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               


  1. So you've done it hey :)
    Glad you went through, and hope you'll get time to rest your feet and legs and everything else !

    Take good care, n enjoy the rest of your stay in France

    Aufwiedersehen !!


  2. hejj you, how is life going? As I see there are more exciting experiences ... :) I´am happy for you ... and a little jealous ;)

    ... Summer in Berlin is beautiful though. At the moment I am biking almost everyday ... and think about starting triathlon. (I am not joking, ey :) ) Hope I am gonna put this into reality one day.
    I mean doing is not the same like thinking ... but it is a beginning ;)

    If there is any possibility, lets skype. I didnt see you online long time ago and I want to know whats going on.

    Bye, bye Kleene

    Take care