Lesson 1: Walk slowly
“Can we start?” “Yes, we can start.” The sun is finally shining again, the best hiking temperatures on the outskirts of Berlin, and Christine Thürmer is beaming as if she had just finished one of her thousands of kilometers of long-distance hikes. She hiked 54,000 kilometers. This is significantly more than once around the world and there is no other woman who is documented to have hiked more. “Can it go now?” “Yes, it can go!” “Well then.” “But we’re going.” Oh, yes. And then you need a moment to understand that this slow walking, almost a shuffle, is Christine Thürmer’s pace. “I’m really comfortable on the way,” she says. “Walking fast doesn’t make sense, many people walk faster than is good for them,” she adds and slowly puts one foot in front of the other, she only lifts her knee slightly so that her steps are short and without tension, no more than 30 , maybe 16 inches long. And that’s when you start to calculate, as you did several times on this hike on the Wuhletalweg in Berlin-Marzahn.
If this woman, who goes beyond any hiking dimension, takes three steps on one meter, then after around 54,000 kilometers – ratterratterratter – she has taken over 160 million steps. And that in this slow motion gear! Christine Thürmer laughs, she already knows that. “You can maintain a distance of 30 to 35 kilometers at this rate for months.” For months, it reverberates as we pace through the gardens of the world, behind which prefabricated buildings shimmer like a mirage in the heat. And without knowing it, that was the first lesson that the “most hiked woman in the world” is teaching us today. We still have ten kilometers or 30,000 Thürmer steps ahead of us.