So, now it’s been a couple of sessions that we are going far from Düsseldorf. It was quite the same this time. The city of Xanten which we visited for the first time starts with the letter “X”, something very rare in the German language. This is apparently because it has a very long history orginating from the Roman empire. So obviously it is not a German name. Except for the pronounciation that I checked out beforehand, I knew nothing about this city. Well, it’s always the same…
What I wrote last time at the end of the article (about the competition between hiking groups) had a strong outcome. I could clearly see that people were supporting me. And even though many people already left Düsseldorf or are having vacations, there were quite a lot of people showing up this time. In the end, by saying “stop competing” the admin of the NRW hiking group created a competition. In any case, I still want to encourage other people to organize hikes.
Since there are trains only from Duisburg, we all had to arrive there first. As I never trust German Railway, I chose a train from Düsseldorf to Duisburg that was departing earlier than what the website recommended. This one luckily did not have a delay. Unfortunately some people from Essen missed the connection. We always have to sacrifice some people. That’s how it works in Germany when we want to go somewhere by train.
I am certainly the only one, who’s been hiking all the time since this February. But there are some people, who came with me very often. Some of them were there rather at the beginning, others joined recently. It was weird to see that Anirban and Sajjad did not know each other, although I’ve seen both of them so often. Anirban is by the way the one who used to take really beautiful photos (like the first photo of this article). Sajjad is easy to spot because he’s always carrying a hat and is next to a girl :). There were also Bulut and Clara that came back after a long while. By the way, all the other people from Latin countries completely vanished and now I rarely hear Spanish or Italian. The funny thing is that I know some people who say they would come (like Théo or Alfredo), but often they cannot wake up early in the morning. They are no way obliged to fulfill the cliché in my opinion though…
It is famous that it is very flat in the Netherlands. As Xanten was not far away from the border, I was expecting a very flat hike today as well. It certainly was, but still we saw some elevation. Together with the nature, it was really a perfect place to hike.
The weather forecast was saying it would not rain today. Not true. But at least it happened only sporadically.
There’s this village called Birten, where there was a very lovely place in the middle of the village, where we could have a break. There was also a restaurant right in front of it. So some people (like Magnus who joined us for the first time and did not bring lunch) could go there for lunch or a cup of coffee.
The main attraction of the day was actually the lake, Xantener Südsee. However, when we reached the city, where we had to decide whether to go to the lake or to go back to the railway station, it started raining again. And this time quite hard. I could see that the clouds were going away but I was not really sure if it would stay like this. It was probably mainly due to the weather, but I guess my indecisiveness led to the result that most of the people went back to the train station.
And as it turned out, it was extremely sunny and warm by the time we reached the lake. I was not sure if it would be possible to swim there, because anyway in all the lakes in Germany it is forbidden to swim.
On the way home, I was sleeping all the time in the train. I was still half asleep when we arrived in Duisburg, which probably made me forget about the picnic blanket that I put aside.