Today, we wanted to take a train to go to Kaldenkirchen, to hike from there to Venlo, which is actually a Dutch city (Kaldenkirchen is still in Germany). There was one train every hour from Düsseldorf.
The panic started when I was leaving my apartment: there were people from Essen/Bochum saying their train was cancelled. Here in Düsseldorf, where the majority of the people were, there was no problem in this moment.
By the time I arrived at the train station, the situation was already different: our train was also cancelled. And this happened 20 min before the departure. Great that you give us such a short notice. Anyway, we decided to take a train which was to leave one hour later.
For an unrelated reason I had to go to the ticket counter. So I thought maybe I should ask if there was an alternative. Then I was told that the train was actually not cancelled, but we should have taken it up to Mönchengladbach. Then there should be a bus which would go to Kaldenkirchen. Good that there’s no information in the Internet and you tell it to me after we decided to take a train that was to leave one hour later. Besides, I was told that it was not even clear if the train one hour later would go to Kaldenkirchen or not.
Anyway, I had to go back home quickly to post it in the event on Facebook, because I don’t have Facebook on my phone. Actually this was the first time that I created an event on Facebook. I did so, because Couch surfing allows to give only one location and I wanted to put Venlo, in order to make it visible to those who lived nearby. And since this was not visible in Düsseldorf (because it was too far away), instead of creating two events on CS (one for Venlo, one for Düsseldorf), I created an event on Facebook. Also because there were people claiming it would be easier for them this way. I must say, it was not particularly comfortable for me. So I will probably not do it anymore (and instead I’ll create two events if it’s far away from Düsseldorf).
I came back to the train station one hour later. Surprisingly, almost all the people were still there. And luckily, our train really went up to Kaldenkirchen. Still, I’d like to point out that the replacement bus that was to go from Mönchengladbach in fact did not stop at Kaldenkirchen, in which Jan was there. And he couldn’t participate this time. At least accidentally we didn’t take it.
My attempt to attract locals was not as successful as I was expecting, but at least there was Ralph who joined us this time. Actually Venlo is much smaller than Düsseldorf and CS events are virtually non existent. So it’s still surprising that there was someone at all.
This was the one of the hilliest regions of the Netherlands (and the surroundings). The height difference was mind boggling 25 m! By the way, the highest point in the Netherlands is Vaalserberg, which is the border to Germany and Belgium. We will have a hike there in the near future. Stay tuned.
From the beginning to the middle of the hike or so, it was raining all the time. It appeared to me like destiny. What was interesting was that when we arrived at the border, it stopped raining. Aha. We walked along the border for a while. And clearly, the sky on the Dutch side was completely blue, and the German side was dark. But it’s also nice to go towards a better place 🙂
It does not happen very often to cross a border on foot. I was actually expecting a sign, if not a welcome poster or so. Well, there was nothing. In fact, it was not exactly nothing, but there was a sign telling people the traffic rules in the Netherlands (although at the top of the sign stood “welcome”).
Whether we were welcome there or not, Venlo is a very beautiful city. You might have noticed if you have been in the Netherlands, but in this country people share the space a lot. For example, the garden is surrounded by a hedge or something similar in Germany, but here in the Netherlands there’s usually nothing. So it gives the feeling that it’s much more spacious in the street.
Because of the delay in the morning, we did not have enough time to stay in Venlo, which might have been really nice, because in the Netherlands the shops are open on Sundays, too (which is not the case in Germany). Apparently on Sundays and on public holidays there are a lot of Germans in Venlo because of this reason, and also because it is within the German railway network and they can come here for free on weekends if they have a monthly ticket (Ticket 2000).
Anyway, I really liked the path, with a lot of trees and beautiful scenery of lakes near the border. I will certainly organize another hike to Venlo so then we’ll also take a look at the city, too.