van Fessem walking to Jerusalem.
Some time ago I received a
message from The Netherlands. Johanna van Fessem wants to start to walk to
Jerusalem. This is what she writes on her internet site :
"My name is Johanna . I am a Dutch woman of 52. My children are
grown up and left the house. My working contract finished in February. I am free to start
realising a dream, which has grown in me for 13 years ... "
You can find more on her site http://www.cestopis.info/voetreis/story.html
Johanna left The Hague (The Netherlands) on April the 2nd. We hope we
can follow her track from here.
We are wishing her all the best. Hopefully she will find peace and she will meet nice
people on her way.
11th 2000 Johanna's email from 's Hertogenbosch
I started my pilgrimage in Den Haag on April 2nd and have arrived now in Den
Bosch. I don't know yet, when I will arrive in Aachen (Germany), I hope to be there on
April the 22nd.
Now I will follow the "Peellandpad" to Roermond. Later to Abbey Lilbosch in
Pey/Echt and from there along the "Pieterpad" to Vaals. I had good company
on the way from Haastrecht to Den Bosch, I walked with my niece from Amsterdam.
Beautiful landscapes. I didn't realise that walking through Holland could be so nice. But
a lot of asphalted roads!
The nights were freezing cold, so I had to keep all my clothes on in the sleeping bag. In
the morning I noticed some pieces of ice on the tent. Sometimes I find a bed and
breakfast opportunity to recover.
Greetings from Johanna.
16th Meeting in Valkenburg (NL).
Today I could meet Johanna. She is still accompanied by Annemarie.
They spent the nigjt in Schimmert. They were following the "Pieterpad" till
Valkenburg. I met them there and we had a long talk on the terrace of an old hotel. It was
nice to sit in the sun.
Everything is still going perfect with Johanna. She is now used to her new walking boots.
At 13:30 p.m. they continued to the centre of Valkenburg. There they wanted to find out
about the best way to Aachen (D) on foot. After Aachen Johanna will continue her
pilgrimage walking alone. She will follow the long distance walking trail that will bring
her all the way to Bratislava.
02.04.2000 - Zoetermeer
03.04.2000 - Gouda
04.04.2000 - Groot-Ammers ;
05.04.2000 - Hardinxveld-Giessendam
06.04.2000 - Gorinchem
09.04.2000 - Den Bosch
13.04.2000 - Echt
14.04.2000 - Sittard
16.04.2000 - Gulpen
18.04.2000 - Vaals
19.04.2000 - Aachen (Germany)
28.04.2000 - Andernach
29.04.2000 - Koblenz
07.05.2000 - Alsen (Kaiserslautern)
10.05.2000 - Kirchheim-bolanden
14.05.2000 - Worms
18.05.2000 - Eberbach
21.05.2000 - Tauber-bischofsheim
25.05.2000 - Rothenburg ob d.Tauber
28.05.2000 - Heilsbronn
04.06.2000 - Regensburg
12.06.2000 - Volary (Tsjechia)
01.08.2000 - Cesky Krumlov
07.08.2000 - Zwettl (Austria)
13.08.2000 - Krems
18.08.2000 - Vienna
23.08.2000 - Slovakia -Bratislava
06.09.2000 - Hungary - Budapest
17.09.2000 - Csongrad
24.09.2000 - Csanadpalopa
01.10.2000 - Romania - Timisoara
09.10.2000 - Oravita
16.10.2000 - Orsova
01.11.2000 - Bulgary - Pleven
20.11.2000 - Stara Zagora
26.11.2000 - Svilengrad
03.12.2000 - Edirne (Turkey)
13.12.2000 - Çanakkale (Asian Turkey)
06.01.2001 - Izmir
13.01.2001 - Efese
23.01.2001 - Akbüb
01.02.2001 - Mudla
04.02.2001 - Marmaris
11.02.2001 - Israel - Haifa
27.02.2001 - Tel Aviv
05.03.2001 - Jerusalem
E-mail from Johanna.
You haven't heard from me since a long time because I had
a lot of bad luck.
I arrived in Worth an der Donau, 40 km east of Regensburg. Then I
had troubles with my feet. A doctor advised me to rest 6 weeks! Because I
was obliged to rest, I returned for a few days to The Hague. In Holland I
got a food poisoning, so these few days turned out to be almost four weeks.
Meanwhile my feet are healed and I have no more fever. I plan to take the
train to Worth tomorrow and continue my foot pilgrimage to Jerusalem.
I can't think of giving up my journey to the Holy City. I enjoy my trip
more every day. I met very interesting people and had nice talks. I like
the nature so much.
Many greetings from Johanna van Fessem.
August 4th 2000 E-mail from
I arrived now to the border Tsjechia - Austria.
Everything goes well with me and my feet. It is fine walking again.
I'm now in Nove Hrady and I stayed here in a beautiful monastery in
baroque style. I was lucky because the weather was very stormy outside.
