For centuries, people have been walking the pilgrim route to Santiago de Compostela. This route, also called the St. James’s route (Santiago), used to lead the pilgrims to Caba Finisterra. Freely translated, it means the end of the world, where the stars begin. Legend has it that thousands of stars, like a heavenly lighthouse, guided the way to the apostle’s grave. From this, the current place name originated: Santiago de Compostela.

The Via Tolsana, a section of the St. James’s route starting in Arles, France, changes its name at the Somport Pass and becomes the ‘Camino Aragonés’. After 6 stages, this Camino Aragonés connects to the Camino Frances in Puenta la Reina.”

stage 1 - from somport to jacca

Why did I do this again?

It all started early in the morning with a sweet note at my breakfast table, which not only felt sweet but also sincere.

Then the bus driver, who had only me as a passenger, began explaining everything (uhhh my French is so-so, you know) about the area. That passion, fascinating…

And then you’re there. Alone in the mist amidst the mountains… a bit of a strange feeling. After 1.5 kilometers, the mist cleared and it cleared up to a perfectly blue sky. The only thing you hear is the river in the valley and the bird of prey in the sky. That’s a different Wednesday morning. After getting lost together, I join a Belgian young lady. She’s already done 300 km. Her advice was to take it easy on the first day. Okay, but I still have 29 km to go, I say. We meet a few more times throughout the day. And then suddenly, out of the blue, thunder rumbled. Dark clouds closed in behind me, making ominous sounds. What sign was this? Did the dark clouds grant me a sunny passage through the mountain pass, or were they telling me to hurry up… keep going? I still don’t know. Upon arriving in Jacca, I was greeted by two friends of my in-laws who warmly welcomed me with a cold beer and good conversations. Coincidence doesn’t exist… Tomorrow’s another day.

stage 2 - from Jacca to Arrès

Habit Broken

Today was a challenging day. 29km along roads, so plenty of time to think. The magic word of the day was habits. By continuing to do what you always do (habits), you keep running circles around yourself, and that, in turn, costs you energy. Breaking the habits and doing things differently than usual actually gives you energy. It provides you with new ways to solve the same problem. And that’s what motivates and energizes you. Why do you get energy from vacations? An additional benefit is that each time you tackle things slightly differently than before, you create new brain cells, and that’s exactly what I need. So, I’m giving myself the task to do things differently tomorrow than I did today. I’ll let you know tomorrow what that has yielded. What will you do differently tomorrow? See you tomorrow, Peter.

Today’s journey runs parallel to a road, but you don’t have to worry about it much. You regularly move away from this road and enjoy beautiful views of the valley and the river that provides refreshment. Make sure to bring enough provisions and water. Along the way, you’ll encounter few places where you can buy something. Tip: on the other side of the bridge over the river, there’s a gas station where you can get enough food and drinks. You’ll sleep uniquely in an ancient mountain village (Arrès). Not to be missed.

Stage 3 - from arrès to Ruesta


Today was a restless day. Sometimes rain, then sunshine again, putting on a rain jacket, then taking it off, finally reaching a village, only to find no coffee, then after 19 km, reaching another village with coffee. It’s my third day of walking, and I feel my thighs well. They’re, let’s say, a bit restless. I’ll make it a good habit 🙂 to stretch before setting off, especially tomorrow with 6 km uphill. I’m looking forward to it. Today was a rainy day. That doesn’t matter much, except you don’t get to enjoy the surroundings. I hope for better weather tomorrow. Buen Camino.

You have to leave the Albergue on time, but as a reward, you see the sunrise. The first part of the journey passes through a unique landscape. Lots of color variations, many different surfaces (asphalt, sand, and stone paths) with occasional villages. You end up in Ruesta, where you sleep next to a castle. Who wouldn’t want that?

stage 4 - from Ruesta to Sangüesa

Following or Being Followed?

Today, I followed the wrong route. Right from the start, I walked 2km in the wrong direction, so I ended up walking 4 km more than intended. Prince Peter the Great was back to square one. Back at the castle where I slept. Then I let two familiar Australian pilgrims follow me to the right path. From following to being followed, that stayed on my mind today. Sometimes you have to follow in order to later guide others onto the right path. Soon after, there was a 6 km climb. Quite challenging, actually, but it was rewarded with a delightful cortado (a squeezed coffee). Then we walked through fields with wild thyme everywhere. That smelled like more. Arriving in Sanguesa, it turns out there are bulls running through the streets this evening. So, I’m going to join the festivities now… P.S. The first 100 km are done.

stage 5 - from Sangüesa to Monreal

This Calls for Celebration.

