Hiking report

Hiking from Kaldenkirchen to Venlo!

So the new year started, and at the same time it was pretty much the first winter hike without a Christmas market, mainly because I was away so many times. If you don’t know what it is: In the winter, I organize so called winter hikes, where there’s hardly any up and down and it’s mostly about just going out and walking a bit in the nature. Part of the reason why I do it because it’s exhausting and dangerous in the winter to do proper hikes, but partly it’s because I try to organize a different hike every weekend, and there are simply not so many different options in the mountains here, so I offer simple ones that I don’t want to do in the summer in the winter, which is not a very encouraging condition, I admit.

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Nevertheless, we can also visit interesting areas this way as well, and Venlo is a great example for this. And maybe because of this there were a lot of people today. Well, this being said, it’s also a similar tendency every year, that there are a lot of people in the beginning of January. I guess it’s New Year’s resolution for a lot of people. The number tends to go down after a few hikes.

We were kind of lucky this morning with the train; it was going only up to Kaldenkirchen, where we wanted to start the hike. Usually this train goes up to Venlo, and usually it’s overcrowded with the people who go to the Netherlands for shopping on Sundays, where shops are usually open (but not in Germany). So we could actually sit, which was often not the case last few times when we went towards Venlo.

We have actually already done the first part of the hike before, and I didn’t really have a bad memory, but to my today’s taste, it was just horrible – only endless asphalt and nothing interesting nearby. I remember that when I started organizing hikes back in 2017 I didn’t care about it a lot. So at that time we had a lot of asphalt and barren landscapes. I can see how much better the hikes and therefore also the expectations got in the meantime.

And I thought it was only the beginning, but it wasn’t. Until we reached the point where we had a break, it almost continued, although things got somewhat better after the first time that we turned.

It rained a lot in the last couple of days. Actually there’s serious flooding in parts of Germany right now. This area was somewhat affected by the rain, and it was quite muddy in some parts today. Well, I heard that there’s hardly any water in Spain right now, so we can be glad that there’s enough of it here.

We had a break near the Krickenbeck castle. I was planning to have it right in the property, but it turned out that there was a memorial center before the bridge, which had a small shop and toilets, so we stayed there nearby.

I brought my fire equipment, but not the new box, because I was planning to heat up the canned food directly. However, Patrick pointed out that the cans these days actually have a plastic layer inside, so that it would taste disgusting if you heat it up directly. So I had to eat it cold. What a pity.

It was extremely cold today; the temperature was barely above 0. I was freezing while eating. At some point I went to the shop, pretending to look at the products, even though I was just there to warm up my fingers.

After the break, the asphalted road continued for a long time, but there were sections of fields as well. Especially when we reached the Netherlands, things got a lot better, even though it was a rather small section towards the end.

There was this border stone at the border. Otherwise there was nothing marking the border between the Netherlands and Germany. Anyway, still it’s an exciting moment to cross a border on foot, even if we have already done it so many times 🙂

The houses in the Netherlands are somehow well organized and beautiful. It was nice to walk past those houses before reaching the city center of Venlo.

In Venlo, we learned that every second train was cancelled, and as it happened, we had to take a train right away or two hours later. Many of them therefore took the train right away. We stayed in Venlo, because it’s also a beautiful city and I was looking forward to exploring it.

We first went to this supermarket called zwei Brüder, which Amalia told me was a very famous one. Patrick actually had the same supermarket in mind, because he was saying it’s where a lot of Germans go on Sundays. Indeed, the supermarket was not only filled with Germans, but also everything was written in German.

Later I realized that people routinely speak German in Venlo, like when I got French fries, the staff were talking to everyone only in German, even though they were obviously Dutch from their accent.

We then went to a nearby café and then to a bar, then took a train back to Düsseldorf. As always, this RE13 was overcrowded. We didn’t have much hope on having a seat in the train, but then the conductor decided to allow free access to the first class and we had a super comfortable ride to Düsseldorf. What a great start of the year!

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