September 6th E-mail from Budapest.
Everything is o.k. But I still have to take care of
my feet. I can take a rest these few days here .
During the past weeks I walked along the Danube in very hot temperatures.
Good that I could swim in the river. The Danube is like a friendly
companion. I still enjoy to camp in the open nature. Yesterday and
the day before I've put up my tent on a flat Hungarian field under a
willow-tree near a small tributary. Sunset (7:15 p.m.) and sunrise (7:00
so beautiful. Yes, it is almost autumn.
It seems to be impossible to walk through Yougoslavia. I should return to
The Hague to ask for a visa and wait there for another month. You'll
understand that I can't make that. So, I'm going to walk through Rumania.
I'm looking forward to that strange country, unknown to me, ... a bit
I meet a lot of nice people that help me. In Budapest it was a
friendly woman at a busstop that invited me. I'm staying at her place for a
few days now. Here in Budapest I will buy a dictionary,
road maps, etc...
Johanna Timisoara, Romania October
Just a short message. I'm walking now in Romania and I've
just arrived in Timisoara.
Magdalena can't walk together with me. So, I have to do all the way by
myself. Perhaps more difficult, but I'll hope it will be fine.
2nd November, 2000. Pleven. Bulgary.
Dear friends, in the internetcafe in Pleven have been made some nice pictures,
which I send you now.
20th of November 2000
Email from Stara Zagora, Bulgary
I arrived this week in Stara Zagora, on the south
of the Bulgarian mountains and go now direction Turkey. The weather
is cold and rainy. The nights are long. It has become much harder.
I'm still meeting friendly people.
26th of November 2000, Sunday
Email from Svilengrad, on the border Bulgary, Greece, Turkey
I will be leaving Bulgary soon now to experience life in Turkey. The
Ramadam (= fasting periode) will start tomorrow. That's nice for me,
as almost every Muslim is happy then and is willing to make the most
of it to God and each other.
It's exciting, Romania and Bulgary have treated me very well, while
I was a bit scared due to their high criminality rate.
So, now it's Turkey: will it be accepted that, I, -a woman alone- am
going cross their country, where women are (still) sometimes obliged
to stay home? Experience will teach me ...
Nights become very long, the days cold. It's raining today for the
first time since a few months. Another 200km to go and I'll reach
the Dardanelles. I'm cheering up with the illusory (?) thought, that
the temperature up there will be mild. Perhaps I even could be able
to have a swim and I will be delighted to admire the ancient Troy on
the other side, in Asia.
The troubles in Jerusalem seem to stay unsoluble. I find it
terrible: our prayers will certainly be necessary ...
3rd of December
What a lovely country! Coming from Bulgary, Edirne
appeared yesterday as a fata morgana in the first eastern valley.
Minarets and mosks' domes and the sunrising made it like magic.
I feel wonderful and I allow myself a night in a real caravanserail.
Rooms with domes and redish/ochren walls with very thick stones, all
grouped around an inner court, where previously stood the camels,
donkeys and horses, with a view to the mosks. How magnificent! I go
to visit. Kneeled on the carpet, without shoes, I bow deeply
direction Jerusalem/Mecca. I suddenly feel a strong sense of
powerlessness and must cry, thinking of what's happening in
Jerusalem 'in the name of God' ...
In the evening I want to eat bean soup in a cosy little restaurant.
The end of the fasting day (it's the Ramadam) is announced on TV and
from the minarets outside. It's a special moment: the people are
glad; they are going to eat, drink and talk.
13th of December 2000
E-mail from Çanakkale (Asian Turkey)
I've just arrived in Canakkale. I said goodbye to
Europe. I've crossed the Dardanells. I'm in Asia!!
7th of January 2001
E-mail from Izmir
Arrived in Izmir now. The weather is warmer here
but more rainy. Today, I could swimm in a tide sea (14°c). The
palmtrees along the boulevards are so beautiful.
I'm going to follow the coastline southbound. I think to
arrive in Jerusalem in the second half of March (taking some
I almost can't believe that I'm already so far on my way and that
everything goes well.
13th of Januari
Because I can't take a ferry from Turkish-Cyprus to Israel I have
to go by Rhodos (Greece). So I will walk along the coast to Kas and
catch a boat to Rhodos. Then farther to Greek-Cyprus and Israel by
Here in Efese, I'm going to visit the little house of Mother Mary
and the temple of Artemis. I like very much these ancient sites that
remind me at scenes from the Bible . Unfortunately I can't visit
4th of February
Just a short message to tell you that I'm in Marmaris at the
south coast of Turkey. I hope to take a boat to Israel this
21st of February
Hoi, I walked already from Haifa to
Tiberias. Now I will continue to Jerusalem. Everything is
Getting a bit nervous.
5th of March 2001
We've received today a short message: Johanna
is arrived in JERUSALEM !!
Just take a good rest now.
Johanna wrote her book
IN HET LICHT