Posted by: opa | April 15, 2012

Back Home After 40 Years

40 years in Canada, it is a long time away from back home. Since then, we have been back in Europe a few times, for anniversaries, short trips and sad occasions.

This time, we like to see relatives, friends and places where Anne or I used to live and called those places home. For me, Europe also reminds me about Countries, I used to work, made friends and learned so much about their culture.

Since I live in Canada, my daughter Gaby lives with her family in Italy and friends of mine moved to other Countries. My view about Back Home is not anymore Germany, the place where I was born and grew up. In my mind, Germany integrated as a part of me into Europe, what I call Back Home now. I’m excited to travel for two month through Europe and am curios how our relatives and friends are doing.

Next Week we are leaving from Vancouver with KLM via Amsterdam to Berlin.


Posted by: opa | November 15, 2009

My el Camino, a view from Today

Almost a half year has passed since Dionisia and I returned to Canada.I know, I should have updated our journey earlier, I owe it to you. Somehow I still felt the impact, yes even the stress, which affected me being back home again.

Let me pick up the wonderful last days on el Camino from O’Cebreiro in Galicia.

On the Top of the World

I felt like walking on top of the world going over the mountains toward Galicia. The first little town in Galicia made me dance to Celtic music and other pilgrims danced with me on the street with overwhelming joy.


The last 140 Km through Galicia have not only given a boost to Dionisia and me, but also to our Pilgrim Friends, we all felt charged by new energy and knew, we almost made it!

From the border of Galicia the Km-Markers (Milestones) went backwards and showed us how many Km we have to walk to Santiago now. Each 500 meters apart is written on stones how far it is to our goal. I have to mention that sometimes it was annoying when you felt like you walked a couple of Km, but the next milestone showed that you walked only 500 meters. Oh boy!


The weather of our final journal helped us to enjoy the different landscape and panoramic views. I personally was looking forward to seeing Portomarin where I celebrated, on my first walk on the Camino, my 68th birthday. Now, 4 years later, again on my birthday, we were in Portomarin.


In Gonzar Manfred and Knut arrived and we celebrated my birthday. It was heartwarming to have both brothers with us again. It is quite often on the Camino that you meet the same people in different places along the way. Knut and Manfred appeared so often on our Pilgrimage in unexpected places that we wondered if this was by accident or, as you say on the Camino, “Nothing is by accident, it has a reason”.


One day after my birthday, later than I planned, we arrived on the Milestone “72” and Dionisia took my birthday picture. And ! “72 km” to Santiago de Compostela !

Ding Forest

We passed a woody area and those big trees seemed as if walking through a big cathedral.

last days

The weather changed and fog painted our Camino kind of misty and spooky. I felt the big impact nature has on me. On one of those days I felt in comfortable agreement with Dionisia’s religious believe. I realized, when she says “God” I say “Nature”.

At this point I should mention that Dionisia was a great Pilgrim Partner, she took this great adventure on by walking the 500 km from Burgos to Santiago de Compostela under sometimes very hard physical conditions. She surprised me with her patience with me (I know, I can be difficult) and got me back on track when I was down. We had fun and laughed a lot. We are good friends, who can steal horses now, partners in crime.

Juno 6 005

On the way closer to our goal, we hiked with more Pilgrims because more roads from different directions joined on the Camino to Santiago de Compostela. In Monte del Gozo, with a view to Santiago already, we stayed in the biggest Albergue, a tourist like complex, for the night. Of course, we ran into Knut and Manfred again.


Next morning we got up very early and went down the Monte del Gozo towards the big bridge which leads over the river Sar and the railway. The last meters to the city sign, which was on the middle of the bridge, we were almost running and filled with excitement “We made it, yay !”


The Rua da Azabacheria and the Via Sacra lead us to the Cathedral of Santiago.With us, about 800 Pilgrims arrived on this day and we joined with them the Pilgrim Mass in the Cathedral. We saw many of our Pilgrim Friends in an emotional reunion again

We picked up our Pilgrim Certificate, which officially proves that we walked as a Pilgrim on the Camino and arrived in Santiago de Compostela. In the lineup to receive our certificate, almost as expected, we met Manfred and Knut again.