This morning, I was awakened by the same brass band that I ended the day with yesterday. When Spaniards celebrate, they do it all night long. That was evident this morning because I found myself in line for breakfast (which is also a celebration here) among young drunken Spaniards. Quite amusing to see that as a spectator.

Today, I’m walking from Sanguesa to Monreal. And no, it wasn’t always a party. 27km up and down without a village in between for a cortado. I also had to walk straight through wild horses and stoically looking cows along the way. Now, I’m not particularly fond of large animals like cows and horses. But with the thought that they’re just curious, I approached them. And it worked! I conquered a fear, and that felt like a celebration.

Also, Carlijn (my girlfriend) had a party yesterday. I know this from all the photos I received throughout the night. Thank you for that! No, really, thank you. Always nice to see Carlijn (partying). Dana is also on her way to her Camino. We’ll meet tomorrow evening. And I already know, that’s going to be a celebration. A real celebration, because it’s her birthday. Looking forward to it!

Buen Camino.

stage 6 - from Monreal to Puenta la Reina

Not Alone

Let’s go back to yesterday. I woke up in the mountains of Monreal. For 4 nights, I’ve been sleeping in the same room with bunk beds with the same people (just to take away that romance). This includes an angry 74-year-old Spaniard (respect, by the way), an elderly French couple who didn’t walk but took taxis (they don’t count), and a Frenchman who not only looks like Mr. Bean but also acts like him. I call him Monsieur Bean. Despite the occasional difficulty in communication, a friendship began to form. We took care of each other and wished each other the best. We translated for each other, arranged coffee, or pointed out the right way. Yesterday, we walked the last route of the Camino Aragones together. It was a tough route along narrow paths on mountain walls, steep uphill and downhill. Only after 21 km could we get something to eat and drink. And we did so with full glory. Delicious. The route continued, and yes, the three of us got lost. After getting the right direction from a farmer on a tractor, our paths separated with a firm handshake, and I saw some emotion (?) as I headed towards Dana. That day, I walked 36 km. And finally, there was Dana with a cold beer waiting for me. How nice and congratulations! The shower was fantastic, and the tapas were delicious and enjoyable. This morning, we took it easy because only 21 km were planned. It’s a lovely day… together. Buen Camino.

stage 7 - from Puenta la Reina to Estrella


No update today. We had to celibrate a birthday yesterday evenening.

Nice stage by the way.

stage 8 - from Estrella to Los Arcos

It’s done

The first week is over. A moment to ask the question: is it what you expected?

Yes. There are moments when you feel alone in the world, and you think about all sorts of things and much more. Moments when you can just daydream.

Yes. The landscape is fascinating, and as you walk, the landscape changes with you. You learn to recognize and appreciate things.

Yes. The Camino fosters brotherhood and connection. Turns out, you’re not the only crazy one walking 900 km for fun.

Speaking of kilometers: today we hit kilometer 200! We celebrated because: 🎶Who’s that drunken guy hanging under the tap? Yes, that’s Peter, yes, that’s Peter.🎶 Along the way, we passed a tap where wine literally comes out. Coincidence doesn’t exist. It was a shorter stage today with Dana, and that paella from last night is definitely over, so we’re heading into Los Arcos. Buen Camino. P.S. Jochem: safe travels! See you tomorrow in Logrono.

stage 9 - from Los Arcos to Logrono

Enough is enough, for now!

Over the past 3 days, I’ve had the privilege of walking the Camino together with Dana (my sister-in-law). I won’t deny that I had expectations beforehand. Have those expectations been met? Walking over the Spanish hills together has shown me a Dana who is strong, fully embracing LIFE, and compassionate.

Time, space, and movement have led to valuable moments. Experiences have been shared, dilemmas discussed, solutions proposed. There has been laughter, frustrations screamed out, and something valuable left behind, but the most valuable thing remains: a friendship with even more meaning.

