Freitag, 24. Juni 2011


... le pèlerine 

My toughtest challenge so far during this year has been walking ‘Le chemin de Saint-Jacques-de-Compostelle’ for the last 10 days.

I’ve been thinking I am in a good physical condition but the camino showed me differently.

I tried to blame my shoes and backpack for all the pain I’ve been going through but probably I should have been better prepared: physically and mentally and not underestimated this journey.

The 1st day started excellent. I got up at 5 am in the morning, the sun was shining and I prepared myself and my backpack and went off to the beautiful cathedral in the heart of Le Puy en Valey. At 7 am we had a mess and then all the pilgrims went off and started their pilgrimage.

the cathedral at Le Puy

me and Saint-Jacques
I chose to walk 22, 5 km the 1st day from Le Puy to Saint-Privat-d’Aller. As mentioned before, it was a beautiful, sunny day; I walked through amazing landscape, met nice people on the way. But when I arrived in Saint-Privat-d’Aller, after 6 hours walking, I thought my feet are on fire. My calves, shoulders and hips were killing me – I was completely exhausted and just wanted a hot shower and go to bed…I wasn’t sure if I could survive the next 8 days.

The 2nd day got worst – more pain all over my body…I made a decision and sent 5 kg of my luggage via courier to Conques, the end station of my journey. It was anyways recommended to carry only a max. of 8 kg but I had 11-12 kg on my back, so the books I carried and other stuff I didn’t need for these 10 days were sent off. I also bought some bandages for my feet and with new courage I started day # 3.

...walking along fields...
poppy flowers everywhere...

...after a break, on the road again...

welcome company

beautiful Aubrac cow

...always smiling in the morning but...
... in the evening, I had to put my feet up :)
Everyone who knows me, also knows that I am not giving up on a project I started, so every day since then I have been walking between 16.5 km (10, 2 miles) and 27 km (16, 8 miles). I have met many wonderful people on my trip, most of them shared my experience, they suffered as much as I did or even worst. Others gave me tipps on how to stretch my legs/calves – in my case it was a veterinarian (!!!) and his friend. Then you meet people who recite poems to you and make you laugh (thanks Jean-Claude, the most romantic pilgrim on the camino).

Some days are physical or emotional difficult, other days are challenging due to the different weather conditions. I experienced sunshine, rain, wind, fog and a mix of everything during the last 10 days.

a rainy day

through the forest

BUT, in the end I am very happy that I kept going. To walk from Le-Puy-en-Valey to Conques was the most beautiful start of my France experience. I am so happy to have met so many beautiful people (who accepted me with a big smile, even though I barely spoke a word of French). The nature, specially the flowers in June, and the animals I’ve seen, everything was worth going through the pain.

I highly recommend to everyone to walk this part of the camino – I heard from many pilgrims, that it is the most beautiful part (thank you, Corinne, for recommending it to me :)). But I also recommend anyone who does it, to wear good hiking boots, have a good backpack, not more than 8 kg to carry and if possible some hiking poles – and if you know a little bit of French, it will make your life a little easier. As for the best time to go during the year, I recommend the months of May and June – since the temperature is most likely pleasant and many flowers are blooming.

Aubrac's dômerie
... a stony way ahead...

charming Estaing       

Conques Saint Faith abbey
dorm room for € 10,-/night

... and in the end:

bonheur or happiness - finally arrived in Conques: after 9 days and 200 km/124 miles of walking
my pilgrim passport               

Freitag, 10. Juni 2011

A tourist at home...

…after my fabulous time in London, I made my way to Berlin – my ‚old’ city.

6 years ago, I lived in Berlin for 5 years and loved the city and it is always great to come back to visit friends and see how the city has changed.

This time I put on my ‘tourist glasses’ and walked from ‘Potsdamer Platz’ to the ‘Jewish monument’, further to the ‘Reichstag’ and ‘Brandenburger Tor’ and then along the street ‘Unter den Linden’ to the ‘Cathedral’ and reached finally the 'Alexanderplatz' with the ‘Fernsehturm’ (TV tower) in its centre.

Me in front of a piece of the Berlin wall.

The Jewish monument.

Reichstag Berlin.

Brandenburger Tor

Cathedral and TV tower (in the back)

Graffiti art in a backyard in Berlin.

Squat in Berlin Friedrichshain
It’s a beautiful walk, it takes about 2 hours depending on how many times you stop for an ice-cream or coffee break or just to rest your feet. You come along many museums and the above mentioned sights, so it is really a walk worth walking :)

After 5 days in Berlin I was ready to surprise my family back home in: Kölleda.

