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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.