For the next two days we explored Santiago in the rain and headed to our final destination to Finesterre, to the end of the world. We went by bus and at the bus station I met Antonio and Dietrich with whom I walked the first days on the Camino. Seeing them again, felt for me, as a final good bye from the Camino.


In the luxurious tourist bus from Santiago to Finsterre, Dionisia and I sitting, maybe the last time, between Pilgrims and each of us knew, where ever they came from, we all go home soon.

The rain followed us to Finisterre, but we looked forward to explore the little fishing town on the end of the world. From four years ago, I could remember a little harbour restaurant where they serve delicious seafood. Crossing the promenade to the restaurant, two men also were on the way to the same Restaurant. Yes, you guessed right, Knut and Manfred ! We all were so happy and we celebrated this “Great Good Bye Dinner” from Spain and el Camino, here in Finisterre, at the End of the World. At this place, direct by the Atlantic Ocean I left my hiking boots which had done their job, carrying me safely 800 km through Spain


Middle of June, Dionisia and me were on our flight back from Europe to Canada. I guess, we both were occupied with our thoughts about the adventure we went through. I asked Dionisia,if she would have had a chance to go back to the Camino as we have experienced it, which day would she walk again ?

Her answer was, I would choose the day, we walked from El Ganso, passing the Cruz de Hierro, over the Mountain to El Acebo. I was very surprised about her answer, because this was a sunny, hot day and we walked further than we had planned. This was also the most km per day we accomplished on our journey on the Camino. On the last leg on this day we had to climb up over a 1500 meters mountain range above sea level.

If somebody would have asked me the same question, I would have given the same answer Dionisia had given me.

This day-walk took all our strength and the Camino expected and got all our senses and eyes open to the view from the Mountainside to the nature around us. Those few hours on this day were and are worth to do this day over again.

I am back home on Bowen Island, in Canada now. I had difficulties to fit back in my “normal environment”. My thoughts couldn’t shift from the gifts I was given by el Camino and the people I was with. It took me two escapes to my cabin in the woods at Deka Lake and I’m here now, but I don’t know, I feel that the Camino had a different shift in mind?

I would like to thank my family, who accepted my crazy need to walk the Camino the second time. Thank you also to my old friends and the new friends on the Camino and the friends who supported me with their comments on my blog and their lovely e-mails I received. A special Thank you to my daughter Gaby, who sent me text messages almost each day.

Thank you all,


Posted by: opa | May 23, 2009

A short Note :

20. May 003

I have been on the Internet for a longer time and was uploading our pictures on flickr, please click on to see the photos and video we have taken so far:

I’m not quite sure if I can catch up with my blog entries because the time is running out. But Dionisia could upload her updates today. Her posts started where my ended. Since we walk together, please click on her blog and you see her view of our week long walking on el camino :

Greeting to you all and I’m ok

Posted by: opa | May 12, 2009

11. May, a nice touristic day in Burgos.

    11. May 001

    I spent most of my day walking through this historic and ,now, hectic city. Exhausted I sat down on a bench in front of the big,famous Cathedral. I started wondering about people who created buildings, creation of arts. What gave those people, the masters of arts, the drive to spend all their life to create. Did they follow a call ? In cases of this Cathedral, connection of family lines giving this dream / calling, further over to generations. They designed, build for 400 years this Cathedral, I now wonder about, what gave them those power, I would like to understand.

    11. May 004

    I started thinking about people I know, friends, member of my family who are not well, my grandchildren, who are on a sad path in their life. A friend, back home on Bowen Island came to my mind. “John, please accept my positive feelings toward your healing process”. I’m here on the Camino not to ask about things, I’m walking on el Camino to share my love.

    11. May 003

    Tomorrow I’m going to pick up my dear Camino Partner and friend Dionisia from the airport and she will join me the last 500 km on the Camino to Santiago de Compostella.

