This week, I was in Austria from Monday to Friday, for the second time this month. This time, it was a group trip with my lab. While we had some leisure time there, it was snowing pretty much all the time, and the most important activity seemed to be presentations. Honestly, for someone like me who looks for interesting stuff, it’s really difficult to understand why people still present stuff in conference manner. Anyway, I had my own style, and it was hugely successful, although the sense of success was largely drained by the 10-hour bus trip to and from Austria. The 3-hour train ride to Externsteine last year was already horrible. I’m happy that we don’t have to go so far away for the hikes.
So today, the hike went to Velbert-Nierenhof, right next to Essen. The line that connects Essen and Wuppertal has already been visited several times (Langenberg, Neviges, Wülfrath etc.), but we have never been to Nierenhof, although I always saw a huge potential because of the proximity to the Ruhr river.
I did not talk about it last time, because I was not really sure about it, but it’s been confirmed: now there are intrinsically more people. And the reason is because apparently Couch surfing changed the criterion for “nearby events”, which were only really the events in the same city. Now, I can also see events from nearby cities like Cologne or Essen. Obviously, there were more people who saw the event from other cities and they decided to join us. That made 41 participants today. Really not bad for this period of time.
This was one of the hiking paths that I had downloaded from wanderwege-nrw, but I had to change it a lot in order to have a place to have a break. The original path was fortunately fairly short, so it was not difficult to include a nearby city (Niederwenigern). Anyway, my only one concern was that there were quite some negative references on the website about this trail, although it did not look so bad on the map.
From Nierenhof, we directly went towards the nearby hill, which was right next to the Ruhr river. Actually, the path was going through the top of the hill, so that it was going down on both sides, something we don’t see very often, as from the practical point of view, usually there’s no reason to go over the top of the mountain, but it offered a quite spectacular view.
There were two surprises today. One was that Clara, who moved to Darmstadt because of her Ph.D supervisor joined us this time. The second was that the weather forecast was predicting a good weather for today all the time, but then as it turned out … it was rather rainy… If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you certainly know that Clara was the person who always brought the rain. And here she is. She’s still capable of doing what she is known for.
Quite some time ago, we had 6-year-old Indira when we hiked at Solingen, who surprised all of us by walking up to the end with us. This time, we had a new record: Amin brought his daughter, who was 2 years old. Not that she managed to walk all the time, but still she managed to walk quite some distance.
The city, Niederwenigern, where I thought it would be nice to have a break, was not that small. Yet, as it turned out, there was nothing open there. Strangely enough, I had something to eat myself for the first time in quite some weeks. At least there was a petrol station nearby that was open so some people could use the toilet there.
On the way back towards Niefenhof, I talked about our weekend trip to Cochem. It’s true that I haven’t talked about it with a lot of people so far, but there are only 8 people who are interested right now. In fact, I also managed to get the group membership card for the German Youth Hostel Association, so I was thinking about organizing a lot of overnight trips in the coming weeks, but I have to see how things evolve from now on…
Unfortunately, there was no bar and no café (at least for this number of people) at Nierenhof. So in the end, we took a train directly back to Düsseldorf.