The title might be misleading for some as people might relate it with the "Eiffel Tower" in Paris, France. Eifel is a region in Germany consisting of various long hiking trails along with the Eifel National Park. It covers across the states of North-Rhine- Westphalia and Rhineland Palatinate. It starts from Kornelimünster, Aachen and ends at Trier. The entire length of this course is 313 km, which is further subdivided into 15 Stages. Each stage would be approximately in the range of 14-28 km. Various information of these stages can be found at: https://www.eifelsteig.de/.
Since it was summer and we were in dire need of a getaway after our examinations and rainy climate, we found an apt day where the sun shone bright. We are not naturally hikers and have seldom done it. We were quite enthusiastic in choosing the Stage 3: Monschau to Einruhr, although it was considered a difficult hike ( 24 km). Well, we got to know what it felt like at the end.
Being students of RWTH Aachen, we had our semester tickets for the travel. Also Monschau was just 45 Minutes away from Aachen. We boarded the bus from Bushof, Aachen (SB66) which is a direct bus to Monschau at 7:30am. The website suggested the hike duration as nearly 6 hours, but more to it later.
Before planning the timings, we also got to check the return buses from Einruhr. On weekends, the last bus is at 4 pm from Einruhr to Aachen. On weekdays the last bus is at 9 pm.
You can also plan a reverse trip, i.e. Einruhr to Monschau depending on the return bus availability.
We reached Monschau which is a very beautiful border town in Germany. The place with its white painted houses gives a different aura to the surroundings. Monschau is more beautiful when it snows. Surely would suggest from the pictures and experiences of other people.
We explored around a bit along the streets of Monschau and then we started our trek from the starting point.
The routes to go along the trail is properly marked at every place. For every turn, there would be a board indicating the direction. If you miss it, there is a high chance that you could lose your way. There is an app, Komoot which some of my friends have used. At most of the places, the phone network would also be not available.
We carried water bottles, power banks, some light eatables as we had to carry our bags throughout our journey. There are lot of camping sites, lodges etc. along the way, but the trip was made during the corona pandemic and hence many were shut down. Our plan was to have the food with us until we reach Einruhr.
The day before was raining and hence the route was a bit damp. Going during Rain or Winter is not suggestable. Apart from some birds, we did not find any wild animals. The hike consisted of ascents and descents across 5-10 hills, often cutting across main roads etc. The chance of seeing human life forms is also small. We met a couple of hikers along the way.
It's a proper country side and you could see the large farmhouses. You could see horses, cows etc. enjoying the warmth and the peace. Don't disturb them :P. Once in a while you can see robotic lawnmowers in the backyard of many houses, minding their business and mowing along.
During the way, we missed a signpost because we went along discussing various philosophies about life and how easy is it to study masters :P. We got to know that we missed the way, as one of us already had completed this hike earlier. We had to return 800 m backwards to catch the missed trail. So whenever you see the trail getting divided, always look for the signpost.
You get various view points of the valley along the way. There is also a check dam, which was stunning to see on a sunny day.
You are able to see some flat lands further along the way and some wooden eating tables along the way. We broke our fast at this place
After the well deserved rest, we went along and we reach near a brook. The place is quite lovely and photogenic. You could see some log houses along the way.
We are 3/4 of the way and our speed is dropping down. First casualty was considering to quit, but the force was strong in him. We trudged along the winding hills. The scenes are beautiful, but the body was taking a toll.
Finally we reached the last view point from Wolfshügel overlooking Einruhr. You get the best view of the lake from here.
We have reached the destination!!!!!!!!!!!!!!. There were a few restaurants open. We reached the town by 6:30 Pm ( we took 3 hours more than that was suggested in the website and hence nearly 9: 30 Hours). Its quite a small and beautiful town. We wanted to explore a bit more because the second last bus left by 6pm.
The last bus was at 9 pm ( Einruhr to Simmerath (Bus 63), Simmerath to Roetgen, Post (Bus SB63) and Roetgen, Post to Aachen, Bushof (Bus 66)) and we had sufficient time to rest in the town. It becomes colder by nighttime. There were no other passengers towards Simmerath and the bus driver was kind enough to call the next bus driver to wait for us.
We reached Aachen tired, but the satisfaction of completing the hike as well as the best views we got from the nature were enough.
I felt the motto of Eifelsteig was very apt as it says "Where rock and water accompany you". It was quite the same experience,
It was a risk taking up a difficult hike as one of your first hike. I would recommend taking smaller hikes (10 km or Stage 1 which is 14km). Maybe you can build up your stamina and go along such longer hikes. You can select the stage according to your proximity to it and I would recommend once to try Eifelsteig. It's also a welcome change for people by going off the grid and have some peace time. Thanks for the read. #nikhil#adarsh#varun#dwarakesh