Sometimes you set off for a trip, that takes just a few days. This however does not necessarily mean that these short stays are less interesting. It was often on a few-days tour that I have made encounters, that eventually took me for a much bigger adventure ...
2014 South Korea, Seoul, IncheonLength: 2 days
My very first trip to the Asian continent was a two-day transit in Incheon. In this short time I managed to make two trips in the city, visit the memorial of Incheon invasion from the Korean War and to greatly appreciate Korean cuisine. More to see another time ... but rather in the countryside. Koreans are proficient builders of skyscrapers, but I am not a lover of the concrete jungle.
2012 Belgium, Tremelo, saint Damiende de VeusterLength: 2 days
I have already written elsewhere about what father Damien means to me. One day, I would certainly like to have a trip to Molokai, where he lived and where he died while serving the people with leprosy. Instead of dreaming about reaching the other side of the globe, I have set off for a more accessible destination. From Paris, where I studied, I went to Leuven. From there I made a pilgrimage on foot ... in the same shoes, in which I went to Santiago Compostela ... to Tremelo, the village where father Damien was born.
2011 Spain, Madris, World Youth DaysLength: 9 days
I have missed the World Youth Day twice. The first time I was in Ireland, the second time on Wallis island, South Pacific. In 2011, the WYD was fortunately held in Madrid, which was just a stone's throw from Paris, where I studied in that time. I did not go to Spain alone. Together with my friend Debrice we went there with a group of our young from Missionary family Donum Dei. The whole week was very intense and rich and peaked with the weekend at Cuatro Vientos in presence of the Holy Father Benedict XVI. For me it was not only a deep spiritual experience, but as well a turning point for my future life. In the immensely huge number of young people at Cuatro Vientos I had "accidentally" ran into the unique group of seven pilgrims from Vanuatu. Among them, there was the priest of the mission in Lowanatom that I once visited in 2008 and with which I have since kept contact. The result of this meeting was that after finishing my doctorate in Paris, I went to work as a teacher of informatics on this mission in the Pacific.
2011 Spain, San SebastianLength: 5 days
During my doctorate I worked on one part of the research with Ramón Moreno from Spain (or rather the Basque country) from Universidad del País Vasco in San Sebastian. The international scientific cooperation has to be properly strengthened, so along with Ting, a colleague from my lab, we set off for a few days in the Basque Country. The official part concerning the joint research along with the presentation went smoothly and for the rest of the time, Ramón proved himself as an excellent guide, making it for us not at all hard to believe, that the Basque Country is the best part of Spain. After all ... where there are friends, there is always nice.
During a trip to Vittoria came to me a bit of nostalgia. Five years ago, it was from here that we went to Camino de Santiago. I even found in the pavement a few yellow shells, wishing to take my backpack and go once again to Santiago ...
2009 Italy, RomeLength: 4 days
My brother's name is Damian, after father Damian de Veuster and for him and me, this missionary from Molokai, the leper island, is an example for the life. When it came to his canonization in Rome in late 2009, it was absolutely impossible for us to have such an opportunity missed.
2008 Italy, LombardyLength: 10 days
On our pilgrimage to Santiago, we met a lot of people. Some of the friendship endured years ... like the one with Mario and Angela from Italy. Two years after the Camino they invited me to Rezzato. Not only had this given me the opportunity to meet once again this kind couple, but also to discover this corner of Italy, which I have never visited before. And because Mario is a passionate alpinist, we climbed together a couple of beautiful places in the Dolomites.
since 2004 - Italy, Carmagnola, Casa Fratelli MaristiLength: 6 visits since 2004, in total about 3.5 months
It started with my first brief trip to Italy in 2004, to the house of Marist brothers in Carmagnola near Torino. At that time I could not speak a word in Italian and it is thanks to the truly fatherly care of brother Giuseppe, that in a little more than two weeks I have got decent basis of this language. After that brother Enrico thrown me without mercy into the waters of the classic Italian: "Divina Commedia", "I Promessi Sposi", ... and I, surprisingly, did not drown. On my turn, I helped another of the brothers with informatics and advanced text edition ... at that time he was 92 years old. I realized how mistaken are people, who judge others by the digits of the year of birth. The house of Marist brothers in Carmagnola became a place where I go back on my travels most frequently. There live one of the best and wisest friends that I have ever known, having their average age over eighty ... but the soul of the youngest generation.