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Fab Europe Travel

    Fab Europe Travel

    Exploring Northern Denmark

    Four Days on the West and North Danish Coast

    Location: Northern Denmark

    Not yet a week into the next phase of the Grand Adventure – still feeling the jet leg, but happy to once again

    Exploring Northern Denmark

    Our path in Denmark

    be in beautiful, friendly Denmark. We had less than a week here.  But tiny Denmark is a great destination if you have limited time. So we decided to make our second visit to this special place and enjoy exploring Northern Denmark.

    Exploring Northern Denmark

    Klitmoller

    We have family living in Copenhagen who we have visited before.  This time however, our family was at their summer home in Klitmoller, about four and half hours northwest of Copenhagen.  Lucky for us, they invited us to come to Klitmoller, also known as Cold Hawaii, for a few relaxing and peaceful days.

    We arrived very tired from being awake for nearly 24 hours flying Seattle to Reykjavik and then on to Copenhagen.  Iceland Air lost our luggage (long story short – finally got our luggage after three days), so our arrival was a bit stressful. After several hours trying to locate the luggage, we finally realized we needed to just get our rental car and begin the drive.  Despite how tired we were we really wanted to see our family and make it to Klitmoller that night.

    The path from Copenhagen (on the island of Zealand) to Jutland (the part of Denmark connected to the continent) is a beautiful drive.  It winds

    Exploring Northern Denmark

    Fisher houses for nets and gear in Klitmoller

    through bucolic farmland, where wheat fields flow right down to the ocean, through rugged but quaint sea towns, small forests and over several large bridges. We arrived in Klitmoller, a tiny historic fishing town now known mostly for its surfing, just as the sun was setting on a beautiful summer day in early August.  We enjoyed homemade lasagna, lots of catching up and family news and a few beers before heading off to sweet dreams in our family’s comfortable and beautiful country-style Danish home.  I was asleep before my head hit the pillow.

    Morning dawned bright and sparkling, and our cousins told us we were going for a morning swim.  Wait – what?  Isn’t it cold?  This is Scandinavia after all – we are as far north as Juneau!

    Exploring Northern Denmark

    Brisk morning swim in the North Sea

    Well, a morning dip is part of Danish summer life so off we trekked the 200 meters or so to the beach.  And guess what?  It wasn’t even that cold! Brisk yes, but  frankly warmer than the Puget Sound back in Washington State.  It was a great way to get your motor running for the day.

    Exploring Northern Denmark

    Danish breakfast

    Next we enjoyed a sunny Danish breakfast of bread, cheese, yogurt, fruit and coffee before spending the day seeing the handful of sites around Klitmoller.  We learned great WWII history at Hanstholm, where a national park includes dozens of bunkers built during the German occupation.  Germany occupied Denmark from 1940-1945 and forced local men to build these fortifications in an attempt to protect the west-facing coast and the entrance to the Baltic Sea between Denmark and Norway. Hanstholm is also home to a large fishing port and auction house.  We then visited the impossible-to-pronounce village of Norre Vorupor.  The locals call it Nor Vegas. A bit more touristy than Klitmoller, the tiny seaside village promotes surfing, fishing and has a

    Exploring Northern Denmark

    Norre Vorupor

    lovely protected salt water swimming area.  We ate a traditional Danish lunch outside in the sunshine: smoked mackerel and fish cakes with potato salad. Heading back up the coast to Klitmoller, we stopped at the beach to enjoy watching our cousin’s children surfing and enjoying this wonderful lifestyle they are so lucky to have here in Western Denmark.

    We stopped at the fish market for the freshest piece of salmon for dinner then headed home for a relaxing evening together.  Late in the day we heard that a giant storm was about to hit

    Exploring Northern Denmark

    Delicious salmon from the North

    Denmark bringing 60 mph winds.  So we brought in all the outdoor things and battened down, ready for an exciting night.  But the storm didn’t arrive til morning, and was not as intense as originally forecast.