For more update photos, click here.

Posted by: opa | May 12, 2009

10. May from Belorado to Villafranca

10. May 324

From the beginning of today, we know it will a steep hike. The map showed us that from Belorado 700 meters to Alto Garnero 1150m for us not that easy is.

Overnight it was heavy raining and the path was muddy and the earth stuck to our boots. We had only a little woodland which was easier to go through and we called it quitting time in Villafranka. Dirty and exhausted, all of us three made the decision to catch the bus to Burgos our next day goal. Yes I know, it might be wrong and my friends back home will give me hard time that I took the bus. But I was not looking forward to walk through the endless industrial area to Burgos. I had it done four years ago and it was horrible.

Posted by: opa | May 12, 2009

9. May from Santo Domingo to Belorado

Overnight it was raining and the weather forecast was cloudy with light showers for today. I met, at my first cold water break and changing my outfit to lighter clothing, Susie and Guenter, die Schmargendorfer. It is nice to have friends to walk with. From the beginning the road was gentle going up from 700 meter to 820 meter a nice smooth hike. On our first coffee break in Granon, Antonio jointed us on the Camino to Belorado.

9. May 318

Posted by: opa | May 12, 2009

A Personal Note :

I would like to thank you all who have written comments to my blog,I apriciate it very much.

Unfortunately to get connectet to the Internet (via “wifi”) doesn’t happen for me that often and I use this time to paste my daily notes to the blog. Yes, I read your comments too, but there is no time to reply to you on the same time. I will answer you later for sure.

Please disregard my spelling and typos too, here also, I type with not a lot of time (after all, I have an accent, you know).

Posted by: opa | May 12, 2009

8. May, leaving Azofra

8. May 314

Today the Camino gave us to choices, wide country tracks through gentle farmland with a last stretch into Santo Domingo alongside the main road. A second choice was, to join a busy road, also to delightful country side with little shade and few drinking fonds. We decided the last road to save a few km of hiking. For me it was a tough 16 km hike to Santo Domingo, in blasting sunshine. Hendry and Susanne (the young Folks) decided to walk further. I had to say good bye for now and looked for a place to stay. I met Knut, Manfred and the “Schmargendorfer” who all stayed in town. You have to know where to stop and in my case, it was sad to see Susan and Hendry walking into the distance.

For more update photos, click here.

Posted by: opa | May 12, 2009

7. May, leaving Navarette

7. May 312

After last night’s party it took time to face the new sunny day on the Camino.

Susan, Hendry were both leading for me the climb up to Alto Poya de Roldan. Downhill to Najera and then up to Azofra was for me and Susan to tough and Hendry got ahead of us. We both took a lot of breaks until we saw Hendry again. Good pilgrim friend he is, he was standing beside the road sign of Azofra waiting for us and had already arranged a place to sleep for us.

Also in town were Knut who arrived by taxi earlier and his brother Manfred who walked to Azofra. Manuel and many more friends came together for a super (but with less wine this time).

Posted by: opa | May 12, 2009

6. May leaving Vianna

A hot day again along the Cornava and Valdearas river valleys. Hendry, Susan and me sticked together and suffered the heat. From Logrono it became brutal we had to climb 600 m toward Navarette. We couldn’t go further. All Albergues were booked and so we stayed in a little privat pension with super clean rooms and private showers. What a treat after the long walk of today.

6. May 308

This time in Town we met Pilgrim friends we walked days before and got the news that the brothers Manfred and Knut, are here too and Knut had a fall and broke one rip. We all feel very connected as Pilgrims on the Camino and are caring about each other. I met those brothers after Pamplona and approached them by saying “hi guys” and this “hi guys” was the brothers story about me.

So, this night in Navarette, we all visit Knut to make him happy. He decided not to call his family and stay, with the help of his brother, on the Camino.

The little Bar in Navarette was filled with Pilgrims and our medicine was Vino tinto. Well, not to mentions, we all went pissed drunk back to our sleeping quarters.

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