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Body Positivity Walk 2019

BoPoWalk day 30: Staaken to Berlin Hauptbahnhof (final goal)

Distance: 17,5 km

Speed: 5,5 kmph

Time: 3h10m

Soundtrack: Did You Give the World some Love Today Baby by Doris

I AM DONE! There’ll no doubt be many afterthoughts in the next days or weeks that I hope to share with you, but I’d like to at least give a quick summation and my first thoughts to wrap up the “on the road” part of the project.

Today my plan was to meet J at Berlin Hauptbahnhof, and there were some mixed messages about his arrival time due to train confusion, which led me to have a long and leisurely lunch at a cafĂ© – eating lunch indoors, what a luxury! – and then basically running the last 3 km because he’d already arrived and I was so excited I tried to magic the traffic lights green (with mixed success…).

It was a rainy and stormy day but cleared up after the first few hours, and I found myself just walking around with a big smile on my face.

When I arrived at the hauptbahnhof, after the initial long hugs and PDAs the heady, giddy laughter bubbled up in me again and I walked around in kind of a dazed state, laughing maniacally. Trying to take in the enormity of what I had just done (again with mixed success), and trying to take in the enormity of Berlin and all the people. Guys, Berlin is huge.

And now, here I am, freshly bathed (though sadly not as nicely dressed as I would like as J didn’t manage to bring most of my normal people clothes – though I am wearing jeans for the first time in a month or so, and it feels pretty good) and in a beautiful hotel room (with a tub!) that I only have to leave in order to get food. Tomorrow I don’t have to walk anywhere unless I want to. Nor the day after, nor the day after.. I don’t have pack up all my belongings and try to remember where I’ve been and where I’m going. It’s been a wild ride and a crazy adventure, and I’m still sort of landing…

Some initial thoughts though, about my body. It is truly amazing. I mean I’ve proclaimed to be body positive for a good while, heck I even built a business on it – and I stand by that – but this experience has definitely taken that to another level for me. Like, I know myself so much better and so much more intimately than before. I know, I love, I respect every freaking millimetre. I really don’t think I could ever feel disappointed by my body again. So here’s to you, my incredible, soft, strong, tough, flexible body, for carrying me through all this. I love you.

Also, I am not a small woman. I have at times in my life been skinny (though that was sometimes also due to ED). I am fairly strong and fit, because I enjoy moving my body and testing its limits, but I have by no means always been this way. And I just want to say that you should never let anyone tell you you cannot do something because of the weight or the shape of your body. Or because of your gender, or any other seemingly limiting quality. Because if I can do this you sure as hell can go after those goals and dreams of yours, in your current, wonderful body, that doesn’t need to shrink or grow or become fitter or better – it just needs your love and respect. And it has earned it.

Don’t let your dreams be dreams. And don’t ever let anyone body shame you – least of all yourself.

And now it’s time for tapas. Peace out!

 

 

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Body Positivity Walk 2019

BoPoWalk day 29: Nauen to Staaken (Berlin)

Distance: 22,5 km

Speed: 5,2 kmph

Time: 4h20m

Soundtrack: Berlin by Briskeby (for obvious reasons… )

So, I am in Berlin! I am still on the very outskirts and still have a final 17 km to go tomorrow to reach Berlin HBH and my final destination for this journey, but whatever happens now I can officially say I walked to Berlin.

I was a little concerned that I’d miss the sign, as I did when I crossed the border into Germany, while chasing paths through the pouring rain – but lo and behold, there it was:

A few more steps and I was officially there. I had to stifle a giddy, heady, almost mad laughter that started bubbling up in me. On the surface of it this project is kind of insane. Just another madcap idea I had. The difference being this time I actually followed through.

Many thoughts on the project, my experiences and what made me actually do it this time are yet to come. Once the dust has settled. Once I’ve taken my final walk (you know, for now, not for ever – that sounded a bit dark just there). Once I’ve had some time to rest, reflect and regroup.

As predicted there was pretty heavy rain today as well, but it didn’t bother me nearly as much as the previous two days. Today I walked with a kind of lightness, a joy (though yes the wet feet were icky) and a sense of absolute certainty that it would all be OK.

Even though I am in Berlin and even though I’ve walked more or less exactly the distance (635 km) I set out to when I first planned this project, I feel it’s still important to walk the last 17 tomorrow. And not only because my man should be waiting for me at the train station roughly when I arrive (though that does add to the feeling of anticlimax I’d experience if I were to say take the bus). Only then will I feel completely finished and like I have closure. Like I truly did the thing.