    After breakfast we walked down to the beach to see how big the waves were due to the storm.  No morning swim on this morning as the waves were breaking at about 3 meters (10 feet).  A few brave surfers and some very talented and experienced kite boarders were enjoying it though. The boardwalk around the beach was crowded with locals and visitors bundled up against

    Exploring Northern Denmark

    Windy morning at Klitmoller beach

    the wind and rain and enjoying the show.

    Finally around noon our luggage arrived and we packed up the car to head north while our cousins packed up to return to Copenhagen and prepare for the start of school on Monday. We would see them again in a few days.

    Driving north for two and half hours we enjoyed the terrain of seagrass covered dunes as we made our way to the tip of Denmark and the historic town of Skagen.  We checked into our lovely little hotel.  It was a sunny afternoon but the forecast was

    Port of Skagen

    ominous so we decided we should see as much as we could this day.

    We wandered the little village and the small shopping area and headed to the port where humongous

    Exploring Northern Denmark

    Yellow houses

    fishing vessels equipped for the high northern seas sit next to pleasure craft and sailboats.  This area is all about fishing and you see it in the port, in the restaurants and even in the color of the houses and buildings.  Historically the residents painted the village buildings a mustard yellow color with red roofs and white trim so the fisherman could see them from far away as they were returning from sea.

    Fish of course was for dinner and we enjoyed a delicious meal at Skagen Fiskerestaurant located in one of several historic port side buildings.

    Exploring Northern Denmark

    Grenen point

    After dinner, since the weather was so beautiful, we drove to the very tip of Denmark, known as Grenen.  The Northern most point of Denmark is only 50 kilometers (30 miles) from Norway.  Here the Strait of Skagerak from the west collides with the Kattegat Sea with a force that is magnificent to behold.  The two seas form a long sand spit (Grenen) and it is one of the top tourist destinations in Denmark.  We were so glad we went out there while it was a sunny and warm late afternoon.

    Waking up the next day the weather, as predicted, was cloudy and grey and wet.  So we mapped out a plan to see the sights this day from the car.

    First we headed to Den Tilsandede Kirke (The Buried Church), a 14th century church out in the dunes.

    Exploring Northern Denmark

    The buried church

    During the last half of the 18th century the church was partially buried by sand from nearby dunes; the congregation had to dig out the entrance each time a service was held. The struggle to keep the church free of sand lasted until 1795, when it was abandoned. The church was demolished, leaving the tower  still standing.

    We drove to Gammel Skagen (Old Skagen) also known Hojen, the original settlement on this remote peninsula.  Most residents eventually moved to Skagen on the other side of the peninsula which is more protected from the harsh winds and seas.  Today Gammel Skagen is home to upscale hotels and residences.

    Skagen Museum/Art Museum of Skagen – we loved this incredible museum and it was the perfect thing to experience on a rainy day. At the end of the 19th century, Skagen became the center of one of the most

    Exploring Northern Denmark

    Michael Ancher’s amazing talent depicted in this portrait of a young Skagen girl

    famous artists’ colonies in Europe, known as the Skagen painters. The museum has a collection of more than 9,000 artworks by members of the Scandinavian artists colony – the Skagen painters – who lived and worked in the fishing village of Skagen in the late 19th and early 20th centuries including extensive works by Michael and Ana Ancher, Holger Drachmann, Marie Kroyer, Viggo Johansen and many others.  It is a superbly done museum.

    The rain lessened in the afternoon for a couple of hours so we headed out for some walking exercise and visited the historic Vippefyret, a 400 year old light house that used a coal fire lifted in a metal cage by a lever. The

    Exploring Northern Denmark

    Vippefyret

    fire served as the light for mariners until 1747.

    We ended our day with another outstanding Danish dinner at the popular port side restaurant of Pakhuset.  The Moules Mariniere was sublime.

    Sunday morning the weather was better.  Since we are still waking up at an ungodly hour (4am) we took a brisk morning walk down to the sea.  Lots of Dane’s having an early morning swim in the nude, cycling and walking. I love their fitness obsession.  Back at our hotel for the fantastic morning buffet of Danish delights; Danish Ryebread (my fav), cheeses, pate, meats, fruit, muesli, soft boiled eggs, coffee and juice.

