One of the nicest hiking places was actually pretty close to where I lived in the Netherlands. Just over the eastern border, over into Germany, was the Wurm River. It starts in the Eifel Mountains south of Aachen, disappears under the city infrastructure for a ways, then reemerges just north of the old city center. Once it crosses under the A4 Autobahn, it cuts through a beautiful area of forested hills before it wanders out into the flatlands of the Rur Valley.
Over a couple of years I explored this valley, starting arbitrarily at Herzogenrath, simply because it was easier to park there and the trails were well maintained. Heading north quickly ran out in the flats where the trails became intermittent at best. It was when I headed south that the beauty took over, with lovely trails along both banks.
One of the feeder streams running down from the hills was temporarily arrested by this pool that was used to water horses and such back in the old days. I can’t vouch for how clean the water is now, but it certainly looked very clear and smelled quite nice.
Sheep and cattle were pretty abundant most of the year. Sometimes the trails led across the pastures and there were signs warning hikers to keep their dogs on the leash, as the average hiker had at least one dog. I had a couple of different dogs, but both went nuts on me whenever I had to deploy for missions. Still, they made the best walking companions for my volksmarching. In the background here is Bardenberg up on the hill, with a glimpse of the Wilhelmstein ruins on the left horizon.
Sometimes I could persuade the kids to come with me when I went exploring like that. Here they are in 1989 on a hill overlooking the village of Oirsbeek, Netherlands. We lived in this village for several years in contract housing built specifically for US military families.