It’s supposed to be 11 mm of rain and winds of 40 kmph. But do you know what I say to that? COME AT ME, BRO!

(I’m probably going to want to eat those words come morning time, but just let me have this one, will you? I like just walked 635 km, mmmkay?)

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Body Positivity Walk 2019

BoPoWalk day 28: Liepe to Nauen

Distance: 22 km

Speed: 5,2 kmph

Time: 4h10m

Soundtrack: Radio Ga Ga by Queen

Today was harder than expected. Partly because I expected it to be dry. It was not. I wouldn’t be surprised if it rained just as much as yesterday, just in shorter and more intense bursts. So there was some running and hiding under trees. And some being grateful that the rain cover of my pack seems to work well.

At one point I could look in one direction and see a clear, sunny day, and turn my head about 90 degrees and see a storm brewing.

I also ran into a couple of “path does not exist” issues again, one of which lengthened my walk by 1,5 km. After the app had sort of regained my trust by guiding me without fault through several forests, it’s starting to get unreliable again.

I also saw a dead raccoon, and I saw one yesterday too and a beaver the day before that. I have yet to see live versions of either animal, and now that I’m in an urban area again I suspect I probably won’t.

Aaand now that I have finally defeated mister blister in combat (he was a worthy adversary and put up quite a fight), my other foot is starting to hurt all over the place. I suspect walking for two days in wet shoes and socks hasn’t helped the foot situation much.

BUT, I made it through another day, and I only have about 40 very rainy and windy kms to go to Berlin – which I could probably even do in one day if I was keen on really killing my feet before I get there. But I’m not, so though I’m impatient, I’m still thankful it’s split in two. But I’m so close now I can taste it.

What does Berlin taste like, you ask? It tastes like joy, pride, humility and gratitude.

And now I think it’s time for me to go see what the Asian food in the restaurant downstairs tastes like, as I feel like it’s calling to me… Laters!

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Body Positivity Walk 2019

Sarah and the accidental rest day

So, today I was going to take the train across the river and only have to walk about 7-8 km, however through a misunderstanding I got picked up by my hosts at the train station. Either they didn’t understand that my intention was to walk (it’s kind of hard to explain without additional context why I’d choose to walk with Voldie in the rain when they can drive me in a few minutes – actually even with context it’s a bit hard to grasp for some), or they just thought I was being overly polite when I said that I would walk from the station, because there they were. And then it quite frankly seemed rather rude and unnecessary to decline. So I skipped another 7 km and gave mister blister some more time to calm the eff down. And they let me use their washing machine, so I once again have clean clothes. I’m not exactly complaining…

However, I do fully intend to walk the last 100 km or so over the next 5 days. This is not the preamble to me taking public transport the rest of the way, I assure you. I am admittedly getting rather sick of walking and being on the move every day, and I’m not looking forward to the rain that’s predicted for the remaining time (I have been very fortunate with the weather so far though), but I am very motivated to see it through. “I wanted to walk to Berlin but then I sort of walked to Stendal and couldn’t be bothered anymore” doesn’t really have the same ring to it.. 😉

But through the kindness of strangers I am dry, clean and relatively well rested for one more day. Which is not a bad thing…

I’ve actually wanted to say something about the kindness of strangers and about human contact for a while, but I’ve been too tired to do writing outside of daily updates.

I have of course alluded to my loneliness and how nice it has been to stay with certain people and be welcomed into their homes, but I have more to say on this subject.

I thought it was going to be easy to be mostly alone. Actually, at first I thought I maybe wasn’t going to be mostly alone – because as you may remember I started this whole project encouraging others to come and walk with me. And while I hadn’t expected that to be a daily occurrence I was sort of hoping it would last more than the very first day.

Regardless, as an introvert and HSP who enjoys quiet and her own company, I thought even if people don’t come along I’ll be fine. And I am, kinda. I mean I’m definitely talking to myself more than before, and to bugs and cows and trees and such (still totally normal, right?). And it’s coming up on 4 o’clock in my current flat now with just me and my tinnitus and not another sound of voices, cars, church bells or even birds (maybe because of the rain?) and it does feel ever so slightly weird.

In my normal life, back home – that seems to have taken place in a time and galaxy far, far away by now – I spend quite a lot of time at home, and don’t go out and do things very often. And that’s just fine and dandy, because I need and like a lot of alone time/downtime. But I do always have 3 cats around, and of course J is usually not far off (upstairs, in front of his computer.. ), so I still get my basic social needs met quite easily.

