medieval era. Wouldn't it be great to document such an epic journey in your ingress profile?

But will anyone ever be so crazy to do a banner with 380km in lenght? No way!

So we reduced it to 24 castles and now it's only a trip of 260km (or 199km by plane, drone or lame gps spoofing). Since this is still a great distance we didn't make a big banner picture from a single castle that only looks nice in your agent profile when you do all of them in the right order and in one take.

We went to make it mission day style with a common design element in the pictures. It's a graphical quotation of the original logo with an ingress style twist.

So if you only want to do 6 missions it will still look pretty in your agent profile. Anyone who checks it out will immediately see that this adventurous agent visited some really awesome places.

A cool idea for route planning but a bad idea for the workload of our mission creation project. We couldn't use free pictures from Wikimedia Commons because Ingress doesn't allow us to give credit for the photographers in the right way of the creative commons license.

But after all we both love to take photos of our trips and we had to do on-site checks of accessibility anyway. Perkins45 did a tremendous job at his initial design of mission layouts - only a few adjustments had to be done afterwards.. So we went the hard way and took 22 pictures by ourselves. One additional picture was submitted by fellow agent @Gargish and another one by a colleague of mine from Stolberg.

After all it took 5 months to get everything in place, having the mission checked, taking and choosing the pictures and to write mission descriptions that help to solve the passphrases. The opposite of a lot of quick-and-dirty the usual banners out there.

Now it's done and we are very happy to be able to provide a high quality banner to ingress adventures or fans of the medieval architecture and history.

One big question remains:

Will there be more than 3 agents out there who are crazy enough to make this trip?

Will you be one of them?


  • NineBerryNineBerry ✭✭✭✭✭

    Is there a lot of going up and down hills or is the area mostly flat?

  • NelkonNelkon ✭✭✭

    They‘re mostly on even ground. Water castles are typically located in valleys where the natural flow of the water and rain could fill the moat or the sourrounding pond.

    Only Stolberg is located at a hillside. But you can drive up to a parking lot just near the castle since it‘s an event location for weddings. From there the mission can be done in less than 3 minutes. There are a lot of XM artefacts in a small area.

  • NineBerryNineBerry ✭✭✭✭✭

    It looks great. 😀

    I am thinking about doing the tour some time next year (fully by bike) when the temperatures are higher again. What would really help is an overview which of the missions have limited opening times and what those opening times are.

  • NelkonNelkon ✭✭✭

    @NineBerry : Opening times are really important. There are two locations which don't allow 24/7 access (mission 19 & 24). We added this information to the blog article about this banner:


    Additionally some places have events over the year. Sometimes you have to buy an entry ticket, but mostly they offer free access and just sell medievalish drinks and food for decent prices. These venues are highlighted in the blogpost.

    It is very cool that you want to do the tour by bike. This is how the original route was meant to be made. This is even represented in the original logo of the route:

    You'll find special information and maps for bikers at the official homepage of the route: : https://www.die-wasserburgen-route.de .

    I'm looking forward to hear about your journey. I'm pondering about to buy or to lease an E-bike. When I have this extra boost and some additional training before I might to the trip by bike as well.

  • Qu4rdQu4rd ✭✭✭

    This deserves not just a great sitreps, but a category of its own in the forum.

    Thanks for the backstory!

  • NelkonNelkon ✭✭✭

    I've added a "preview videos" section to the blogpost for the banner. 6 little video clips of about 30 seconds each will you a better understanding why we fell in love with these places.

    Here is one of them, introducing the places for missions no. 18-20 & 23:

  • NineBerryNineBerry ✭✭✭✭✭

    I had planned to do this over the Easter Weekend. Hotels were long booked. Train tickets were long booked. Now not possible because of the Rona situation.

    This is what my Windows lock screen looks like today. Microsoft is evil 😲 And how does it know that? 🤨

  • NelkonNelkon ✭✭✭

    @NineBerry : Oh what a pity. I had a similar plan for springtime.

    Corona made it hard to do this kind of large banner. While most of the places and covered parks a still open to the public (with strict rules about social distancing), there might be certain portals that aren't accessible at the moment. Some of the places state on their homepage that they're closed due to legal restrictions. We cannot determine from remote whether it's just the touristic program and the small cafes or closed gates.

    While @Perkins45 and I recommend to stay at home as a general rule in these times, there is a corona update on the banner description. We highlighted the missions that might be difficult to complete in these days: https://thenelkon.blogspot.com/2019/09/banner-wasserburgen-route.html

    Although most places are still accessible (I've ruled out several possible lockouts by checking for recent Intel acitivities), it might be better to go for 6, 12 or 18 missions instead of all 24 at the moment.

    Stay safe and sound!

  • oscarc1oscarc1 ✭✭✭✭✭

    That's a really awesome mission banner! It would be a spectacular experience going through all those castles. Well done on creating it.

    If I ever get to Germany, I'll definitely add that to my to-do list. Thank you!

  • NineBerryNineBerry ✭✭✭✭✭

    Thanks for the update. Doing this currently is not possible legally alone because hotels aren't allowed to host guests except business travelers. I wouldn't go on travel anyway unless the situation (number of infected people) improves a lot first.

    However, it's still on my todo list and I hope I'll be able to do it in autumn or some time next year.

  • NineBerryNineBerry ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited March 2022

    Two years later. Next attempt to do this.

    Nearly no more Corona restrictions left here in Germany. Four vaccination doses taken. Weather promising to become good over Easter weekend. Let's try this in Mid April :)

  • Neku69Neku69 ✭✭✭✭

    Ooooooohhh I want to try this if I had the money!!

  • NineBerryNineBerry ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited April 2022

    Attempted this last week and it was a success.

    I had decided to do the missions in the opposite order than suggested for various reasons which was not a problem because all the missions are "Any Order" themselves.

    I arrived in Cologne on Tuesday evening by train and then started the second half of the banner (24 down to 13) Wednesday morning from Cologne by bike. I arrived in Aachen in the evening after about 11 hours and 130 kms at around 10pm. Nearly everything went flawless. I just discovered that I had forgotten to hack one portal in mission 15 and I was already too far away to return and finish that mission. In Aachen, I decided to do mission 13 which is in Aachen itself the next day.

    On Thursday I did mission 13 in Aachen itself and a filler mission for mission 15 which I had accidentally not completed and then spent the rest of the day chilling :)

    On Friday, I played the "Resistance Unicorn" Banner in Aachen which allowed me to see a lot of the inner city area.

    On Saturday it was time to do the remaining first half of the Wasserburgen banner. I started at around 11am at Aachen and arrived at 1am in Bonn at my hotel after 160 kms and 14 hours. No problems here either although this part of the route is a lot hillier than the other one. At the beginning, when riding through the town of Stolberg, one could still clearly see the results of the tragic flood catastrophe that happened in that area of Germany last summer.

    Some impressions:

    Thanks again to the creators of this banner for inspiring me to do this great bike tour.

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