40 people signed up for it and so it looked like the final trip was going to be a great success. But then, obviously, we had to pick the worst day weather-wise possibly… 15 degrees, rain & wind and in the end we had 16 participants out of 40. [Actually it could have been expected, I suppose. We haven’t really been lucky with the weather during our trips, to put it mildly. And so for our final final one it probably just had to be extreme.]
The others were laughing at us and asking if they should wait for us with hot tea and warm blankets. Despite all that, it was one great day. All those who came won’t let me lie here, it really was. All those who didn’t, I can assure you that you missed a lot!
We started cautiously gathering at the station in the morning and asking each other: “So this is really happening?” Then we called to confirm if the kayaking could still be done in spite of the weather. Some people actually were on the way to the station but turned around and went back to their warm houses and warm beds. Others didn’t even bother to get out of bed!
No matter that only 40 % of people showed up, we still got our discount. Armed with life vests, buckets, paddles and rubbish sacks full of shoes, as well as instructions as to which side of an island to choose and how many bridges to pass by, we were ready to start.
We were told that we needed to finish by 5 o’clock and that in case of a storm we should get out of the water. Joking that our final trip might actually be final if it got too stormy, we bravely jumped into the kayaks and so it started.
Some of us proudly learned new kayaking techniques, others remembered the ones forgotten long time ago; a lot of us were impressed by how beautiful Luxembourg can be in the rain; all of us got completely wet (yet some a little bit more than the others); surprisingly, some even got sun tanned (when?! it was raining half of the time!). There were moments of complete stillness and chill-out on almost standing water but there were some rapids as well. The water was shallow, with many opportunities to try our luck not to get stuck on the rocks. Of course, some were more lucky than others. Those others all of a sudden had new content for the Who’s Who book – right, Jernej?
The water was much warmer than the outside temperature and sitting in the kayaks was not too cold as well. The coldest part of the trip thus was getting out of the water eventually (with the wind getting more and more crazy) – so cold some of us ran to the bus straight away, while others looked for a place to change clothes in a nearby camping. Lucky those who were smart enough to take dry clothes with them. Or maybe lucky me that while having no dry clothes, I managed not to get completely soaked and so semi-wet ones were still OK.
With the weather getting more and more abrupt, lunch at a warm place sounded like a nice option. Having finished our trip in Germany, it seemed reasonable to cross a bridge heading to Luxembourg. Not all was so easy though. The stairs that looked like leading onto the bridge ended with a barrier (which of course we only noticed after climbing up). After some illegal crossings here and there, we did reach Luxembourg, yet the road didn’t look very suitable for walking. Not sure which direction to head to, we decided to have a coffee at a nearby gas station instead. After some more road crossings, fence climbings and other smart shortcuts, we reached the so-much-needed coffee (especially for those who hadn’t got a chance to sleep much the previous night).
It turned out that Echternach was not that far away and the road leading to it not so pedestrian-unfriendly as it looked at first glance, so soon we were happily searching for a place to eat. With a small detour to Germany again (expecting to find cheaper food there; finding only a lot of construction works and a few closed restaurants instead), we finished our trip at a cosy pizza place in Echternach. Pizza was big, tea was warm, we all were sitting almost together (and were served almost at the same time… not.), discussing still unclear future plans and ideas for the evening… And wondering why we never did this kayaking before.
So, a big THANKS goes to those who were brave enough to come and who, in spite of some crazy weather and lack of participation, made this final trip a great success anyway. It was loads of fun, same as all the travelling together with you guys during these five months. Same as all these five months in general.
Having said that, should we vote for a reunion destination already?;)
Photos by Vaida & Monika