What a joy to celebrate my 70th birthday in this way.

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I really wanted to walk the Walk of Walk of Wisdom again! When I retired, I already did that once. This time I prepared him better, both physically and mentally; I want to walk the tour one after the other without coming home: 5 days of walking, 1 rest day and another 4 days of walking.


I practiced with a bum bag and a light backpack so as not to strain my back too much and I succeeded. I didn’t bring any poles and aimed the distances between 16 and 19 km, less so on the last day. That means that hopefully I have plenty of time to rest, start a conversation, listen to birds, take pictures, think and muse. And I also notice that after 15 km my knees protest a little more, so the last kilometers often go at a slower pace.


During the trip, I want to think about how to spend my time. Things are not going well with the developments in the world. Fortunately, there are also many new initiatives. To what extent do I want to keep up to date with all the world news, national and local developments, both positive and negative? Want to watch/listen to and read more about new initiatives? Which sources do I want to use for this and what can I cancel?

I asked my children and a number of friends to write down a wish, devotional, poem or whatever for my birthday. Every morning and sometimes in the evening I can read such a contribution and I can take it with me on the road.

It’s amazing what a variety of contributions I’ve received.

1stday: Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Today my Walk of Wisdom begins. Before I set off: a photo in front of the Mariken statue at the Stevens Church, taken by a passer-by.

A beautiful route that I know well for the most part: via the Ooijpolder and the Bisonbaai, back to the south towards moraine, which gives a beautiful view, to Ubbergen/Beek. At Oortjeshekken coffee, sat on a pole (!), and my first bird ring. The flora and fauna is overwhelming. The most special thing for me today in terms of nature: many tufted ducks in the Bison Bay, rattling hares in the meadow, skylarks (only heard), a flock of 15 sheep that I was allowed to follow on a narrow path, beautiful wood anemones and slender primroses.

The hand ferry at Persingen takes a bit of work, but fortunately it is ready on the right side. Fantastic hiking weather for me, and that for all ten days: often some sun and clouds, little wind, between 10 and 15 degrees. The hottest day, April 21, even 17 degrees, which immediately gives a rash on my heels. Only 2x a shower during the whole trip.

This first day of walking is mainly a day of getting away from the everyday, enjoying the beautiful nature and musing about the first personal contribution, which also has to do with my own questions above.

I’m going to read for another hour on the bench at the cemetery next to my overnight address “Sous les Églises” in Beek. The book on the e-reader “The Book of Joy”, provided by my son, describes the conversations between Bishop Tutu and the Dalai Lama during a week that they are together in Dharamsala to talk about “joy”, 268 pages! Is that possible? Yes, you can, and it’s interesting too!

A salad meal in my room, taking some notes about the day and going to bed on time: after 10 o’clock I don’t hear the bells of the 2 churches next to me anymore.

2ndday: Wednesday, April 14

Olga Bakers and Sous Eglise

Downstairs at breakfast, prepared by the owner’s 82-year-old mother, we strike up a conversation. She has been through a lot in her life and I am amazed by her positive attitude and wise comments about caring for each other, satisfaction, staying busy and many current affairs. What a zest for life and wisdom she radiates.

The beautiful, sometimes moving walk to the Duivelsberg is full of silence and bird sounds, a meditative morning with a tough assignment to reflect on (what would I still like to do in my life, big-small, once-regular) and a loving wish.

Regularly this week people ask me which route I’m walking and everyone gets excited when I tell them something about the WoW. I handed out a lot of business cards to interested parties along the way.

Due to unclear corona rules in the planning of the trip, I will not enter Germany and I will stay on this side of the border. On the ploughed fields I see a lot of yellow wagtails.

In the spacious, friendly B&B De Pastorie in the Horst I get an envelope from the owner. It contains an encouragement card from Gerard!

During dinner, I strike up a conversation with a Flemish woman who is taking a course in N.E.I. (neuro-emotional integration) in Groesbeek and talks enthusiastically about it. Again a special meeting and exchange, resulting in a “vitamin letter” from her at my breakfast plate and again two runners (she and her husband) for the WoW.

3rdday: Thursday, April 15

One of the contributions I received is a question that Jeanine Abbring asks herself:

From now on, before you slam someone, think about:

Is it necessary,

Is it nice,

Is it true,

Or am I just jealous?

Instead of the Reichswald I walk through the Bruuk nature reserve that is being taken care of and then I have to walk almost 11/2 km along the border road. After that, the redesigned De Diepen is a breath of fresh air: ponds have been created for waterfowl and a food forest is being set up. I see the latter a lot more on my trip!

The St. Jansberg, the Zevendal and the Mookerhei are my favorite hiking spots anyway. I notice that I am getting quieter and quieter while walking, enjoying that there are no interruptions due to phone and texts. Today’s conversations over breakfast, lunch, and dinner are valuable; I do notice that all in all that is a lot today.

I have allowed myself to use the phone for half an hour every evening with Gerard. Taking notes in the evening gives peace of mind and sometimes insight.