After walking 100 km, Dana has decided it’s time to call it quits. And we go out with a Bang! Fireworks…. Welcome, Jochem…….

stage 10 - from Logrono to Najera

Mixed feelings

Today was a relatively straightforward stage. A total of 29 km through rolling fields filled with vineyards, where the Rioja grapes absorb the last rays of sunshine for a good wine year. They just need some time to ripen, and that happens in the bottles at the winery. So it will be a while before these bottles can be decanted for your enjoyment.

I also need to decant and let sink in today’s journey. A day filled with sharp discussions, which I enjoy. It makes our friendship valuable, but also complex at times. It certainly enriches me and makes the friendship even more interesting. We’ll figure it out together. Also, today I was moved by a sweet message from my sister. It felt like it came straight from her heart. That really touched me. Could it be true then, that this journey starts to play with your emotions? Bring it on, I’m ready.

Buen Camino

stage 11 - From Najera to Santo Domingo de la Calzada

Aches and Pains

With every step you take, you feel it. It’s small, but it feels immense. Yes, I’m talking about my little toe. It’s remarkable how one of the smallest parts of your body can preoccupy you so much.

That may well be characteristic of the Camino. The many little things you carry with you still form a burden. One step may not be that far, but together they’ve already covered 317 kilometers. From long no-sees to a feeling of loss. It adds up, and that’s what makes the Camino not just a journey through beautiful landscapes, ancient customs, and historical awareness, but also a journey with yourself, your friends, and your loved ones.

And you feel that from head to toe.

Buen Camino.

stage 12 - from SANTO DOMINGO DE LA CALZADA to Belorado


At the end of the day, Jochem and I still hadn’t found a place to sleep for the next night. Oh well, we’re not the only ones. Or so we thought. Time to make some calls.

First Albergue, no answer.

Second Albergue, no place, sir.

Third Albergue, not open.

After many calls, we finally managed to secure a place to sleep. Nine kilometers further than planned. So if you take the elevator or escalator tomorrow, just think of us climbing another hill in 29-degree heat.

Parkinson’s disease also makes you uncertain about everyday things. Like keeping your fork stable or buttoning up your pants, for example. That can make you feel insecure. But as you go through the process, you always find a solution. And if you don’t? Dare to ask for help, make mistakes, solve it together. It takes away your uncertainty, and probably the uncertainty of the person you’re asking for help from as well.

But tomorrow we’ll walk 32 kilometers, that I’m sure of.

Buen Camino.

Stage 13 - from BELORADO to Quintanapalla


I’ve been walking with Jochem for several days now. I’ve known Jochem since I was 11 years old, and I thought I knew him well. Yet, after 34 years, I still discover new sides of him.

Jochem is someone who explores and doesn’t settle for the first explanation. He asks questions and seeks answers. I fully appreciate that about him. Even though we don’t always agree, it makes me curious and prompts me to ask myself those questions as well. Just that alone helps and enriches me.

But above all, spending 4 days walking together has deepened our friendship even more. Taking the time for each other and slowly letting the world pass by has certainly contributed to that.

A true friendship, and that is true richness in LIFE.

stagE 14 - from QUINTANAPALL to Burgos


We’ve arrived in the city of Burgos. You can feel the pressure increasing all around. Now, I’m not in a hurry, but I do feel an imposed sense of urgency. You see them sighing from behind their emergency-braking shiny cars: Can’t this go any faster! I need to get to B. The ones who manage to throw out a formal smile in response, as if saying to themselves: I did notice you, and justify it morally.

Even the people on the street suddenly seem to be in a rush. Unless there’s something transactional involved. And with a (h)ola, I don’t order an ice cream and get a stern look in return.

It’s the same online. Do you know that feeling? That you have to respond. And please, a little quickly. There are some who always respond first. Sometimes I think their mobile phone is glued to their hand. As if it’s a method that has blown over from Extinction Rebellion, I’ll call it Mobile Rebellion from now on.

Not that being alert isn’t ever necessary. But I find that incorporating more peace and communicating more consciously works better. And yes, that brings peace. Peace to be more consciously engaged in what you’re doing at that moment. And that’s exactly what I’m doing now. But first, a day of rest.

Buen Camino.

Stage 15 - From Burgos to Hornillos Del Camino

Does coincidence exist?

It seems, no it is … or is it?

If you take a wrong turn, there’s always someone there to point you in the right direction.

If you unsuspectingly step into that one church, a woman might approach you and give you a cross and a keepsake in the form of a necklace. And all this while you’ve just had a conversation about loss.