Because we are all social animals – even us introverts. I’m definitely not longing for a party, but a proper face to face chat with a good friend (and a hug) would be nice. Even when I stay in cities, and am not wandering through the woods alone, my interactions are usually limited to buying food or checking in and out of places I’m staying.

I noticed many years ago already how meaningful and important just small interactions with other human beings who are kind and friendly can be. I was super stressed at the airport for one reason or other, but every person I met, at the check-in, at security, at the kiosk etc., were just nice, and smiled and helped me. And by the time I was ready to board my flight I felt completely fine again, even happy.

Because of this I also realised what kind of impact me and my mood potentially have on others, and what kind of impact I’d like to have. I started making more of an effort to always be friendly and smile to anyone I was dealing with, be it in shops or at my work. In fact I once had an evaluation at work where my boss said it was so great to work with me because no matter what was going on I was always friendly and cheerful. Believe me, that’s really NOT the case. However, I do strive to be positive and friendly in professional interactions and in interactions with strangers (family and friends too of course, but they do get to see behind the mask for better or for worse), because I know how important it can be. That doesn’t mean you can never have a bad day. But I recommend as much as possible to not take it out on others (novel idea, I know).

So, now that I’m quite done patting myself on the back for my positive influence on others, let’s talk about others positive influence on me.

I’ve talked already about my lovely stays in QuakenbrĂŒck, at the farm in the tiny house, and in Celle, where I was welcomed into the homes of strangers and made wonderful connections and had interesting conversations about life, dreams and passions. But even small interactions like a chat with a man walking his dog who thought it was really cool that I was walking to Berlin, or this older cycling couple I met in the woods that complimented me on my German (yes, really!.. ), have a big impact on my mood and my sanity during a long day of solitary walking.

So, I notice over and over again how important connection and kindness is. Exactly how this will play a role in my future I am not sure, but I must share more of myself with others and open myself to connecting with them.

And, as they say – you never know what someone else is going through, so be kind – always.

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Body Positivity Walk 2019

BoPoWalk day 21-22: Neuferchau to Kalbe to Stendal

Distance (total): 52 km (28+24)

Soundtrack: I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) by the Proclaimers

OK, so it’s kilometres, not miles, but who’s counting? (I am, I am!)

I actually breached the 500 barrier yesterday and am now at a total of 551,5 km walked, which means I have about 100 to go. Peanuts, right?!

As my Facebook friends know, I didn’t post anything last night because I pretty much didn’t have Internet for the first time during the trip. Seems Kalbe is a bit of a mobile Internet dead zone. It did make me reflect on how much I use the Internet on the road. I do have backups in my printed maps and list of contact details for all my accommodations, but I had to forego my usual blogging (probably just as well as I got there late and was dead tired), double checking of the weather forecast, next days route, details of the place I was staying etc. But a night off never hurt anyone and at least it was an excuse to go to bed even earlier. These days I find 10 o’clock is really pushing it.

So I spent most of yesterday walking through a large forest, started by seeing a deer and ended by seeing an otter – which was pretty cool (I actually said “YES!” out loud to myself after the otter and I had a moment both frozen in time on either side of the small canal before it scampered off into the water). I did have some moments of anxiety again, but when I got over it I had a nice time in the forest and could feel the calm and the timelessness of it all. Of just being, and putting one foot in front of the other.

And I encountered something I’ve not been able to train for: hills! Not mountains or anything, but still most definitely hills. But Voldie and I tackled them. And it was actually kind of nice though it made me a bit out of breath. Nice to get some cardio training, get those endorphins flowing, get a bit of a challenge for once, you know? 😉

My feet were very weary towards the end of the day though, and today they have been kicking up a right fuss again.

It’s been a bit of a day and I’ve had to grit my teeth when taking a step, partly because mister blister has been acting up and partly just from sore feet and getting dirt and grime in my shoes. And may I say dirt and grime abso-fucking-lutely everywhere? I miss the luxury of actually remaining dirt free for a full day.

Today was once again a day of dry and desert like aesthetic. Walking alon a lot of dirt roads next to barren fields in the glaring sun. I had a day like that maybe a week ago as well and it just feels tougher because you feel so dry and dusty – like the dirt gets inside of you.

