Acceptance & Zutphen

“There are no mistakes, no coincidences. All events are blessings given to us to learn from” Elizabeth Kübler Ross

“Travelling enlarges our hearts.” by unknown

I woke up early to pack my backpack for the hike and my duffel bag that I will be taking to India. I am meeting my friend Marlies hometown Zutphen. Marlies will be hanging on to my bag until I finish my hike and head back to India. It is about 1.5 hrs away from Amsterdam, and I will be meeting my friend Stephanie and her daughter Eva also. Stephanie was my pup Whiskey’s trainer, and she lived in the same apartment, I will be meeting her after two years. Life has changed for her and me in so any ways. I am looking forward to catching up with her. I have been running on 5 hrs of sleep for the past 4 or 5 days.

I reached Zutphen train station, Marlies was waiting for me at the station. We walked to a biological (organic) bakery where they employ people with disabilities. It is her favorite place in town, as this bakery takes the time to train these special people and gainfully employ them. We had a cup of Americano each and set off to the village of Almen.

Almen is a small village of maybe few hundred people with lots of farms and river running through it. Marlies and I were going to spend a few hours walking through a trail that goes along the river and the fields. When I first met Marlies, I didn’t know much about her. I met her on my first day of my hike in France. She was resting under a tree; I decided to join. After small talk, she told me she was walking all the way from Amsterdam from her home to Spain. What was incredible about the story was that I thought she around 60 ish years old. Now I know that she was 73years old when she walked 1600 km.

We went our separate ways after brief rest; her pace was faster than mine, I had no hope of keeping up with her. We kept running into each other here and there until Burgos in Spain. Three years later we are taking the time to spend with each other and get to know each other. As we walked the green fields where the cows were grazing, we talked about our lives, walks, changes and books. We talked a lot about acceptance in life and being aware of the choices we make. When you are conscious of your actions, there is hope for change. She also said it’s important to love oneself for us to love other people. When we don’t like ourselves much, we sometimes don’t like the qualities of other people. We talked about dementia and how caring for other teaches us to care for ourselves more, and we learn more by taking care of others.I want to be like her when I age.

We went to Marlie’s home and looked through her photo albums of the hike in France that I am setting out to do this time. She said she would look through them and relive the memories when she can no longer walk. It was one of those moments I remember in my life fondly. Later I met with Stephanie; I made a big goof up when I assumed she lived in Zutphen, she lived in Utrecht about 1.5 hrs from Zutphen. My brain sometimes makes these assumptions that surprise me, I apologized profusely for making this assumption. It would have been easier to meet her in Utrecht rather than meet her in Zutphen.

We all had dinner at another lovely place and headed home. I rode back with Stephanie to Utrecht and spent the evening with her before heading back to Amsterdam. I loved seeing Ozzy (Steph’s dog) again. The day was full and gave me a lot of memories to carry along.

The highlights of the day were walking by the river in Almen, eating mustard soup at a local place in Almen, meeting with Stephanie and Eva and seeing where Marlies lived.

Book recommendations:
Rudolph Steiner – The foundations of human experience
Elizabeth Kübler Ross- To live until we say goodbye
Christine Longaker – Facing Death and Finding Hope: A Guide to the Emotional and Spiritual Care of the Dying, Arrow Books, 1998, ISBN 0-09-917692-0
Tibetan Book of Living and Dying

I would like to live somewhere like this….someday!

Ozzy!! Love his style these days

Eva knows what she wants! and its icecream.

Marlies! we enjoyed mustard soup at her favorite place. Mustard soup with gorgonzola

Almen and the river!

Marlies and the town
Beautiful dutch garden
I love how you wouldn’t have to weed this garden
The cafe!
The river and the path

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