    Exploring Northern Denmark

    Swedish church in Skagen

    Now we will take a leisurely drive back to Copenhagen and to our cousin’s city home in Virum where we will enjoy a farewell evening before our Monday departure. Our brief visit comes to an end.  We enjoyed exploring Northern Denmark.  Such a beautiful, historic, friendly and delicious country is Denmark.  We are happy to be Danish, if only a little bit.

    Tomorrow the grand adventure continues to Belgium!

    Fabelagtig! (Fabulous).

    Exploring Northern Denmark

    Historic windmill in Skagen

     

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    Fab Europe Travel

    Climbing Down The Schilthorn in Switzerland

    On top of the World

    Location: Switzerland

    Climbing down the Schilthorn in Switzerland

    At the top ready to go

    As part of my Fab Fifty Life, I am committed to doing and seeing things only a few short years ago I would never have even considered.  I am committed to being a person who is open and aware and living everyday as if it’s my last.Today, we did that – by climbing down the Schilthorn in Switzerland.

    Climbing down the Schilthorn in Switzerland

    Carefully crossing the snowy patches

    We left our warm and cozy bed at Olle and Maria’s Bed and Breakfast in Gimmelwald, Switzerland, in time to make the first cable car  at 7:30am to the top of the peak of the Schilthorn.  The weather was spectacular and our host Olle insisted we go as early as possible, as the peak often fogs in shortly after sunrise and he didn’t want us to miss the window to enjoy climbing down the Schilthorn in Switzerland.

    We were at the top by 8am and enjoyed a wonderful breakfast in the revolving restaurant before making our way around the viewing areas.  We could literally see for miles and miles and it was glorious.

    But now the true test was about to begin.  Did I have it in me to climb down the Schilthorn in Switzerland? To hike down from the 9700 foot peak to 4100 foot low point?  Well, we were going to find out.

    Climbing down the Schilthorn in Switzerland

    Bring It!

    We began the hike at 8:45am.  Temperature at the top was at freezing.  I was wearing a stocking cap and gloves, two shirts and a coat.  Within 15 minutes I took off the coat and gloves and within an hour the hat.  The first 2 hours were treacherous.  Hiking along a sheer cliff on loose shale was nerve-wracking.  Climbing hand and foot over giant boulders was exasperating, crossing a slippery patch of snow with nothing to do but go down down if you fell was pee-my-pants frightening.  Crossing under a waterfall and through a raging creek was tricky. We were learning quickly that climbing down the Schilthorn in Switzerland is not for the faint of heart.

    Climbing down the Schilthorn in Switzerland

    Me and my BFF – the hubs

    Every step you need to calculate.  Concentrating constantly, I had to remind myself to stop and look around and enjoy the remarkable view.  It truly is stunning, and the photos just don’t do it justice. We noticed the peak and the viewing area was now fogged in.  We were so glad we took Olle’s advice and started so early!

    Climbing down the Schilthorn in Switzerland

    Beer Break!

    After about 2 and a half hours we reached Rotstockhutte, a midway hostel facility for hikers.  Here we put our feet up and had a beer before heading on down through hundreds of grazing cows with giant cowbells and miles of meadows of wildflowers.  Down, down we went, through forests and rivers until we reached Gimmelwald and our Bed and Breakfast at 3:45pm, 7 hours after we had begun climbing down the Schilthorn in Switzerland.

    It’s difficult to describe an experience like this.  At the top as we started I had a tightness in my chest.  I couldn’t decide if it was the altitude making it hard for me to breathe or if I was having a slight panic attack as I looked at the “trail” (it’s a stretch to call it that) laying ahead of me.

    Climbing down the Schilthorn in Switzerland

    Moo. Swiss Cows are so sweet

    My husband, always with me and my companion in all things, kept my pace and encouraged me throughout.  After awhile you start to get the hang of the steep parts, how best to place your poles, your foot, your body weight.  We talked through certain areas when we had to negotiate the best path.  It was a team effort.

