There’s this thing called BahnBonus, which is a programme of the German railway. With this, you can collect points and you can get tickets for free sometimes. And with this, I got a Saturday day ticket, meaning I can choose a Saturday and use any train inside Germany as often as I want. There is also a version for any day of the week, but the one for Saturday requires less points. It’s a huge advantage to be able to use ICE, which would allow me to go quite far from Düsseldorf (well, I still have to count some buffer time in in Germany…).
So today for the first time I decided to organise a hike south of Frankfurt, because there’s a fast connection between Düsseldorf and Frankfurt. Also, there are beautiful mountains starting from Frankfurt. We saw some of them partly in our trip to Neustadt or Heidelberg, but that’s only part of it. There’s actually a lot more, for which I wouldn’t be ready to buy a full price ticket, but if the ticket is totally fully, why not?
For this, I signed up for a local hiking group in Frankfurt. Then I announced the event relatively early – maybe something like beginning of April, or maybe even earlier. Obviously, no one signed up from the Düsseldorf area. And quite unfortunately, there were hardly anyone signing up for the event altogether. For the first time, the Telegram group was completely empty.
I could have cancelled it, but I still thought why not, because at the end of the day, it’s not like badminton or laser tag – you can very well hike all alone. So this morning I took a train some time before 9am and went to Frankfurt. And I have to say, it was extremely comfortable to travel on an ICE, with functioning toilets and internet.
At 10:45, Frankfurt central. I was standing in front of the train station, because I said so in the event description and not because I was looking for someone. No one came. Then took the train and headed to Auerberg.
And not so surprisingly, no one turned up. Here we are: my very first event where literally no one appeared. I still did the whole hike. I’m proud of myself.
If you look at the map of this area, you might notice that the train line goes inside some sort of flat corridor, with both West and East covered with mountains. So going to the East or the West is difficult, but the North and the South are easily accessible. So first I crossed the city and entered the nature by going eastwards.
It was more like a wine region in the nature along the city. There were also some people on the way who were hiking and drinking wine at the same time. After our stay in Marseille, it was weird to see such a sky during a hike.
Following my description above, you can imagine that as soon as you go up a hill, you can have a nice view over the surrounding flat area. It was not an amazing view, but still a nice one that doesn’t really exist around Düsseldorf (maybe a little bit around Bonn?)
Then forest started. Frankly I didn’t know at all what kind of forest was waiting for me, but it was very much like in the Bergisches Land – there are trees everywhere, but they were well maintained. If you want real wilderness, like in the Sauerland, you might be a bit disappointed, but for our group, even though today it didn’t exist, this was a perfect place.
And frankly I enjoyed the kind of green in the nature that you can see only early in the spring.
There were only mild slopes today. So it was really like hiking in the Bergisches Land. Well, if this was the Bergisches Land, there would be areas with dead trees. Today it was not the case.
I had a break in the Auerberg castle. It was a well conserved castle, just like Drachenfels, that you can entirely visit. I’m sure everyone would have been really excited if they had come here.
And a little bit like from Drachenfels, there was a nice view over the area. It’s just the descent is not quite as steep as in the case of Drachenfels (and there’s no river).
As I wanted to take advantage of the day ticket, I had a quick lunch at the castle and left the place quite quickly. There were a few concrete paths on the way around the castle, but there were hardly any cars.
In the second half, there were actually quite a few nice buildings along the way. One was this tree house, which I have no idea what it’s used for. At least it looked quite impressive.
The other was the small village, or maybe edge of the city (?), right before the city, which looked both traditional and elegant. I’m relatively sure that it was not like this historically, and looked more like a place to attract foreign tourists. But why not, it still looked nice.
And so was the story of my very first hike with no participants. Frankly, I loved this area and I love this day ticket, so I’m gonna organise it again. Next time hopefully it’s gonna be a success :).