So, today was always going to be a day where I was going to take the train for one stop, as it otherwise planned out to 40+ km, which was 5 more than I bargained for with my original planning, and I just couldn’t risk that. So I cut it down to 28 with one stop on the train. I’ll need to take the train one stop in a few days anyway to get across a river, as the water is too low for the ferry to cross. And one of the things I need to learn from this journey is to let go of perfectionism and accept that life is messy, and to be a little bit flexible. It was never going to be one neat straight line from Amsterdam to Berlin, and things happen.

However.. I ended up taking the train for 2 stops instead, cutting down today from about a total of 29 to 24. I was just so miserable and dirty and in pain, and I walked right past the train station. And yes, I could have done it. I could have toughed it out. But I’ve done that. I’ve done that on another dusty, dry day like today. I’ve done that when I thought anxiety was going to overpower me. I’ve done that with 36+ km days, and two 30+ days after each other. I’ve done that in the pouring rain along the highways of Flevoland. And frankly I know I can do it and have nothing left to prove. There is a time for being tough and powering through, and there’s a time for being soft and forgiving. And I have chosen to let the soft animal of my body get a tiny bit more rest, instead of breaking it before the final stretch.

It was dizzying to be on a train after having literally only moved by the power of my own feet for over two weeks, but I won’t pretend it wasn’t also a bit of a relief.

Tomorrow I get to have my last day of rest before the very final stretch of 6 days begins. The first one should be very easy because of aforementioned train necessity, making it only about 8km, and the rest are no more than 23,5. Berlin, here I come!

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Body Positivity Walk 2019

BoPoWalk day 21: Ehra to Neuferchau

Distance: 23 km

Speed: 4,6 kmph

Time: 5h3m

Soundtrack: Symphony No 9 by Ludwig van Beethoven

Ladies and gentlemen, today was a walk in the park!

Not literally, it was still 23 km and took me through some fields, some woods, along some roads, etc., before I reached my destination. But, it was EASY.

I was saying to people yesterday that the distance doesn’t really matter because at some point the legs are all just too long and the last part sucks regardless. I’d like to amend that statement… It’s true, to an extent. But knowing I have 23 km instead of almost 10 km more definitely helps keep me motivated. There’s a myriad of other factors at play too – like weather, scenery, and mood, but distance matters too.

Today was warm and sunny (a bit too much almost without my cap), I walked through the woods a good bit, and I felt calm and present with little to no anxiety. And for the second day in a row, all the paths were where they’re supposed to be.

Another thing that definitely helps is having fewer blisters. I only have one big fat one left now, that’s been invading territory left and right like a greedy little dictator on the inside of my heel. But this morning I put a Compeed bandaid over it, and it’s honestly a world of difference from generic store brand ones. I’m not being paid to say this (but Compeed if you’re reading this, feel free to contact me for an endorsement ;-), it’s just fact. I won’t say it’s pain free but it is SO MUCH BETTER.

And… I don’t think I could have had today without yesterday. There’s been this anxiety that’s been building up that I have had to try and control a little bit in order to be able to go on at all, but I think maybe the dam needed to burst. It was like a cleansing, a katharsis, and today I woke up and was ready to move on. So yesterday was hard, but perhaps necessary.

I’m not saying it’s all sunshine and rainbows from hereon out, and I have two slightly longer days ahead of me again now, but I definitely feel much more optimistic. And I am once again comforted by the fact that my last 6 days are all under 25 km.

And guys, it’s day 21, meaning I’m over 2/3rds of the way there. Two days ago I saw my first road sign for Berlin. 9 more days, one of which is rest, and 6 of which are less than 25 km. I can totally do this!

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Body Positivity Walk 2019

BoPoWalk day 19: Celle to Hohne

Distance: 24 km

Speed: 4,9 kmph

Time: 4h55m

Soundtrack: Pack Up by Eliza Dolittle

I had a pretty good start to the day today, though I was reluctant to leave Celle and the puppies. Nevertheless, adventure beckoned.

Weather conditions were quite perfect for walking, really. About 15 degrees and partly sunny.

I took a chance on a forest path again and it paid off, as the path did actually for the most part exist, and there was a good long stretch of me just walking through the forest, lots of green, interesting bird calls and soft ground. This, basically:

And a little of this:

Peaceful and idyllic, and smelled great too. So after I got over the fear of being completely alone in the middle of nowhere, I got on pretty well for a while.

The rest day has definitely done both my feet and my spirits some good, though after the usual 10-12 km it once again started to get hard. And even though it was a shorter day I was almost limping at the end, still kind of am.

