English website Walkwithsimon available now

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Grand tour into the light of Spain


Yesterday, after almost being run over again in a busy Dutch supermarket, I said to a friend: happy to leave for a civilized country again soon..... :) Just printed my boarding card for Santiago. I will travel around to prepare next year's trip for you! Look forward to it! 




Walks & wandering:  Hontanas - San Nicolas del Real Camino and Astorga- Villafranca del Bierzo. Wanderwithsimon. 

Ït is not about searching for your own legend, it is about living it!

Saturday, 1 July 2017

Santiago blues


My works brings the privilege to be back in Santiago and Spain quite soon. But for most walkers in my groups a goodbye is for years or maybe forever. So this city is also a city of  melancholy.
Santiago blues. 
What to do, when you have walked your way?
Yes, it is beautiful how this city brings so many people together again. Unexpected encounters, sometimes late, sometimes even at the airport.
I see a lot of pleasure in this town, but also lots of lost souls wandering. I recognize the feeling... 

Your way goes on, or maybe has just started. 
Wait, rest at home, take time, and it will be revealed what the way has brought to you.

Camino siempre.

Simon

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

A rainy day in Santiago

Santiago blues. A last walk in Alameda, a last coffee. My plane leaves early tomorrow morning. 

I love and hate Santiago... After 800 kilometers of hospitality it is not easy to stay in the first town with grumpy waiters, with the highest prices of all, with so many beggars... with paying on the spot, no ordering at the bar but higher terraza prices... Santiago mi amor tourism has made you greedy.. It is a strange end for this beautiful road..or is it preparation for the real world again.... San Diego blues...

Thursday, 23 June 2016

An inspiring journey to find a beautiful way for you!


Just got back from Spain, to prepare the April and September 2017 walks. It will be so diverse, I've discovered so many treasures and beautiful places to stay for you. So...let's go!

To the English website of Walkwithsimon














Friday, 1 January 2016

Who is, what is a true pilgrim?


The cowgirl

"I sold my cattle and just came here", the woman tells me, while walking at a speed I can hardly keep up with. And she spoke about the blisters she has! It surely made me believe she was able to run a farm in Northern Canada on her own. "It was minus 20 just before I left. Maybe I should go and live in a warmer place, I have time to think about it now."

The surfer

The old hotel owner sits down and starts talking to me. It's not easy to follow his rapid Spanish. He points at a Japanese boy, surfing the net and typing on his cellphone: "That's not a true pilgrim. He's not really here." This man in his late seventies has walked the Camino many times. Meanwhile he has run a flourishing family business, offering all sorts of accommodation for poor and rich pilgrims. He is very dedicated to the Camino spirit. Is it true what he says?




Two out of numerous inspiring encounters with other walkers from all over the world.

Is it not possible to be a true pilgrim if you never walk alone, have your luggage transported, stay in hotels, when you cycle, and so on. Opinions that are frequently heard along the Camino (I'm not free of these sort of thoughts either!). But what could you know about someone's deeper thoughts if you don't look them in the eyes properly, and listen?




Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Do you want to share?



I published this story on my Facebookpage a few months ago. It happened in May this year; this touching, healing and in the end joyful ritual for all of us. I am convinced the Camino brings people together. I am convinced there are a lot of people who want to walk with a truly dedicated travel guide. I am convinced I can organize walking with groups of pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago. Next year I will start my own company. In your company? Let me know what your Camino dreams are, and let's realize them together.     To the English website of Walkwithsimon

Simon Wijma

wijmasimon[at]gmail.com

Sunday, 1 November 2015

FIVE PICTURES TELLING WHY

These five pictures symbolize most of what I want to share about Spain and the Camino de Santiago.
Being outside all day, in this wonderful countryside, the views and walking trails; the countryside life; the lovely and abundant food service and terraces; encountering the people of Spain; the spiritual experiences through it all.









Saturday, 19 September 2015

Magic in the streets of Santiago


Video You raise me up in the streets of Santiago


all she asks is listeners
in the old town evening
sounds vie
with what moves most
history's shadow
day that cannot end
or she
budding woman


Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Camino Portugués, Ruta de la Costa


Last summer I walked the Camino Portugues de la Costa - the Portugese Coastal Way from Porto to Santiago, because I wanted a quiet way and a more moderate temperature. It was a good choice. Although the coastal area is sometimes very busy, the walkways are pleasant and there is enough accommodation. What you can see is beach life, fishermen, nature, vivid cities and villages, and of course the ever changing mighty ocean. Again I noticed the difference between the Camino Frances and other ways: the coast way gives you more the feeling of walking through a country than walking a pilgrims way. Of course you encounter other pilgrims on the way or in albergues. And you can see and read a lot of the rich history of this Camino, esp. in churches. But its presence is never as dominant as the Camino Frances often is.
I also walked two days on the Variante Espiritual - see next article- between Pontevedra and Padron.
Beach life includes dozens of schoolclasses on day trips to the ocean

Portugal is a country of readers

This was my guide book. It is not as accurate as a travel guide should be, but you'll get there. The signage is very good.