And so, there are many situations that seem to be connected? Sometimes I think it’s because I’m more mindful. And that’s true, but still, I believe that coincidence doesn’t exist. At least, not on the Camino. Everything intertwines and merges: it unfolds as it does, and that feels good.

What also feels good is that Carlijn (my girlfriend) has joined me on my journey. That feels really good too.

Stage 16 - from Hornillos Del Camino to Castrojeriz


When you’re walking through Spain like I am, and you see the landscapes slowly changing, you start to feel hungry. After all that effort, the body craves food.

But I don’t want to talk about that. I want to talk about passion. The passion for food. At first, I walked through the mountains where the goats roamed, tearing off all the wild thyme, flowers, and leaves from the vegetation.

A few days later, you see trees full of olives, peaches, and figs. You can smell it as you walk through them. Or as the Frenchman would say, “you can smell the terroir.”

A few days later, the small-scale farming is replaced by large fields full of grapevines, wheat, and sunflowers. At this point, the romance, the passion, disappears for me. You no longer smell the terroir. It’s as if it has lost its strength due to the use of pesticides (by the way, there is a strong suspicion that the use of pesticides is causing the rise in Parkinson’s diagnoses).

It feels like production for the wealth of a few rather than the well-being of many.

So, give me a fig and goat cheese quiche, a bit of olive oil, a bit of balsamic, and some roasted pine nuts sprinkled on top. Bon appétit.

Buen Camino.

Stage 17 - from Castrojeriz to Frómista

Love and sorrow

For the past few days, I’ve been walking with the love of my life. It’s a wonderful feeling to experience part of the journey together.

During this journey, something has been confirmed that I secretly knew for a long time but never wanted to admit. Let me explain:

Together, we have a daughter (Senna) who is 10 years old and two boys (Thijn and Fender, twins) whom we lovingly placed for adoption 6 years ago.

Now, after 6 years, it’s time for Carlijn to leave the sorrow behind and make room for feelings of love. It might sound strange, but I willingly take on this sorrow from Carlijn with love.

Why, you might ask? Well, it’s like this: During that period, I went into survival mode. I lovingly cared for Carlijn, Senna, and our boys to cope with the grief. It was a coping strategy.

I’m realizing more and more that sorrow serves an important function, and I no longer want to deny it. So, I allow myself to feel my own sorrow and embrace love.

With a big kiss from Peter. I love you!

Buen Camino.

Stage 18 - From Frómista to Carrión de los Condes


Does it sound strange if I say that I enjoy being alone? Don’t get me wrong, I value company greatly. But every now and then, escaping the crowd and doing something alone feels good.

Do I do it to organize my thoughts? Or just to let my thoughts roam freely? For me, being alone is sometimes enlightening.

And about that dance. You’re probably familiar with that behavior in birds. That probing behavior. That attitude of: do you see me? I participate in it too. It’s also very useful, I won’t deny that. After all, I’m just an animal seeking recognition. But sometimes, I prefer to skip that dance, for the sake of recognizing myself.

Buen Camino.

Stage 19 - from Carrion de los Condes to Moratinos


Every day I set out on my journey. As I walk, the landscapes behind me fade away. And on some days, I experience an additional movement.

A movement I cannot control. A tremor. No, “quake” describes it better. It’s sometimes brief, sometimes longer. And then there are aftershocks. I could put it on a scale, like the Richter scale.

It’s like living in an earthquake zone. You never know when it will hit you.

In a way, I feel like a person from Groningen. You live in a high-risk area, but does that mean you should move? I wouldn’t just want to inhabit Brad Pitt’s body either. I find my own beautiful enough (a little self-indulgence 😊).

No, it’s not constant, but when it’s there, I embrace it. As long as we keep moving.

Buen Camino.

Stage 20 - From Moratinos to Calzadilla de los Hermolinos


I’m in a village where the highlight is the local shop. A shop where you can still buy candy by the piece. Yet, I don’t see any children playing in the streets. Otherwise, that would have been the highlight. Even on the way here, there was absolutely nothing for the last 13 kilometers. The highlight was an unnaturally yellow flower by the side of the road, littered with pebbles. And it’s precisely when there’s nothing that things start to stand out. Less is more, as you often hear. And it’s true. On the Camino, you realize that you need very little to go far. The lighter your pack, the better. And that’s what I’m busy with.

