Hiking report

Weekend trip to Harz

I sometimes look up apartments in different parts of Germany and sometimes I find something interesting. That was very much the case for the apartment I got for this city, Goslar, as it was not even 300€ for an entire weekend with around 10 people, and it was lying still very much in the city center. So I simply didn’t think much and booked it. After all, it would have been possible to cancel it until a month before or so.

Then came also this 9-euro ticket, which totally makes sense for a place like Goslar, which is very difficult to reach from Düsseldorf for both regional and intercity trains equally.

As I created the event very early, the participation was relatively low at the beginning, and in the end we were only 9 people instead of 10, but as the accommodation price was so low, I also didn’t do much advertisement.

Friday morning at 11:30am I took my train from Essen (because I was in Essen for no reason), in the direction of Minden. Of course it got a horrible delay and I missed my connection there, which was apparently the destiny that everyone had to follow after me.

Fortunately, Amir had arrived in Goslar earlier than me and already got the keys. So when I arrived there around 6pm, we could immediately go to the nearby Kaufland, and buy stuff for dinner and breakfast. This time, I created a list of items to buy in the Telegram group to make sure that we buy only things that we can finish. Amir took over the responsibility for the Indian curry (?) for dinner and I made a large salad. The dinner was around 7€ per person. Not so bad is it.

The kitchen was extremely small in the apartment, so while Amir was preparing the curry with Felipe and Cláudia who arrived in the meantime, I prepared the salad in the living room, and waited for the others to arrive..

The group that came by car apparently had a different problem and for them it took as much time as for us by train with delays. Somehow it’s so difficult to move around here in Germany. Anyway after the dinner, we finished the two bottles of wine I had bought for the evening fairly quickly, and we played werewolf in the living room.

Day II (July 9, Saturday)

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The Harz is a famous area for hiking and other outdoor activities. I simply decided to create a path starting from the house to the forest and back. It was also a great opportunity for me to see what it is like over there.

As our quick search in the morning could not find any restaurant on the trail today, we decided to buy lunch in the city center before starting to hike. Goslar turned out to be a really beautiful city with this typical German atmosphere. Since the Harz area is a UNESCO world heritage site, they probably also have to keep certain standards.

Right from the beginning, I was surprised how much the area was where the trees were dead. As a matter of fact, there was hardly any completely green area. Wherever we went, there were so many dead trees, that it made it very difficult to make good photos.

It was the first time in years that it rained during the weekend hike, even though it was maybe only a few minutes. Fortunately towards the second half of the day we could see a little bit of blue sky.

There was no real adventure today on the way, but the beginning was a little bit complicated. I thought I just followed existing paths but maybe not.

In the first half of the hike we slowly went up a hill and went down also very slowly. There was pretty much nothing interesting on the way, maybe except for the dolls on the photos above.

We had a break at a lake, which I thought would be a real nice highlight of this trip. Of course, it really wasn’t today, because it was cold, and besides there was no restaurant open nearby. I mean, not having any restaurant itself is not a problem, because as Amir often says, the best places don’t have restaurants in the nature. But if it’s a kind of a place where there should be restaurants, it’s just a bit disappointing.

At least we could find a nice cottage where we could have a nice view over the lake. In the meantime, Davy also arrived, who came by bus from Mülheim, because he had something else to do until then.

On the way back to Goslar, we finally got some nice weather. Look at this beautiful blue sky with summer-ish clouds! I just wish only the landscape was slightly better…

Right before we arrived in Goslar, there were some people working on removing the dead trees. It’s been 4 years since the drought that killed all those trees and they are still working on it. I wonder when it’s going to be that the forests look like before, if that’s ever going to happen… It was by the way only afterwards that we learned that we were not allowed to be in that area, as the sign was there when we were leaving the area. Well we might have entered the area regardless of the presence of a sign, because this kind of stuff tends to mean nothing in Germany.

There was this beautiful yellow field right before we reached Goslar. Okay I admit it doesn’t look particularly beautiful on this photo but just believe me it was.

As you can see on the map above, we did around 27 km today. It really didn’t feel like this. Maybe after the Pyrenees trip we got just so much better that we don’t get scared of such a simple hike in Germany anymore.

