Dutch German Border
Saturday, August 25, 2018
The wheather forecast was quiet horribly. Rain and only 17 degrees. We were thinking about canceling the event, but since wheather forecast changed a lot of times and is generally not reliable in Germany, we decided to go on. At least there were already 79 participants.
I was waking up early in the morning and it was pouring rain and cold outside. I‘m wearing only my sandals since April and it was the first time it got quiet hard. It could also be that I just forgot the feeling of cold feet during this long sunny period.
Together with Sam, I arrived at Düsseldorf main station, but there were no other people. It was already meeting time, but even at the platform anybody was shown up. Within the last 5 minutes before the train came, a couple showed up. It must have been very weird for them, to see only him and me while on the Couchsurfing event more than 70 people joined.
In the train we met Anas, so we were at least a small group. In Mönchengladbach joined a second group with around 6 people. My suggestion were 26 people will show up in total (look at the picture ^^). Around 8 cars were already waiting for us at Arsbeck. While organizing our first camping weekend I was really afraid that there will not be enough drivers to carry all the heavy camping stuff, but it seems that‘s the easiest part. We load our luggage and the drivers headed to the campsite while the rest of the group, including me, headed to Dalheim, where we wanted to meet up with the drivers all in one or two cars.
Timing was perfect, we just arrived with the drivers at the same time. One part of the driver‘s group was staying at the campsite, because it startet to rain heavily. Well, we could see this dark cloud coming torwards us. The trail which was around 10 km was through the woods and much nicer than expected. After a while the rain came. Pouring. We found a shelter and waited. Since we needed to talk about the BBQ and fill up the shopping list we needed a break and a dry place, so we decided to make a break at a Chinese restaurant nearby. Unfortunately it startet to rain again and everybody entered the restaurant. This was maybe a mistake, because lots of us were hungry and the buffet which was only 6,80 €, looked even more delicious.
At the campsite, I decided to pitch my tent during this dry period and even in this moment it started pouring rain again. All the people disappeared from the meadow within seconds. It was kind of funny. I was sitting in Jan’s car, while one guy was sitting in the trunk. Even some of us were searching for shelter beneath their rain flys. Only Robin was brave and pitched up his castle in the rain.
Together with Jan and a spanish girl we went to the supermarket, while some others took a bath in the beautiful lake. For me it was important to take somebody with me who is eating meat, because it’s hard not to get influenced by your peronal preferences. This time I really wanted to lower the costs and did quiet a lot improvements. When I called the campsite they said, there is no opportunity to get breakfast. There would be not even sell german break (usually a lot camping sites do, especially during holiday season). We decided to buy stuff for breakfast and coffee as well and buy the bread on the next day freshly at a nearby bakery.
When we had collected all the stuff a looked in the half full shopping basket, I couldn’t believe that it will be enough for 20 people, because last time we had 2 fully packed baskets for around 30 people without breakfast stuff.
In the end it was also quiet cheap, it was around 5 € for BBQ and 1,50 € for breakfast (last time it was 7 € only for BBQ).
Here are some improvements:
- We went to Lidl instead of Edeka
- Jan prepared like 4 kg of chicken, which as on sale
- We didn’t buy any snacks and soft drinks
- We prepared frozen water bottles to cool down the beer (which is much better for the environment than the crushed ice from the gas station)
- Some people brought donations like mushrooms and other vegetables & food
- We didnt buy plastic plates, bowls and other stuff
- We were comparing prices in the supermarket
In the end I must say I failed calculating the right value. Especially of the meat, which was worst. As I already said it was maybe not clever to enter the Chinese restaurant and eat the buffet. On the other hand I should have checked the amount of chicken Jan prepared, because it was way more than I expected.
When the food arrived, the BBQ’s were already prepared. Luckily we decided in the very last moment to take the second BBQ from Sam’s apartment as well. It was a good decision. There were only three BBQ’s and two of them were really small.
During all this smooth chaos I missed one important thing: to get a coin for warm water in the shower at the reception. It was already closed. So I used bowls filled with warm water and got my warm shower in the end 🙂 The evening was perfect, there was no more rain. We could see the full moon and take some scary pictures with the red light of our headlamps (I’m not gonna show them here for good reason). I talked a lot to Tobi, who joined us for the first time and lived nearby. Coincidentally he just bought a Trekking bike and will leave for his first world bike trip on September 27th, which is the same day I’ll leave with my bike to Japan. As if that was not funny enough at all he is doing Kung fu and already practiced for some years in China. He was just as interested in getting to know some Taekwondo skills than I was. The origin of Taekwondo, which I am practicing nearly my whole life (with some breaks) is Korea, while Kung Fu’s is China. Learning another martial arts is like learning another language. At least we had more to talk to than time, because he was not staying at the Campsite with us. I’m really looking forward to see him again soon.
The evening went on and the camp stuff were much more accommodating in terms of volume than expected. People were chatting, laughing, drinking beer und doing a lot of nonsense. I was really happy, what a nice evening. It was quiet late, when I crawled into my sleeping bag. Some people were still awake. Hearing Robin’s voice in the background I fell asleep immediately.
It was a deep sleep and I woke up in the morning with Robin’s voice in the background again. In the first moment I was asking myself if he wasn’t sleeping at all. I guess I was one of the latest who woke up and left the tent. I was happy that their managed preparing breakfast. To my surprise the shop at the campsite offered bread and coffee. For me coffee and bread is breakfast…
After breakfast and removing the tents there was no plan for Sunday and most people decided to leave directly. Only a small group of people, including me, were heading to the lake. The train was coming only every second hour, so in the end it was a short stay at the lake. Walking back to train station was one and a half hour and together with Melissa, Gonzalo, Ben and Sam we left a bit late, so we had to walk tight all the way. In Mönchengladbach they left and it was only Sam and me. It is funny beeing at a train station with Sam during this time, cause we always end up at DB Lounge. This time I really enjoyed to have a Cappuccino, even though it was not morning. At home, I fell in bed and took a deep long nap. This time without hearing Robin’s voice in the background…