    I enjoyed today, and the past four days, visiting this remarkable area of Switzerland.  But I know I will not be back.  So, I look around now and am thankful we received this remarkable weather today so we could do this remarkable hike and experience this remarkable once in a lifetime moment; starting on top of the world and climbing down the Schilthorn in Switzerland.

    Fab Europe Travel

    Top Five Things to do in Beautiful Barcelona – Ole’!

    Plan now for a visit in 2018

    Location: Barcelona Spain

    Headed to Europe or planning for next summer?  You need to include time in Barcelona Spain.  Ancient yet modern, here are our top five things to do in beautiful Barcelona.

    Top Five Things to do in Barcelona

    Park Guell

    One of Europe’s top destination cities, Beautiful Barcelona is a vibrant, cultural, colorful and historic gem, nestled in the warm and sunny Northeast corner of the Iberian Peninsula on the Mediterranean Sea. Bravo – Ole!

    <img alt ="mercadobarcelona">

    A bounty of fresh

    A visit to Barcelona can be done in as little as three days, but why not spend more time? Beautiful Barcelona is one of those special places where you should just wander… around every corner you’ll stumble upon ancient architecture. In every nook and cranny find local cuisine featuring the bounty of the Catalan region. Sit and sip a coffee or Spanish wine and practice your Spanish with a local – who will likely speak both Spanish and Catalan but not English. Language is never a problem though, everyone is kind and knows a bit of English and you point and smile and communicate however you can (and it doesn’t hurt to have a translation app on your phone!). Muy Bien!

    1. Ramble La Rambla (and more)
    Top Five Thingsro so in Barcelona

    La Rambla

     One of Barcelona’s favorite places to see and be seen is La Rambla, the famous and beautiful wide promenade in the old city. Walking in Barcelona is encouraged, through beautiful pedestrian areas like this one, although Barcelona also has an efficient, clean and fast subway (Metro). Be sure to look into the Barcelona Card for your best transport deals in the city (as well as deals to museums and more). www.barcelonacard.com

    Along La Rambla you will find shopping and dining and many places to sit and relax. You will also find the entrance to the wonderful Mercado de la Boqueria (see more below on this).

    Top Five Things to do in Barcelona

    Lunch at Mercado de la Boquerie

    Barcelonians can also be found promenading along the boardwalk area of Barcelona Beach, popular for sunbathing in the heat, dining and walking any time in this city by the sea.

    For more upscale shopping be sure to stroll the Passeig de Gracia, or just to window shop at such designer stores as Hermes, Michael Cors, or Yves Saint Laurent. This area is known for its modernist architecture, theaters (Flamenco and Opera) and dining. Fantastico!

    1. Bon Profit – Buen Provecho
    Top Five Things to do inBarcelona

    Spanish wine is amazing

    No matter how you say it, in Catalan or Spanish, eating well in Beautiful Barcelona is easy to do. The Catalan cuisine focuses simply on one thing – fresh, seasonal ingredients. Don’t expect spicy foods, or lots of sauces as you might find in France or South America. Spain’s cuisine, and in particular the region of Catalonia, uses simple seasoning and lets the fresh ingredients do the talking.

    Jamon (please don’t call this prosciutto in front of a Spaniard) is found through- out Spain and the locally produced Iberian Black Pig Jamon is some of the finest in the world (check out the Jamon Experience www.jamonexperience.com ). Spanish olive oil is also spectacular, and unbeknownst to many people, you are often buying Spanish olive oil when it’s labeled Italian.

    Top Five Things to do inBarcelona

    Spanish cooking class

    Whether or not you are a foodie, a visit to the
    impressive Mercado de la Boqueria should be high on your list during your time in Barcelona. It’s a fun experience and feast for both the eyes and the
    stomach. Wander through the stalls eating “take-away” tapas ranging from olives, to empanadas, jamon to calamari and everything in between. Sidle up to the bar at one of the handful of restaurants serving fresh made Catalan specialties to customers perched at a narrow bar on stools. Delicioso!

     Consider a food tour where an experienced guide will take you to multiple restaurants, tapas bars, wine bars as well as through the mercado. This is an excellent way to learn about the cuisine and the city and its passion for fresh food. There are many options for tours like this in Barcelona. Check out www.withlocals.com or www.visitbarcelona.com to learn more.

