Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Netherlands & Germany

With my friends in Europe,
pilgrims I met along the Camino de Santiago,
these folks have changed my life forever

I have been in Europe one week now and every minute has been magical. Connie met me at Schiphol (Amsterdam Airport) and the adventure started. We relaxed Sunday allowing for my jet-lag. I also relaxed at Connie's home on Moday while she went to work.

Tuesday I set off on the train from Dordrecht to Haarlem where I was met by Paula (Katie and Chris' friend) who was the perfect hostess for the day. With Paula I cycled and walked around Haarlem seeing the city's places of interest, the cathedral, cloistered apartments, shops, and canals. We finished our day sitting on the terrace of a Pub near Paula's home and enjoyed our conversation, lunch, wine, then went to Paula's home for coffee.

Duisburg, Germany
With the rest of the week a vacation for Connie we headed off to Duisburg, Germany, to visit with Rolf and Christine. The weather has been delightful since I arrived and Wednesday was no exception. When we entered into Germany the speed of the cars in the fast lane was incredible, whoosh they past us and then were out of sight. Wolf came to visit and the six of us went sightseeing in Duisburg Center ending at a quiet restaurant down on the restored docks by the river. I had enjoyed Schnitzel at this restaurant in 2007 so had another Schnitzel this year, it was just as delicious. Wolf left on Thursday afternoon and the group went walking through a forest ending at another wonderful outdoor restaruant at the edge of the forest. It was a relaxing quiet wonderful time with friends but on Friday we needed to head back to Papendrecht.

Connie had a long arranged seminar to attend on Saturday so I arranged to meet with Kim and Bauke in Utrecht. I first met Kim and Bauke on my 2007 camino walk. We met again a few months later when I was on my way to London, UK, for Gwen and Dave's Golden anniversary. I went on a camino reunion (of sorts) through The Netherlands and Germany on my way to London. It was as if we had not been separated for two years - the three of us talked and reminisced while sharing an English High Tea at a local restaurant. It was delightful.

Moving on
I now go to Nijmegen (The Netherlands) by train where Kees and I will meet for our long camper van journey to Alicante, Spain. Along the way to Nijmegen the train stops in Utrecht so I will spend an hour with Kim at a coffee stop ....

Such wonderful friends, is it any wonder the camino is so magical for me and other pilgrims?

Till next time .....

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