And accordingly, we had plenty of time when we reached Goslar. We first went to a nearby supermarket to get some drinks and snacks, then went back home, but it was still something like 17:30. Cláudia, in the meantime, booked a table for all of us in a Greek restaurant.

Well, this has always been the kind of situation I wanted to avoid: plenty of time and nothing to do. Indeed, there was only one shower, so it’s good that I didn’t make it overly long, but next time I’ll certainly try to make a better planning.

I got way too much food in the Greek restaurant. The staff were nice and brought ouzo afterwards.

After the Greek restaurant, we played werewolf again in the apartment. Again, I was the moderator (because the SMS programme that I wrote years ago didn’t work quite properly). I really have to develop a Telegram bot that does the moderation…

We apparently played until 1am or so (which is what I can see from the last SMS). I had bought only three bottles of wine and we were 5 people drinking them, but somehow I was really drunk at the end, so much so that I didn’t really know what kind of moderation I was doing anymore. Apparently still it worked nicely.

Day III (July 10, Sunday)

I was groggy in the morning. I first thought I wouldn’t even be able to have breakfast. Fortunately the grogginess went away fairly quickly, even though I was still exhausted, and was ready for another hike.

Since it was not very clear whether I would be able to join this weekend trip (oh yes I didn’t even talk about this – I got corona two weeks ago and I recovered only last week), Amir organized took over some of the organisation, and decided to do a hike nearby, with a highlight of waterfall. One drawback of the plan was the fact that we had to take a bus at 8:30 in the morning. So instead of all of us taking the bus, we decided to let most of the people go first, and then the rest came by Niloofar’s car. This was partly a brilliant idea, especially because it worked, but also led to the problem that the group was never together for the rest of the day.

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Anyway, thanks to everyone, maybe again mostly thanks to Cláudia, the cleaning part was really smooth. Now I cannot believe anymore that only two years ago I thought this concept of renting a holiday house doesn’t work, seeing how well people get organized after breakfast/dinner and at departure.

So I was with Niloofar on the car. We arrived only a few minutes after the others arrived there, but since we couldn’t find a parking slot, we had to start from a very different place, making it difficult to catch up with the others.

The weather was more or less the same as yesterday. At least it never rained in Goslar. We were following a beautiful small stream. Since we now know that the landscape is only so so, it was probably the best choice for this area. The picture above is indeed part of the stream, but in this part it happened to be an aqueduct.

The waterfall, on the other hand, was hardly instagrammable. Well from passers-by I heard that there was a lot less water today. It’s also true that it’s been fairly dry these days in Germany.

And for the final picture again the landscape with dead trees all over the place, which I took when we went up the hill behind this waterfall. It was a nice area, and I’m still happy to have been there. It’s just it looks so dead everywhere.

We finished the hike around 1pm and took a bus to go back to Goslar, where we waited for Niloofar et al. to come back, because we had left our luggage in her car. After a quick lunch we headed back to Düsseldorf. During the journey back home it started raining quite hard. I’m just glad that it didn’t happen during our hikes.

With this, the trip went to an end and I slept more than 10h in the night, in addition to the fact that I was sleeping most of the time on the train.

Just like all the other recent weekend trips, this one went very smoothly. In addition, we achieved something for the first time: we threw away no food at all. There were some chips and cereals remaining, but they could safely go back to someone’s place. In some of the previous weekend trips, I might have claimed that throwing out food at the end of the weekend trip is an inherent problem, but apparently it’s possible to avoid it. One important point that contributed to this was the fact that we now bought breakfast together again. From the second weekend trip, which was in Dinant, we always brought breakfast individually, which sort of made sense, because people tend to want different things for their breakfast. But then obviously there were things like butter or milk that people couldn’t finish all alone. So for those items it really makes sense to buy stuff together. Also the polling function on Telegram helped a lot, because we could see what we needed how much.

Speaking of Telegram, the updated bookkeeping bot did probably also a great job. It became somewhat noisy at some point, as this time I simply added it to the group, instead of creating a separate bookkeeping group. But for a small trip like this one it’s still acceptable.

The next one is in Winterberg. Probably it’s going to be similar to this one. Looking forward to it 🙂

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