ABOUT THIS WALKER & MODERN-DAY PILGRIM
I am 58 years of age; a Sculptor from Normandy, a true Walker, Design Engineer and a ‘classic Pilgrim’. I have already been honoured in Santiago de Compostela for walking over 22,000 km along European roads and the ancient, classic Trails.
For 6 months at the end of 2016, the French Senate presented a Photographic Exhibition to mark the 20th anniversary of the French Heritage Foundation ~ entitled “The Heritage, a Passion, the People“. This was displayed on railings by the Luxembourg Gardens. So, whilst I was still walking in Spain, I was officially, concurrently on display on the railings of the Senate in Paris ~ my image, ‘A Modern-Day Pilgrim’.
I have established an international artistic project named ‘SOLITARY TIDES’, to collect 7000 Samples of Sands from the seas of the world and so build a heritage collection for future generations. A major portion of the sand collected will be merged into a large sculpture (Solitary Tides). It will be placed at the top of his project as a unique monument to be erected in a designated public place in the future.
Why 7,000 sample of sands? Because that represents 100 beaches bordering the 70 seas registered by the IFREMER (French Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea) around the planet.
“BALTICA ATLANTICA”, my Walking Tour of Europe, started in September 2016 from Muxía on the Atlantic coast of Spain. I planned to walk 15,000 km, through 18 countries, largely following the coasts of Europe as much as possible. My pilgrimage along the coastlines is to explain this art project.
I have been pushing a Swedish-made ‘VELOPED’, my Medical Walker, loaded with 120 kg of kit; and including The Cube ~ which is filled with 1000 samples of sands collected from around the World. An astronaut, Jean-François CLERVOY, has already paid me the honour of taking The Cube into space, to weightlessness ~ for my art project “Solitary Tides”. His mission was a part of the 111th mission of the European Aerospace Agency with Novespace on the Airbus A310 ZERO-G; using parabolic flight for tests and research recreating equivalents of Lunar & Martian gravities.
Thus far I have 1667 samples of sands ~ taken by me or collected and sent from all over the world. By 2014 the first 1000 sands samples had been sent to me. The Cube stores those in 1000 cryogenic microtubes; overall measuring 50 X 50 X 50 cm and weighing 25kg. This was as carried on that mission in Airbus A310 ZERO-G by the French astronaut.
In 2007, to mark the arrival of our one-hundredth sand phial, the French National Monuments Centre allowed me to use the cellar of the Abbey at world-famous Mont-Saint-Michel for the first international exhibition of “Solitary Tides”.
In 2016, a Swedish company sponsored and equipped my TRIONIC Medical Walker named “VELOPED”, not because I am handicapped, but to allow me to tour on foot around the European coastlines with The Cube.
Also in 2016, during the last Jubilee Period this century for the Cathedral of Puy-en-Velay, France, I was officially recognised in that Cathedral’s Museum of Pilgrims. My archives and Moleskine notebooks were registered there ~ classified as ‘Universal Heritage’.
On 19th September, 2016, I landed at the airport for Santiago de Compostela to start the 2 years it has taken walking northward to reach STOCKHOLM. From the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela (late 2016); and via CANTERBURY Cathedral in England (April 2018); eventually to reach the Cathedral at UPPSALA in Sweden (24th November, 2018). There one finds shrines founded by the parents of St. Bridget to their daughter and to Eric the Holy ~ the patron saint of Sweden. Birgitta or St Bridget of Sweden is one of six patron saints of Europe, and a patron saint of Pilgrims. At Uppsala I received a blessing for The Cube ~ especially for all the folk who had collected and sent sand samples for me.
I have planned my return route from Scandinavia back to the Iberian Peninsula over 3 years, with 6 months walking per year, from 2019 to 2021. I will sleep mainly in cemeteries like a soldier, with RESPECT. I will be going around the Baltic before crossing Europe to join the Adriatic, the Tyrrhenian Sea and finally the Mediterranean.
After 2 years of walking, I resume my mission from Sweden in June 2019. I will be returning southwards eventually to Santiago de Compostela; heading across Europe ~ via the Baltic States, Poland, Germany, Czech Republic and Austria, then into Italy southwards to Rome.
From there I will then cross Sardinia and around the Mediterranean en route to Spain. Crossing Spain I will return via Santiago de Compostela and then back to Muxía and the Atlantic.
In Muxía I will also be making an offering to thank all those people who collected and donated their sands for me. The ‘Virgin of the Boat’ or ‘Our Lady of the Boat’ is the name of Muxía’s best loved sanctuary, welcoming pilgrims at the very end of the Camino de Finisterre and Muxía ~ the Camino route west from Santiago de Compostela … to the very edge of the Atlantic Ocean. I will offer The Cube to remain there for future generations, in the Sanctuary by the Ocean.
Historically, I am doing the so-called “return of the heritage paths of Santiago de Compostela”.
That will complete my walks following the Ancient Routes of Saint James.
For all Europeans, for this major walk from Scandinavia back to Santiago de Compostela, can you help me along the way, if you can?
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