4thday: Friday, April 16

After a delicious breakfast at Ryon in Mook, himself a pilgrim and volunteer at the WoW, I am waved goodbye on my way to the rest of the Mookerhei with beautiful detours, including at the Mulderskop. I see a few gliders being pulled up at the gliding area and cross Heumensoord with beautiful stately rows of trees; For me, winding paths feel more challenging!

Towards Malden, Maas-Waalkanaal and across the A73 is again in the hustle and bustle, then into the Hatertse fens. Years ago, large areas were cleared for water and heathland, now there are plans to plant trees there again!

Upon arrival at Machteld and Ronald’s, the chickens are a good “watchdog”. It is a popular place for pilgrims. I write and read in the glass gazebo in the sun overlooking the beautiful garden with an abundance of statues, birdhouses and lots of attention. At half past 6 I meet fellow pilgrim Agnes. How wonderful it is that you can talk to each other so familiarly within a short time, it is a beautiful exchange that will be further explored in the coming days.

Ronald gives us a course in burning a wood stove and at night I meet the “house marten” that has its domicile in the attic of my bakehouse. It’s only when I listen to him as a “fellow resident” that I manage to fall asleep.

5thday: Saturday, April 17

After the fens, a long stretch on a quiet road to the Boskant chapel. Half of the route is over here and there is a pilgrim’s book of the WoW with impressive stories. I also write in it and light two candles in all the chapels along the way with a special intention; Although an atheist/humanist, I think this is a beautiful ritual that I like to keep using. Some poems that I have received from friends are:

Guido Gezelle’s:

Twenty feet

hipping in the green,

Souring sweeteners,

So do the etc.

H. Roland Holst, with a poem that we can use well today:

The soft forces will surely win in the end.

I hear this as a heartfelt whisper within me:

If it were silent, all light would be darkened,

All the heat would freeze on the inside.

From Tonny Brouwers:

Go like a kite

Moving on the winds

Attached to a thin rope

Immerse yourself in life like this

soft ties with you.

Further on the route near Nederasselt a beautiful windmill with lake and bird area and my daily storks.

Then through the countryside and over the bridge to Grave, a historic fortified town where the rapeseed on the shore welcomes you exuberantly! The weather is sunny and the Italian ice cream parlor on the market is doing good business. The path along the Hertogswetering to the Emmaus Monastery is a nice quiet end to the walking day. When you enter the monastery, a feeling of serenity immediately overtakes you, you become silent. My room overlooks the large (vegetable) garden of the monastery, 3 times a day before meals there is room in the chapel for meditation. A quiet evening in my room.

6thday: Sunday 18 April, my birthday and day of rest!

Downstairs in the breakfast room the first surprise: my brother and sister-in-law have booked breakfast here! At half past 10 I pick up Gerard on foot at the Grave bus station. Delicious! He has already experienced dense fog in Brabant and plenty of sun in Gelderland; Today we have a rest day together, tomorrow we have a day of running together. He has pies with him, which we eat together with pilgrims both in the morning and in the afternoon. When two pilgrims walk into the reception room in the afternoon, they immediately start singing “long may she live”, whispered by Ryon, from the overnight address in Mook.

The “silent” walk through the garden at the monastery is highly recommended; music and information via a link tells all about the history of the monastery, statues, Capuchins and the garden. In between, sitting on a bench in the sun enjoying each other and all the beauty around us.

Unbelievable how you can have a very pleasant and inspiring birthday evening with a number of unknown pilgrims; People listen to each other and a creative mind sometimes turns things upside down! The atmosphere is made even better by the presence of Rob, co-organizer of the WoW and resident of the monastery.

Beautiful passages from the book ‘The boy, the mole, the fox and the horse’ are told:

“Asking for help doesn’t mean giving up,” said the horse. “It means you refuse to give up”


I’ve learned how to live in the now,” the mole said. “How?” asked the boy. “I find a quiet spot, close my eyes and breathe.” “Sounds good, then what?” “That’s when I concentrate.” “On what?” “On cakes,” said the mole.

A birthday to remember!

7th day: Monday, April 19

A walking day with Gerard through the beautiful area of Keent where we reminisce a lot. We see a large group of barn swallows landing on a low wire nearby and it is as if they are giving us a performance. Unfortunately no coffee in Neerloon or Ravenstein (beautiful town), and after the terribly busy road bridge at Ravenstein, we enjoy a cup of coffee in Niftrik with a view of the Maas and floodplains.

A reflection by Dorien de Wit:


A line on paper is a boundary between two planes

A wavy line means the boundary is moving

Two wavy lines underneath each other are water


In the mountains, the horizon is an undulating line

Standing on a mountain, I’m part of that line

I take the top stone and change the horizon

The stone is a mountain peak that fits in the palm of my hand

I throw the mountain top into the valley.

In Wijchen we see a pair of Egyptian geese with at least five “downs” running around them at the lake. Va and moe are both very attentive!

Coots have also done their best.