Of course every one of you has heard of my hometown Kölleda, close to Sömmerda, Weimar and Erfurt – people who have not…ts, ts…have really missed out on something.

Kölleda , also called: the ‘City of peppermint’, is a town worth visiting when you are in Thüringen or better ‘The heart of Germany’ :)

You find the ‘Red town hall’ (like in Berlin) in the city centre and right beside it is the world famous ‘Wippertusbrunnen’. Kölleda is surrounded my cornfields and at the moment everything is growing and blooming, it’s just really beautiful.

cornfields of Kölleda

poppy season

Wippertusbrunnen in the background

The red townhall
The best thing ever was to see my family again after 7 months of travelling and their surprised faces when I showed up. 

Who's that girl? (me and my niece Tessa)

A pleasant surprise.
vacation feeling in Mum's garden

Doris and I.

Justin and Tessa - happy to see their aunt again.

Having fun - the 3 Tettenborns.
It has been great spending a week back home but now it’s time to hit the road again and my next destination is: France.

I will be making my way down to Lyon within the next 2 days with ‘car sharing’ and then try some more couchsurfing.

In the next 2 weeks I will be walking the ‘Camino de Santiago’ through the Midi-Pyrenees in the heart of the South of France and after that I will be working in a castle as a Woofer and enjoy the lavender fields in Provence.

I will keep you posted on how it all goes and wish you all a happy summer.
À bientôt, Eylin

Mittwoch, 1. Juni 2011

10 days in London and ...

If you want to see e.g. George Clooney, the Queen or Bill Nighty from the movie ‘Love actually’ – come to London. I saw them all during my first week in London just by strolling around London’s different and diverse neighbourhoods.

Originally I came to London to practise yoga (and not to hunt down celebrities:)) but then you never know who crosses your way…). 

A yoga place called ‘Alchemy’ in one of London’s most famous and funkiest areas called Camden Town was highly recommended to me and surely enough I went there and continued my yoga practise, trying out some Kundalini yoga and Gong meditation for the first time in my life. But I specially enjoyed the Astanga yoga class with Stewart, I thought I would be dying from it – but he is an amazing teacher and it was worth the pain.

Besides practising yoga in London, I was a real tourist there – running around the city and exploring as much as I could in 10 days. I think London is one of the most exciting places I’ve ever been too. Almost all museums are for free, it’s one of the ‘greenest’ cities I know of with so many beautiful parks, and shopping opportunities are amazing too. There are so many different nationalities living in London – once I was sitting on a bus and counted how many different languages I could hear around me – I counted 5 and it was not in a touristy area – meaning that London is a real melting pot when it comes to different nationalities living together. Saying that, you can find any kind of food you can dream of in London – it’s a heaven for gourmets.

Here are the things I’ve done while staying in London and highly recommend everyone else to do when you get the chance:

National Portrait Gallery; walking tour through Central London: Big Ben, the London Eye, Westminster Abbey, House of Parliament, Buckingham Palace; St. James Park and Green Park; Notting Hill Saturday market (go to ‘Charlie’s café’ and try the ‘American cheesecake’ – it’s divine); Hyde Park and a visit of the Serpentine Gallery; walk through ‘Little Venice’ to Camden Town and then explore the Camden Town market; Hampstead Heath and Kenwood House; Oxford and Regents Street for shopping; Thames barrier and Greenwich Park and the Planetarium; Southbank/Thames river walk from Waterloo bridge to Tower bridge; Tate Modern; Soho; Flower market on Colombia Road and Brick Lane on a Sunday morning.

One of the many parks in London.

Typical phone booth in London.

Sipping on a Guinness.

Big Ben and small Eylin.

End of the world scenery on my Sothbank walk in London.

Picture out of a window of the Tate Modern.

Sunday Flower market at Colombia Rd.

Marilyn at Brick Lane Ave.
I, of course, also tried the typical ‘English afternoon tea’ with Scones and homemade jam – which was a delight.

Within those 10 days it rained once or twice – which makes me think that it is really a myth that it ‘always’ rains in England.

I couldn’t have had an easier transition from beautiful Asia back to Europe. Thanks to all my friends who made my stay in London extra fun.

I specially would like to thank Vendy and Jon; Iwona and Artur and Lucy (my first real couchsurfing friend) for letting me stay at their places. It was a pleasure spending time with you guys and at the same time to get to know different areas of London. I am sure I will be back one day…

Art is everywhere to be found in just have to look carefully...

Tate Modern: 'Quartered Meteor' or 'Deflated, squahed elephant'? I guess it's all up to your own imagination.