Buen Camino.

Stage 21 - From Calzadilla de los Hermolinos to Villasabariego


I woke up today to good coffee and a warm croissant for breakfast. The sun rose behind me in all its colors, casting a glow that illuminated the peaks of the Picos de Europa. Not a bad start for an average Thursday.

But soon, the asphalt I was walking on turned into a path with uneven cobblestones. Coupled with a blister that had jumped from my left little toe to my right, it caused quite a bit of annoyance.

So, I decided to look around. That didn’t help much either. For 30 kilometers straight, all I saw were dried-up fields with the occasional electricity pole.

In short, it was tough going. Now, I don’t mind a bit of endurance from time to time. It encourages new achievements. I was raised with the motto: never give up easily. I cherish that. But here, I didn’t see the point. Maybe it will come later. At least I think I’ll sleep well tonight.

Buen Camino.

P.S. Update: Ever slept next to a snoring South Korean? They have their own unique way of snoring

Stage 22 - From VIllasabariego to Leon


I’m back! I’ve found my way back to the right path. And let me tell you, I’ve experienced it.

Last night, along with two Americans, two Canadians, four Danes, a German, a Frenchman, a Swiss, and a Dutchman, I wandered the lively streets of Leon until the early hours.

Let’s see if that provides me with inspiration again today. We’re off again!

Buen Camino.

Stage 23 - From Leon to villar de mazarif

Turning Point

The past week has been tough for me. I felt a bit lonely. Long endless paths without shade or a cloud, with few opportunities to recharge.

And then suddenly there’s the city of Leon. Everyone you haven’t seen for days is suddenly in front of you. And then you realize again how important social contacts are. A sign of recognition from time to time does you good.

It’s like dopamine for your feelings. You feel connected again. Where I absorb too little of it in my substantia nigra (brain) (read: cause of Parkinson’s), I gladly pass that on to my feelings. Being connected with your feelings makes you realize that you’re alive.

And that’s a big turning point compared to the previous days. But first, I’ll turn over in bed… just one more time.

Buen Camino

Stage 24 - From Villar de mazarif to astorga


You encounter them in all kinds. I’m talking about the pilgrims. I have my categories:

Youngsters under 24 who don’t know what they want to study. Knowing what you choose, I can only appreciate it.

Youngsters under 30 who are still studying. Then you should have walked the Camino when you were 24.

Italian young men aged 30 who also feel they need to break free from their mothers. But with whom then? And should I start working?

Middle-aged women and men with burnout. They don’t feel comfortable, doubt their work, their marriage, or otherwise. In any case, doubt. It’s also very good to sometimes make a status quo again. My advice, go do something you like or find someone you like. That gives you energy and that is often more valuable than money.

Then there are the women and men aged 55+ with the same doubt. They should have asked themselves that question 10 years earlier.

The ladies and gentlemen aged 65+ who started their Camino 20 years ago and pick a stage or 2 to 4 every time: “It was really different in the past”.

There are also many Americans who have seen the movie ‘The Way’.

There are also many South Koreans who want to escape the hierarchy at home, based on a movie (whose title I can’t even pronounce, let alone write).

And then there’s that group of people with a story (and by no means do I want to diminish the categories above with that). Stories like: my husband passed away and I want to feel free again. A 60-year-old man who misses his son who died 5 years ago. A 63-year-old man who emerged from depression after the love of his life left him after 37 years of marriage. Two women who find out after 47 years that they are sisters. Every reason is one to walk the Camino. And yes, one story touches you more than the other. But that doesn’t make that one person more or less than the other.

The beauty of it all is the admiration for each other. Not only from me towards the others, but certainly also from the others towards me. And I allow it. And that may be the most beautiful admiration of all.

Buen Camino

Stage 25 - From Astorga to Rabánal del camino


I am here because I undertake. There was a moment when I said to myself: you are going to walk the Camino. And so, here I am now, on my way to Santiago de Compostela.

There was a moment when I/we linked it to a good cause. And that raised a very nice amount.

It doesn’t all come without a struggle. Leaving behind your girlfriend, your daughter, your comfortable bed, your friends, your family, your work… you don’t just do that. Just like walking 900 km, for that matter.

But! It gives you so much more than it takes from you in effort. Insights, ideas, awareness, inspiration, contacts… and the list goes on. I am sure that when I come back, I will look at the same problems with a new perspective, and that will benefit me a lot.

