Week #1 – finding the rhythm

Walking one day, even a reasonable distance for your fitness level, is easy and often exhilarating.   Doing it day after day is more challenging.   It becomes a job, and while I have always loved working, it requires a routine or a rhythm in the day/days to be more effective.   Well after walking for a week, for 7 days straight, I am starting to find the rhythm. 

It was an exciting start to the week , which I have covered in my previous post.  Some details of the week, then some commentary.

Week 1 detail

In these maps, the green is the planned route, with the red and blue being the actual track walked each day.   I have coloured the odd days red and even days blue to help people see what I have done on each day.   Hope this is useful…send me a comment or email if you are interested in a different view. 

Week 1 track

Week 1 track

I walked every day.   This won’t happen most weeks as I need some rest, but I wanted to get a good start as there are some things brewing with John having a work commitment in a few weeks and my brother being unwell.    My route includes lengthy stretches of a couple of the major rivers in Germany – the Rhein and the Elbe.   Most people will be familiar with the magnificent middle stretches of the Rhein which include many magnificent castles and has historical significance from Roman, Medieval and war-times.  

Week1 in the context of whole route

Week1 in the context of whole route

This is an area I know well.   I was born here, in a little village called Niederluetzing.   So familiar sights, but also some new insights.  Bonn was the capital of Germany until after the wall came down and unification moved the capital to Berlin.    So this is a town of diplomats, finance, business and culture.   Many grand museums and headquarters of large organisations still remain here.  The towns of Bad Godesburg and Mehlem just south of Bonn are picturesque and have many grand houses from business and political leaders.   I recall that the Bundeschancellor had a residence at Mehlem in past years.    Remagen is famous for other reasons.   In 1945 it was the last place to cross the Rhein for the Allies as they crossed Germany on the way to Berlin in the last months of WWII.   This was recreated in a well-known movie – The Bridge at Remagen  ( http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0064110/?ref_=sr_2 ).  I walked past the blacked remnants of the bridge, which are now a museum, on my walk.   Also Remagen is the home to the Apollinaris Church.   I remember this vividly from my youth, as the relics of Saint Apollinaris are used to bless safe travels.   Every July when we went of family holidays my father packed us all up and we went to this church before we left.   So I went there again this week to get some spiritual blessing for my travels to save the rhino.   Also I lit a candle for my brother and brought one for him to have at home.   

Apollinaris Kirche, Remagen

Apollinaris Kirche, Remagen

 On Saturday 4th, I went to my home village and spent a few hours at the Ponderosa.  This is the little pub owned and run by Janella, my beautiful sister-in-law.   Atmosphere was a little flat due to my brother’s illness, but it was good to meet up with some folk who have known me since I was born.   Also spoke with Eva, who is about to come to Australia back-packing for a year and will stay in our house to get settled at the start of her big adventure.     

My adventure continued as I walked past my old nursing school at Andernach, where I boarded for several formative years.   I’m sure the nuns turned a blind eye to what we got up to, but I learnt some lessons about work ethic and responsibility while balancing a hectic social life.  I also turned up for work/lessons despite often having little or no sleep!   

Koblenz is home to the Deutsches Eck ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deutsches_Eck ) or German Corner – where the mighty Rhein and Mosel rivers meet.   It was there under the huge monument to unity with the statue of Emperor William I that we stood with our placard and had an interview with the local newspaper – the Rhein Zeitung.  

Interview at Koblenz, Deutsches Eck

Interview at Koblenz, Deutsches Eck

You can probably just see a sign I have on my backpack.   This is to let people on my path know a little about why I am walking and to ask them to stop me and talk about the issue.    This has happened many times including a memorable meeting with Jurgen Merkel.   He is also on a mission to help hunger in the Sudan.   You can read more about his journey at http://www.merkel-gegen-hunger.de/ .  His trip is only 22 days, but he is not eating the whole way!!   I couldn’t do this , and i’m sure my doctor’s wouldn’t let me.  I admire his determination and his cause.   As he comes from Dusseldorf, our paths will cross again in about 6-7 months as I near the end of my trek!

