Prolog

Many friends and acquaintances asked me why I don’t have a blog or something like that so they could follow me and my journey.
Well I thought better late than never. I’m sorry for the delay but at least it was hard to find the time and muse for that.

I hope you can enjoy my story and please forgive me that maybe sometimes I’m not at schedule.
Now please relax and enjoy the journey…

How the journey began

It was once upon a time in December 1981…

Oh sorry. That may be a bit too far-fetched.
I guess we should forward a bit…

As it is in life like that, every reaction to an action follows.
It was in the late summer of 2016 when I’ve got the feeling I need to break out of my life to go on a journey.

Don’t get me wrong. I’ve got a good life so far and I really appreciated it. I was a full-time musician lived in a little detached house which was owned by my parents and had a lot of stuff I didn’t really needed.

I’m just an ordinary guy with a lot of humour, self-irony, the love to music, books and a little obsession for movies.

So far so good… Why did I got this feeling I needed to break out of my life? I guess you might think so. I felt in love… or better I thought I did.

At least it didn’t worked and not the first time in my life I’ve got the feeling I needed to break out to get time for myself to find back to myself.

I needed a journey. An adventure. It always helped me to think while I’m walking and I’ve heard a few years ago of this amazing big walk through the north of Spain called “Camino de Santiago” or how we call it in Germany “Jacobs Weg”… I know – again one of these clever translations in German. When you’re a movie fan you stumble about them all the time. Anyway…

The “Way” was calling for me and I followed.

Within six weeks I’ve organised my flight, my travel luggage and of cause (very important) my hiking boots.

By the way a big thank you to my friends Lisa & Peter who lent me some of their camino equipment.

Than the big day came… ready to take of.
That was a weird cocktail of feelings.
I was excited, scared (of the flight), still lost, happy, nervous and inpatient…

The fist step on my journey was the flight from Hamburg (Germany) to Paris (France) where I should get my night train to Bayonne in the south-west of France 4 hours after landing time.

What I didn’t knew so far, was that three days ago someone special started her camino at the bottom of the french Pyrenees…

Camino de Santiago

When I arrived in Bayonne at the train station, after a stressed search through Paris to find the right spot and a nine hour night train journey with a ten centimetre too short bunkbed, I met an older french guy called Daniel who was up to go on his seventh camino and a lovely young lady from the USA called Susan who was up to go on her first camino like me. While we waited for the bus to drive us to “Saint-Jean-Piet-de-Port” close to the french bottom of the Pyrenees, where the “Camino Frances” (the most popular path of the “Camino de Santiago“) official starts, Susan and I got into a conversation and decided to start the first walking day together.

Daniel disappeared after we got to the little mountain village and this should stay this way for a while…

When Susan and I got to the pilgrim office in Saint-Jean we found the doors closed with a sign that they would have siesta and to come back again in 2 hours. This siesta thing I’ve learned on the camino is a typical Spanish thing. You don’t even have to give it a try to get anything, anywhere from 1:00pm up to 3:00 or 3:30pm in Spain. Don’t even think about it! Anyway…
This little town on the feet of the mountains was maybe the closest point of France to Spain in this high. So fair enough that they’ve got a siesta.

Susan and I spend the time in the little town to have a look around and visited a kind of old fortress wall at the top of it. When we finally got our pilgrim passes at the office it was already late afternoon and the sun was very hot. Thats when we started our camino… The next three or four hours it went up hill with maybe 45-50% upward slope… No shit!
This young American Lady was armed with two walking sticks and was even much better in shape than me, so we needed a lot of breaks because of me giving the death rattle and begging for water. I had a very naughty conversation with the universe at that point.

At least we did it. We got up there to maybe eight or nine hundred meters high to stay at our first albergue (Spanish for hostel) in Orisson in the Pyrenees. At lease it’s maybe just 8km from Saint-Jean but it was as I said… you got a upward slope of maybe 45-50%.

When we went for dinner that night I dehydrated at the albergue. I guess I never felt so crab before in my life. I will not get into any details at that point just know that it was horrible and I felt like my body doesn’t want to do anymore what I told him. At least there were some lovely older french ladies who nursed me back to health. I’ve missed a delicious looking meal with three or four courses and had instead of that just three or four times the soup. At least it got better and I slept like a baby.

On the next day I walked with Susan and an American guy called Karl who was sitting next to me the night before. He was a photograph and journalist at the Denver Post for years and a very lovely and calmed guy. Also Krista, a lovely girl from Alaska joined this little group.
So we crossed the Pyrenees and the border to Spain on a high of maybe 1.500m and found ourself in the clouds disappointed that we couldn’t enjoy the view of the top of the mountains. Than it went down hill…

I didn’t expected that it would be harder to walk a mountain down than up but it is. I didn’t had problems anymore about dehydrating but my muscles, which I maybe recognised first in my life, were protesting. It was a very surprising challenge… And then on halfway down maybe Daniel passed us. He was running the mountain down! I’m not exaggerating. He was running and jumping down the mountain. This old dude who was maybe in his 70s, already doing his seventh camino, has made us look old.

At least we also made it down the hill and we shouldn’t see Daniel ever again after this. The next weeks of walking was challenging, satisfying and made the journey much better than I could have ever imagined. New friends joined our group and some of them needed to leave earlier again because the real world was calling them back…
I’m looking forward to tell you about Neilly, Arnau, Clémence, Mike, Paul, Molly, Claire, Kathleen, Marcos, Santiago, Ken and a few more…

Spain

There we were at the Spanish bottom of the pyrenees… walking through the botanic. We decided to walk a bit ahead because we didn’t made the pyrenees in one step like recommended in our guide. So on this day we maybe just had 16km so far. That was not enough for some of us.

So we walked two or three little towns ahead. And while we walked through the Spanish woods we bumped into a young guy, maybe a head smaller than me, with long curly black hair and a very proud kind of walking. With every step he took, he seemed to claim the ground beneath him. As usual on the pilgrim’s way you greet yourself with “buen camino” which means “I wish you a nice walk”. We did that and walked on but after a short while we realised that we’ve got the same tempo and so Karl and this young guy got into a conversation. I’ve just got little pieces of their conversation and after a while of walking I’ve joined them. The young guy was called Arnau. A nice young basque doctor from Barcelona. He was a guitar player too and loved Progressiv Rock and Metal so we had some nice conversations about music. And so Arnau joined our little “grupo alegro”. What I shouldn’t know at this stage was, that Arnau would become one of my camino brothers and that in so many ways. Bless you mate.

This second night we stayed at a little private albergue which Karl found in his guide. It was a very nice and clean little place where we had a room of three bunkbeds.

To be continued