And speaking of a struggle. Today I decided to sign up for the course to become a trainer in Parkinson’s boxing. Because that will bring me more than just training. What are you going to undertake?

Buen Camino.

Stage 26 - From Rabánal del camino to Ponferrada

I’m back

It’s a tradition during the Camino to carry a burden with you and then leave it behind. A beautiful tradition, I think.

So, I’ve been carrying a stone with me for weeks as well. And believe me, every extra gram on your back is one too many. But after carrying it for all these weeks, I realize that I’m not here to bring something. No, I’m turning it around (conforming isn’t really my thing, you know). I’m actually here to take something.

In the past few weeks, I’ve learned to feel again. Something I didn’t allow myself to do in recent years (emotions aren’t really my thing, you know). Not that I didn’t want to, but I just didn’t allow it. And this despite all that we’ve been through in the last few years.

During the Camino, I’ve learned again what it means to feel. I’ve regained my self-worth and I feel stronger than ever before…

So watch out: Peter is back! (And looking back wasn’t really my thing).

Buen Camino.

Stage 27 - From Ponferrada to Villafranca del Bierzo


You might recognize this: you’re standing in line somewhere and someone cuts in front of you. What do you do? Do you make a scene? Do you let it happen, but it bothers your conscience? Or do you think, oh well, maybe they’re in a hurry and it probably comes from a positive intention.

I experienced the latter today. You’re walking somewhere and someone calls out, “hey Peter, come and sit here. I have already ordered some coffee for you.” And in the afternoon, I saw him coming and immediately ordered a beer for him. He said, “no I’m sorry, I need to go and check in.” And unconditionally, I gave the beer to a Kenyan lady. That led to a conversation and a heartfelt hug. Unconditionally.

I even got a hug from a German man, but on the condition that we win the next European Championship final for Germany.

Buen Camino

Stage 28 - From VIllafranca del Bierzo to La Laguna


Today was not an easy day physically. It was 27 kilometers through the mountains. That means keeping your body at a 45° angle, head down to avoid the stones, and remembering to keep drinking and breathing (in through the nose, out through the mouth).

Walking up a mountain isn’t so hard if you do it with the right motivation. Simple, right?

Once I reached the top of the mountain, where I also sleep, life is simple. There’s one café and the rest of the village consists of farmers. So, I spent the whole afternoon watching tractors carrying hay bales back and forth.

During my dinner, the scene changed as cows walked past me on their way to the barn (was there a bull among them 😳) while I was devouring my steak. Then, all the farmers gathered at the bar to discuss the day and watch football.

Life can be so simple. But simple is good because that steak was too delicious for words. Just a bit of salt, a bit of pepper, and done. Keep it simple, that’s tasty enough.

Buen Camino.

Stage 29 - From La laguna to Sarria


It was an eventful day today. It started as soon as I woke up. It was 06:15. Besides enduring a rock concert by two extremely snoring Spanish men, there was a strange smell in the air.

Since I had many kilometers to walk today, I decided to get up early. Not much later, I saw where the smell was coming from. On the hill across the valley, a forest fire was raging. It looked terrifying. And yet, in the next village, they seemed unfazed: “Yes, yes, yes, no problem, senior.”

Later on the TV (which is on in every café), it turns out that 129 hectares are burning (yes, yes, Senior). The journey continued, and not long after, it started to rain.

After almost 5 weeks of seeing nothing but blue skies, it was a welcome change. Little did I know, the rain would soon develop into a storm with gusty winds that almost blew me off the mountain. It was an impressive few kilometers up there on the mountain, but I survived.

There was also a storm in my head today. I am looking forward to going home. I miss home. Perhaps because the end is in sight. Perhaps because I have now arrived in Sarria and I am merging into the crowd (many routes converge here). It feels a bit strange.

Perhaps the storm is preparation for the calm.

Buen Camino.

Stage 30 - From Sarria to Portomarín


Only 100 kilometers left to the finish line. A milestone. Believe it or not, it doesn’t (yet) feel that way.

Even though I’ve walked 800 kilometers through mountains and valleys, slept in double beds and rickety bunk beds, cursed the blisters on my little toes, and climbed walls as if they were escalators. It all made an impression.