    Top Five Things to do inBarcelona

    Black Pig Jamon

    Delve deeper into the cuisine with a cooking class. Classes can focus on the delicious and colorful and beautiful foods of Barcelona such as tapas, seafood or a selection of some of the region’s best-known dishes such as Paella, Tortilla, and Gazpacho and usually include an in-depth tour of the Boqueria. www.bcnkitchen.com

    1. Ga Ga for Gaudi
    Top Five Things to do in Barcelona

    La Sagrada Familia

    Barcelona has become synonymous with Antoni Gaudi, the influential architect from the 1800’s who was far ahead of his time. There are three main sights in Barcelona to marvel at his genius, and all three are recommended. Be sure to book in advance – these are the cities most popular tourist destinations and you don’t want to miss out!

    Incredible architecture

    La Sagrada Familia – designed by Gaudi, this Catholic Basilica, named for the Holy Family, is a UNESCO World Heritage site, as well as one of the most recognizable buildings in the world. Construction began on Gaudi’s masterpiece in 1882 and he devoted the remainder of his life to the project. Since Gaudi’s death in 1926 construction has continued, being interrupted only by war, and continues to this day. Visitors can see the varying stages, including (with a special ticket) going up inside one of the towers. Like all of Gaudi’s works, elements from nature play heavily in the design, and the magnificent stone forest, and masterful use of stained glass on the interior makes for a spiritual and natural experience. It will take your breath away. Current goals are to complete the remaining towers by 2026, the centennial of Gaudi’s death. Do not miss La Sagrada Familia – an absolute highlight of your tour of Beautiful Barcelona. www.sagradafamilia.org.

    Top Five Things to do in Barcelona

    Park Guell

    Park Guell – The combined vision of urban planner/businessman Eusebi Guell and Antoni Gaudi
    conceived this residential neighborhood, which failed commercially due to its high cost and location too far from the city center. Began in 1900, it became a Barcelona city park in 1926. Today there are portions of the park that are free to the public, but to really experience the UNESCO Heritage site, reserve one of the limited numbers of visitors tickets sold each day. The park includes more of Gaudi’s inspirational and astonishingly forward thinking nature-themed style, from the covered seating areas to the water features, houses and other structures. Park Guell is a must see in Barcelona. https://www.parkguell.cat/en/

    Top Five Things to do in Barcelona

    Park Guell

    Want more Gaudi? Stroll the Passieg de Gracia to see Casa Mila and Casa Batllo, two more remarkable buildings showcasing Gaudi’s striking modernist art style with homage to nature. This block of homes (Gaudi and non-Gaudi) is one of the most beautiful in all of Barcelona. Tickets are needed to enter, or you can admire from outside. Learn more about Casa Mila at www.lapedrera.com or Casa Batllo https://www.casabatllo.es/en/

    1. History Lessons
    Top Five Things to do in Barcelona

    Passieg de Garcia

    This city’s history is deep, with some of the earliest findings suggesting occupation in the region dating as early as 5000BC. Clearly the region has been an important crossroads for millennia, with Romans playing a major role in development with many sites viewable today dating to this period. A walk through the Barri Gotic takes you back in time, and a visit to the Catedral de la Santa Cruz y Santa Eulate shouldn’t be missed. More indepth and fascinating history can be found in the Catalonia History Museum and the Barcelona History Museum. Both are worth the time.

    For a fun and educational lesson check out Free Barcelona Walking Tours www.freewalkingtoursbarcelona.com or www.visitbarcelona.com

    1. Afield

    If you are blessed with additional time in Catalonia, there are numerous day-trips outside of Barcelona including Montserrat Mountain and Monastery, Costa Brava with its beaches and historic villages, and many cycling and hiking options.

    Visit Barcelona and spend at least five days – a week is even better – and get to know this magical place. Yo amo Barcelona! Ole!

    Note- interested in more information on Spanish cooking class at Mercado de la Boqueria? Click here.

