Hiking report

Drachenfels and Königswinter!

There are a certain number of things that I hate to do. One good example is taking a train in Germany. If you live in a different country, you may think that Germany is well organized and Germans are reliable. Yes, that’s fairly true. But I don’t understand why this is so fundamentally wrong when it’s about the trains here. Essentially if you have a choice, don’t take the train.

This was particularly the case today. Starting off with the first one: they canceled. We were of course not really aware of it, because it was not written in the Internet. Anyway the App they offer crashed at each step so you do not really have to hope it works. Then the next one got a different schedule and was not going to the destination (which was Cologne for the first one). Then the third one had a delay of 15 min. Actually a delay of 15 min is like a dream for a German train, because a significant number of trains have a delay of 58 min. 58 min because they are obliged to pay back the ticket if they have a delay of more than one hour. Since this system was introduced, all the trains started to have a delay of 58 min. Anyway, the German railway system is like a spoilt child. There’s certainly nothing you may want to do to make it better. Anyway, thanks to this delay of 15 min, we missed the next train in Cologne, forcing us to wait for another 30 min at the station.

Today, we were about 30 people. It was a huge unknown as for the first time we went to the Cologne region. The complicated thing about North Rhine Westphalia is that there are two different railway companies: VRS and VRR. And essentially, if it is not the same company, the students and all the subscribed people cannot take other people. It appears so crazy to me that we have to pay to use this crippled system.

The main reason why we decided to go so far is Drachenfels, which is essentially a castle on a cliff. I didn’t know it before, but many people requested to go there. Well, why not exploring other regions. Also there isn’t an infinite number of paths around Düsseldorf. It’s maybe time to go further.

Prior to the hiking, I sent the whole path (which could be read with Google Maps) to everyone, because I acquired this technique recently (for which I spent quite some time) and today’s hike was fairly complicated. As it turned out, no one took a look at it. And some of us got lost, maybe for one hour. I guess there’s something that we can do better.

Luckily, there was a nice place to have a break, called Petersberg, where unfortunately there was neither Vodka nor Goulash, but great view over the Rhine.

We had to spend more time there, as those who were lost arrived 1 hour later. Well, as it was raining sporadically, it was not a bad idea to stay there.

I must admit that even though I was saying that this was a special session, I didn’t think that it would be so exhausting. For some people it was just simply more than enough, so that they decided to go back to Düsseldorf when we were already near Drachenfels.

Indeed, the weather was not perfect, but Drachenfels is impressive. It is on top of a cliff (although the German word “Fels” already somewhat implies cliff) and you have a great view over the Rhine, just as in Petersberg, but at a higher scale.

It was silent inside the train back to Düsseldorf. It was 9 pm when we were back in Düsseldorf. Even though the region was really beautiful, it is not very likely that I’m going to dare take the Deutsche Bahn for such a long distance for a while.