Baiona, Spanje


Saturday, 8 August 2015

Water, Stones & Secret Agents









La Ruta de la Piedra y del Agua - the route of stone and water - is most certainly one of the most beautiful walks I've ever had, on the Camino or elsewhere. The first part is an unspoiled wilderness, a wild stream with lots of small old watermills, weathered, covered in green, most of them without a roof, but with the millstones still there. The path is green to, and part of it all.

Ingenious ways were found to create waterchutes to power the mills with water.

After a few kilometers downstream there is more civilization; a newer path, lit in the evening, a cafe, a parking place, mountain bikers on the path again. A somewhat threatening sign announces that the European Union supports restoration.Hopefully the balance between conservation and leaving things as they where for many centuries will be held.

A wonderful walk of 7,5 kilometers that ended on this particular day on a terrace with a special guest. There was some unusual activity- military motorbikes, lots of police. Joggers who weren’t joggers, these big guys talking into earphones. It turned out that the Spanish prime minister, Mariano Rajoy had also been enjoying some of the mills, and was having a drink now at the table next to me. Pontevedra is his home area. Nice guy, gave a very friendly greeting when he left. 

This Ruta is part of the Variante Espiritual, a new alternative for the Portuguese way between Pontevedra and Padron. Two wonderful, quiet walking days. Especially the second with the above part and a path along the Arousa river, is great. There are two municipal albergues with very nice and cooperative hospitaleros. Last year only 400 people walked this Variante. The last day can be done as a boat trip. Further details, information and background:  Variante Espiritual

Ria de Arousa



Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Treasures of the Camino in Iria Flavia


An old abandoned house next to the church. The door was open. Inside, amongst  the mess... a pile of religious magazines. The oldest one I found was printed in Madrid in 1899. Nice discovery in Iria Flavia, where everything seems to be old, and yet older.





Made a sketch of the grave of Camilo Jose Cela, the famous Galician writer, born in Padron.



He is buried near the church Santa Maria de Iria, surrounded by old tombstones. It also preserves a necropolis of the Suevi (6th Century AD).



Friday, 26 June 2015

Portrait of a pilgrim

Obanos, Camino Frances, June 4th

We all walk together, on that way, more or less in the same direction. Who are they, all these people? Usually I leave my writers pen at home when I'm walking the Camino. That's for later. I made an exception the other day for Inez. Because the sun was shining and she was sitting there so quietly, drawing. 








For Inez,


Leuven

The city became smaller and smaller
for Inez Katja Paul van D.

Those bright eyes
and the flowerhat
wanted to see the world
fluttering about a bit
but…where to?

A direction
became the Camino
where everyone wants the same
and you can share that joy
joy of life; to live

Knowing what you want
past your mother

Maybe
your father
could walk along a bit
- towards the bisshop’s city -
but: in the rear

Amicalmente, Simon

Friday, 19 June 2015

always



Sure, every kilometer towards it contributes. Still, my camino gets it's highlight on the meseta. First the beloved stay in Castrojeriz. The next morning up the Mostalares. It took me a long time, heaviness in more than pack and heat.

Up there, overlooking the plains, I sense what I come for. Down into the deep, into the sun, no end, no shadow. All the way up to Leon - the finest parts of this Camino. Gimme no shelter.

Way be straight
way be endless
sun burn me
touch me
be in my heart
camino
siempre


Camino Meseta 2015




This day in June. Lingering, seeing what I can see. And knowing the hot afternoon sun is waiting. With a burning sun and a straight path all the way to Calzadilla de la Cueza. I am late. I walk alone. My brothers are further up the road. The other pilgrims have gone by.
All I want is sit in the shadow. But the path has to be taken. And there is no shadow. My water is not endless. A sense of fear. But what can happen, the earth will carry me. I force myself to collect stones. And write them. And lay them on the path. Don't look back. 







Thursday, 18 June 2015

A special encounter in Castrojeriz

© Nia Peiro

Touching moments watching this one and other photos Nia Peiro made with and of Mau Mariani.

Accompanied by pure wise words. There is one quote - the one that spoke loudest to my heart - I want to share with you: the ideal man is he who, in the moments of most intense activity, knows how to find the silence and the loneliness of the desert. This man has achieved self mastery. 


Nia Peiro and Mau Mariani made their exhibition in this so beautiful house in Castrojeriz. You will find it on the Camino. My brother and I had the privilege of meeting Mau and talk to him about the Camino, life, souls meeting... 

An eternal pilgrim, Mau calls himself. Hospital del Alma, the hospital of the soul. Sure it can be.

The garden

The Wild Chapel

Inside the Wild Chapel, the place I was drawn to