April, 21 th 2018
Our trip to Blankenheim was very special for me. I have been there during a class trip in elementary school and never forgot about this nice place. I always wanted to come back once. It was kind of perfect to plan a trip with Couchsurfing hiking group. Several conditions are important for planing a group trip. Therefore it was within NRW, the train connection was quiet good, the train ride itself short and the ancient castle is a Youth hostel. Also Eifel National park is a nice area for hiking. Sam also managed to get a group membership at the German Youth hostel association, which means we will save a lot of money from now on. As always we were very lucky with the weather. It was sunny so the atmosphere within the group was. We arrived in  and started hiking. The sun was shining and we got sweaty very soon. The trail guided us through fields into a forest, where we enjoyed the little shadow. We climbed a little hill and had an amazing view over the countryside, so we decided to make a break while many people in the group already got hungry and started asking for it. The place was just perfect, we sat under the trees in the shadow and shared our stuff or took a nap. Some of us started to doing nonsense. We continued hiking through fields and forest while Hernán and Mami thought me some Japanese. I just started taking classes at University for my upcoming trip to Japan and was happy to practice. At the end of the day I could count up to ten. We had to climb up a hill again and it was a little bit exhausting. On the top was a shelter with picnic facilities and everybody was placing down for an unplanned break. It wasn’t that far to the castle and everybody seemed happy to arrive soon and get some food. I was taking off my shoes and started hiking barefoot and when I saw a small river I went into it. Sam and another guy did the same. Realising that this must be the Ahr river which leads to the castle we decided to walk inside the river. We were very slowly and after a few hundred meters we gave up. But it was fun. The rest of the group were waiting at the field next to the river. Together we entered the old city of Blankenheim and climbed up to the castle. While check in Sam realised that he forgot the membership card, but it was no problem in the end. We got more beds than we reserved, so groups could form and everybody had some privacy in the end. I was extremly excited that we got rooms in the main tower and also the room I was sleeping in when I was a child. Everybody went to his room, so there was no chance to decide what to do next as a group. There were less showers for twenty sweaty people at one time, so small groups formed and were heading down to the city centre. There was only one restaurant and luckily all the benches outside were free when we arrived. We occupied the whole place and only five minutes later some other people came and it wouldn’t have had fit if we came later. As always the local restaurant struggled with that many people at the same time, so it took a very long time to get our pizza and pasta. But since we were altogether it wasn’t an issue. After dinner the sun was gone and it went a bit cold. We climbed up the castle again. There was a group room in the cellar we were allowed to use and it was just perfect. We were the only persons using it and there was a fridge where you could take beverages and pay the morning. It was also very cheap. Since we were in the castle’s cellar it didn’t matter that we were very loud. We started playing card and board games and we were laughing and enjoying a lot. Having our teenage days behind us and hiking for the whole day we were finishing our small party around 1 am. I sneaked into my room where Perle and Eli were already sleeping. I was laying in the exactly same bed when I was a child and felt very lucky to repeat that moment as a grown up person. I fell asleep very satisfied. The sun shining through the old castle’s window was waking me up. Oh no, it was Hernan playing music loudly and dancing. Anyway it was time to get up. Breakfast was included, so I went there and met the some of our people. More and more people were coming and we met up in the yard after it. We collected the money for the drinks yesterday and it took us around an hour to get ready. Back on Eifelsteig we passed fields and forests again. Everybody seemed to be tired from yesterday’s hike or evening. We arrived a small city. There was a local festival with many people and the group dissolved. We met up behind the village and entered a café in a backyard. We stayed there for a long time, eating and drinking while the weather forecast changed. To avoid the upcoming thunderstorm we continued. The very last part of Eifelsteig today was the most amazing part. It was getting cloudy, but we arrived at the train station without any rain. We had to change the train in cologne and even though it wasn’t far away the thunderstorm had been there and just missed us. Back in Düsseldorf I cooked dinner with Sam and Mami and we spent the evening together. The perfect end of a very nice weekend full of joyful moments.