Thursday, December 29, 2011

Day 544 - Spain

Today I am in the beautiful city of Barcelona. We´ve been here for two nights and later today we will be starting our magical 11 night cruise around the Med. What a special way to end off the year!

My bags are packed - from running shoes to evening gowns, I´m prepared for all occasions! There are some really special stops on route, a pity that I wasn´t able to get a visa for the one day stop in Casablanca, Morocco. Anyway, I´m looking forward to seeing the Canary Islands, Malaga, Rome and the cherry on the cake, Funchal on New Year´s eve!

That´s it for now - hoping to post some great pics at the end of our trip and wising you all a truly special New Year´s Eve! All the very best for 2012, I can´t wait to come back to Spain in a few months time - hope you´ll come along for the adventure!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Day 533 - Special times

And before you could say 'year end', Christmas week has arrived. It feels as if it almost sneaked up on us this year, is it just me, or are the months flying past at the speed of light?

When I started this blog I had almost two years to go before my big walk in Spain, now there are less than six months to go! Planning has started in all earnest and as an extra bonus we have decided to add a week long barging trip in France after the walk. A couple of years ago we did a similar trip down the Canal du Midi - probably one of the best holidays we've ever had. I can't think of a more fitting way to relax after walking 800 km!

Here are a few of our memories...

Pictures courtesy of my friend Tanja Els
As you can see - this was a truly special trip and I am reminded how important it is to nurture our friendships!

As for the people joining me on the Camino in Spain - I could not have asked for a more special group of friends, even if I tried! Some will go all the way and some will join me for a part of the walk.

This week I met young Annie, daughter of my hiking buddie Eddie. She came to visit all the way from Barcelona and the little delightful canape in the picture at the beginning of this post was her creation. She joined us on our hike last week and this was her contribution to our year end barbecue in the mountains. Pretty civilised!

What a treat it would be if she could pay us a surprise visit somewhere along the route, especially as her dad will be walking with us all the way!

In the meantime - travel plans and dates are now becoming the main focus and in the next couple of weeks I'll be concentrating on flight options, starting dates and luggage options.

All I know for sure at this stage is that I'm starting the walk in St Jean Pied de Port and that I'd like to walk into the cathedral in Santiago de Compostela on the 12th of July 2012, the day of my big birthday!

In the meantime, I have a Christmas eve menu to plan. My house will be filled with family this year and I think it's time to take out the Christmas decorations...

A certain little person is now celebrating his fourth Christmas and I say again - is it just me, or is time flying by at the speed of light?

Monday, December 12, 2011

Day 527 - Blessings in colour!

'Tis my faith that every flower
Enjoys the air it breathes!'
~William Wordsworth

Can one feel anything but blessed when these are the treats put on your path at the end of a long year...

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Day 521 - Hidden gems.

My garden was transformed into a wonderland of dewdrops this morning. Turning this picture around and looking a little deeper at what was hidden in the little drop of water made me realise how rewarding it can be to take the time to get to know more.

More about life. More about those sharing this world with us. More about why we are.

More about who we are and what we could be.

Turning things upside down might sometimes reveal something totally new, totally unexpected - the same thing, but so much more perfect when viewed from another angle!

I focused on the agapanthus flower when I composed the shot - little did I know that hidden in the little dewdrop I would later discover this amazing scene. All I had to do was to look a little closer, to turn it around a little. I had to get rid of the bigger picture to discover the beauty inside.

I'm discovering gems like this in the most unexpected places. Looking a little deeper. Really listening. People say so much between the lines. Focus on the moment, instead of the bigger picture.

I would have missed out if I chose not get my feet wet this morning...

'Let my teaching fall like rain and my words descend like dew,
like showers on new grass, like abundant rain on tender plants.'
~ Deuteronomy 32:2

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Day 517 - A small detour...

My road to Santiago took a little detour around Lion's Head today. Lion's Head is situated right next to our beautiful city and looking down on all the office buidings and busy streets from up there, I realised once again how fortunate I am. I have to admit that there was no way that you would have been able to convince me to exchange my hiking boots and backpack for an office suit today!

I'm also starting to come to grips with my little Olympus digital camera. The fact that I won't be able to take my normal (too bulky) camera with me to Spain, really bothers me as I really want to capture my journey as best I possibly can. After all, other than memories I will carry with me, a photographic record is the next most important thing that I am going to bring home with me.

The little green Olympus was purchased to go all the way up Kilimanjaro with me as the pamphlet promised that it would operate at minus 10 degrees Celsius and would survive a fall of one and a half meters. It also boasted that it would function underwater! Well, it certainly has lived up to the first promise, I'm yet to test the other two. The problem that I have with it is that I never got to read the manual before my Kili trip. My plan was to educate myself the evening before the climb. Imagine my disappointment when I realised that I did not have the correct plug with me to recharge the battery.This meant that if I played around with it, I would have no way to recharge the battery and I could not risk running out of battery power just as I was about to take that BIG picture on the very top of Africa! As it turned out, the three batteries I took with, lasted exactly as long as I needed it to.

To cut a long story short, I was too tired to study instructions and thought I'd just click away and hope for the best. Well, the pictures were ok, but not special and I felt that I had wasted my money. I just can't bear spending money on another camera though when, in fairness, this little one has still been largely unexplored. I've taken it on two of my hikes now and the above pics were taken on the automatic mode. Slowly but surely I'm going to experiment with the manual settings and see what it produces before I decide whether to stick with it or not.

If you've walked the Camino and have any advice regarding this issue, I'd love to hear from you.

As for the detour of today, it was well worth taking! A single canon shot announces midday in Cape Town every day. We had planned to be at the place where this happens today. As it turned out we didn't stick to our planned pace and instead enjoyed the view whilst enjoying our snacks and chatting away - just enjoying the company!

What a special way to spend a Thursday. I hope that life has a few dozen more of these in store for me. 

As for the Camino - if these weekly detours are indicators of things to come, I can see that 34 days in Spain is definitely not going to be enough!