     

     

     

    Fab Europe Travel  --  Fab Food

    Barcelona Cooking Class – Eat Local

    Chapter Ten Final Days

    When in Barcelona – eat! And if you can – cook!  Because the Catalan cuisine is simple, seasonal, fresh and fabulous and a day cooking in a Spanish kitchen makes for a great memory.

    I researched many options for cooking classes in

    Frutes de boca

    Barcelona. There were a lot. But I chose the Barcelona Kitchen, the cooking school housed in the Mercado de la Boqueria, for its class choices and menu.

    Since I’ve been in Spain for two months and

    Seafood so fresh it’s still moving.

    traveled through multiple regions, I’ve tasted a variety of regional dishes as well as regional takes on national favorites. In Catalonia, the region where Barcelona is the largest city, food is celebrated every day and regional pride in the local Catalan cuisine is evident everywhere you go.

    Catalan cuisine is not about heavily spiced or sauced dishes.  Rather it is about the best, freshest and

    Fresh picked today

    most local ingredients. Right now in October that means frutas de boca (fruits of the forest) which includes a variety of mushrooms, snails, nuts and seeds. October is also bountiful in tomatoes, squash, fruit, greens, root vegetables, peppers, potatoes, onions, figs, and much more.  Combine these ingredients with seasonal fish, shellfish, meat, fowl, and the unforgettably delicious Iberian jamon (ham) and you have yourself the makings of a special feast.

    Stock simmering.

    Add a little Spanish wine and as the Catalonians say Bon Profit! Muy Bien!

    My class, led by Lena, began with a tour and shopping trip for our ingredients through the Mercado de la Boqueria, Barcelona’s famous and fabulous market. Here we learned about many of the products and producers from eggs to olive oil and saffron to cuttlefish.

    Making the Crema Catlana

    Back in the kitchen we set to work for three solid hours cooking and preparing five of Catalan’s favorite dishes; Tortilla – egg and potatoe omelette like pie (the national dish of Spain that sustained me daily on the Camino), Seafood Paella (the only

    Finished Paella

    way Catalans eat Paella is seafood), Pa amb Tomàquet – Catalan Tomato Bread, Gazpacho – cold tomato soup, and Crema Catalana – a delicious dessert similar to creme brûlée but better!

    I was surprised at the amount of time the tortilla takes to make but I loved it. I also really enjoyed making the Paella from scratch including the stock which simmered and reduced on the stove for more than an hour. It was rich and delicious.

    The beautiful Gazpacho

    The Gazpacho was incredible, easy and fast. Unlike our chunky style at home this cold tomato soup was creamy and smooth using the food processor and adding lots of olive oil to emulsify it. Perfecto!

    Our class enjoying the feast

    As usual, I loved learning from a local and cooking this incredible cuisine.  Spain has been many things to me over the past two months, including delicious!

    Our time in this sweet country is ending and we move on now to Chapter Eleven – Tunisia, Morocco, Namibia and South Africa. But Spain will always hold something very special for us and we will definitely be back.

    Muchos Gracias Mi Amigos.  Fabulous!

    Everything Else Fabulous  --  Fab Europe Travel

    Beyond the Camino – The Adventure Continues

    What’s Next?

    For the last few days I’ve been trying to process my feelings about completing the Camino de Santiago Adventure. It’s a big task. Not sure I can do it in just a few days. In fact not sure I can do it at all.

    Our Camino journey is just one incredible adventure on our Grand Adventure world tour. We are so lucky to be leading this life and sometimes, like now, it’s good to stop and really absorb our own reality.

    (Note – many people are asking where we go next. Check the end of this blog for upcoming adventure details)

    What have we learned?  I think we learned some valuable things, but we also reconfirmed things we already knew. For instance –

    We learned how amazing the human body is. Even in our Fabulous Fifties our bodies did not fail us. It was about day 12 when one morning I got up to get ready to go and my body acknowledged it. I think that morning my body said “Oh – I get it. You intend to do this long walk EVERY day. Okay now I understand. I can do that. Let’s go.”