So the truth is, while my stay in Celle was incredibly lovely, and in a way quite motivating, there’s also a part of me that feels like if I was going to quit before the end, this would be the time. I’ve already gone a really long distance and people (myself included) seem sufficiently impressed. I feel like I have changed and have achieved some of what I was looking for. Why should I continue to torture my poor feet and knees and hips like this?

Of course I shouldn’t even let myself entertain these thoughts, I shouldn’t let them in. But when you’re walking, on the road all day, you tend to let all the thoughts in, to some extent.

I don’t really want to quit. I want to finish. And I think that maybe I can.

I think that maybe I would have managed to walk further today if I knew that I had to, and it only felt so bad and I only felt so tired because I knew I was almost done for the day.

But truthfully, tomorrow scares me. Not just because of the distance (somewhere in the neighbourhood of 32-34 km), but because it sort of goes through nowhere. I don’t really pass through any towns after the first 10 km, and if the path ceases to exist it could end up being a very long way around indeed. There is seemingly an option to bus the first 10 km or so, but that is a bit of a cop-out (towards the end though there is no such option…). I guess it’s time to trust the universe again, and trust that my incredible body can get me through this one too.

Fortunately it’ll be my second to last 30+ day, and this time they’re not right after each other, so that should help.

Wish me luck!

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Body Positivity Walk 2019

BoPoWalk day 17: Marklendorf to Celle

Distance: 27,5 km

Speed: 5,2 kmph

Time: 5h20m

Soundtrack: Stormy Weather by The Kooks

I sure can walk fast when I know a rest day is coming!

It wasn’t only that though, I opted for walking along the main road again as I didn’t have the patience nor the feet for detours, and there were few opportunities to sit down. Also, around 3 o’clock there was a scary amount of wind. A dust storm blew up from a field across from me and I had to walk with my sunglasses on, hood up and hands covering most of my face to not be blinded. I was a bit worried it was unsafe to walk, as I felt the wind tug at my pack and saw the trees nearly bending over. I considered hopping on a bus, but decided to risk it, just walk faster to get it over with, and I ended up being fine. It’s a reminder to look at wind strength when checking the forecast going forward – autumn is the season for strong winds, and if there are weather warnings I will have to try and find alternate transportation. Hopefully it won’t come to that.

I am glad I got to Celle early though, because guys… Getting here.. It has just been so amazing. Not only do I have a lovely, cozy and spaceous room here with a lovely host, but it has it’s own bathroom – with a tub! I was not expecting that. Another thing I was not expecting was that my host has puppies. 9 of them! They’re only 3,5 weeks old and soooo cute and soft and tiny and fluffy.. And well, all the good things. Here is some video evidence:

But wait… There’s more!

There’s also fresh laundry as got to borrow a washer and dryer instead of doing laundry in small and crappy hotel sinks.

But wait… There’s more!

After a bubble bath and some puppy cuddles I was in desperate need of dinner, and planned to go to a cheap Greek place up the street. But it was closed. So was the second nearest restaurant. And the only other one that was close had an Italian name so I figured it was a pizzeria (German’s are big on pizza, and actually they do make pretty good ones), so I thought fine I’ll have pizza. But when I got there I realised it was a fancy-pants high class restaurant. But I just could not face any more walking. And considering the microwave dinner I had last night and the leftover bread and cheese in my lonely hotel room the night before, I decided I could splurge. I even had a little bit of wine with my food for the first time since I started this walk. And it was soo good (the food and the wine), and I just felt amazing. And I realised I have already changed.

Not that long ago I would not have considered going into a place like that by myself, let alone in leggings, bright pink sneakers and a long sleeve t-shirt (no makeup, hair in disarray…). But now I could not give two figs. I wanted food. They had it. It was delicious. I felt comfy and happy. The end.

And guys, I just feel so… Good. Happy. And it’s such a relief after struggling quite a bit most of this journey.

I know there will still be challenges ahead, including but not limited to a few more long days with blisters and all the mental mind games that come with this insane venture. But right now I am happy. Tonight I am victorious. And tomorrow I can rest.

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Body Positivity Walk 2019

BoPoWalk day 15: Balge to Steimbke

Distance: 24 km

Time: 5h18m

Speed: 4,5kmph

Soundtrack: Highway to Hell by AC/DC

On paper today was an easy day (it was even supposed to be 23km but the app fucked with me again and since I was in no mood to go crashing through the forest Ă  la recherche de chemins perdus I decided to backtrack a bit instead). Though of course with the toll of the previous two long days, it wasn’t really.