But the most significant impact is the change in myself. That’s something I’ll carry with me forever. Something I can draw upon for my entire life. And that’s what I’m doing it for, right? The experiences, the conversations, the setbacks, the solutions, the new insights, the coincidences that don’t exist, the loneliness, the friendships, and above all, the feeling! And I don’t want to lose that feeling anymore. That’s my greatest milestone of all.

Luckily, I still have 100 kilometers to go.

Buen Camino.

Stage 31 - From Portomarin to Palas De Rei


Do you know those Italian long dinner table gatherings? It was delicious, cozy, and lasted until late at night.

Buen Camino

Stage 32 - From Palas de Rei to Arzúa


Today I had my last long trek. It was 28 kilometers through rolling hills.

Where in the beginning of the camino I often walked in long stretches (you do get into a rhythm), I now prefer shorter stretches. Could I be physically tired after all?

I can’t even say “Buen Camino” anymore. “Hola” is nice and short and just as effective. And when you see someone hobbling along due to pains, maybe it’s not the best choice of words anyway.

I’m also done with sleeping in bunk beds. My advice for future parents: bunk beds are fun for kids, but a nightmare for parents who have to make the bed every time.

I’m also done with shared bathrooms. How hard is it to rinse out the sink? I didn’t know there were so many different colors of toothpaste.

You might already sense that the end is near. But don’t worry, mentally I’m far from tired. So rest assured and keep going.

Hola! Buenos Dias…

Stage 33 - From Arzúa to O Pedrouzo


During my journey, I’ve received many well-intentioned pieces of advice for my Parkinson’s.

I’ve been told that fasting helps (autophagy) in correcting malfunctioning cells, that the right diet can combat the disease, and that you should go back to the emotion that caused it.

I take from it what I want. But fasting and the right diet didn’t work for me today, at least. That octopus was delicious, though.

However, I did feel emotion this afternoon when my leg dragged a bit behind me and my hand trembled. And I embrace that emotion. It may not be the emotion that caused it, but it’s the emotion that helps me move forward.

The Camino has made me mentally stronger and gives me the ability to keep going with a positive mindset and attitude.

I hope to offer inspiration to others with that. But you can do with it what you want.

Hola, Buenos Dias… P.S. Tiger walked a little with me today. I gave her a hug.

Stage 34 - From O Pedrouzo to Santiago de Compostella


You’ve all been able to read about what I’ve experienced and my thoughts along the way. I’ve been openly and honest.

The actual reason for my journey was to contemplate my future perspective. Soon I realized that only when you feel, you regain perspective. If you withhold that feeling, you just keep going until you hit a wall. And yes, during the Camino, mountains sometimes seem like walls, but not one you run into. Ultimately, it offers you a view that lets you see further ahead.

It was good to walk alone for a while. It literally gives you time and figuratively, space. Then it was time to share my journey with my fellow pilgrims. First came Dana, who was celebrating her birthday. My sister-in-law, but more than that now. She taught me that when you only give, you can expect something in return. And we shared, shouted, and lived. Because LIVING is important!

Then Jochem joined me on my journey. Sharp discussions and a different perspective on the same problems made me curious. The Camino deepened and intensified our friendship. I think our time together reminded me of the essence of true friendship.

Then came Carlijn, and it was time for love. Everything found its place and meaning. Looking at things together with a new perspective. It opens up possibilities again. Something we were both searching for. It only makes the love even greater.

Then alone again. It was tough, sometimes lonely, and endless walking. Apparently, I needed boredom to be able to enjoy all the beauty that Spain and the Camino have to offer. I made new friends, gathered new ideas, and simply lived.

I’m sure that when I return to the Netherlands, I’ll look at the same challenges with a new perspective. And that’s going to benefit me a lot. But I’ll remain candid and honest. And I’ll keep walking because it literally and figuratively takes you further.

Buen Camino! I want to thank everyone for the responses on my blog. It motivated me to keep writing. Thanks! And special thanks to: Carlijn, Senna, Dana, Jochem, Marjon, Thomas, my (in-laws), my (in-laws), my sister-in-law, Monsieur Bean, the angry Spaniard, Heinke, Quinten, George, Rick, Franky, the man with the gnome, Eva, Rudi, Nicky, Mississippi, Ron, Simon, Princess Marja the small, Sophie, Michelle, Miriam, Theo, Femke, Nicole, and all the other fellow pilgrims.

camino aragones - Santiago de Compostella