Since the beginning of the coronavirus, I have been relatively careful about not choosing an overly popular place. But when the summer promotion of VRR was introduced, in which we could travel virtually anywhere inside NRW for free, one of the first ideas that came to my mind was Aachen. With this in mind, I organized a trip there for the beginning of August, which was then replaced by a trip to Rurberg due to the heatwave. But with the large number of people who had already signed up for the event, it was basically impossible to me to cancel it altogether. So, after the postponement, we went there today.
And it was a brilliant idea to postpone it by 3 weeks, as the heatwave just went away this week and we got a perfect weather today. This led to an important and quite foreseeable consequence: we saw the number of participants skyrocket over the past few days. In the end, I could see more than 70 people signing up for the event, by far the highest since the end of the total lockdown. Well, I’m pretty sure that some people simply didn’t sign off when the event was postponed even though they couldn’t join. But still it was impressive.
So the very first thing that I made sure was to announce in the WhatsApp group that I wouldn’t wait for the people today during the hike. This was imperative as quite experienced ones were missing today.
But still it led to a certain level of confusion at the beginning, as people were expecting me/us to wait for them at Aachen, while I left the train station swiftly and had gone quite far in the meantime. Well, sorry that it had to be done like this. But still I guess it’s good to get used to it for them, since getting used to having a map on the phone is anyway helpful, regardless of corona restrictions.
Just as always, leaving Aachen is not a very quick task. Even though this city is significantly smaller than Düsseldorf or Köln, crossing it on foot is still quite a task. It was probably good that we were not a large group anymore.
But we got a relatively nice path today. We could enter an area that looked like a park quickly, from where we were going more and more towards wilder nature. This is the forest that’s connected to that of Ardenne and the Eifel, so it’s probably not difficult for you to imagine that it was a massive one.
So, as you can see in the title, we were crossing the borders to Belgium and the Netherlands several times today. Just like every time, there was nothing to see at the border, only the border stones every now and then. It’s funny that there are super hard borders in some countries, but there are also so negligible borders like this one in this world.
The paths were mostly well organised. There was only one point in which it clearly didn’t exist. But then as there were so many alternatives everywhere, we could find a workaround very quickly.
The triple point was just as crowded as always. At least there was no access restriction, which was quite important to me. I mean, what could they possibly restrict in this area? I can almost say, I’m kind of glad to see that we don’t see stupid restrictions anymore these days, as we did when the infections surged in March.
Instead of going to a restaurant, I just bought French fries in one shop. This guy selling French fries was Dutch. He spoke German and French fluently. I presume also English. With no context, if I speak of a person speaking Dutch, German, French and English, you probably think of an intellectual person. This guy was just selling French fries. Hard to believe.
We had a longer break today, as there were a lot of small attractions nearby and people were clearly enjoying staying there, but also because some people arrived maybe half an hour after we arrived there and therefore couldn’t have enough time for break.
Compared to the massive forest in the first part, the second part was marked by large fields (which was something we have already seen several times in the past hikes). Even though it was a relatively warm day today, luckily the sun was mostly covered in the second half.
As we entered the city, we did a short sightseeing and took a train back home. Frankly, I have no idea how many people joined today, and how many new people were there, but I’m pretty sure that today’s hike was pretty convincing, together with the very comfortable weather.