There were quite some long weekends in Germany this year. If there’s something to do, it’s pretty nice. Something, like a bicycle trip maybe in my case. Unfortunately, as I was looking for a new apartment, I was not sure how much money I should save. In the end, I decided to do something that I like and cheap. Well, the answer was clear; hiking.
And that’s also a part of the reason why I organised two hikes this week. It was actually also important for me to do something during the weekend, because Shuto, who I taught German about one year ago to and was about to go back to Japan after his exchange year, was at my place, too. Being just 19 years old (and coming from Japan), maybe he was not quite into hiking, but still it belongs to the German culture. So maybe it was also a nice opportunity for him.
Whatever the reason was, we went to where we finished last time, namely to Aprath. Again, it was a part of what is called Neanderlandsteig, which makes a huge circle around Neandertal, which is right next to Düsseldorf.
Before I came back to Germany, like half a year ago, I bought quite some winter clothes, because the winter that I spent here last time (end of 2010/beginning of 2011), was extremely harsh. For me, Germany was a very cold country. Who would have thought that we would have more than 30 °C for more than 3 or 4 days in a row in June here. Especially there, where there were much less trees than last week, or no lake to dive into.
Despite the temperature and the long weekend, there were still more than 30 people this time.
Those who have seen my entire map probably know that there are quite a lot of routes planned for the future hiking sessions. It means that after the first draft, there might be quite some period until it is truly done. This was particularly the case for today’s route, where I didn’t even really remember how I created the route. All I knew was that the total distance was 14 km and it was supposed to be a part of Neanderlandsteig. However, when we got out of the station, we saw the tag for Neanderlandsteig and the sign next to it: Gruiten 18 km…
In this moment, I was really not sure, if I should trust my route, or we were about to go 18 km. At least I knew what it would be a disaster, considering the heat and the number of newcomers.
The answer for this question came relatively fast after the beginning. As we quickly left the path of Neanderlandsteig. Obviously, I had created a much shorter route. Even though this was necessary, I now think think I could have planned it better. Especially the fact that we had to cross relatively large streets was not so much fun.
Maybe until lunch, we were not completely out of civilization. Luckily, the trend changed there. Firstly, we got a really nice place for lunch, as you can see on the photos. Then actually we came back to the route of Neanderlandsteig. We went then only forest paths. And I must say it was the right course on such a sunny and hot day.
Shuto was to take a train at 6:22 pm from Düsseldorf to go back to Munich. When we arrived in Gruiten, we still had 45 min before the train that I was planning to take to go back to Düsseldorf safely. Following our tradition, I wanted to propose to grab a beer somewhere. After a hike in the excruciating heat, everyone must have been exhausted and I didn’t really think anyone would join. I was wrong.
Behind me there were still more than 20 people. And Gruiten is a very small city. There were only 45 min remaining before the departure of the train. I was about to give up, when we actually saw a small post office at the station, which actually also functioned as a kiosk. The nice guy working there also made the toilet available, so that it was probably even better than a beer garden, as we could simply sit around.
I just don’t wonder why he closed it right after we all got beer 😀