It wasn’t the first time, but this time it went really badly: Couchsurfing failed. Here’s what happened: I was trying to send the WhatsApp link to all the participants. And right after I sent the first message, my account got blocked. Later I learned that the system automatically detected the WhatsApp link and blocked my account systematically. To be fair, I do indeed understand that Couchsurfing doesn’t want to allow other platforms to drain its strength, but there’s obviously no other possibility for me but use WhatsApp in order to establish communication among a large number of people. Well, this kind of stuff happens every now and then with CS; quite obviously they don’t listen to its members anymore. And this time it hit me hard, as I couldn’t log in over the weekend, so that I left everyone with no clue of whatever was going on. Fortunately Mehrbod left a message on the event page, saying my account was blocked. And apparently he could save a few people. But the damage was done this time.
The weather was somewhat reflecting my motion today: rain. Well, I had been expecting a weather like this for quite some time, and that’s also the reason that we were doing a hike like this one today, going along the Ruhr in Essen. It’s difficult to say how often we have already been in this area. On my map on openstreetmap, I can see that this is one of the most concentrated areas with hiking trails (along with Schwelm maybe). The reason for this is quite simple: this area along the Ruhr is quite comfortable from Essen, as it takes only a few minutes from the central station. Then it is a fairly green area with some slopes to see everywhere. With the number of train stations in between it therefore doesn’t really matter where you start hiking, you can simply walk as you like and go back home from wherever you want. With this regard, it is the perfect location for winter hikes as well.
For the n-th time, we started from Essen-Werden. With the large street on one side, this one is not a particularly beautiful train station, but going to the other side is pretty nice, something I found out quite recently.
While we couldn’t get rid of an umbrella today, the hike was partially quite complicated. At one point, we couldn’t find the path and we had to go down a fairly steep slope, which I didn’t want to do and therefore tried farther to find the right path, in vain. Well, in the end I made some people go through a wet bush and still go down the steep hill. What a great organiser.
Except for this one place, there was no difficulty today. I was in a rush this morning and weren’t carrying my hiking shoes. With my 39€ Decathlon shoes, I must say I could survive it fairly well. Well, after all it was Essen, how could it have ever been complicated.
We had a break at Essen Hügel, which is a train station right in front of the Ruhr. In the summer, you can see a herd of people swimming in the river, but today there was pretty much no one outside. There was a nice Greek restaurant right in front of the train station, which had enough space to contain almost all of us (almost, because some people decided to have a break inside the train station). Fortunately it wasn’t particularly cold outside, but still it was nice to sit inside for some time because of the rain.
Then came a problem: what should have followed after the break is an area called Villa Hügel, which was apparently a private area and we were not allowed to enter (good to know!). Then there was a leadership change and Diana led us to Stadtwald.
At some point the rain stopped, but then it was already towards the end of the hike. We went through the forest of Stadtwald (which we’ve already seen several times) and reached the train station. Well, there’s one more good thing about hiking in this area: there’re are plenty of places to sit. We crashed a local bakery, which was hopelessly crowded for the number of people arriving all of a sudden. The staff still made some space for us, i.e. other essentially had to leave. Well, I’m at least sorry for the disturbance we cause every time 🙂