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Ecowalk from Amsterdam to Jerusalem
The day before yesterday I crossed the border to Jordan without problems. I spent almost 2 months in Syria, but I had a pretty good time. The people are very kind and hospitable. They asked me to drink coffee or tea with them, or to eat or to sleep. And there is a lot to spot, for example ruins from the Roman time and castels from crusaders. I visited castle Krak de Chavalliers and the Roman ruins of Bosra. And the most interesting were the ruins of Palmyra with the enormous temple of Bale. Therefore I had to make a detour and plodded 10 days through an empty, very hot and endless desert. But it was worthwhile to visit this desert oasis. It was a heavy trip to Damascus, I walked averagely 40 km each day. At night I slept in my tent along the way in the bare desert.
Damascus was a very interesting town with a very old centre with many palaces, mosques and most vividly souqs. I was glad to meet other travellers in my hotel, I even met Dutchmen, and I spent a very nice time with them, as it was a long time ago that I met western people. In the south of Syria, in the surroundings of Shabah, Suweida, Bosra and Dara'a, I stayed very often with hospitable families. They offered me food, drinks and a place to sleep. They are unthinkably kind people who will do everything to make you confortable. My friend Suleiman invited me for a weddingparty of a nephew and I have had a wunderful special experience. In the evening there was live music on the schoolyard. Only men in white dresses danced in a large circle and of course I, as the honorary guest, had to dance and sing in the microphone. At midnight a rice meal had been eaten very fast and after that everyone went home. The next afternoon at the uncle of the bridegroom there was music, but men and women danced seperately. Then with many honking cars upto the house of the bride where the couple had connected. Everyone went deliriously and then the procession left with much hullabaloo to the new home, where they danced, sang and celebrated again, while the bride and groom were seated on a honory stage. And I took a few pictures.
I didn't get a visa in Ankara for Syria, but now I'm very glad that I just tried to cross the border. It was an exciting time, but when I was at the border to get my visa, there were no problems. There were a few formalities, my passport was stamped and then I walked across the border. I was very glad with this successful outcome and to celebrete that I bought a genuine Heineken in the local minimarket of the borderplace Kassab. In Syria there were no problems, only a few smart soldiers kept me in a bus shelter because my new beard didn't grow on my passport. I was fed up the waiting after 15 minutes and said that I was a free Dutch citizen and there was no evidence of an offence, so I took my backpack and walked away. They were baffled and didn't stop me, nor shoot me in the back, but the 3 men followed me. Because I'm trained to walk speedy, I walked too fast for them, so I waited for them in a nabour shop. We drank a refreshment, but we weren't friends. After another walk of 3 km's the superior stopped in a green jeep. He apologized for the stupid behaviour of the three men, everything is oke and my beard is very nice.
I hope to be in Amman in about three days. Although Jerusalem can be reached in four days, I first intend to visit Petra in the south. In Jordan there is a lot to see and I will not miss it because I won't come back soon, I think. Since the peace agreement in 1994 the relation between Jordan and Israel is good and relaxed. I think that there will be no problems to cross that border.
I hope that I have you informed you about my adventures and thank you for crossing your fingers, you can stop now and I stop writing for now.
A 'Pilgrims Eco-Walk' against pollution.
As things go bad in nature, and the environment gets more and more polluted every day, I decided to make a long distance protest walk from Amsterdam in Holland to Jerusalem in Israel, to draw peoples attention to the fragile environment and the bad things we do to nature.
With my walk I try to spread environmental awareness to the people I'll meet on my way and the population of those countries I'm passing through and hopefully to the people all over the world.
It is a shame that in the name of progress countries are ruining the ecosystem. In the past 30 years technological progress has come about twinned with massive environmental destruction. And we have to stop this before the world is getting in a bigger mess, and problems rise to an amount that we can't solve them anymore.
The world is facing a string of full-scale environmental emergencies, which threaten to cause misery for billions of people in the 21st century. The danger signs are that there will be a billion cars by 2025, up from 40 million since the second world war, a quarter of the worlds 4630 types of mamals and 11 % of the 9675 bird species are at serious risk of extinction, more than half the worlds coral is at risk from dredging, diving and global warming. 80 % of forest has been cleared, a billion city dwellers are exposed to health threatening levels of air pollution. The global population will reach 8.9 billion in 2050, up from 6 billion now, and global warming will raise temperatures by 1 degree C to 3.5 degrees, triggering a devastating rise in sea levels and more severe natural disasters.
This is enough to make people think about the world we are living in and the way we are living our consuming lives. And this should be enough for people, industries and govenements to act and behave in a more responsible way, because we are not the only ones who 'own' this earth, there are many generations after us who want to have a piece of clean and unpolluted nature as well!
I walked now for one year and one month through Holland, Germany, Czech Republic, Austria, Hungaria, Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey, Syria and now Jordan, and I hope to reach Jerusalem in another month, where I'll stay until the change of the millennium, the year 2000.
Jordan is a very nice country with many beautiful sites and landscapes. Also the people are very friendly, warm and hospitable. But as I walked through more Arab and Muslim countries, people here easily throw things away on the street, out of the windows. Many places and beside the roads are polluted with cola cans, plastic bottles, cigaret packets, newspapers and plastic bags and that is a very ugly sight.
I'll ask Jordanian people not to throw away all this kind of rubbish on the street, but to put it in a trash can or to reuse it. People can do a lot to keep their village, city or roads clean just making a little effort. And the Jordanian environmental groups should also do something about automobile emission and pollution. The air pollution from car fumes in busy city centers is terrible and gives me and many others a headache.
But I'm glad that there are also a few good things going on and it was nice to see and to talk to members of the R.S.C.N. (Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature) and J.R.E.D.S. (Jordan Royal Ecological Diving Society) which I visited in Dana Nature Reserve and at Aqaba. These organisations are doing a lot of good things to protect nature and the wild life, to save endangered animal and plant species and to clean up polluted areas. I hope they will get a lot of support from Jordanians in the near future.
A lot of people think that I get money and that I've been sponsored by the Dutch government or other companies or groups, but that is not true. I have been working for four years to save enough money to make this walk possible and only some friends and family are supporting me, helping me and give me some money. And this Eco-Walk is my own idea, and not organised by an environmental organisation, so I walked through the cold and the heat for more than 4700 km until now, from tough times to good towns, on my own expense and on my own physical energy. More than half the time I slept in my tent and as I crossed vast deserts, I sometimes was left without food or water. Also undetailed maps did send me the wrong way on a few occassions and in Romania I was even attacked by a thief who wanted to steel my money but without success.
But all together it was, until now a great experience and a beautiful way to see all those countries. And I met so many nice and positive people on my way and I made many new friends.
As I get 44 years old next week and I hope to celebrate my birthday swimming in the Gulf of Aqaba, I cross the border right after that and start to walk my way up to Jerusalem. That will be the end of my long journey and after new year 2000, I'll go back to Holland, first by boot to Turkey and then by bus.
To al Jordanian people: thanks for your help and warm hospitality Sukran.
Thijs' drawings, made in Jerusalem!
Part 1, Holland, Germany, Czech, Austria, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey
E-mail address Thijs Postma:firstname.lastname@example.org
Web address Dutch:http://www.thijspostma.nl/ecowalk
Lay-out: Alie van Nijendaal, E-mail address:email@example.com
Laatste wijziging: December 8, 2018