“We will miss you, dear pilgrims” – farewell to a welcome host

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Annet Kooijmans For years, her husband and she offered hospitality to hundreds of pilgrims on one of the most beautiful parts of the Walk of Wisdom. In Groesbeek, near our Philosopher’s Bench and a road that, despite its heavenly surroundings, is strangely enough called Hell. Annet and her husband are moving. As a farewell, she wrote the following impression as “host”. We hope that Annet will encourage you to become a host too! Mail us.

The way shows itself to go through him…” This is my motto and this is how I have lived and hope to live a long time. As a ‘friend on the bike’, my husband and I started offering hospitality, then through Bed & Breakfast and through the booklet and website of the Walk of Wisdom. We call it quits in September, our way to a quieter life in Zutphen shows. I would like to share with you the experiences of a host.

One calls himself a pilgrim, the other a hiker, one is experienced, the other an absolute beginner. One runs in winter, the other in high summer, one runs alone, the other with a partner or friend. I’ve seen them all. You have booked everything months in advance, you have those who take a gamble and ring the doorbell to ask if there might be room.

Backpacks that are too full, well-filled backpacks, old shoes, new shoes, lots of water or rather a beer. Pilgrims really come in all shapes and sizes. I remember a young woman. She is at least 20 kilos overweight. With a red head and a backpack that is far too heavy, she stands at the door. I look at the whole thing with doubt. She doesn’t fit into the picture of the average hiker. After an hour of rest, she joins us for dinner. I look at her with slightly raised eyebrows and wonder how she is going to continue this journey. Then she looks at me: ‘That I’m doing this anyway! I can’t really do anything on my own, I need help with everything, I’m getting married in a month but first I want to prove that I can do something’. What a sweet, special woman, I’m sure she can do it.

In our guestbook I read about the wonderful place we have, with ‘singing birds, horses’ hooves and mooing cows’. Another writes, she has now walked for 1 day: “What a varied trip. You think about all kinds of things and that’s what it’s all about for me.” Someone else wants to think about her relationship this week, the next one about his work. Someone has to deal with the death of a loved one and another walks because he likes to walk. The backpacks are sometimes literally, sometimes figuratively too heavy.


After 20.7 km, one is beaming at the door, the next a little angry and yet another in tears. Sometimes the polder was soaking wet and had to be walked around. The miserable foot ferry in the Ooijpolder evokes various reactions, and the swampy area in which you sink foot after foot is not everyone’s best friend. Wet, muddy shoes, blistered feet, sore calves or nothing wrong at all. Pilgrims of all shapes and sizes. Someone writes: ‘The wow brings me the insight that I am having a good time with myself and that it is also enjoying yourself on your own.’

We are calling it quits and we will miss you, dear pilgrims. You are all really nice guests, we honestly don’t have bad experiences with our wow guests. Perhaps I have one critical note. There are pilgrims who do not book but are looking for a place to sleep on the gamble. Then there’s one of those tired backpackers at the door for whom I don’t have a place, but who I find difficult to show the door. Then the other person’s problem suddenly becomes my problem and I don’t like that.

I conclude with the words of a pilgrim: ‘I wish you a beautiful path…’ And add with conviction ‘…… a path that shows itself by walking him.”

Annet Kooijmans
Waldgraaf 3 in Groesbeek.


Would you like to become a host family or make your garden available for a tent?

Do you live on the route and would you like to become a “host” of our pilgrims, just like Annet and her husband? We’d love that. We are particularly looking for space in the vicinity of Berg en Dal/Groesbeek.

As a “host” you determine the rate yourself: from voluntary contribution, friends on the bike or rates of a B&Bs of €35 to sometimes as much as €100 per night. After all, you have pilgrims of all shapes and sizes. Some people are satisfied with a hiker’s cabin or a piece of grass for a tent and a crane to wash themselves. The other thrives on luxury and prefers a castle, old mill or 17th century box bed.

How does it work? We place all addresses free of charge on a digital list that pilgrims receive after they register for a starter pack. Addresses that want to sponsor us will also be included in the route guide and/or on the website. Mail us to discuss or sign up: [email protected]. Without overnight addresses, there would be no Walk of Wisdom!