The second leg of the pilgrimage is over

06 April 2022 23:47

The alarm went off early this morning. Between boiling the water for all the teapots in our room, we prepared everything to be on time for breakfast in the La Place, which is attached to the hotel. As a surprise, Sander joined us for breakfast and gave each participant a copy of his book 'Chief Ouwe Dibbes' for inspiration about what a person can achieve from love for another. Everyone listened carefully and after his beautiful words he wrote a beautiful message in everyone's book. After the last pen strokes we went outside to take a group photo and Sander waved us goodbye together with Roderick.

Forbidden access

Through the windows of the bus I saw the rain falling from the sky. We therefore put on the rain gear in the bus so that we could start immediately at De Hoef. Our motto: "Every weather is pilgrims again!". Werre, the photographer of Trouw, was already waiting for us at De Hoef. He made a photo report for the article that will appear in the newspaper next Saturday. It was exciting for a while whether Fietsbrug de Hoef was open, but after a call to the municipality yesterday, today turned out to be the only day that we could walk across it. It had to be like that again. Only once we had made our way past the bridge did Roderick call. The Marskramerpad, one of my favorite stretches, was thoroughly overhauled by the municipality and we really couldn't walk here. It is what it is, so we adjusted the route and the location of the first rest point.

You are not allowed through here

Last year when I mapped out the route, I found out that the Meije needed renovation. The discussions with the municipality about this went well, because they were able to inform me a few weeks ago that the work was being postponed. We could just follow the Meije. Only when we left Lusthof de Haeck did we see a traffic controller. I asked what was going on, but the man wouldn't let me finish or listen to me. Which fits perfectly with the theme 'Listening and hearing' of this stage. After some attempts to get an answer to my questions and trying to call the municipality and the supervisor of the project, I left it at that. I kindly wished the traffic controller that I hope that he would find love for himself in this life, because he too deserves this. Together with Hans I found an alternative route. 'Het Kievitspad' straight through the wet and muddy landscape of the Green Heart and three kilometers longer. Our best option so off we went again.

Having lunch in the church

A little later than planned we arrived at the Church of Our Lady of the Nativity in Meije where we were kindly received by Joep Nollet, chairman of the Preservation of Cultural Heritage, and treasurer and secretary of the church, in the rectory house, to have lunch. This was again more than welcome. The weather was changeable and our sandwich tastes better dry than soggy. When we wanted to leave again, I happened to look out the window and saw that it was raining again, so the procession could go back into the rectory to put on the rain gear again.

Lambs in the meadow

Despite the rain and the strong wind the new lambs bleated against us, we saw the first buds appear on the branches of the trees, we walked past beautiful farms and avenues full of pollard willows to the last resting point where we arrived exactly at 3.30 pm. Just in time to find a spot out of the wind for my interview with Henk Versteeg, presenter of the radio program 'Open Huis' on NPO 5. The interview went well and then we continued on our way for the last part towards the hotel where Dominique, the physio from SMC de Bron was ready for us again.

Henk tells us, we listen carefully

After dinner Henk took the floor. He had made an impressive presentation about Christianity and Islam and how the friendship with a Syrian family has enriched his and Helmi's life. It is wonderful to experience how we as pilgrims enter into intercultural dialogue with each other from our different beliefs and backgrounds. I understand more and more what Uncle Frans has achieved in Syria. Going out of your inner strength, finding love for yourself and dealing with people based on love. And all this without judgment, but by asking questions. Questions to get to know each other better and to learn from each other. It was another beautiful day.