    We reconfirmed our mental need to have a day off or a do nothing day from time to time. These days I believe make living a full-time travel life possible. Otherwise the mental fatigue of the Grand Adventure really takes a toll.  After awhile in this travel life you don’t feel the need to see and do every monument and tourism hotspot. Just enjoying putting your feet up and relaxing becomes a cherished and fabulous day.

    (Note – did you know you can click on any photo in our blogs and Pin directly to Pinterest? Give it a try!)

    We learned what an amazing and wide range of people it is who tackle a Camino walk. We met some fascinating people from all over the world, many who will live in our memories forever. I can’t think of any other experience we have ever had where it included so many people from so many cultures speaking so many languages but all sharing the same goal. That was a wonderful and inspiring lesson- one our world leaders should learn.  We are all in this together.

    And yet we reconfirmed how much we enjoy each other’s company and most of our time was spent just us on the trail doing what we do best – being together. After almost 35 years of marriage we got that down.

    While news of natural disasters unfolded in our online news services we were blessed with great weather, spectacular scenery, countless sunrises and sunsets and vast and varietal geography reminding us what a remarkable planet this is and how we need to nourish and care for it. And we need to do it now.

    While I spent time taking and editing photos or writing and editing blogs – Arne spent time tracking and calculating data. And boy did he collect a lot of data to share;

    41 days

    489 mile

    1,355,229 steps

    224 walking hours (37 walking days and four rest days)

    2 days of rain 39 dry days

    55 Euro per day lodging and 45 euro per day food

    47,400 Feet elevation gain overall

    Longest day 19.5 miles. Shortest day 5 miles.  Average miles per day 13.2. Average elevation per day 1280 Feet.

    Cheapest lodging g $24 Euro. Most expensive $100 euro.

    Not everyone can or wants to do a walking adventure like the Camino.  But if you have considered it I have this piece of advice – do it sooner rather than later.  Do it your way and don’t let others tell you what’s best. But most of all – do it.  Don’t spend your life thinking about it and regret later that you didn’t get to it.

    We will continue to process within ourselves this experience and what this milestone means. But in the meantime, our Grand Adventure goes on.  We have planes to catch and new adventures ahead.

    We fly to Barcelona for a week before saying goodbye to Europe as our Schengen days have run out.  We have been in Spain almost two months- the longest we have spent in any country since leaving the USA.

    (Note – other than Reading Wednesday I’m going to take a week off from blogging while in Barcelona.  Watch for a blog from Tunisia next)

    So where to next? Here is the plan;

    One week in Tunisia to visit our friend Leslie and then a month in Morocco where we will be joined by our friends Steve and Sarah. Morocco has long been on my list and I can’t wait!

    On our 35th wedding Anniversary on November 27th we arrive for  a 12 day Adventure tour in Namibia before heading to South Africa for Christmas.

    On New Years Eve we fly to Sri Lanka for three weeks, then a quick five days in India and a week in Bangladesh visiting our friend Natalie before flying to the Maldives for almost a month.  We plan to relax and do nothing here.

    Next it’s a week in Guam (by way of Singapore) visiting our niece Bekah and her husband Davy.  Then three weeks in Australia and then three weeks in Bali and Lombok where we will be joined by our friends John and Carole.

    This brings us to the end of April at which time we plan to take a 26 day re-positioning cruise back to the USA for a two-month visit before heading off again. We look forward to seeing friends and family then.

    So there you have it.  Lots of great adventures and blogs on the horizon! As usual, thank you for your continued interest and support.  We are humbled and blessed and grateful each and everyday.

    It’s truly a FABULOUS life. Buen Camino

     

     

    Fab Europe Travel

    My Favorite Things

    Second Half – My Camino

    Location: Camino

    The Camino odyssey is almost over. One more sleep. I’m conflicted about it coming to an end. What an amazing experience. I want to remember all the special moments and my favorite things of this journey.  There are so many and my brain is overfull!

    You might remember I wrote a blog discussing my favorite things from the first half of the journey. So here today, with only one day to go, are some special memories from the second half.

