T – 8, 07:30 – Ilhabela


Packed and ready to leave for the ferry boat to São Sebastião, from there with the bus to Cumbica and from there, a nightflight to Frankfurt / Cologne.

Even when Bianca signalized me that she would look after house and inhabitants for almost 4 month, I was still undecided. I was a little concerned about the distance because I know what it is to walk 25 km or more a day. I had done this already for about 3 weeks and close to 1.000 km from the border of Espirito Santo to Salvador in Bahia and I remember that I didn´t feel so good afterwards. So, apart from the physics, I had no idea of what it would be mentally after 2 month walking …..

Then, when I was lying on my bed thinking about the pros and cons, suddenly a crowd of screaming parrots appeared, flying into my orange tree. In principle this is nothing unnormal, there are always one or two parrots or tucans around but so many was unusual. This day I had no idea that this is just the beginning of many strange bird events to come but I already interpreted this as a sign, only that I didn´t know if it were a sign to stay or to leave.

But than I thought, man, this moment is never coming back again, if you don´t go now you will never do this and you will always hate yourself for that, go! It was sunday afternoon, April 20th, I hurried to my computer and reserved a flight for April 23. It was the less prepared journey of my lifetime.

T – 5, 21:30 – Lechenich

friendsApril 26: Say goodbye to friends….

I was kind of restless, I used this week in Germany to do some kind of planning but lost a lot of time downloading maps to the GPS, tracklogging, buying some basic equipment etc. So, I didn´t even have time for my father and in the end I perceived that I still continue without having any idea of anything. So I decided that its time to leave now and to see whats coming. Live your day!

T – 0, 08:14 – Liblar

erftstadtMay 1:  When my father left me at the train station in Erftstadt, his last words were “If you don´t come back, I will be completely alone” (We lost my mother last year)

From Erftstadt I took the train to Cologne and from there to Aachen. Initially I wanted to wak from my hometown Cologne but than I changed my mind. First of all, Starsway starts in Aachen and second the 2 days to Aachen are landscape wise not so attractive.

Day 1, 10:50 – Aachen

aachen-testMay 1: Aachen – Meerse

Starsway km 0 / Point of no return.

Aachen, with Karlsdom, an UNESCO World Heritage Site in the background, Charlemagnes main residence for many years, the place where he died on January 28 (the same day I was born) and home to RWTH, one of Germany´s greatest universities.

Day 3, 13:47 – Borgloon

borgloonMay 3: Tongeren – Sint Truiden

I couldn’t believe that one; somewhere in Borgloon a lady started talking to me in Flaemish and I didn’t understand a word. Than she asked in English, where are you going and I said Santiago. She said, oh my god, wait a moment and entered the bakery next to her where she bought me these cakes. I found that so amazing that I had to hug and kiss her all over. Already some meters away from her, she called: remember me and I responded: I will. She definitely made my day!

Day 4, 09:46 – Sint Truiden

sint-truidenMay 4: Sint Truiden – Tienen

The tower of the Sint Truiden town hall belongs to the Belfries of Belguim and France UNESCO World Heritage Site.

In Tienen I stayed in the first kind of pilgrims hostel. I asked the owner, why there aren´t more of it on the way and she told me that this is not very much liked in Belgium (and I believe in France its the same story). According to her, the pilgrims have very often little financial resources, sometimes a lousy appearance and most important the pilgrims albergues which are relatively cheap (in Spain its 5 – 7 Euros a night) bring down the prices of the other private accomodations and this is not wanted.

Day 5: 18:35 – Leuven

leuvenMay 5: Tienen – Leuven

The route through Belgium really surprised me, I didn´t expect so many cultural heritages in these realtively small towns.

Leuven is the capital of the Belgium province Flemish – Brabant, home to the largest and oldest university of the Low Countries and has a fantastic gothic town hall in its city center.

Day 6, 19:15 – Brussels

brusselsMay 6: Leuven – Brussels

Never come to Brussels when there is a seafood conference. The cheapest room I got at 7:30 pm was 250 Euros, without breakfast of course. Outside it was raining cats and dogs, pretty cold, so unfortunately there was no other way.

The guy from the reception even apologized to me. Sorry, he said but we are already like the airlines, when there are only a few rooms left, our hotel computer automatically increases the price. You can look somewhere else but it will be difficult to find something cheaper anywhere.