25.8.2019 Daar is ie dan eindelijk. De update van de eerste 3 weken van de reis van Casper Roemers. De afgelopen 2 weken was ik op vakantie, maar vooral de eerste week dagelijks nog uren bezig met Actie Roegans. Vooral om overnachtingsadressen te vinden en te benaderen. En het was hartverwarmend hoe daar aan werd meegewerkt. Zo kregen we een nacht in bovenstaande B&B gesponsord behalve kosten van linnen en ontbijt. Geweldig. En kregen we een lidmaatschap cadeau van de Vrienden op de Fiets , zodat Casper tegen een gereduceerd tarief – vooral bij particulieren – kan slapen onderweg.
We waren meer bezig met de dagelijkse logistiek en het bedanken van sponsors en donateurs, dan een verslag van de reis. Gelukkig hebben we de zus van Casper bereid gevonden die dit voortaan wil gaan doen. We hebben namelijk materiaal nodig voor een 2 wekelijkse update naar De Stentor.
Karin Roemers, de zus van Casper, woont in Amerika. Haar Nederlands is niet meer up to date, vandaar dat ze het in het Engels schrijft. Leuk voor Casper zodat hij de blogartikelen kan laten lezen wanneer hij onderweg mensen naar zijn site verwijst. (De beknopte versie zal in het Nederlands op de site van de Stentor worden gepubliceerd).
Most people who walk the Compostela take the train to a starting point in France or Spain and walk an established route described in the many guides available. But Casper Roemers decided to start from Nunspeet, Nl and walk all the way to French speaking Belgium to finally enter one of the pilgrim routes. Of course that makes the trip longer and more challenging.
Walking from Nunspeet through Arnhem to Mook by Nijmegen the first day was fine because Casper knew the way from his many trips to his birthplace (Mook). He has good friends at campground “De Geuldert” in the Plasmolen and was embraced by hugs, pats on the back and loads of jokes. Everybody was rooting for him!
He made his way to Venray – Leunen where he stayed the night in the house of a pastor. Then off to Besel, Limburg where he stayed in a house of people that take in walkers and cyclists through an organization called “Vrienden Van de Fiets”. He had developed a blister on his heel that needed some time so he stayed for two days. He met his uncle Kees Versteege who brought him some new inserts for his shoes.
After a great time in Besel he walked to Bergeik, Belgium. He found an old “klooster” hotel “De Heere Van Eyk” where a shower and some good food helped him relax. Then it was time to walk to Zuttendaal. While some of the routes are more scenic he ended up taking a route along a highway because his leg started to swell up which slowed him down. He felt he had to take the shortest way to a campground. It was a hair raising experience because the highway was so busy due to Easter weekend. Casper usually walks fast (6km/uur) but he had to slow down quite a bit to 2 km/uur. He finally reached Zuttendaal where he pitched his tent for the first time during his trip. He stayed there for 2 days and made quite a few friends.
How people respond
Once people find out he is walking the Compastella they are curious why. Everyone thinks of course that walking to Spain is crazy but he laughs it off and jokes about it.
Zutendaal – Tongeren – Tongeren
Last Friday Casper set out to walk to Tongeren but encountered major construction and detours causing him to get lost. He panicked a little bit! When you have a handicap everything is a little harder. Casper has very little eyesight in one eye and the other one doesn’t focus very well. It is hard for him to read maps! His eye-hand coordination is off so using his phone to access Google Maps is also an obstacle.
His elderly father, Kees Roemers, was anxiously staying by the phone supporting Casper from Nunspeet. His sister Karin talked to him from America. It was a tough day! Not able to find a place to stay (due to Easter holiday) he ended up walking back to Zuttendaal to recompose himself.
After a good night sleep and some good food he regained his strength and on Sunday he walked to Tonneren in Belgium where he found a hotel in an old “klooster”. He took a nice cold shower, slept in, had breakfast and felt renewed. Now he is getting closer to the pilgrim routes he is meeting other walkers. In the hotel he met a couple from Amsterdam, a few men from Poland, a Tsech who are all heading for Warmme where the real pilgrim route starts. They sat around the breakfast table and exchanged stories and jokes. The comradery is lifting Casper’s spirits and he plans to head to Warmme on Tuesday. After a challenging few days he is back on track!