Hiking report

New year’s hike from Grafenberg to Ratingen!

From Christmas to the New year is a period of time that doesn’t see so much going on here in Europe. Of course the life goes on. And we are the ones who don’t want to waste time just because the society says it’s Christmas. So, I decided to organize another dumpling party at my place, which took place day before yesterday. This time, there were not only pelmeni, but also jiaozi, gyoza and vegetarian ravioli, thanks to the international background of our friends, almost all of whom I met through hikes. For some reason, all the people from India from last time were not there, or rather, there was no one from south Asia this time. Instead, there were quite some people from Slavic countries. Actually for the hike we’ve been observing the same phenomenon. It’s now rather rare to see people from India and there are more and more people from Slavic countries. It’s maybe just a question of temperature (summer-India, winter-Russia).

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If you’ve been following my blog, you certainly know that it did not go really well last time, essentially because I had to finance all the ingredients and drinks plus the cleaning fell almost entirely upon me. This time, however, almost everyone participated in the ingredient cost (3€ per person) and drinks. And there was almost nothing to do on the next day. Great to see that it works out!

And yesterday was our usual movie session, but as there was this dumpling party and today’s new years hike, there were only four people. Still impressive that there were people coming.

So, today was the very last day of the year. And as it turned out, it was Sunday. Since I’m not going to be here next weekend and I wasn’t here last week, I didn’t want to make a break of 3 weeks, but not like I really wanted to organize a hike on this day. Accordingly, there was nothing special about the hike and I didn’t really think that there would be so many people. In fact, there were almost 40 people on CS and something like 30 people turned up. It’s a wonder that there are so many people who don’t have anything to do on this special day of the year.

Three weeks ago, we had a snow storm in this region and we had quite some cold days. Today, on the other hand, it was almost too warm. We had some similar winters in the last couple of years, in which only December is seriously cold and then it was completely over. Usually I don’t like this kind of winter, but since it’s not very easy to plan a hike when it’s really cold so for this year I’m a bit hoping that it’s gonna be warm in January…

It was the second hike that I planned, where we went to Gerresheim. We took pretty much the same tram to get there. At that time, I didn’t know if I would continue doing this stuff. Now I almost regret not to have started much earlier in my life.

There’s this thing called Grafenberger Wald, which is a forest near Düsseldorf, probably the nearest one. Even if other nearby cities have better places to offer, this forest is the place when people in Düsseldorf want to see the nature.

Today, not quite for the first time, but I did not have to lead the group. I was essentially one of the participants there. It’s nice just to follow the group. It must have been quite difficult to lead the group today because of the winding road, which was intentionally created this way in order to maximize the distance.

I included Düsseldorf Rath in the trail in order to have the possibility of eating out there. A cool thing was that there was a nice park which was part of the forest. So those who had lunch could stay there, which is was possible thanks to the warm weather. Actually I didn’t bring anything for myself, but Sajjad offered me half of what he had, saying it was too much for him. Well, there were of course other people who did not bring anything to eat. They went see nearby restaurants, but of course nothing was open. In the map, there was a café called “Shushu’s café”. Hm, sounds Chinese. I call them, and yes, they were there. I went there with some other people who wanted to go to toilette. And I ended up going pretty much with everyone, making the small empty and cozy café quite colourfully crowded.

Going back to the forest, we almost never knew where to go, taking pretty much all the wrong turns. It’s anyway not really a kind of place you can visit without GPS, even though if you go straight for a couple of minutes you’ll end up arriving in the civilization.

At the end of the hike, we went to the nearby café at Ratingen. Ratingen is a small place, but not that small that everything is closed on the New Year’s eve. Afterwards, we nearly missed the train, although actually there were some people apparently left behind, who missed the train. I quickly noticed after the train departed. I didn’t call them, in order not to make them aware of the fact that I was on the train that they wanted to take.

Back in Düsseldorf, I invited the people from the hike to my place. Maybe 15 of them came. We then simply waited for the midnight there. Then we went to the city center. The traditional fireworks started even a couple of minutes before midnight. I myself did not bring fireworks, but Jen did, who brought the ones which looked like umbrellas, from which the top parts were supposed to be launched like rockets. We put one of them in my beer bottle and put it on the ground. Not quite easy to put fire as it was getting more and more windy. After a couple of minutes, we made it. And we go away from the firework, just to see that the bottle fell down in the strong wind. The firework was launched in the horizontal direction towards the crowd of people and blew up. Fortunately, nothing happened (and quite fortunately, the police were not there).

So was the end of 2017 for me. Regarding my work, it really started around October. Before that, I was only looking for a place to live all the time. I will probably remember 2017 as a lost year. However, I’m quite proud of myself organizing all these hikes successfully. Rika, whom I met in Lyon and visited me this week, asked me whether I’m afraid of something in life. Indeed, I wonder every now and then, whether I’m going to continue liking what I’m doing right now. But I’m still happy that I’m messing up with the notion of “meaning of life” for those who live with the conservative view on what success used to mean until the 20th century.

Yes, we’ll continue like this. I’m sure that we’ll arrive somewhere.