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From Sweden to Israel, by foot


Six months ago, 39-year-old Jorgen Nilsson left his home in Sweden and embarked on a 4,500-kilometer (2,800-mile) pilgrimage to Jerusalem.

Jorgen, a knight in the Hospitaller Order of St. Lazarus, left the city of Lund on November 18 and was expected to arrive in the Israeli capital just in time for the first International Jerusalem Symposium on Green and Accessible Pilgrimage, which begins Sunday.

On his way to Jerusalem, Nilsson passed through Denmark, Germany, France, Italy and Greece. Last weekend he arrived in the northern city of Haifa, and moved on to Zichron Yaakov, Hadera, Netanya, Raanana, Tel Aviv, Ramla, Ramat Raziel and Abu Gosh before heading to Jerusalem.

His journey comprised of a total of seven million steps.

Nilsson explained last week why he chose to walk to Jerusalem: "First of all, the ancient and holy city was always a critical point both for peace and for conflict. The city serves as a symbol for the effort required to reach world peace.

"I am a member of the Order of St. Lazarus of Jerusalem. Last year, the Order returned to Jerusalem after hundreds of years of absence and exile in France. In light of that, as part of my desire to perpetuate our return to the holy city, I decided to do this historical walk to Jerusalem."

After a short rest from his long journey, Nilsson was expected to receive the key to the city from Mayor Nir Barkat.

During his trip, Nilsson updated his blog and posted pictures of the different landscapes he saw on his way on Facebook.

The Order of St. Lazarus, which invited Nilsson to Israel, is known for its philanthropic activity for a green environment and is cooperating with the Jerusalem Municipality in the International Jerusalem Symposium on Green and Accessible Pilgrimage, which will be held this week as part of the Earth Day events.

Meanwhile, Australian adventure runner Richard Bowles launched the longest run ever along the Israel Trail last Wednesday, hoping to complete the entire 1,009-kilometer (627-mile) path within just 12 days.

Bowles, an ultra-marathon runner, arrived in Israel under the sponsorship of the Shoresh company to run on a track initiated by the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel, which only recently was included on National Geographic magazine's Epic Trails list.



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