"I'm stepping out for a bit," said junior boss Christoph Moritz sometime in May 2018. The long, labour-intensive winter season had gnawed at the spirit, the satisfaction that comes with positive developments at the Arabella was mixed with tiredness - and a long held dream: To walk ‘The Way of St James,’ the "Camino Frances" in Spain, alone. How many times had his friends kidded him, “Ok Christoph, we’ll believe it when we see it." The time had finally come. So off he went. After raiding an outdoor shop and purchasing equipment, a flight to Bilbao was booked.
With 13 kg on his shoulders (Christoph of course dared to carry more luggage than is usually recommended) and ambitiously planned daily stages on the agenda, he started from León in the direction of Santiago de Compostela. At first he was plagued by the usual fate of relatively untrained pilgrims: Pain… in the muscles, in the ankles and above all in the head, where a strong sense of pride refused to give up quickly. But little by little, the "Camino Frances" and the people who walked through it showed him how to recognise the essential. This also includes listening to yourself and your body.
"On this journey, I gained a lot of strength and learned a lot. People from the most diverse backgrounds told me about their strokes of fate, hopes and dreams. I myself have spent lonely hours arguing with myself. The changes in society, the future development of our planet, as well as the meaning of luxury occupied my mind. Luxury, that became clear to me in these many lonely hours, is time spent with family and friends. More specifically, it is actually taking this time. In our fast-moving world, we must consciously create connections that last. Why do we devote so much attention to our screens and gadgets and put off family, friends and acquaintances? What do we sacrifice if we are always available? The feeling of missing out on something always makes me anxious.”
With these thoughts in his mind, Christoph's steps became easier and more and more assured the closer he came to his pilgrimage goal. His body had become accustomed to the exertions. Being thankful lightened his load. He considered himself fortunate to be able to live together with his family in his "favourite place" Nauders! An interest in becoming regrounded, nature, regionality and simplicity have become even stronger. Arabella is a chance to give people exactly what they long for: a wonderful, carefree time together. Less is more: particularly on holiday you don't want to have to make dozens of decisions every day. You want to be fully there. By the way, it is part of the concept at the Arabella that we as hosts make a pre-selection and give our guests the freedom to feel and experience only the "most valuable."
But back to the Way of St. James: After almost 3 weeks, Christoph proudly reached the famous cathedral in Santiago de Compostela in the company of beloved people from all over the world. One of them, who hadn’t ever been interested in hiking before, had now become a passionate hiker. The newly won urge to move had to be lived out immediately at home in Nauders. During his first days back, Christoph only wanted to spend time in nature on his bike.
Christoph Moritz sums up the intensive impressions of the Jakobsweg thusly:
One of the most special moments was a day spent hiking with an Australian bestselling author and her friend, talking about the changes in our society.
One of the most important experiences was learning to listen to your body - it tells you exactly what you need.
One of the bitterest experiences was certainly forgetting earplugs for the 45-man rooms in youth hostels.
And will there be a second adventure?
I will definitely walk the Camino Frances alone a second time in the next few years.