The Way of St. James begins classically from home (that would be Singapore for me and that seemed a little too extreme to me) and is actually defined only by the goal, whereby there is a whole network of routes through Europe and beyond, which is still signposted, supplemented, changed and extended. So I thought I’d better start in my home country and chose the place where my mother and her partner lived in Arnsberg-Neheim in North Rhine-Westphalia. Many do this in sections every year for one or two weeks and continue their way where they left off the last time. Others begin only in France or in Spain, in the extreme case only the last 100 km before Santiago de Compostela, which are prescribed, in order to receive at the end the pilgrimage document, the “Compostela”.
I got my first stamp as proof in my Credencial del Peregrino, the pilgrim identity card, at the parish office of St. Johannes Baptist in Arnsberg-Neheim on September 12, 2019. From there I started on my way to Schuster Rappen. My first overnight stay as a pilgrim in Eisborn/Hochsauerland had to be documented photographically. Via Neuenrade, Werdohl, Lüdenscheid I went in the direction of the Bergisches Land to the Oberbergische Kreis. I found an impressive accommodation in the castle Gimborn https://www.ibz-gimborn.de/, which the lord of the castle still lives in himself. In Cologne I found a pilgrim-typical accommodation in the conference and guest house St. George of the German Pathfinder shank St. George http://www.dpsg-koeln.de/gaestehaus-st-georg/start/. The cathedral inspection could not be missing naturally. Actually I wanted to go originally the left-Rhine Jakobsweg in the direction of Koblenz and further by the Eifel to Luxembourg. An urgent meeting in Aachen made me choose an alternative route, which became no less interesting. First I arrived in Aachen in the convent of the Sisters of St. Elisabeth at http://www.elisabethinnen.de/elisabethinnen/: a special experience. Furthermore, my visit coincided with the AachenSeptemberSpecial2019: https://www.aachenseptemberspecial.de/ There was really something going on, which of course I had to capture with photos and video clips. In the following days I marched over the border triangle DE/NL/BE and stayed overnight in Lemiers/NL. The next day I crossed the border to Belgium to the abbey of Val-Dieu http://www.abbaye-du-val-dieu.be/de/ in Wallonia. The Ardennes were uncomfortable, steep and smooth with rain. I was really out of breath until I finally arrived in Verviers.