I started feeling the pain in my feet from quite early on, and though I prefer 23 degrees and sun over rain, for walking along the dusty highways of who-gives-a-fuck, Germany with Voldie on my back, it was a little much. Also my very fetching, bright red Media Markt cap was gone with the wind about 5 km in.

And at the end of a long day I reached an empty hotel with a closed restaurant, and had to be given instructions over the phone for how to let myself in. Have just had a – if I say so myself – rather sad dinner of leftover bread and cheese and tomato from my lunch, with a few nuts, because I simply cannot face putting on shoes and going outside again tonight.

At this point I’d like to point out, dear readers, that you always get End-of-the-day-Sarah, who is always tired, often disillusioned and has just had enough of this shit already. Beginning-of-the-day-Sarah and even Middle-of-the-day-Sarah are a lot more positive and cheerful. BOTD Sarah had an amazing breakfast out of things made or grown on the farm, then she got a tour of the crops, got to see a goat being milked (manually), and had a very inspiring and uplifting conversation with Oliver the Farmer. Oliver the Farmer was not born into the farming life. No, he is trained as a locksmith, and worked as one for 25 years before deciding there must be more to life than a boring job in the city day in and day out, so he bought a farm and left his job, and lives happily, quietly, modestly, ever after. I WANT ME SOME OF THAT. And it gives me hope that this kind of radical life change and career change can lead to the happier and more fulfilled life that I am longing for, working for. Traipsing through Germany for.

MOTD Sarah often thinks of inspiring and uplifting things she’s going to write later in her blog, but EOTD Sarah just isn’t having it.

MOTD Sarah finds joy in unexpected ice cream (or, surpricecream as she likes to call it), when not 10 minutes ago she’d been thinking “if only there was somewhere here seemingly in the middle of nowhere that sold ice cream”. And then like a mirage in the desert, a cafĂ© appears. But unlike a mirage it stays put.

EOTD Sarah grudgingly admits it was handy she found that ice cream so she had some leftovers over her lunch to eat for dinner, but she is no longer full of the miracle that is finding ice cream in the middle of the desert of the mind.

So, hopefully this PSA will help you feel a little bit better about where I am and what I’m doing. Please have patience with and kindness for EOTD Sarah, she’s just so very tired. And her feet are so very sore.

Oh and one additional cheery announcement: today is half-way day! It’s day 15 out of 30 which means I’m officially (time wise) half way to Berlin. And distance wise I should be over half way already as I have 4 30+ days behind me, only 2 ahead, and my last 6 days are all under 25. Take heart, followers, take heart EOTD Sarah – it will be OK.

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Body Positivity Walk 2019

BoPoWalk day 11: QuakenbrĂŒck to Vechta

(Yesterday’s post, as WordPress didn’t publish when scheduled)

Distance: 27,5 km

Time: 5h20m

Speed: 5,1 kmph (yeah, that’s right!)

Soundtrack: Superman by Deluxe

So I already knew yesterday that I wasn’t going to give up – because I didn’t start this whole project just to give up the first time things got really hard. What I *didn’t* know was how much better I was going to do/feel today. The miracle of human contact, indeed. I must give some credit to my couchsurfing hosts for the lovely evening and conversation we had, and of course to Emmy the dog!

Other factors that probably contributed were my motivation to make it to Vechta before it started raining (I almost made it in time, the rain was early – but so was I), and to get to a place I didn’t have to leave again the very next morning.

But I really did move at an astounding pace for being me, so I think there was some magic involved somewhere. Or that I’m secretly superwoman. Maybe it was exactly that I had felt the low, the struggle, the dread yesterday and had come out the other side determined to fight again that spurred me on.

I also had a day of walking on an asphalt bike path along the road almost the whole way, but I was actually fine with it because I just wanted to get on with the walking and it meant I didn’t have to think about where I needed to go very often, and my feet didn’t get wet.

I did see some beautiful buildings on my way out of QuakenbrĂŒck though, which according to my hosts are a tourist draw and I can understand why.

And tomorrow there is absolutely nothing that I have to do. I don’t have to pack, I don’t have to set an alarm, I don’t have to mount Voldie (as I’ve lovingly/hatingly named my pack) on my back. I may go out and have a look around and get some postcards, if there’s anything to see in Vechta. Then again I may also stay in bed all day and watch Netflix on my phone or read LotR. What luxury!

Friday I have to walk 36,5 km, and Saturday 34. But that’s future Sarah’s problem. And if I can do that and not fall down, I am pretty sure I’m going to make it to Berlin.