Monday February 23rd 2015. Home in Vijlen to Epen and back. 7 km

After inspecting my Scottish highland cattle, bison, cats and dogs, but again the plunge and hoping for visiting Jan Jansen. I know two Jan J’s in the same village. One JJ’s is in my sports club, but I went to the other one. The other JJ drew comparisons between my journey and the Jewish people that went to the promised land, with stories from the New Testament, like the road to Bethlehem by donkey. Right now I can empathize those stories much better than before my trip. We still discussed the fundraising for Mama Alice. Perhaps good for the organization also to adress the fundraising organisation of the Wilde Ganzen. If you meet their conditions, they also often give a significant financial contribution.
Having caught up with Jan J, I went on to Ruud B, the man who tomorrow, along with Marjan, will accompany me, catching up the skipped stages. We drive southward into Belgium and start in the beautiful town of Theux, near Verviers and then walk some 20 km. towards the promised land. Tomorrow we go back to catch up the next skipped stage. Nice trotting in the rain. Will be fun. The more we suffer the better the coffee and stuff tasts.
Still nice to be back home. So in Ieëpe (Epen, “springs country”) I walked into Run, surrounded by some women . Run is a special person. After Run got retired from the Belgian army, Belgium soon lost their colony Congo. A brief “gewazzjel” (discussion at high level) and back again, the hail, the rain, the slippery mud paths between Kuttingen and the river Geul, homeward along with dog Tosca.
Home I continued making preparations again for the next part of the route: 4,500 km. more to go. 3000 Km. done.
More and more I start considering to go on with packhorse Leon until Denmark, from where I must cross the Baltic Sea to Sweden. If Leon will be left in Denmark and will be brought home from there, then I will continue with only dog Tosca. Even though, because I think that in Denmark the entire mainland of Western Europe from South to North is being crossed allready.
All together that makes a beautiful entity. Advantage of Leon being picked up in Denmark, will be that I can move forward faster, which is very necessary, because I have to finish three weeks earlier than planned (18 Oct.) at Cape North, due to onset of winter there late September. Moreover, caring for the animals chains me very much every day to the I-pad, because of searching shelter and looking for not busy routes. Another disadvantage of the horse is that I have to take along much more, among other things, a larger, heavier tent, in which except me and dog Tosca, also fit saddle bags etc. And then another important advantage of trekking 27 km. a day without horse: traversing swamps, mountain trails, numerous bridges and paths in Lapland, rowing on lakes, is no longer impossible. And also very important: I want some more time for the social aspects of the trip. Until now that part was under severe pressure due to the care for the animals. It was truly a pilgrimage so far. And I also want to get the chance to take a good look at those sweaty Swedes, surly Norwegians and lovely Lapps. More time for socializing I find a necessary part of this trip. On the other hand without horse Leon I’ll have to wear all togs myself. Provisions for myself and on top of that for the dog for more than a week. If you know that Tosca eats 1 kg per day, you can count what I will have to drag extra. Anyway, I’ll see in the coming weeks. A landlady offered already to be a carrier, but exactly her I did not like.
I look forward to 650 km. Norwegian mountains that will be run on the Olav trail, from Oslo to Trondheim, the most popular pilgrimage in Scandinavia. Who participates? And especially the beautiful King’s Path, the Kungsleden and Nordkalottleden, a 1000 km. long route through Lapland. Must be flashy. Who participates? Kungsleden from Hemavan to Abisko and the Nordkalotleden from Abisko to the capital of the Lapps, now called Samen, the city Kautukeino. Look up! Cool, kits, bold, cool, flashy, or, as one says these days in Germany, “super geil (horny), gell.” Bedtime.

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