The little villages of Rhens and Brey are where I ended my week.   These villages are in the Unesco World Heritage zone of Upper-Middle-Rhein which starts at Koblenz and goes to Rudisheim.  

Brey UNESCO info

Brey UNESCO info

All along the Rhein are signs of Spring.  The season of new growth, with new shoots and plants emerging after the long Winter.   The bird life is plentiful and ducks, swan and geese are all nesting or proudly teaching their new chicks. 

new spring chicks

new spring chicks

It is wonderful to see the cycle of life naturally working.  the ecosystems work best without human involvement.  A balance is always found.   Then my mind wanders to the ideal of the wildlife/human co-habitating the earth.   Most governments and countries provide areas where wildlife can roam free and thrive.   We can observe and marvel at a distance that is safe for the animals and us.  The problems are always when man intervenes.   When we introduce species that aren’t native or when we think that animals just be taken from the wild – like a pantry/drug cabinet and we upset the balance.   In the extreme case of rhinos, some humans have an unacceptable craving and destroying the balance and are destroying an animal that has inhabited this earth longer than we have.   We must continue all efforts to protect our wildlife “assets” and this special animal.  

Please Donate to my cause and help us protect the rhino for future generations.  

Rhein vista at Weissenturm

Rhein vista at Weissenturm

9 thoughts on “Week #1 – finding the rhythm

  1. Hi Gaby,
    My name is Jesse Doherty I am in Mr Clarke’s class we have been looking at your website. I like sport myself, my favourite sport is Surfing, surf life saving, running and swimming. Good luck for the rest of the walking. Is it hard waking up every morning and knowing you will have to walk about 20km?

    From Jesse Doherty.

    • Hi Jesse,

      so glad you are following my journey and are interested. It is sometimes hard to get up, especially when your muscles are tired and your feet ache. I have three huge blisters which came from some new shoes. These blisters hurt a lot when I am walking and so it is difficult to get up and put my shoes on – knowing I am walking into pain. However my cause is important to me and important for the future of rhinos, so I know the pain is worth it. The blisters will heal, but if rhinos are extinct, they are gone forever.


  2. Hi Gaby,
    My name is Sam McLellan I am also in Mr Clarke’s class. I play sport quite a bit I like, running, AFL and cricket. I think it is amazing that you’re not thinking about your self but you are thinking about rhinos. Good luck for the rest of your time walking. Could you please tell us an amazing rhino fact?

    From Sam McLellan

    • Hi Sam,

      Thank you for following my journey. Keep up the sport.

      It was like a lightbulb moment, when I decided to do this project for the rhinos. I think it was because of my cancer that I realised how important is it to spend your time working for something you believe in – a job or a hobby or a cause that will make a positive difference to the world.

      There are many amazing facts about rhinos. I’ll tell you two, then I want you to research and tell me at least one!

      – The collective noun for rhinos (what you call a group of them) is CRASH. Good heh?

      – Rhinos are big and may seen more like elephants, but they have 3 toes on each foot and are classified in the same biological order as horses !! (odd-toed ungulates)


  3. Hi Gaby,
    My name is Fergus E I go to Scotch in Melbourne. I love talking it is a hobby of mine. I also like tennis it is a fun game and very social. I am 10 years old. What is the best things about rhinos and why is it rhinos not another animal?

    • Hi Fergus,

      I hope you keep following my journey all year. Since you like talking, maybe you can talk to all your frinds and get them excited about rhinos too!

      Rhinos have always been one of my favourite animals, because they are strong and are so ancient…they have been around a lot longer than people on the Earth! They need my help (and yours) because they are in critical danger of becoming extinct – not because of habitat loss or climate change or even hunted for food – but because of stupid human desire for their horns , which are the same as your toenails!

      So humans are causing their extinction and we need more humans to stand up and say NO, this is wrong. Horns are not medicine.


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