The highlight of this session: construction work around Wuppertal. I have certainly talked about it somewhere on my website, but if you come to Germany, never trust DB, which is the national railway company. I know that everyone prefers trains to airplanes or buses, so do I, but you never know what may happen with DB. Anyway, they happened to decide close all railway stations around Wuppertal for two weeks. And we happened to have planned a hike near Wuppertal.
So two days before the hiking, I promptly decided to change the plan. Actually on the website of wanderwege-nrw, there are not so many possibilities anymore near Düsseldorf. On the other hand, luckily I’m starting to know new people, like this great Ph.D at our institute, Felix, who comes from this region and hikes a lot. He and Joachim recommended me a path near Essen. Did you know that Essen was the green capital of Europe this year (cf. wikipedia)? For someone like me, who thinks Ruhr region is just grey, it’s not something that can be understood right away, but indeed you can find quite some space in the nature to enjoy. Particularly this one seems to be famous among amateur hikers.
Despite the unexpected change of plan, many people turned up this time: around 40 (not everyone is on the photo above, btw. great thanks to Anirban for the photo). Not to mention that some people arrived later due to the 30 min delay of train.
What we did was half of what is proposed here (as you can see in the map above), not only because it was long, but I knew that it’s somewhat hilly, especially compared to what we have done so far. We did a great head start by going up 100 m maybe within the first 1 km. Do you see the happy faces on the photo?
The consequence of having 40 people with no particular common background is of course the difference in hiking experience. We started at 11 am from the Werden station. Around 12:30, I sensed the first indication of exhaustion among some people. It is, however, important to keep in mind that until you think of the possibility of having a pause, you can keep going on. For this reason, I had to look for a place to have a break without really asking anyone. It is like the politicians who are criticized for hiding information, but sometimes there’s no other way. Well, of course the problem comes from the fact that I do not check the path ahead of the event. In this sense, actually there’s no reason for the people to be thankful to me for the organization 🙂 In the end, we had a break in the middle of nowhere (well done!). Still I daresay it was a beautiful place (look at the pictures!).
There’s an old castle in Kettwig (which was our final destination), which may have been the highlight of the day. As it turned out it was closed to visitors. At least it offered a neat garden, where we had a second break. In total, it was an easy-going hike.
As the hiking itself had almost 40 people, we were something like 20 people looking for a pub after the hike. Under the endless blue sky, we were desperately looking for a place which would offer enough space for 20 people. It’s important to know that whenever it’s sunny, all Germans go out, which is rather other way around in southern Europe. Well the weather forecast says it’s going to rain next weekend so maybe I should be grateful for the weather of today…
It’s going to be a long weekend (Easter weekend). So In addition to the usual hiking session, I’m going to cycle around Düsseldorf (I bought a bicycle on my birthday!). Feel free to contact me if you want to join us!!