After the success in Marseille and in the Pyrenees in June this year, I thought about organising another large weekend trip this year, and for some reason in the middle of September. It didn’t take me too much time to understand that it was not really feasible, so I decided to offer a smaller weekend trip, and I saw this apartment in Monschau, which was part of the local youth hostel, but looked like a decent apartment.
I have to say I organized a super complicated trip for me this time. First, I was in the Alps hiking with Rohith two weeks ago. From there, I went to Regensburg without going back home, where I was attending a scientific conference. Then, again without going back home, I directly went to Monschau from Regensburg. And not so surprisingly, there were delays everywhere. So with a delay of 2h, I managed to arrive in Monschau. Maybe it’s important to point out that within Monschau there’s no or nearly no public transport, so instead of putting “Monschau” you have to put “Monschau Parkhaus” for the destination, if you want to look up the connection, because Monschau Parkhaus is the de facto bus terminal for Monschau.
One of the problems that we were facing came from the fact that they shut down Cologne central for no obvious reasons. Madhuri then cancelled her participation altogether. Actually anyway there were not so many people joining this time, and it made this trip the most expensive one for me so far.
Since I was not really available during the week, I could not really organize the plan for dinner, as well as for breakfast. Fortunately, Cláudia and Felipe, who were arriving earlier, basically took it over. So they made sure that we were buying all the necessary stuff and also got the key for the apartment. I essentially only needed to arrive and see what was going on.
And indeed, I didn’t even need to help them prepare the food. I was just sitting there and got a plate of risotto with salad. How amazing is that.
The apartments apparently belong to the local youth hostel. The hostel itself was nearby. I didn’t know that there were apartments that youth hostels administer. The ones we got were real apartments (in a historical building though), which could very well appear on AirBnB. And to be honest, it was one of the most comfortable ones that I have ever seen so far. Frankly I’m really happy that we got this one.
Sometime late in the evening, Ghizlane arrived and we were complete. We were only 7 people on this trip (although Bogdan joined in the evening, who was staying elsewhere). This was the smallest group we have ever had on a weekend trip.
Day II (September 10, Saturday)
Luckily, we did not have too much alcohol in the evening. So I guess we could all sleep well this time. Since I had my super comfortable mattress from my trip, I slept in the living room.
As Amir was not there this time, Cláudia took over the role of preparing eggs. Again, I had hardly anything to do. Amazing.
Here’s the hiking plan: We walk along the river Rur going towards the lake Rur, where we would have a break, then go towards Simmerath, which is a small city nearby, to take a bus to come back to Monschau. There were buses regularly from Simmerath to Monschau. Easy, isn’t it?
First we needed to buy some stuff for lunch, and at the same time we did some sightseeing. It’s a beautiful small city that you can see in less than 1h.
According to the weather forecast, we were supposed to have a horrible day today, but as it turned out it was mostly fairly okay.
Speaking of the weather, it was a really crazy summer. Until this week (also only until the end of this week), there was no rain for weeks. I could see that the city parks started turning yellow. The Eifel area, in which Monschau lies, had been spared until last year. This year I was really not sure how the effects would be. But so far it looks like the Eifel is still fine.
The route we took today was really extremely easy. You can already see it on the map above, but there was no difficult up and down. Except for the distance, we could have offered it on a regular hiking event.
For some reason we were having breaks everywhere today. It’s maybe also because some people were much faster than the others and they essentially had to wait for us all the time.
When I first organized this event, I had hoped that the summer would be still around (was also the case until the beginning of the week). That was essentially the reason why I wanted to go to the lake (and swim). It was not really cold today, but for swimming unfortunately too cold. Anyway we had a nice break right next to the lake.
After the break, the group was separated in two. The fast group reached Simmerath nearly an hour earlier. The problem was, they actually did the shopping for dinner. The slow group, which I belonged to, essentially had to figure out what was still needed. Probably we should have talked about it more in detail during the lunch break.
Anyway then we took a bus back to Monschau. Somehow it took quite some time to reach Monschau. The first group was already there and doing sightseeing (again?).
Then the boys started cooking for pasta – Ignacio prepared tomato sauce and I prepared some sort of chilli oil sauce.
This time they really bought too much wine. Towards the end of the evening I was really done. Essentially Ignacio, Felipe and I were finishing three bottles. That’s not a very good idea after having hiked for the whole day. No wonder that I could sleep so well in the night.
Day III (September 11, Sunday)
We were supposed to leave the apartment by 10am. Frankly, when I got up 8am I thought we might not even make it. We gave back the key just in time. Thank you for your cooperation.
I didn’t really have a plan for the day, also because I didn’t really know how we would be feeling. Frankly we were just too tired to undertake a large activity. So we simply did yet another sightseeing in Monschau. One thing we didn’t know today was that it was the European Heritage Day and the entry to some monuments was free of charge. We happened to be in a castle in Monschau, which we could enter for free. So lucky. Well, maybe I should also thank the staff there who cleaned the floors after we left the rooms…
Then we went to Aachen to do some sightseeing there. Really a nice normal touristic thing.
So was our small weekend trip. Just like every time this year, it was a really successful one where I could get so much help from other people. In this regard, there’s really nothing I have to say concerning the organization.
There’s just one thing: now in the winter, we might not want to do a full-fledged hike on weekend trips, but maybe we can think about combining a hiking trip with cooking, as I started realising how much fun it actually is to cook with other people on a weekend trip, and I was also surprised how much willingness there actually was. So maybe it’s gonna happen in the near future, so please look forward to it!