My experiences with thru-hiking


Posted in Hiking GR5, 1500 miles across Europe by onefootatatime on May 25, 2009

May 24 2009

May 24 2009

After a long, winding walk through the woods, I get a glimpse of Spa. It looks lovely from the hills. Later, I got lost on the trail, taking the GR573, and landed somewhere else, so I took the road back to Spa. Saw lots of guys on dirt bikes tearing up the trail.

I decided to stop at a “Frites” place to get a bite to eat. I was looking at my maps and asking the guy behind the counter about a campsite nearby, when one of the customers helped me out. He knows about the GR5, and he even draws me a map of the trail to the campsite on a napkin.

After finishing lunch, I stepped out and bumped into the same man on the street. His name is Olivier, and he decides to accompany me to the campsite. Before I know it, I’m in his house talking to his family, and they all agree I should stay over at their place for the night, and I find myself not really objecting to the plan at all.

I did get my shower, and Olivier’s wife Anne throws my dirty clothes in the wash. By the time we have an early dinner, Olivier, a doctor by trade, has told me the history of Spa with the bubbly waters (yes, that’s where the term “spa” came from), and shared his love for art and hiking with me. His wife Anne is a writer and has a book published. She’s also a painter. The kids Simon and Julia are busy studying while Olivier tells me about his house that was built in the late 1800s. It’s a lovely house with a beautiful secret garden at the back – very peaceful. They are a very kind and giving family.

Simon plans to study photography next year in the UK, and Julia has recently played a very small role in a French film that’s due out this year in November. It’s a tiny, tiny scene, Anne tells me modestly. The name of the film is “Rapt” – in English that would mean kidnapping or abduction.

Simon and I talk about music, and he tells me he likes Radiohead. Awesome. And I play some songs from Sigur Ros for him. Anne thinks they sound like Maxmilian Hecker. Another band Simon likes out of Belgium is Girls In Hawaii. I should check them out. Olivier chimes in and tells me about a famous harmonica player from Belgium called Toots Thielemans, and he plays the CD for me.

After dinner, we head to the town square, where everyone has gathered to watch the final championship match for the Belgium football league. It’s Liege against Brussels. It seemed like everyone in Spa was rooting for the Liege team. I met a couple of Simon’s friends, and we hung out and watched the match on the big screen. Liege finally won 1-0 and the crowd went crazy, and started singing “We are the champions” together. It was quite a night.

Went to sleep on a nice comfortable bed, like my old futon in Austin.

I miss my old futon.



7 Responses

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  1. Indira said, on May 25, 2009 at 1:00 pm

    Ravi, this is awesome! Finally got a chance to read all your entries. I’m so jealous… and inspired. Take care of those blisters and get a GPS dude!

  2. Christian said, on May 26, 2009 at 9:02 am

    Would you know it. Ravi gets sucked into the Fussball World of Europe. Love it. It isn’t Cricket, but almost as exciting, isn’t it?
    I might have to I agree with Indira that you should get a GPS DUDE, but then I think you love to get lost. Besides, you never would have met Olivier and his lovely family after all. Keep your maps and please keep getting lost, it so much more fun…

  3. Cheryl D said, on May 26, 2009 at 11:04 pm

    Ravi… I love your stories. I miss you my birthday brother. You inspire me in so many ways… if it wasn’t for the “sleeping in a tent thing” I would love to do the same. I’ll find my way.
    Now that you’re laughing (ahhhh yes, I can still hear your infectious laugh) get moving my friend.
    Take care!!!! miss you!!!

  4. Bette said, on May 27, 2009 at 11:07 am

    Austin misses YOU Ravi!

  5. Wendy said, on May 27, 2009 at 7:33 pm

    What’s in the bowls???

  6. alda said, on May 27, 2009 at 10:06 pm

    Ravi all you are doing is really fantastic. i can feel you are enjoying it too. lovely to meet such nice people as you hike along the way. i wish i could thank olivier and family for taking such good care of you. how are the blisters? hope they are dried completely. love you mom

  7. Bradlio said, on June 22, 2009 at 8:31 am

    You can sleep on my back deck any time mang, your futon misses you too doood 🙂

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