    Leon Cathedral

    Leon – by the time we hit Leon our bodies were in the groove and we were feeling great but we still enjoyed a day off in this town. The ancient city and the wonderful food and wine of Spain made Leon

    Puenta de Orbigo

    a great memory

    Possibly my favorite historic site of the whole Camino was the spectacular Puente de Orbigo bridge with its 19 arches that inspired the story of Don Quixote.

    I loved the little town of Rabanal del Camino where

    Sunrise over Rabanal

    we went to vespers in a crumbling ancient church and then watched the sunrise the next morning over the village as we hiked up to Cruz de Ferro.

    Cruz de Ferro

    Cruz de Ferro was a touching moment. Monumental in reaching it, and emotional too. A quiet and spiritual place for many pilgrims.

    The incredible

    Astorga left and Ponferrada right

    cathedral in Astorga and the castle in Ponferrada both were unforgettably beautiful and ancient.

    We didn’t need a day off

    Villafranca

    physically but are glad we took an extra day in the great valley village of Villafranca where I soaked my feet in the Rio Burbia on a gorgeous sunny day.  We also had a fabulous and memorable authentic Spanish meal here.

    Ever since our very cold and wet crossing of the

    Moonset in the Galician Mountains

    Pyrenees on Day Two we have been prepared to get wet crossing the final mountain range into Galicia.  But Mother Nature has been so kind to us and our ponchos have stayed in the pack.  Our two day crossing of the Galacian Mountains could not have been more spectacular.

    Portomarin medieval town undeewater

    The historic village of Portomarin and the story of how they moved the town and flooded the valley for a reservoir during the 1960’s was fascinating.  Because of Spain’s drought the reservoir was empty and the remains of the medieval village visible.  One of the craziest things I’ve ever seen.

    Traversing Spain on foot gives a unique opportunity to live and breathe the unique and varied cultures of this country. Learning about the indigenous Basque people as well as the surprising ancient Celtic history of Galicia has been just fascinating.

    The same goes for the variety of scenery and topography we have conquered and enjoyed.  Mountains to plains, forests and seas, Spain is a wealth of beauty blessed by Mother Nature.

    We have also learned so much about the vast

    Grapes – one of Spain’s biggest crops.

    Spanish agricultural life, and it has been a unique and beautiful time to walk through Spain, as corn and grapes and wheat and beets and nuts and so much more are harvested from this rich land.

    And so our journey ends. Tomorrow we arrive in Santiago. I’m not sure how I feel about it coming to an end. I know I will need a few days to process it – and then I promise to share some final thoughts. But until then, one more day. #onemoreday

    Buen Camino!

    477 miles walked. 12 miles to go.

    Fab Europe Travel

    Sunrise Sunset – 41 Days The Camino

    My Camino

    Ô, Sunlight! The most precious gold to be found on Earth.

    We came prepared to withstand all weather and for our preparedness we were blessed by the sun.

    Sunset from Acebo Day 29

    The poncho has been out only twice in forty-one days and nights. The coat only during early morning chill. Our days have been golden and except for two, dry.

    Sunrise in Ventosa Day 11

    Our journey has taken us over mountains, across rivers, and through rolling plains and vineyards. Past ancient cathedrals and over roads and bridges traversed by thousands before us over the ages.

    Sunrise Puente La Reina Day 5

    Moon set leaving Viduedo Day 36

    Calzadilla de Los Hermanillos sunrise Day 23

    And the sun shone. We watched it rise in all its glory, brightening our path and showing us “the way”. We watched it set in a pink halo, kissing the earth at the end of another miraculous day.  And on one most incredible morning high on a mountain we watched the harvest moon set and the sun rise simultaneously. Glory hallelujah.

    Sunset in Linares Day 34

    Sunrise over Villafranca Day 33

    Sunrise. Sunset. 41 days and nights on the Camino de Santiago. Our time is waning. The days are getting shorter. Fall is in full swing. It was summer when we started – now a different season as we make our way west, closer and closer to Santiago de Compostela. A handful more walks.  Our goal in sight.  Our walk of a lifetime – a memory to cherish.

    Three days to go

    Miles walked 447.  42 to go.

    Buen Camino!