Currently in Madinah, prepares to walk to Makkah

By Ajape Sefiu A.

According to Saudi Press Agency, French traveler Mohamed Boulabiar spent eight months walking through 13 countries to perform Umrah.

In an interview with the SPA shortly after arriving in Madinah on Wednesday, Boulabiar said he trained for two years for the 8,000-km walk.

“I traversed over 8,000 kilometers during the journey, crossing 12 countries before arriving in Saudi Arabia, the 13th country in my journey. I began from France, traversing Switzerland, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Montenegro, Albania, Macedonia, Greece, Turkey, and Jordan, before finally reaching Saudi Arabia.”

He started from the Eiffel Tower in Paris on Aug. 27, 2023, and walked through Switzerland, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Montenegro, Albania, Macedonia, Greece, Turkey and Jordan before eventually reaching Saudi Arabia.

With only a map, a bag containing essential provisions and a tent weighing only 25 kg, Boulabiar said he spent most of his nights at mosques along the route or with generous strangers who welcomed him into their homes.

Boulabiar, born in France to a Tunisian father and a Moroccan mother, said the hardest part of the journey was the weather.

“I did not encounter any problems on the road, but the biggest challenge was the weather. I departed in the summer and arrived in the spring, passing through autumn and winter, enduring storms and thunder. At one stage of the journey, a snowstorm at the Greek border delayed my trip by a week.”

He added, “I walked in temperatures of around 40°C, but thankfully, everything went smoothly. I am overjoyed to be here. It has been my dream since childhood to visit Madinah after Makkah. Upon arriving here yesterday, my eyes filled with tears. I am elated to meet the Saudi people. This is my first visit to the Gulf. I received a warm welcome here. People stopped me on the road to offer food and drink, and some even invited me to stay with them. I am immensely grateful to be here and to have completed the journey.”

“I have always harbored a desire to undertake this journey. It has been a dream since childhood. I yearned to arrive in Makkah on foot, emulating the Prophet, peace be upon him, and his companions,” Boulabiar added.