I take Gerard to the station of Wijchen, for him tomorrow it will be “back to work”!

I get a meal at the supermarket, have to take shelter from a shower and have the entire top floor of my Friends-on-the-bike address at my disposal. Here I can update and read my notes again.

Unfortunately, I do have some problems with my hips, so much so that at night the paracetamol has to be used. I so hope it will be over tomorrow!

A haiku ends my day:

Long will she live

Birds sing in her path

She continues on her way.

8th day: Tuesday, April 20

The haiku has worked: I continue on my way, without pain!
After the hustle and bustle of Wijchen and the highway, I walk into the tranquility of the Leursche and Hernensche forest.

A contribution to think about: which three choices you have made yourself have had the most influence on your life? And in retrospect, do you still stand by those choices? If so, wonderful! If not, what would you have done differently? It’s nice to look back on your life like this. I do end up with four choices, none of which I want to delete!
Immediately I go wrong twice; the first time no problem, but the 2nd time at Temple a 92-year-old woman luckily comes out of her farm to steer me in the right direction, otherwise I might have done some extra miles. In a short time, I also hear her life story and what her three children do and where they live.

Unfortunately, the walk in Bergharen to have a drink doesn’t help. At an overnight address of the WoW, my bottle of water is refilled. Today is the hottest day and the villages after Wijchen have neither shops nor restaurants. For the last kilometers a day I often have to put in a little more effort.

And then there is my mountain hut in the Strengstraat where I also spent the night four years ago. What a party again. Resting on a chair in the sun in front of the hut, taking off your walking shoes, a nice cup of coffee and a view of Wageningen! What more could a person want?

Bergharen Refuge - Olga Bakers

Yes, take a shower and eat well! That also happens. Downstairs on the terrace, the hostess and hostess serve a delicious three-course dinner with a glass of wine. Here we will discuss the current topics of the moment: education, healthcare, corona, vaccinations, but also living in a village and their contribution to it, tutoring, maintenance of the forest and garden. It’s not until half past eight that we break up and I start my regular evening ritual.

9th day: Wednesday, April 21

A delicious breakfast with an omelette of the first eggs of their new chickens. They are also working on the construction of a food forest and I am making a small contribution for a fruit tree. This morning I went for a walk from my cabin in their forest of two hectares on the mountain.

I feel very happy and happy with another beautiful day. Immediately after my departure at half past 10, it seems as if a finch has been waiting for me to show off its beautiful colors. A little further on an electricity box, I find a beautiful stone with a colorful image of blades of grass with a ladybug on them. The cows seem to be saying hello to me! The road to Afferden, which I found very annoying last time, is not that busy and the distance is not too bad.

During the visit to the church tower at the cemetery in Afferden, a woman in her thirties from Afferden speaks to me, who sees that I am walking the WoW. She also wants to run it next week with her husband in four days. I give her the tip that if possible, she should take a little more time for it. She’s going to think seriously about it. A little further on, an Afferden man I meet at the mini-library. He hasn’t had a holiday in two years, is very busy, is breaking in new walking shoes and is going to run the WoW in a few weeks!

The route after Afferden between the wheels and the wind almost makes me cry with happiness.

In Deest, the garden volunteer brigade of village hall ‘t Trefpunt spontaneously offers me a cup of coffee; There’s still some left in the thermos and they’re done!

Another contribution to ponder, a question that the person also regularly asks himself:
Can you distinguish between responsibility and a sense of responsibility? What do you feel responsible for and what are you responsible for? Do the two feel balanced? And has that changed over the years?

North of Winssen I go on the walking path. There is a lot of shipping traffic on the Waal. It is a varied route through bushes, along the Waal, through open fields, sometimes a piece of beach and under the bridge at Ewijk. A group of Konik horses with two foals allow themselves to be photographed quietly by passers-by.

At half past four I arrive at my last overnight address; I took the liberty of asking a fellow student of the French class if I could spend the night there. I have a good click with her and had been with them 1x to practice French together. They live in a beautifully renovated old farmhouse with a large garden around it, which they have turned into a paradise over the past decades. Here the tranquility of the Walk of Wisdom spoke. I couldn’t have had a more beautiful last evening and night.

10th and final day: Thursday, April 22

Since I only have to walk 10 km today, I don’t set off until 11 am.
The Weurtse Straatje is new to me; What a nice ancient dike, where nowadays you have to bend and climb a lot to get further.

Closer to Nijmegen and the port, the urban noises are getting louder and louder. The route around the old power station that is being demolished is somewhat alienating. Stroll around our new island where the rabbits can enjoy themselves and then via the Snelbinder into the center, where you will pass a few historical places. After I have looked Moenen in the eye, I am welcomed in the Stevens Church by Rens, of course, but also two pilgrims who have celebrated my birthday in the Emmaus Monastery. The last bird rings are put on my necklace, we get a stamp from Rens and then we can take a picture in the Stevenskerk in front of the large icon of the Walk of Walk of Wisdom.